Sunday, July 18, 2021

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - Devi Makes a Confession But Refuses to Accept the Consequences in '...betrayed a friend'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 2.06 "...betrayed a friend"

While attempting to cover her trail for fueling gossip about Aneesa, Devi's guilt grows. Nalini warms up to a nemesis. Kamala gets a rude shock.

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.

"...betrayed a friend" was written by Marina Cockenberg & Vance Stringer and directed by Lena Khan & Anu Valia

Aneesa is grateful to have made such meaningful friendships after transferring to a new school. Devi, Fabiola and Eleanor celebrate her individuality and support who she wants to be in the world. She is especially grateful to have someone like Devi in her life. They share similar experiences as the only Indian girls in their schools. They found each other here. They are different but they understand so much about how the other reacts as well. It forged a strong bond right away. And then, Devi betrayed that so quickly. She immediately grew jealous of Aneesa and targeted her viciously. It doesn't matter that she regrets what she did afterwards. She continues to make it worse while still pretending to be Aneesa's friend. Devi does whatever she thinks will make her feel good. She is inherently selfish in that way. She prevents others from flourishing in their lives. Sure, she doesn't stand in Fabiola's way as she and Eve sign up as potential queens of the winter dance. In that journey, Fabiola has to find her own way to stand up and celebrate who she is. She has that space all to herself. Eve will defend her. But Fabiola still has to be invested and willing to speak out in all of this too. She achieves that here. As such, they may actually have a winning campaign in this pursuit. Everyone should be happy for them. Meanwhile, Aneesa is devastated upon being hurt by the person she thought was her closest friend. She was told that Devi was crazy and selfish. She chose not to believe those rumors. She wanted to let her own interactions with Devi dictate her opinion of her. Devi's actions though show just how accurate those past descriptions are. She fundamentally cares about herself. She has goals in her life. She has other interests she wishes to pursue as well. She believes she can have it all. Her ambitions shouldn't be stifled either. She has to be considerate throughout this journey though. She believes her pain and anger is more valid than whatever anyone else is feeling in this world. Aneesa is devastated. She needs the support that can only come from a friend. And then, Devi comes clean about starting the rumor of Aneesa having an eating disorder. It was destroying her from the inside. She felt compelled to confess. She doesn't want to deal with the consequences of her actions though. She would rather deceive the entire school in letting everyone believe that Shira and Zoe were behind the rumor. It's easy for everyone to believe that is true too. Devi's consequences are more extreme though. Her actions led others to believe that she coordinated all of this to ease her mind while allowing others to suffer. That needs more drastic punishment. Even then, she sees the effect all of this will have on her and her future. She dreams of going to Princeton. She doesn't believe that's possible now that she's been suspended. She believes her friends owe it to her to try to convince Principal Grubbs to reverse this decision. Devi has to accept the consequences of her actions. Nalini sees that clearly. She is disappointed in her daughter. Moreover, Aneesa is disappointed that the person who seemed the most honest and real actually inflicted the most damage. Her guards will be raised as a result of all of this. This is nothing new for Fabiola or Eleanor either. They know this is how Devi behaves. They use her name as a verb for this behavior as well. It's commonplace for them. They too have to walk away in the immediate aftermath. They then offer suggestions for how to apologize to Aneesa in a way that may actually be heard and respectful. Devi doesn't listen. She continues to do things her way. It's all-consuming and exhausting. Her story isn't the only one that matters here. Sure, the character work is more meaningful in Devi's world than it is with Nalini and Kamala. The show does struggle in terms of making all of those elements cohesive and significant. Nalini and Kamala's plots feel like they are going through the motions to offer growth and development for them too. They are more basic and less earned as a result. The heart of the show remains with Devi. That isn't always a good thing. It's hard to root for her in instances like the current moment. She explodes at everyone because of the weight of her actions. She refuses to look inward. That will continue to create problems for her. Those may have a dramatic impact on the rest of her life too. As such, none of this should be easily overlooked or ignored.