(Image via Netflix)
The new season of Aziz Ansari‘s Master of None is a masterpiece. The show builds on its first season’s ideas of telling a linear story through a not-so-linear fashion, if that sentence makes sense. The story of Dev (Ansari) and his trek through life and the relationships that encompass that life is a fascinating introspective. It’s just as beautiful and hilarious as it could be heartbreaking. The first season introduced us to Ansari as one of this generation’s finest voices in our popular culture, and this new season cements Ansari as one of this generation’s greatest cinematic artists. This new season of Master of None is maybe the greatest piece of television I’ve seen all decade, and a piece of entertainment that should stand with some of the very best films of 2017 that are yet to come.
The show begins its first two episodes in Italy. Dev is still getting over his break-up with Rachel (Noël Wells) from the previous season. After his friend Arnold (Eric Wareheim) meets him in Italy, Dev decides its time for him to go back to New York. Without getting into too many of the details of this new season, finds Dev pursuing something else that has the potential to break his heart the way his last relationship did.
I wish that I had written something about the first season of Master of None when it had debuted back in November 2015. I was really impressed with the ways that Ansari decided to tell his story. There was the arch throughout that season between Ansari and Wells’s character, but it wasn’t the main highlight of that season. There was the incredible episode “Parents”, which highlighted the cultural differences between Dev and his parents (played by Ansari’s real-life parents in the show) and his friend Brian (Kelvin Yu) and what they had to go through in order to immigrate to the United States. That episode was the stand-out of last season, and while there were other really great episodes in the season, there weren’t standalone episodes like that one that blew you away.
In this new season, there are several that are truly beautiful and masterfully done. I don’t want to go into detail on every single one, but the episode that stood out to me, and it’s one that’s been written about extensively since the show was released, was the episode “Thanksgiving”. I was watching that episode on my computer with my earbuds on in a busy area (not the most ideal viewing spot to watch this show, I admit), and I was brought to tears watching this episode. I don’t want to get into details out of fear of spoiling anything, but it revolves around the friendship of Dev and his friend Denise (Lena Waithe) and her mother (Angela Bassett). This one episode might’ve been the best performance I’ve ever seen Bassett gives as Denise’s mother, who struggles to accept her daughter through several years. It’s one of the greatest half hours of television that I’ve ever seen.
There’s a few little standalone episodes like that this season, but there’s also an arch that Ansari is trying to fill as something similar to the one he had established with Dev and Rachel last season. And what makes this show so brilliant and relatable to real life is that many of the things that Dev or the characters want or strive for may not happen, like it does in real life. It’ll break your heart like it might Dev, and It’ll have you reflecting on it for days after viewing it (God knows I have).
Ansari is able to accomplish this aesthetic beautifully through incredible directing (sometimes by Ansari himself or Eric Wareheim), beautiful writing/acting, and the show’s editing/soundtrack. You never feel like you’re watching a television show, as it instead feels like a five-hour-plus arthouse film that’s broken up into half-hour chunks. It’s one of those rare pieces of art that I’ll occasionally see where I’m speechless as I write my review of it. The art is that good or blew me away to a point where I can’t think of anything constructive as a critic to discuss about it. Season two of Master of None is a masterpiece, and it’s a program that’s so good and so beautifully done that it deserves to be written about and praised among the best films of the year, even if it is a television program.
I can’t recommend this new season enough to you. If you haven’t seen Master of None at all, drop what you’re doing and start watching it. The first season is brilliant, but this second season is when Ansari comes into his own as an artist, an actor, and one of the great voices of his generation. It’s similar to what Louis C.K. did/does with Louie (nobody really knows if/when Louie will come back), but this feels more emotional and impactful that Louie ever did, even though that program could be exceptional and beautiful. I loved Master of None, and I hope you can do me the favor of reading this review and going to check out the new season this summer.