Thursday, July 15, 2021

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - An Epic Party Creates Only More Dysfunction for Devi's Personal Life in '...thrown a rager'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 2.02 "...thrown a rager"

Devi plans to throw the ultimate party, but her knotty dating life may turn it into a different kind of blowout. Nalini has an eye-opening trip to India.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Never Have I Ever.

"...thrown a rager" was written by Akshara Sekar and directed by Kabir Akhtar

Devi and her friends are genuinely surprised by how long she has been able to keep her two boyfriends a secret. She interacts with both Ben and Paxton in public. Their relationships are private. And yet, both are seen as loving and healthy. Of course, they are defined by deceit as well. Devi feels compelled to sneak around and lie to the people she cares about. In the end, that only hurts Ben and Paxton. She will have to stick around and deal with the consequences as well. This episode confirms that Devi and Nalini aren't moving to India. Nalini believed that things would be easier for them with more family around. And yes, that notion may still be true. They simply don't have to move to India in order to embrace that quality. Nalini can bring family back with her. When she lands in India, her parents are incredibly disinterested. They are living their own lives. They only wish to engage with their daughter when it comes to potentially arranging a new marriage for her. That's the prism through which they seek to define her happiness. Meanwhile, her mother-in-law is calling from the moment Nalini lands. In that instance though, a mother actually wishes to love and nurture her child. They both miss Mohan. They are forever bonded by that connection. Happiness can still be found in California even though that wasn't the life Nalini initially wanted for herself. It's where she and Mohan built their home. She has the freedom to expand this family at her own choosing as well. Nalini has that agency. Of course, it disrupts all of Devi's plans. She wanted to go out as a legend at her high school. She would live on in infamy for what she accomplished. As such, she always fundamentally wanted it to be known what she did. She just figured she would be out of the country by the time everyone became aware of the truth. It's all exposed much sooner than that. It all stems from Devi judging her self-worth on how others perceive her. She needs the world to know that she is dating Paxton. Everyone notices him no matter where he goes. He and Devi have operated with some freedom because Devi seemingly makes everyone around her suddenly invisible. That's the social hierarchy of this place. The dynamics themselves can't be empty and invisible though. They have to be full of meaningful connections. Paxton and Ben are genuinely interested in Devi. Ben pushes her to succeed at school while Paxton wishes to include her in every aspect of his life. They are reaching out in those ways. Meanwhile, Devi delights in the juggling act. She has support from Fabiola and Eleanor as well. Paxton and Ben don't find out the truth because they find the pros and cons board hiding in Devi's closet. Instead, it's an admission that comes out of Devi's own mouth to essentially mark what's hers. It hurts Ben emotionally. It then does the same to Paxton physically. His future may be in limbo now because he gets hit by a car after leaving the party feeling betrayed. He was being scouted by Stanford for their swim team. That opportunity will disappear. Devi plays the video over and over again. She wants to shrink and embrace the comfort that has always provided her peace. She can't escape the consequences of her actions though. Yes, she is thrilled to have her grandmother in the house with her. This isn't what she was planning. Nothing works out for her. This isn't the first time these selfish and boastful tendencies have blown up in her face. It shifts the narrative as well. Ben and Paxton both seem to be done with her. Meanwhile, Fabiola and Eleanor have the potential to explore new interests that can be rewarding to their lives as well. Devi's story still has agency within it. She is still coping with the tragedy that has occurred in her life. She is still accountable for the pain she has caused. She makes poor decisions. She recognizes that sometimes. It should be fascinating to see if that pattern is broken this season or if the audience can expect another year of dysfunctional recklessness. She tried having it both ways. And now, Devi is all alone once more. That may propel her to make even worse decisions. That's how she has typically reacted. This situation could be different. It too depends on how willing people are to forgive her or try to understand what she was doing. That too can be difficult. It will also require more insight into how Paxton and Ben feel outside of their connection to Devi. That too needs more depth for all of this to thrive. That potential is still abundant though.