Superstore‘s 100th episode doubled as America Ferrera‘s twice-delayed swan song. Thursday’s installment also marked the conscious uncoupling of Amy and Jonah.
The inevitable breakup was foreshadowed in last week’s season opener, which concluded with a panicked look in Amy’s eyes. The decision, however, was essentially mutual. After an emotional discussion in the stockroom, Jonah and Amy realized that they wanted different things: Jonah was ready to get married (and had secretly taken one of Amy’s rings to determine the right size for an engagement band), while Amy wasn’t ready to fully commit, still haunted by what she gave up when she agreed to marry Adam all those years ago.
In the end, the Cloud 9 associates gathered to toast Amy’s big move in a scene that harkened back to the series’ pilot, when everyone gathered to toast Cheyenne’s engagement to Beau. Meanwhile, Glenn was reinstalled as manager of the Ozark Highlands store.
Below, co-showrunners Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green discuss the decision to have Amy and Jonah break up in Ferrera’s last episode, and what’s next for Jonah following Amy’s departure.
TVLINE | How different was this version of “California Part 2” from the original script you wrote in a pre-COVID world, when it was originally intended as your Season 5 finale?
MILLER | The Amy and Jonah story is pretty close to what it was originally, the main difference being that months have now passed in between the decision to move to California together and this episode, when Amy is finally getting to move. And so, over that time, [we have] the additional pressures of pandemic life and Amy having to work two jobs at once, not seeing Jonah as often anymore even though they’re living together. All of those pressures sort of add up and expose some cracks in their relationship. Without the pandemic, and without those months in between, we still would’ve gotten to the same place [of Amy and Jonah breaking up], but it wouldn’t have been for all of the same reasons.
TVLINE | Do you feel like the episode benefitted from the changes you made?
MILLER | Yeah. It allowed us some time within the show for pressures to build, and [for] that emotional distance [to build between Amy and Jonah], where they realized they weren’t necessarily on the same page. So, yeah, in a way, prolonging things probably helped to make it feel a little more believable, we think.
GREEN | Right. Also, I think the experience of going through this pandemic has made a lot of people sort of take stock and reevaluate their priorities, and think about the future and what they really want. And I think it’s had that effect on Amy as well.
TVLINE | Was there any fear that Amy’s doubts would seem out of the blue? Or do you think you successfully planted those seeds in the lead-up to #Simmosa’s demise?
MILLER | We felt like it was very organic to her character to be concerned about the way things went with Adam — how circumstances forced them into that marriage, and how she’d be very gun-shy about that happening again. As much as she loves Jonah, and as great as she thinks he is, she would be [against] letting that happen to her again… It was important to us, also, to see that maybe even she thinks that she [made] a rash decision. She doesn’t want to lose Jonah, and she’s torn.
GREEN | We really liked the idea that she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. It’s just what is feeling right to her [in the moment]. If it feels a little out of the blue to people, you know, it’s sort of catching her off-guard, too.
TVLINE | Was there a reason you chose to have Jonah intend to propose to Amy? That’s kinda twisting the knife in, no?
GREEN | The idea of the ring was not a part of the [plan at the end of last season]. But this season, it was sort of a way to address, “Hey, why is Amy struggling so much on her last day?” We came up with the ring as a way to really make that pressure something tangible, and something that she could be reacting to. And then when we had that, we were like, “Oh, that would be heartbreaking in a great way…”
We like what it showed as far as the difference between their characters. And yeah, it definitely occurred to us that there would be fans who may not want to see this happening. We weren’t trying to play it as a mislead or “Haha, we tricked you into thinking that they’re going to get married or he’s going to propose.” We liked it for how it plays dramatically in the episode.
TVLINE | Do you guys see this as the definitive end to Jonah and Amy’s love story?
MILLER | We feel like the door is still open the way that we left things. By the end, what they [both] realize is that they are making an adult decision. They’re not on the same page about their future right now, but who knows? They still could find their way back to each other.
TVLINE | Looking ahead, how will Jonah be holding up in subsequent episodes?
MILLER | He tries to throw himself into some other things to distract himself… He realizes that he’s still working at the store when he thought he would be moving on to California and a new life, so he pursues some other job prospects, and he considers trying to move up at the store. We definitely are dealing with that in the early part of the season a lot: What is Jonah’s plan now that he’s found himself in this position?
TVLINE | And in terms of COVID, will Season 6 continue to reflect the reality of the pandemic, or will the show transition to a post-COVID world at some point?
MILLER | We’re keeping it going. The world has changed so much, [and] it doesn’t seem to be changing back anytime soon, unfortunately.
GREEN | Sometimes that’ll be [reflected in the customer interstitials] that we have in between scenes. And sometimes it’ll be like a story we have coming up, about Mateo and Cheyenne having an event [during the pandemic]. It comes up that Sandra doesn’t feel comfortable with their level of COVID safety and the social aspect of that. We’re trying to find different ways to hit it and explore it, [and] we’re seeing how much we can get out of it.
What did you think of America Ferrera’s final episode of Superstore? Were you upset by Amy and Jonah’s breakup, or did the inevitability help curb the pain? Drop your thoughts in a comment below.
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