Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Superstore closes its doors for good, but not before providing some sweet closure

America Ferrera as Amy and Ben Feldman as Jonah in the Superstore series finale
America Ferrera as Amy and Ben Feldman as Jonah in the Superstore series finale
Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC

Attention shoppers: Superstore has finally shut its doors, ending its six-season run on NBC with a one-hour finale that provided closure and some hopeful happy endings for all its central characters. For a comedy like Superstore, one that’s usually bursting with rapid one-liners and heartwarming humor, exiting in other way wouldn’t have made sense. No tornado or unexpected blizzard was going to shut down the St. Louis Cloud 9 store forever with everyone trapped inside. The show did take some intense routes and twists during its run—remember when they found out corporate only agreed to their union deal because they’d been sold out to Zephra?—but this a series ender here. Despite the store going out of business in the traditional sense, the two-part finale not only brings Amy (and America Ferrera) back properly, it also gives a satisfactory and firm resolution to everyone’s arc, wrapping it all up with callbacks, extremely moving voiceovers, and flash-forwards. But first, let’s zoom out for a bit and go through how the finale got to that place.

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In the first episode of the night, “Perfect Store,” Amy returns from to help save the store and her former coworkers’ jobs after confirming that their location could very well fall under the 95% of the stores countrywide that are shutting down. It leads to an awkward reunion with Jonah (Ben Feldman) and a fun break room meeting where everyone obsesses over them. But once that’s out of the way, everyone tries to spruce up the store for the Zephra rep coming for inspection. This involves adding hot greeters at the door, turning away weirdo customers, general clean-up, and lots of flowers. Truly, just so many flowers. All their efforts prove to be in vain when Justine and then Marcus discover eight dismembered human feet in the store. It’s a bigger deal than, as Glenn points out, the previous “sprinklings” of feet here and there in the years past. Superstore really did have a solid ability to turn oddities like this one into laugh-out-loud humor.

As the episode wraps, the feet have brought news teams to Cloud 9. Jonah uses this opportunity to make a point to the Zephra rep nearby, going on-air to give a moving speech about how they’ve worked through dangerous situations, including dealing with customers who come to the store and cough openly during a pandemic. This scene is a great callback not only to some of those aforementioned twists, it’s also Superstore’s doing what it does best: spotlighting and eliciting empathy for the problems faced by the working class, specifically retail workers. The speech doesn’t land, and Cloud 9's Ozark Highlands store #1217 is destined to be turned into a Zephra fulfillment center. This decision hits harder than the store simply being razed and the plot turned into an apartment building or something because it reflects the reality of our world. The rise of online shopping has heavily affected already very physical, low-paying retail jobs. In solidarity, Amy quits her corporate gig with Zephra and moves back.

More than anything, “Perfect Store” is a titillating but subtle set-up for Amy and Jonah’s inevitable reunion as a couple, as evidenced in the scene when Jonah is charged up to try and save the store but his girlfriend Hannah (Maria Thayer) doesn’t match his energy. It’s obvious that if it was Amy, the two would’ve already formulated some drastic plan by now. Hannah, as wonderful as she is, is not the one for Jonah. As the second episode, titled “All Sales Final” begins, Amy opens up to her former partner about finally catching up on The Americans but more seriously, she apologizes for leaving him after the proposal and leaves the decision to get back together in his hands. In the end, after partly getting inspired by their old job interviews, the two finally kiss and make up. Jonah admits he stayed on the job just for her, and she admits he’s made her life better. Feldman and Ferrera’s chemistry helps justify their reunion, especially after Amy’s departure. The former also gives one of his best performances of the show in the finale.

“All Sales Final” gives the rest of Superstore’s protagonists their due. Dina (Lauren Ash) is the new manager of the fulfillment center and Sandra scores the assistant manager position when she helps Dina select the five employees she should hire. Sandra is now to Dina what Dina was to Glenn at the beginning. This role reversal and their odd-couple dynamic almost demands a spin-off of its own. Once again, it helps that their portrayers Ash and Kaliko Kauahi emerged as the ensemble’s breakouts as the show went on.

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Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Nico Santos as Mateo in the Superstore series finale
Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Nico Santos as Mateo in the Superstore series finale
Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC

Glenn decides to reopen his fathers hardware store (don’t worry, Jerusha totally approves). He hires Mateo to help him out after hearing him worry about not getting a new job as an undocumented immigrant. When Cheyenne gets emotional while cleaning her last vomit slushie on the floor, Garrett simply cannot understand the sentimentality, not until he has to make his last store announcement after 20 long years. His voiceover in the closing scene about finding beauty in ordinary spaces—which recalls that of Pam in The Office finale—pivots to flash-forwards. They’re all still friends and happily hanging out together with their kids (Jonah is running for city council and Amy is an executive now, they are married, they honeymooned in Greece, and have a son) and significant others (yes, Garrett and Dina are still cute together and Mateo and Eric are engaged).

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And just like that, Garrett leaves the store and the show leaves its mark on the landscape of TV comedies. It’s not like everyone in its viewer base has worked in a big box store or had the same retail experiences, but Superstore still maintained universal relatability with its pointed humor, heartfelt character development, and diverse stories with an inclusive cast and crew. Six seasons (and a movie?) is a great run, but Superstore’s vacancy will be felt for a long time.

Stray observations

  • Jonah and Amy’s scenes from the series finale were chock-full of nods to their meet-cute in the pilot: When Jonah teaches Amy how to use the new scanners and she’s lovingly staring at him, it’s reminiscent of how she first taught him the same. Also, their big kiss comes just after he’s stocking toilet paper rolls. They met doing the same thing in episode one. Finally, Jonah’s way to add a “moment of beauty” to Amy’s day in the pilot using glow-in-the-dark stars gets a callback because a version is hung up on their kids’ ceiling.
  • On the store’s last day, here are the items Garrett announces are up for sale: ladies golf shoes sizes 14 and above, grape-scented laundry detergent, and the VHS box set of Sweet Valley High.
  • Glenn, who is worried about too much free time during retirement, has some short term solutions that include binge-watching the seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit and a 500-piece puzzle. He doesn’t have the table space for a 1000-pieces.
  • Jonah ends up revealing two more of his pop culture obsessions in throwaway zingers: Lost and Dead Poet’s Society, which according to him you can never watch too many times.
  • This conversation between Glenn and Mateo is a hall-of-famer.
    Glenn: “You’re undocumented. I’m 60. America wants neither of us to work anymore.”
    Mateo: “Right, but I’m under constant fear of deportation and you get discounts in movie theaters.”
    Glenn: “Not new releases.”
    Mateo: “Must be awful to live under fear of spoilers.”
  • How great was it that the flash forward didn’t just include the series regular cast members but also the other Cloud 9 employees who have been part of the show for so long as supporting and guest cast?
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Staff Writer (TV)