Never Have I Ever, Episode 5 recap: The cool quotient

Khevna Pandit
Thursday, 14 May 2020

Trouble brews and secrets are revealed in the fifth episode of Never Have I Ever... started a nuclear war

Every passing chapter highlights another difficult side of Devi's personality. As expected, it all trickles down to her father's untimely demise that she refuses to deal with. Her actions that seem like a ticking time-bomb begin showing signs of trouble in episode 5. 

The previous episode made most of us forget that Devi was, in fact, grounded for "eternity" after the night of her drunken disaster. And while we did sympathise with her, we also know that it's a long route to forgiveness after a brown mom finds out you've been drinking! That being said, Devi's need to escape the house-arrest eventually turned into desperation when she ended up saying yes to an impromptu overnight Model UN trip. 

The episode packs a lot into 22 minutes, as apart from Devi, both Fabiola and Eleanor are shown to be dealing with crucial issues pertaining to their lives. Fabiola, who's revealed to be struggling with her orientation, holds a family meeting to come out to her family. However, after observing her family's uptight faces, she changes her mind and makes up a rather convincing story about switching from AP French to AP Latin. But later that night, she ends up finding solace after admitting to her sexuality to Eleanor. 

Also read: Never Have I Ever: Episode 4 recap

Episode 5 also gives us an insight into Eleanor's life like never before and talks about her history with her mother -- who practically abandoned her family to pursue her career in acting. And while Eleanor doesn't get to see her often, she's unbothered and often excited to receive cool postcards from the cruise-liner her mother is working at. Of course, all that is until Paxton stops by and tells Eleanor that his family ran into her mother -- serving at a Mexican diner! 

Shattered by the truth, Eleanor and Fabiola visit the restaurant to find out it's true. But despite the blow, Eleanor fuels her pain into her drama auditions and bags the lead role (along with some heartfelt praises from her teacher!).

Meanwhile, Devi is ecstatic to leave her house and participate in the MUN (which she knows nothing about, mind you!) -- much to her arch-nemesis Ben Gross' annoyance. Ben and Devi have a particularly rough start on the first day of MUN when Ben (the delegate for the USA) finds Devi (delegate of Equatorial New Guinea) opposing all his resolutions! 

Admittingly, their public squabble actually is not as much insulting as it is cute! They team up with another student (the delegate of Russia) to get drunk after the event (Devi really doesn't learn, does she?). For the moment, Ben and Devi also decide to put their enmity aside for the next day's event and decide to surprise the rest by teaming up for the MUN. Their brewing friendship makes us smile and drops us a hint that there's more to their story than mere rivalry. We are stoked! 

Devi is suddenly the cool one in the team after Ben lets out to Russia that Devi and Paxton are -- in fact -- doing it (be prepared to be astounded, because Paxton Hall-Yoshida has a far-reaching fanbase!). Of course, Devi knows that's not true (and so do we), but does she bother correcting anyone? Not really. 

Rumours in High School often spread like wildfire, and Devi realises this as soon as the other girls in her room begin treating her like a Queen. However, she immediately realises that her fame is temporary after she receives a text from Paxton, who is furious to hear about the rumours. Uh-oh! 

A funny thing about displacement is that it is often directed towards the wrong person. So, when Ben stands up to propose his surprising new alliance with Equatorial New Guinea the next day, Devi rejects it angrily and instead teams up with Russia to nuke the USA. Talk about anger issues! The short-lived friendship ends with a perplexed look on Ben's face along with us feeling incredibly sorry for him. 

The next day in school, Devi tries to talk to an angry Paxton, but he brushes her off, saying that it was wrong to spread rumours. She dismisses Fabiola and Eleanor, who try to talk to her about the big developments that they dealt with in the past few days. "Whatever you guys have going on, my shit's bigger," she angrily yells before stomping off home. 

The episode wistfully concludes with Nalini telling her that she's no longer grounded, but Devi doesn't want to go outside anymore. 

Episode 5 leaves you questioning Devi's troubled personality, and you're forced to dislike her instead of understanding her. The house of cards that the first four episodes built for the audience are now beginning to topple. It is easy to scoff at Devi for starting a nuclear war for a silly mistake, but that is exactly the kind of pent-up resentment she denies to acknowledge. Devi's character goes against the usual hero-worship that is often portrayed in sitcoms and dramas, reminding us that even the protagonists can have their flaws. Now more than ever, we're sitting tight to see what the end of this drama holds for her (and our!) mental health.

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