Warning: This article contains spoilers about Blockbuster season 1.
The shelves at Blockbuster might still be stocked, but the new Netflix series left us with some video store-worthy cliffhangers of another kind.
New independent Blockbuster store owner, Timmy (Randall Park), found his hopes of saving his small business dashed after a storm-induced riot left things in tatters. Having freshly rejected a marriage proposal from her ex-husband, Eliza (Melissa Fumero) realized she has feelings for Timmy — and attempted to tell him. But he was in no mood to hear it. And Hannah (Madeleine Arthur) suddenly has video evidence of Eliza's crush.
Elsewhere in the store, Carlos (Tyler Alvarez) mourned the door closing on his dream of attending his first-choice film school, while resolving to find a new way forward. Percy (J.B. Smoove) made some excellent progress in his relationship with his daughter, Kayla (Kamaia Fairburn), and Connie (Olga Merediz) continued to... be Connie.
Blockbuster has yet to get picked up for a second season, but its first season ended on an ambiguous note. So we called up creator Vanessa Ramos to see if she could shed some light on our burning questions.
Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix Melissa Fumero as Eliza, Randall Park as Timmy
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We end on this note with the store in tatters, and Timmy seemingly giving up. Will Blockbuster be saved and live to see another day? Is this the bottom for Timmy?
VANESSA RAMOS: That's maybe a better question for my execs at Netflix. Until we get a season 2, I don't let myself dream a bit. When I first did this, I was like, "I'm doing development," and everybody I talked to, they're like, "Oh, no one gets it on their first try. There's no world where this show gets made." Then in my pitch it says, "Timmy, a Randall Park type," and they were like, "That's funny but there's no way we'll get Randall." I feel a little bit like I'm playing with house money and don't want to jinx it.
Well, what prompted you to end on such an ambiguous note?
It's a guy running a Blockbuster in 2022. It's hard. He's just so winning — the way I viewed it is if we want to make an impact, we've got to break the unbreakable man. We wanted him to have somewhat of a win before that with the solar storm. And Tim being like, "Yeah, Blockbuster's back baby." He gets to feel what he felt in its heyday. Something about it felt right for this character. To learn and grow, he needs to bottom out.
It's clear from how things went down that he still has feelings for Eliza and it seems like she feels the same after rejecting that proposal. How close were they to actually confessing how they feel if things had gone a little better?
Had things gone better, Eliza would have maybe worked up the nerve. In other timelines, she would have gotten it out. And he would have been blindsided because in Timmy's mind, he feels a bit of arrested development in terms of relationships. As much as he likes her, he's a little scared or doesn't quite believe that there's a world where it's reciprocated.
How much might everything that transpired this episode prove a further setback to them?
That's hard to say. It depends on what Timmy's journey is emotionally after being broken. I don't know specifics, but he maybe is just going off the grid for a while. And in that time, who knows if Eliza will, like, lose her nerve, or if she goes after him? We haven't really explored that. It's hard to tell anybody that you like them like that and to feel exposed. But then if they're in a not great place emotionally, it would feel like even more of an obstacle. Like, "This is not the right time because this is big thing." They're also looking for a trapdoor out because it's something that's hard.
Well with Timmy storming off, might Eliza feel some desire or pressure to relent to her ex-husband's proposal?
I don't think so. She's seen this exact thing before — Aaron on one knee with a ring. If knowing what she knows now, would she go back into that moment and do it differently? We got her answer. Especially given everything he put her through. She tried to give him a chance for [their] daughter. At this point, she's like, "Yeah, I don't have to keep doing that."
Can you hint at what that final beat with Hannah might mean?
It wouldn't mean much beyond there's somebody who knows something. Because Carlos and Percy know Timmy's feelings, but now there's somebody that knows Eliza's feelings. Hannah went to collect the video that she set up. We did discuss, "Should it be Carlos filming it that catches it and then he knows both sides of it and knows that they are on the same page?" But Hannah is in her own world, and she loves rom-coms. But she's a little bit less put together than Carlos. Now that Hannah has this information, will she tell Timmy? Or will she confront Eliza about it? We have a bit of a loose cannon now with this information.
So, are you setting up for a "They Don't Know That We Know They Know We Know" situation?
You know what? This is such a funny answer based on how you phrased that question — I don't know. I don't know what I'm setting up. We started the season going like, "Okay, where are we going?" And then devised little breadcrumbs emotionally to see how we would get everybody there. It's like, "Okay, we've just got to get to Episode 10." And then anything beyond that is a season 2 problem. Hopefully, we're in a position to figure it out.
Carlos didn't get into his dream film school, and then, unexpectedly got advice from an unlikely Santa. What does his future look like now that he's had this setback? Might he try to make an independent film on his own?
That's the one thing that's safe to say. Yes. I got started as a stand-up. And the first time you bomb, there's some people that are like, "Wait, I'm not meant to do this." But then there's a different type of person that finds it liberating where it's like, "Okay, what did I learn from this? There's nowhere to go but up. Rejection is a part of life. This is one less no that I'll hear, and hopefully it allows me to do things on my own terms."
Percy has such a complicated relationship with Timmy. Now that they've hit this rock bottom, and he had this lovely moment with his daughter, is he going to cut Tim some slack? Is there any impetus within him to help them bounce back? I know he's got to pay his bills.
It's tricky because we think of Percy as putting on his store owner hat and his friend hat. At the end of episode 3, he's like, "It's just business," and Timmy is like, "But it can't be just business when you've known someone half your life." Percy is falling into old habits, the way they were in high school. But he is learning to remind himself that Timmy is an equal. He's not just the kid you would dare to do stuff because he would say yes. He's starting to view him as more of an associate when it comes to the business stuff as opposed to this guy that you can always push around.
Is Connie ever going to learn the names of the actors in the movies she recommends?
I don't think so. Just because the real Connie, my mom Connie Ramos, has not named any celebs correctly in her entire life.
How much of your mom is in Connie?
It's heightened to an extent. My mom is terrible with actors' names. My mom and Olga met, and it was like that Spider-Man meme where they're just pointing at each other because they're both these tiny Latino women and immediately started speaking to each other in Spanish and hugging. I can't imagine anyone else portraying my mother and bringing such love to it.
How fraught or strange is it being a show that is about celebrating physical media while airing on a streaming platform?
That was something from day one that our team at Netflix was very cool about and understood that if we're gonna do this, we have to be allowed some leeway to poke fun and let everyone know that we're aware. Because had we not, it would've seemed very sinister or very suspicious. I was prepared for some pushback on that. They were just like, "Okay guys."
Do you have things on your wishlist for season 2?
I would love to see someone in Connie's family, like her sister that we hear about who's in a Guatemalan jail. Someone in Connie's world would be fun. My mom listened to a bunch of Gloria Estefan when I was a kid, so my dream is that Connie's sister is Gloria Estefan.
She was Rita Moreno's sister on One Day at a Time, so why not?
That was the one thing that gave me hope. We have to figure out the timeline, but when the show got picked up to series, I'm not someone that planned on doing holidays. Halloween came about because I figured it was their like Black Friday with people coming in and renting movies. Christmas was not planned when we started. So, I wouldn't mind figuring out another holiday to tackle. That ended up being a lot of fun.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.