Master of None’s first season amazed fans and critics alike. We watched the second batch of episodes over the weekend, and remembered why Netflix gave Aziz Ansari total creative freedom. Let’s breakdown the season, episode by episode.
1: ‘The Thief’
That’s So Dev: Taking a picture with a celeb, getting a girl’s number, then immediately having your phone stolen? You gotta feel bad for the guy.
Non-Ansari MVP: This premiere introduced us to a brand-new setting and characters. While Francesca seems interesting enough, the chubby Italian boy who has befriended Dev absolutely stole the show.
Foodie Bit: “How do you eat all of this food and stay skinny?” Sarah asks Dev. If this episode is any indication, there will be plenty of great food-related moments throughout the ten episodes. From a pasta making montage to bonding over restaurant reservations, watching this episode made me quite hungry.
Pop Culture References: Diane Lane’s role karma and Ellen Page’s documentary voice over.
Overall Thoughts: So just to get this out of the way – I’m not a fan of the choice to go black and white, especially if it’s not explained. Taking color out of the equation is always an interesting creative decision, but there needs to be a purpose. The Wizard of Oz’s monochrome opening works because it’s there to contrast with the colorful Oz that appears later. Master of None will revert back to the full spectrum soon I’m sure, but without rhyme or reason for the black and white in this episode, this “prestige TV” gimmick didn’t work. Aside from that, the episode was fine. There weren’t any big laughs, and it’s hard to remember Master of None is a comedy sometimes. What excited me the most was Rachel’s email. Noël Wells was the highlight of season one for me, and I’m hoping her character makes at least a couple of appearances down the line.
2: ‘Le Nozze’
Non-Ansari MVP: Arnold (Eric Wareheim) visits Dev in Italy and hilarity insues. I wouldn’t call this a full-on ‘bottle episode’ but the half hour really only focuses on Wareheim and Ansari.
Funniest Line: “…then again, probably shouldn’t get on an app called Little Boys.”
Guest Star Watch: Ciara Renée as Helen, Arnold’s ex. And Danielle Brooks can be heard over the phone as Dev’s agent.
Foodie Bit: “Eating in Italy is my favorite thing!” Enough said.
Overall Thoughts: An improvement from the premiere. I especially liked that pool scene. There were quite a few montages! With our protagonist back in New York, the remaining eight episodes will probably feel more like season one.
That’s So Dev: Convincing his younger cousin to eat forbidden pig? I’ll let you decide if Dev made the right move.
Non-Ansari MVP: Dev’s parents, played by Ansari’s real life mom and dad, stole the show last season, and continue to do so here.
Foodie Bit: As a religious Jew, I must admit that BBQ festival looked quite tempting.
Overall Thoughts: This was a return to the Master of None formula, and a superb one at that. The episode focuses on religion, and I’m sure it will be much talked about in the coming weeks. I definitely related to the story and I think many others will as well. Similar to the ‘Parents’ episode last season, the story doesn’t tie in to the overall plot, but is a fun distraction. These are clearly Ansari’s favorite episodes to make.
4: ‘First Date’
That’s So Dev: Calling a girl racist right after sex? Dev, what are you doing?!
Non-Ansari MVP: I can’t really pick another standout besides Aziz. This episode revolves around, and is a great showcase for, Dev, and Dev alone.
Funniest Moments: This was by far the funniest episode yet. A collection of good and bad first dates shows the great, awkward, and cringe-worthy moments that many experience.
Foodie Bit: Dev’s dating app profile has way too many pictures of pasta.
Overall Thoughts: Kudos to Ansari and Alan Yang for putting out such an original episode of television. Intercutting the routine dates is not only powerful social commentary, but hilarious as well.
5: ‘The Dinner Party’
That’s So Dev: Dev falling in love with Francesca? Interesting, but I’m not sure that was good writing decision.
Non-Ansari MVP: Alessandra Mastronardi finally gets to shine as Francesca. She is delightful.
Guest Star Watch: Bobby Cannavale as Chef Jeff, and John Legend as John Freakin’ Legend.
Foodie Bit: See episode title.
Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed the detailed look at Clash of the Cupcakes. And as a New Yorker, it’s always fun to see iconic locations on TV – in this case the Brooklyn Museum.
6: ‘New York, I Love You’
That’s So Dev: Dev and his friends were only in the first scene, so I guess this category won’t apply.
Non-Ansari MVP: Out of all these new (and one-off) characters, the deaf girl seemed like the most interesting.
Pop Culture References: The cab drivers discuss which celebrities they have driven.
Overall Thoughts: Season two is shaping up to have a ton of experimental episodes. I really enjoyed this installment, as it shows off New York’s diversity and rich culture. One complaint though: I wish there had been more to connect the episode’s points of focus. By ending with all the people seeing the same new blockbuster, I think Ansari and Yang were trying to preach that we’re all the same. I’d be interested to know how you interpreted it.
7: ‘Door #3’
That’s So Dev: Dev not being satisfied with a seven-season pickup for his show? I can’t say I blame him, as it’s not exactly intelligent television, but on the other hand, most would kill to be in Dev’s position.
Non-Ansari MVP: Much like Dev’s dad, Brian’s father is given hilarious material. I both laughed with and sympathized for him throughout this episode.
Guest Star Watch: Cedric the Entertainer pops by, and his hand is impaled. Also, the Jabbawockeez are actually a real dance group.
Overall Thoughts: I can’t tell if I should be liking Francesca more. Maybe I just miss Rachel from last season?
That’s So Dev: Teenage Dev knows where the bomb weed is at.
Non-Ansari MVP: Lena Waithe gets a showcase for Denise, and makes the most of it.
Guest Star Watch: Angela Bassett does a fantastic job in an episode that will no doubt become a Thanksgiving classic.
Foodie Bit: Well, what is Thanksgiving known for?
Overall Thoughts: This episode is another example of Master of None’s incredible filmmaking. I personally can’t relate to coming out, but for those who can, I’m sure the half hour did that experience justice.
9: ‘Amarsi Un Po’
Non-Ansari MVP: In this 58-minute episode, we get to see Francesca’s month long visit to New York. I still am not completely for the idea of Dev falling in love with an engaged woman, but it’s hard to blame him.
Funniest Moment: Dev and Francesca stage a loud argument in Washington Square Park, each trying to one up the other’s ridiculousness.
Foodie Bit: Someone should really tally how much of this show’s runtime is spent discussing restaurant reservations.
Overall Thoughts: I usually hate long episodes, yet this was a rare exception. The ending helicopter ride was a great scene.
10: ‘Buona Notte’
That’s So Dev: La vita è un vuoto senza significato…
Non-Ansari MVP: Shout out to Arnold, who gives great life advice.
Guest Star Watch: Raven-Symoné plays herself as a talk show host. Noel Wells returns as Rachel for… one scene.
Foodie Bit: Just as BFFs: Best Food Friends is taking off, Chef Jeff is accused of sexual harassment!
Overall Thoughts: Cliffhanger ending aside, this season was absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend Master of None. I do wish we had gotten more of a clear resolution, as Ansari has said a third season won’t be out for a while.