Sunday, July 18, 2021

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - Devi's Narcissistic Tendencies Create a Rumor That Hurts Aneesa in '...ruined someone's life'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 2.05 "...ruined someone's life"

At a 24-hour school relay, Devi's impulsive words spark an insensitive rumor. Fabiola hesitates to introduce her overenthusiastic mother to Eve.

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.

"...ruined someone's life" was written by Aaron Geary & Ben Steiner and directed by Maggie Carey

The first season called Devi out for being a terrible friend. Fabiola and Eleanor had to take a break from their friendship with her. Of course, none of them ever stopped caring about each other. As such, it was easy for them to reunite. They could unburden themselves with all the big developments in their lives. That was also done with the hope that they could learn from their toxic behavior. They would never repeat it again in the future. And now, it has become clear that isn't the case. It's absolutely beneficial that Devi learns some coping mechanisms for how to handle her anger. She was already listening to her father's final voicemail long before Dr. Ryan suggested a calming technique. That holds resonance and understanding for the audience. It's easy to grasp the concept. It's a central component of Devi's life. When she loses her phone, it's seen as losing Mohan all over again. She is still coping with all of that. And yet, her actions have drastic repercussions for her friends as well. She always wants to position herself as a legend at this school. She is a top student who also has the respect of her peers in social settings for what she has done. In reality, she has just made a fool of herself by alienating those who wanted to get close to her. Ben has declared they can never be friends again. Any hint of romance was destroyed by her betrayal. That's how Ben reacted and he has the right to do so. Devi hurt both him and Paxton because she wasn't honest with them. And now, she repeats that same pattern as it pertains to her friendship with Aneesa. She thinks the animosity and electricity between her and Ben is so obvious. Everyone should rightfully stay clear of that dynamic because it could explode at any moment. That mostly highlights Devi's selfish tendencies. This insecurity defines her world. It's not obvious to the people around her. Aneesa doesn't know that Ben is one of the guys she was dating at the same time. She doesn't know that Devi still has feelings for him. She doesn't know to stay away. Devi simply allows her resentment to grow. In her mind, the world is constantly comparing her with Aneesa. They are interchangeable. Their classmates confuse them for the other. Devi's achievements are no longer distinguishable from Aneesa's. They have their own agency in this environment though. Aneesa hoped for a chance to start over at a new school. She made friends quickly. People have welcomed her into this space. All it takes is a rumor to completely destroy everything. It's embarrassing for Aneesa to know that everyone thinks she is anorexic. She truly does have an eating disorder. Devi's observations of her behavior were correct. She weaponized that information. That's not how a friend acts. The responsible thing to do would be to tell Aneesa about her past with Ben and how seeing them together hurts her. Aneesa probably would understand that. Devi doesn't give her that opportunity. Instead, Devi hurts both herself and her friend. That sense of dread bubbles up inside of her. It flows over absolutely everything. She is distracted and incapable of helping anyone else. She must get in the way of Ben and Aneesa possibly growing closer. She doesn't even know if that is actually happening. It's all her imagination running wild. Meanwhile, Paxton needs help studying for a biology test while Fabiola wants to carefully keep her mother and Eve apart throughout the charity relay. Fabiola ultimately has nothing to worry about. Her mother and Eve get along instantly. In fact, that may showcase her own insecurity about the situation due to her having the diverging interests. That too demands further examination. She may be the one trying to present as what she thinks is the acceptable form of queer identity. There is more than one way to exist in that space though. These teens need to be open with their feelings. Being unique makes them better people. They repeat the same mistakes if they don't. That runs the risk of the show essentially repeating the same story as before. It should be conscious enough to know that the weight and drama comes from something else evolving from it all. That seems likely. But it also proves how little Devi has changed despite professing her greatness in every aspect of her life. She crashes into that reality and is slow to pick up the pieces of what her life truly is like for those around her.