Monday, July 19, 2021

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - Nalini and Paxton Push Themselves to See What They Are Capable Of in '...stalked my own mother'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 2.09 "...stalked my own mother"

A disastrous snooping incident compels Devi and Nalini to do some introspection. Paxton steps out of his comfort zone. Eleanor has a breakthrough.

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.

"...stalked my own mother" was written by Chris Schleicher and directed by Claire Scanlon

Nalini calls Devi crazy. That cuts so deep for her. People have repeatedly called her "Crazy Devi." It has never bothered her. Her mother also calling her out in this way hits her to the point where she questions her own sanity. Of course, she absolutely needs some introspection in her life. She actually accomplishes that for once in her therapy session with Dr. Ryan. For so long, her therapist feared that she wasn't actually helping Devi. Her young patient was always making reckless and foolish decisions. Dr. Ryan can see that Devi is extremely expressive in the world around her. She feels deeply. That also means she hurts deeply. She has the capacity to love deeply as well. Those emotions dictate her life. She doesn't have to be victim to them. She has to carefully manage her behavior. Here, she is upset upon learning that her mother is dating again. Nalini doesn't even know if she is ready to take that next step. She is exploring things with Dr. Jackson to see just how comfortable she is in moving on after Mohan's death. She was once annoyed by this man. She has now been charmed by him. She views him as a catch. She isn't ready to date though. She comes to that conclusion. It's only after Devi is caught stalking them on their date and falling into Dr. Jackson's hot tub. Even in that moment, Devi only really cares about herself and the precious memories of her father she has just lost. It's all her mother's fault as well. She is the one acting irrationally. Devi calls it out. She is furious that no one seems to be on her side. She believes that Nirmala should understandably be upset too. In reality, Nirmala lectures Devi for not showing respect to her mother and the many sacrifices she has made. Nalini deserves the space to explore her life and determine what is best for her. It's not up to Devi to make that decision on her behavior. All of this frustration goes away thanks to two actions. One has a direct connection to the family. Mother and daughter actually sit down and talk. They haven't moved on from Mohan. They love him with everything in their hearts and souls. His love is irreplaceable. They are still mourning his death. They still have a connection to him as well. They have videos that ensure his memory will never be forgotten. That's a sweet gesture. One that soothes Devi and ensures that no animosity is already to simmer amongst loving relationships. She passes that on to her other friendships as well. Eleanor comes to the realization on her own that she has been dating a jerk. Plus, she has been cruel to her father and his girlfriend for no real reason. They love and support her no matter what. She has sought out drama in her life. She is attracted to it because of the trauma that comes from her mother always abandoning her. She can connect all of this together. She finds the emotional clarity and support necessary to deliver a commanding performance in the school play. That's what fulfills her. Her friendships do that as well. She can never replace Devi and Fabiola. Their support means everything to her. Of course, Devi is also distracted by Paxton. They are heating up once more. He sneaks into her house in the middle of a storm. They kiss. It's very passionate. This too helps ease Devi's mind during the trauma of her home life. Paxton expresses all of this because he followed Devi's advice. He doesn't need her help in order to do well in school. He has a rich life that informs so much if he can only apply it to the lessons being taught. He has to step out of his comfort zone. And yet, that delivers an enriching conversation too. One where Paxton becomes aware of the horrors his grandfather endured as a child. That has a direct impact on his entire family. Speaking about it offers newfound clarity. One that can tie together all the ways in which this family has fought for its place and dignity. It's empowering and showcases Paxton as incredibly complex and giving. Sure, he may still be messing with Devi. She'll have to unpack that in the finale. However, this season has developed nicely where the winter dance can shake up plenty of dynamics as these characters come to terms with what they want and need out of their lives at this moment.