Never Have I Ever, Episode 8: Party pooper

Khevna Pandit
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Devi struggles to keep up love, loss and friendship in this episode of Never Have I Ever... pissed off everyone I know

No one likes cliffhangers; even if they are necessary. The one from the previous episode had us at the edge of our seat. (And yes, it took me a copious amount of self-control to not click on the next episode immediately after.) Unlike other episodes, this one begins with the end of Episode 7. Devi is shown sprinting down the opposite side of the hallway to reach Paxton's, instead of being in the drama room comforting Eleanor. I think that is the moment we can all predict that things won't go down with Devi and her friends in this episode.

The tone of emergency in Paxton's texts sends her running to his house, only to realise he wanted her to model for her sister's fashion project. And while Devi is visibly flattered, we can't help shake our heads to what she cannot see: Paxton only summons her when he needs something from her. There is, of course, an inkling throughout this part that tells us that he could be softening and is gradually beginning to fall for her unusual antics. But this is probably where we will leave it for now, and talk about Ben Gross.

When Ben's parents tell him that they have to 'be at 2 Chain's' for the launch of 'special spiced rum', he realises his birthday would be just another day when they won't be around. Despite them asking him if he wanted them to cancel, Ben refuses graciously. That's when he earns himself the permission to throw a $1,000 party.

The next day at school, Eleanor and Fabiola make their displeasure with Devi very clear when they choose to sit far away. However, when Devi is invited (along with the entire homeroom) to Ben's birthday party, she tries to talk to her friends to see if they want to go with her. But would you even blame them if they didn't? Fabiola laments how she left a funeral to be by Devi's side when Nick Jonas married an Indian woman -- and if this isn't a definition of a best friend, we don't know what is! They decide to take a 'friend break' with her after confronting her about the previous day. Distraught, Devi visits the next person she can rant to: Dr Jaime.

But keeping in mind the this episode's name, Devi does piss off everyone she knew. Including her therapist. Instead of owning up and expressing her pain, she suppresses it further and shows no regret in losing both her best friends. Dr Jamie also calmly explains how Devi has built an entire world around her infatuation, to which Devi retorts how being a teenager allows her to do so. There's also a point where Devi claims that she should see a different therapist instead, and Dr Jamie ends up agreeing with her. That definitely hurt us more than the 'friend break'.

She storms back home, only to find her mother and cousin setting up a vintage grandfather clock they rented for Prashant's (Kamala's suitor) arrival. Devi tries to lie to Nalini, saying she has 'homework' (the oldest lie of them all), but gets shot down instantly after Nalini says she knows of the party. Devi's stint with parties have seen her in the ER, and we don't blame Nalini from stopping her going to one. But eight episodes in, we already know that Devi will find a way to go!

After Nalini leaves for a play, Devi winds up walking in on her cousin and her boyfriend doing the deed -- much to Kamala's horror, and Devi's delight. Devi realises that her goody-two-shoes cousin has a dark side, and agrees to cover up for her (not without blackmailing her of course, that's what sisters do!). So, when Kamala drives her to Ben's party, we know that the two have bonded like never before.

Ben's palatial 'house' is nothing short of a lavish retreat, and Devi realises right when she walks in. She sees her friends who are angry and ends up all alone until Ben comes in and swoops her for a house tour. They're sitting in Ben's 'mini-theatre' when he tries to kiss her (twice), and she resists, reminding him of Shira -- his girlfriend. If it wasn't very evident in the previous few episodes, this would definitely reconfirm that Ben indeed has a crush on her.

Before they can talk about it, Devi walks out to see Fabiola about to drink Trent's 'ball-juice' (reminding us that this is probably what went wrong and that is how we ended up in a pandemic). So, being the good friend that she thinks she is, she knocks it off from her hand, only to spill the orange juice on her gorgeous white suit. What happens next was probably long due, Devi and Fabiola have a loud fall-out (causing her to accidentally comes out in front of everyone), and Devi falls into the pool. 

Paxton swiftly gives her a hand, to everyone's surprise, and they both leave the party -- just like the last time. At this point, we're all wondering about his mixed signals (but haven't we all dealt with a person like this at least once in our lives?).

In the ride back home, Paxton gives her his sweats to change into, and the increasing tension in the car prepares us for what happens next: he kisses her. You could be all sorts of happy for Devi, but it also makes you wonder, will this act as another cover-up for the grief she refuses to acknowledge? And perhaps being with Paxton is not really a crush, just a delusion she likes to believe.

Too much went down in Episode 8, but it didn't allow us to feel sad. By the end of it, you like us, probably won't remember how many people are now mad at her. And maybe that is what she is feeling too. As we edge towards the end, we're forced to believe that most of the complicated features that these characters are grappling with won't automatically solve themselves. Now, more than ever, we're waiting for the truth to unveil in episode 10.

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