Blockbuster – Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” Recap & Review


Jeff is a customer at Iron Creek’s Blockbuster retail store at the start of Blockbuster episode 1. Timmy, the store manager, asks him about his preferences and what he’d like to see. Timmy has been working in the same store since seventh grade and knows the ins and outs of the movie-watching business. Jeff has recently undergone a breakup and wants something to bring him out of it. Other employees in the store – Eliza, Hanna, Carlos, Connie, and Kayla – weigh in with their opinions. Timmy ultimately advises Jeff to rent a copy of Under the Tuscan Sun and says that his intervention is better than any option an algorithm in Netflix or Amazon could serve.

He gets a call from Don, from corporate. He calls with the news that seven of the remaining eight Blockbuster franchises have closed – so has the corporate office – and Timmy’s store is the last remaining store of the franchise giants on earth. Timmy is taken aback by the news and confides in Eliza about his insecurities. With corporate no longer in the picture, Timmy will have to take care of the entire rent and other expenses like parking. Eliza and Timmy are childhood friends and she tries to comfort him by saying they will figure it out.

She has recently gone through a breakup with her husband Aaron, who cheated on her. Timmy too is divorced and she tells him to keep the news to himself. To get the store back on track, Eliza proposes a party. This can be an event that could attract people from the town to come there and rediscover their lost taste for human connection. The other employees in the store do not know about it until Kayla, the most tech-savvy of the bunch breaks the news.

]Timmy comes in and with a rousing speech (from the film “Independence Day”), tries to motivate his troops. Eliza spoils it at the very last moment but they get the message loud and clear. To prepare for the party, Timmy and Eliza go to Percy’s store. Percy is Timmy’s best friend from high school and proposes a preposterous plan for the party. His blueprint is childish and amateur, something Eliza fears will drive the people away. When Timmy accidentally reveals that Eliza has broken up, she gets upset and leaves Timmy to his own devices.

At a bar, Timmy, Carlos, and Percy discuss the party and the former’s relationship with Eliza. Carlos purports that the two might have a thing for each other and Timmy must pursue the same. Percy gives the exact opposite advice, telling him not to “deuce where he eats”. Relationships between co-workers are often tricky and it might be a mistake. The next day, they all set up the store for the party. Percy’s unimpressive taste sees him bring a tall inflatable gorilla thingy, which is inadvertently set on fire after he fires out rocket crackers during the daytime.

The party does not seem to be a great success, though, and Eliza only comes later after it is finished. She consoles Timmy when Remington Alexander, a local reporter, comes and asks him about the incident with the “attacking Gorilla”. Carlos had actually edited the video to make the gorilla seem like a mechanical robot and Kayla had uploaded it on social media. Although he is unsure of what to say, Eliza stands behind the camera and prods him to give his rousing speech. He takes the mic in his hands and Timmy appeals to the people of Remington to support the store and sustain small businesses.

The plan actually works and it is also revealed that Percy is Kayla’s father. Timmy gets many new membership requests and thanks, Eliza, for her vote of confidence. They both apologize and before Timmy can tell her how he feels, Aaron walks in to pick up Eliza. She explains that her daughter feels distant so she is giving Aaron another chance. Timmy is unable to say more and she departs.

The Episode Review

The setting of the last retail chain of Blockbuster seems to be an interesting idea. Episode 1 definitely seems undercooked but with the right ingredients that can be explosive when well-tamed.

Randall Park and Melissa Fumero are instantly impressive and will most probably hold the fort on the dramatic side of things. It is a typical “will they won’t they” trope in the works here and we can expect a lot of torture for Timmy before Eliza comes around and realizes her love for him. It will come but we will have to wait.

We don’t get much really about the other characters. It is difficult to form an opinion this soon but the nagging traits we find common in sitcom settings are pretty much there. That seems like it will be a disappointment but here is hoping for a new twist on the workplace comedy brand that will quickly deteriorate into 2000’s territory if not done properly.

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You can read our full season review for Blockbuster here!

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