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Superstore - Safety Training - Review: "Did they teach you that in pageant school?"



In Thursday's episode "Safety Training", Superstore made headway with its relationships, bringing up ones that we thought were dead and reminding of the ones that were already there. It might just be me being extremely forgetful and needing a quick refresher in a while, but I think that was a good choice.

The cold open featured Marcus (Jon Barinholtz) pitch his business idea, cheese made out of human milk, to his fellow Cloud 9 Employees. Understandably, pretty much all of the employees react with disgust. The cold open wasn't super special, nor did it really set up anything for the rest of the episode, but I liked it. It gave me some one-liners that were so bad that they're good. My favorite?

“Who’s ready to invest in the breast? It’ll be udder-ly amazing!” - Marcus

For the first time, Kelly (Kelly Stables) actually had something to do in giving the episode's plots a push. She's not my favorite character, but I think that it's good that the Superstore writers tried to give her something other than to just be the love interest.

Having just realized that she likes Jonah (Ben Feldman), Amy (America Ferrera) confides in Dina (Lauren Ash). Through their conversation, Amy is faced with the fact that she hasn't been all that nice to Kelly, and she resolves to change that. That results in her taking the fall for one of Kelly's mistakes. This begins a domino effect that eventually lands Amy in the episode's titular "Safety Training".
However, Amy quickly tires of safety training and tries to get out of it as best she can, all while remaining under the pretense of the moral high ground. In order to do so, Amy concocts a plan: have Dina show the security footage of the mistake in the staff break room as Amy tries to stop her, so that Kelly can be outed as the true perpetrator, and Amy can still look like a good friend. Unfortunately, a mishap occurs with the security camera footage, and the employees of Cloud 9 find themselves watching the footage of Amy and Jonah kiss during the tornado.

I've got to give props to the Superstore writers for developing the Dina/Amy friendship in this episode. In previous episodes, I was iffy on their general friendship because of the way Dina treated Amy, but in this episode it was clear that Dina has a heart. The interactions didn't compromise either characters' individual personalities. In fact, it was great seeing Dina adopt her hyper rule-enforcing personality in service of Amy instead of in order to punish Amy. That's real friendship, y'all.

Sadly, I still do not like Kelly. Her general naivety doesn't offer the same humor than, let's say, that of Glenn (Mark McKinney) or Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) or literally any other character. She also doesn't seem to have much of a real personality other than air-headed and nice, if no slightly awkward. In a show with such colorful characters (including the recurring cast), Kelly falls flat. At least with some other characters, if I dislike them as people, I may still like what they bring to the comedy table. I'm just generally ambivalent toward Kelly.

I thought that the security camera footage was a good way to revisit Amy and Jonah's kiss. Obviously, they weren't going to talk about it anytime soon, so this was a creative way to force the conversation.

While Amy is stuck in safety training, Mateo (Nico Santos) is injured because of Kelly's mistake. After the injury, he learns that the company could pay him money for not suing. He is happy about that, but later learns that he will only receive the money when a background check is done on him. This is problematic because he is an undocumented immigrant. Mateo subsequently refuses the money, leading to some interesting sequences where Jeff (Michael Bunin) keeps upping the amount of money in negotiations with Mateo, thinking that Mateo is just going to walk away.

By the end of the episode, they've both had it. Mateo turns down the money one last time, and Jeff explodes at Mateo for his actions, showing some residual hurt from their breakup. This prompts Mateo to reveal that he is undocumented.

To be honest, I didn't think that the writers would revisit this story because of how long we've spent away from it, but I'm glad they did. The acting in the scene where Mateo reveals his undocumented status is solid, and I'm looking forward to seeing this play out in later episodes.

Kelly's mistake and Mateo's money issues makes Marcus realize that if he gets injured, too, the store will owe him money. There is a running gag of Marcus so close to harming himself, and then stopping himself at the last minute. It shouldn't be funny, and it leads exactly nowhere, but I enjoyed it. I also really liked the speech Garrett (Colton Dunn) gave Marcus after Marcus enlisted Garrett to help injure him. It was perfectly creepy and foreboding, and it was a great way to tie up the running gag.

Overall, "Safety Training" was a fun episode. It set up a lot of interesting stuff, and I'm excited to see how Superstore will make sense of the threads they've dangled in front of us for the rest of the season.

What did you think of "Safety Training"? Are you excited for the return of some good Jonah/Amy drama? What would you have done in Mateo's place? Share your answers in the comments below!