NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Superstore” are present in this review
Superstore took this week’s episode to really push several character arcs forward over everything else. The humour was still mostly on-point in, “Rebranding” however, especially in terms of setting up for great storytelling promise in later episodes. That should make the three-week wait for the next episode of this show a bit easier to swallow.
The major inciting incident of this episode comes into play when Jeff announces to the employees that a major line of Cloud 9 products is being rebranded. The products are completely identical in every way beyond the name change, and this had the episode opening strong after Jeff is inevitably caught having to pitch a pointless rebranding effort to the Cloud 9 crew. Cheyenne, arguably the least intelligent employee, pointing out a blatantly better mascot that could have been used for the rebranding in the opening minutes made for one of the episode’s biggest laughs too!
Regardless, an upper-echelon Cloud 9 manager comes to the store, Rex, who has a past connection to Jonah. Turns out, the two went to business school together, and after Rex shows Amy, Garrett and Glenn some of Jonah’s rather embarrassing efforts to get through business classes (it really sucks that we couldn’t see Jonah rapping!), Jonah starts re-examining his past and future at Cloud 9, particularly when he reveals to Amy that he has a two-year deferment period to re-enroll.
One of the small disappointments in this episode is that we ultimately don’t see too much of Rex. He functions as little more than a plot device for both Jonah and Jeff, and that feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to mine more humour from the employees. Still, Jonah having to confront his failure at business school again made for a great way to start capping off the episode, especially when he learns that he miscalculated his deferment, and it started from when he enrolled, not when he left, meaning that it expired the previous week. This forces Jonah onto the same level as Amy in the so-called, “No options club”, which made for a cute way to end the episode. It was also charming to have Glenn try and keep Jonah at the store in his own ridiculous way, including signing a phony contract for a thirty-year tenure, giving Glenn a surprising victory at the very end of the episode to boot. Nonetheless, Jonah and Amy sitting together and trying to make the best of being out of employment options was both tragic and uplifting at the same time, especially with Glenn doing a little jig on his way out, and trying to cover up his happiness about Jonah having to stay put at the store.
As I mentioned, Jeff also has a bigger part in this episode, which once again comes into focus in relation to his covert relationship with Mateo. Jeff ends up getting stressed and becoming harder on the employees, which leads to a whole mess of incidents, beginning with a sharp reprimand of Dina. As usual, Lauren Ash really stole the show in this episode, as Dina starts literally losing her mind at the idea of being publicly reprimanded by upper management. Mateo, naturally, also makes the situation a lot worse when he accidentally tells Jeff about Dina calling him an asshat, and Jeff calls out Dina in front of her co-workers a second time.
Dina hunting for a rat among the employees has enough comedic potential on its own, but it gets even better when Mateo has to cover up his relationship with Jeff by claiming that the rat is someone else. Naturally, he pins the blame on Sandra, though to his surprise, the employees actually embrace the idea of Sandra having an affair with Jeff, to the point where even Dina no longer cares about her supposed treachery. This has Mateo clearly jealous, as Sandra basks in her newfound popularity, though disappointingly, this storyline didn’t see any real resolution. I’m sure that Sandra pretending to have an affair with Jeff, with no one else at Cloud 9 seeming to be aware that Jeff is gay, will come back into play later, but it’s still disappointing that we’ll have to wait for another episode to see Sandra inevitably get caught lying. Still, once again, I’m happy to see Sandra becoming part of the main ensemble’s storylines a lot more, since she is one of this show’s best characters, alongside Dina.
There was a third plot with Cheyenne that largely existed to simply fill space, though it was quite funny regardless. Cheyenne starts trying to smuggle products out of the clearance bin to save money on things she supposedly needs for her baby (including eyeshadow?), though because Jeff is around, Glenn doesn’t allow her to reserve and buy products during her shift. This leads to Cheyenne trying to hide products around the store, only to have another employee find them and put them back. This initially has Cheyenne feeling resigned to having to spend more money when the old products are cleaned out by customers, though the story did find its way to a satisfying conclusion, after a customer asks Cheyenne to check in the back for products with the old Cloud 9 brand, which Cheyenne somehow didn’t think to do. She discovers an entire warehouse’s worth of old products as a result, then lies to the customer about there not being any more sundry. I guess Cheyenne, like Glenn, had everything work out for her in the end, and even if she’s being dishonest, it’s difficult to care when her character is so charming.
“Rebranding” somewhat feels like it’s laying the groundwork for future Superstore episodes most of all, but it certainly delivered a healthy dose of strong laughs too. Seeing Jonah truly find himself out of options, with his final link to his business school prospects shattered, was a great way to more permanently entrench him at Cloud 9, while a standout Jeff/Mateo/Dina plot ended up taking an unexpected positive turn for Sandra. Like I said, it’s annoying that Sandra’s lie didn’t get resolved at this point, and that more wasn’t ultimately done with Rex, but hopefully, we will see better storylines from these two elements down the line, even as we unfortunately have to wait until February for our next Superstore offering now.
- Mateo and Dina inadvertently skyrocketing Sandra's popularity
- Jonah being forced to confront his lack of options
- Cheyenne's product hoarding
- Rex is ultimately little more than a plot device
- Sandra's lie has no resolution for now