As we journey into episode four, I do have to say that Never Have I Ever doesn’t disappoint this season. A lot of times second seasons of shows are disappointing, leaving us wondering why we wasted our time becoming invested. However, with this show, we are in a different situation. We consistently want more.
While Never Have I Ever does have a diverse cast, one thing that I have always wondered is why there are not more Indian students at Sherman Oaks High School. I’ve lived in Southern California, and it has a large population of South Asian people. The fact that Devi has been the only student at the school of Indian descent always seemed out of place, but it is something that is addressed in this episode, “… had an Indian frenemy,”
In this episode, we are introduced to Aneesa. For so long, Devi has been the only Indian student at Sherman Oaks, but Aneesa is a soccer star that has transferred from a private school and puts Devi on edge. Aneesa is cool and automatically accepted by everyone.
The introduction of Aneesa is important because it allows Devi a different way to grow, but it also allows Never Have I Ever to take a turn and make fun of its mistakes, while arguably fixing them. However, it also allows us to see Devi in a different light which is something that is important to us continuing to root for the character.
Everyone is expecting Devi and Aneesa to be instant best friends, but Devi is put off. She isn’t warm or friendly in anyway to Aneesa and when told to show her around, is even more cold to the new girl. Aneesa is trying to fit in and does so effortlessly which annoys Devi even more. So much so that she opens up to her Mom about Aneesa and wants her Mom to understand that she doesn’t need to be friends with her just because she is Indian.
But Devi should never underestimate Nalani. Nalani wants her daughter to have Indian friends, so is excited by the fact that this is a possibility. She tells Devi that she needs to invite her over on Friday, and while Devi may protest, she knows that there is no use going up against her Mom, so she invites her over.
Devi has done her best to avoid Aneesa, out of jealousy, but life keeps telling her that there is no way of avoiding her and she’s not as bad as she thinks. When Aneesa arrives for the sleepover at Devi’s, she impresses the family with her kindness and respect. She greets the family the way that they would want to be, and Nalani instantly notices that this is a positive friendship for Devi.
But for Devi, it puts her guard up more. Everyone likes Aneesa and it makes her feel less seen. When Eleanor basically fawns over her and asks her advice when Malcolm texts, Devi has had enough. So, she decides to out do Aneesa, but suggests that they sneak out to go meet Malcolm. Sure, Eleanor is with Oliver and that is something that she is reminded of, but insists that she just respects Malcolm as a fellow actor.
Meeting up with Malcolm takes them to a weird creepy lot, and then the biggest surprise is that Ben shows up. They are friends and to Devi this opens up the chance to make amends. But Ben isn’t open to it. He’s angry and we can’t blame him for that. Ben softens from time to time, but quickly notices that his guard is down and puts it back up quickly. Between that and Aneesa taking up to Devi’s defense, I find myself feeling bad for Devi and wanting to protect her a bit.
The gang ends up a tattoo parlor, with Malcolm off to get a tattoo (which ends up saying Be Anally, though he meant for it to say Be An Ally). Devi is on her rebellious streak and gets her nose pierced because Ben said that she wouldn’t do it. He in turn says that he will get a tattoo. But the one he got was temporary and for him, it’s a chance to remind Devi that she hurt him.
Ben’s most vulnerable moment comes when he tells Devi why he was so hurt. Granted she may not recognize it – but he’s saying it – when he tells her that she ran after Paxton and repeats it.
“Stop acting like we’re friends, because we’re not.” he tells her. And it’s hard to watch, because the pain in Ben’s eyes is enough for us to feel bad for him and enough for Devi to feel a stab through her heart.
But it’s a learning moment for Devi and one where she has to come face to face with what she truly feels.
We’re back in this episode to also having secondary stories, which I do love. There is not a character in this franchise that I am not emotionally invested in. Nalini is frustrated with the doctor that she dislikes, putting her on his mailing list, but I see this as an opportunity. I feel like Nalini just needs to realize that she can love again and that would not be a bad thing.
Kamala is having trouble at the lab with her fellow scientists, treating her badly because she’s a woman. They don’t appreciate all of the work that she is putting into her job and do not respect her time. Her boyfriend Prashant has come to Los Angeles and he suggests to her, after she’s called away from their dinner for work, that she find a common ground with him
Eleanor is claiming that she is fine that her Mom left her, but is annoyed that her Dad and stepmom keep trying to see if she’s okay. She’s upset that her stepmother keeps trying to bond with her, to which anyone can see is that she is upset that her Mom is gone.
Everyone’s story in this episode is about facing people that challenge them and finding some sort of solution and acceptance. It’s one of my favorite episodes of the season. Aneesa is such a great character to add and I’m anxious to see just how she changes things at Sherman Oaks.
Especially the ending, when we see that Devi is feeling like things are looking up. That is until she sees Aneesa flirting with Ben, and our trusty narrator, John McEnroe, concludes the episode with, “this bitch has got to go.”
Oh Devi, we were doing so good.
Read our reviews of the first three episodes of the season –
- ‘Never Have I Ever’ 2×01: “Been A Playa”
- ‘Never Have I Ever’ 2×02: “Thrown A Rager”
- ‘Never Have I Ever’ 2×03: “… Opened A Text Book”