Monday, July 19, 2021

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - The Winter Dance Forces Everyone to Commit to Their True Feelings in '...been a perfect girl'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 2.10 "...been a perfect girl"

As Paxton's mixed messages have Devi questioning herself, the upcoming winter dance offers a chance to determine where she stands - and what she needs.

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.

"...been a perfect girl" was written by Lang Fisher and directed by Lang Fisher

Devi deserves more than a secret relationship. That's all that Paxton is willing to give her for a long time. He is afraid of how he'll be perceived by once again dating the girl who cheated on him and ended his swimming career. Of course, those perceptions are more harsh than what actually happened. The accident that broke his arm wasn't Devi's fault. People still used it to contribute to the overall Crazy Devi persona. Devi has found newfound peace within herself. Good things are starting to happen to her once more. But she wants the guy she's dating to treat her well in public. She doesn't think that's too much to ask. All these teens need to be upfront with what they want from these various dynamics. Fabiola believes that she has to become a completely different person in order to fit in with Eve and her friends. She thinks that's the only way she can be accepted as a queer person. And yet, her identity isn't based on how she conforms to other people's expectations. Robotics is important to her. It's necessary for her to be there for her team. Eve has always understood this. She never asked Fabiola to compromise herself in pursuit of popularity. Fabiola still thought that was necessary. She loves Eve and wants this relationship to work. She sees the power and inspiration she can serve by winning the Cricket Queen titles with Eve. They achieve that momentous celebration as well. It's so beautiful. It comes after Fabiola's friends remind her of the strength she has within herself. She is proud of who she is. She declared it to the entire world. She has been accepted and loved. That is now celebrated. She doesn't have to change a thing. She loves Eve. The feeling is mutual. Of course, Eve could use some more character development in order for this relationship to develop further. So much of it is defined by Fabiola's insecurities. That determined the outcome of the season of development. It is earned in the end. The same applies to the evolution Paxton has been on. He was an excellent swimmer. That set a path for the rest of his life. When that was removed, he had to reflect and determine how to accomplish something else. Devi offered some inspiration. He had to do the hard work himself. His friends weren't by his side offering encouragement either. He provided valuable lessons to his peers though. He showcased the history of his family's experience. He is grateful for all that Devi has done for him. He too is insecure. He wants to celebrate and champion Devi. He genuinely engages with her and the world she embraces. It takes him awhile to make that declaration. He eventually does so in public. Similarly, Devi has to know when to walk away. She knows her self worth. She also knows what this relationship is better than anyone on the outside looking in. She wants it to work. If it doesn't, there is no shame in that. They can be fine with the clarity it brought them about their pursuits and desires for relationships. Devi ultimately gets Paxton as her boyfriend though. They are out in public. Of course, Ben also grabs onto that moment. He believes Devi deserves so much better. It's clear that he has lingering feelings for her as well. He always checks that she is doing okay. She needs that uplifting spirit of his. Their banter has returned to being lovely and playful. He is with Aneesa though. He thinks Devi is no longer interested in that way. He is wrong to think that. He can't act on it because she is happy. He may not agree with or understand her choices. However, it wasn't always a given outcome. The show absolutely makes a final declaration regarding this love triangle. Devi and Paxton are together. That isn't the end of their story. Nor is Kamala engaged after a season of being with Prashant. She didn't like the advice he gave about how to handle her career. She also can't deal with the pressure of what their families expect. It's easier to just relax into something comfortable with Mr. Kulkarni. She runs away from her family. She does it in the pursuit of something better. She takes that risk. It may pay off. This family runs towards this happiness. It's moving to watch it all play out as well because these stories were denied and overlooked for so long. This show offers that specificity without losing the edge or complexities of these characters. They all deserve great things. They aren't perfect either. Perfection is an unobtainable goal. But there is always reason to remain hopeful. That's the message the season chooses to end on.