Aziz Ansari's original Netflix series Master of None debuted to rave reviews, prompted thoughtful discussions, and then, after winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2016, came months of radio silence before the show's Season 2 trailer dropped. Master of None premiered back in November 2015, so it's been a long time since fans first fell in love with it. If you don't have the time to re-watch the entire first season before the second drops, let this Master of None Season 1 recap refresh your memory in advance of the second season's May 12 premiere — that way you can marathon the new episodes right away. And for those who are curious enough to check out Master of None for the first time but don't have five hours to spare, don't worry — this recap should be enough to get you caught up.
Master of None follows pretty clearly in the footsteps of comedy-drama hybrids like Louie and Girls, including the New York City setting and the unmotivated protagonist who's struggling to find himself. Dev, Ansari's character, goes from an apathetic actor to a more engaged person, spurred by his relationships with his parents, friends, and girlfriend. It's a subtle arc, but a rewarding one.
Episode 1: "Plan B"
After a one-night stand needs some emergency birth control, Dev begins thinking seriously about whether he wants to have children, but after an exhausting babysitting trip, realizes: not anytime soon.
Episode 2: "Parents"
This episode serves as the real introduction to what makes this series special: the perspective of Indian-American Dev and Chinese-American Brian, both the sons of immigrant parents who have never really learned much about their fathers' experiences growing up overseas. But in this episode, the two sons make an effort to reach out, and the results make it a series highlight.
Episode 3: "Hot Ticket"
Dev takes a very attractive woman out to a concert, but it turns out to be a bad match, and after a horrible date that includes a very uncomfortable South Park impression he happens to run into Rachel, the woman from the one night stand cold open in Episode 1, and there's a hint that they could potentially have chemistry.
Episode 4: "Indians On TV"
This episode examines the life of a brown actor — typecasting, fighting against equally talented friends for tiny, bad roles, and, after being exposed to a slightly racist, insensitive email, nearly being cast as the lead in a sitcom.
Episode 5: "The Other Man"
Dev has his first major career success, a small part in a major action movie, and hooks up with a food critic played by Claire Danes. Overall, it seems like he's doing pretty well — until the critic's husband, a huge jerk, catches them. After moving on from the awkward experience, it turns out in a bizarre twist that having an affair saved the couple's marriage.
Episode 6: "Nashville"
When Dev discovers that Rachel has broken up with her boyfriend and is now single, he invites her to spend a weekend in Nashville in order to make their first official date special. The trip ends on a stressful, awkward note, but the two leave still interested in pursuing a relationship, even if Dev's love of barbecue leads them to miss their flight.
Episode 7: "Ladies And Gentleman"
Another episode built around a theme: Sexism gets the spotlight this time, as Dev sees things from women's perspective after a vignette demonstrates how his female coworker's night out is ruined by a belligerent, drunk man threatening her. Swept up in his contempt for abusers, Dev and his friend Denise catch a man masturbating in the subway and speak up against it.
Episode 8: "Old People"
Dev bonds with Rachel's grandmother, and even aids in her escape from her nursing home for a day, and Arnold bonds with the memory of his deceased grandfather. This is one of the more self-contained episodes, but it does have a great performance from Lynn Cohen.
Episode 9: "Mornings"
An episode dedicated to Dev and Rachel's newfound cohabitation, told with the rough framing device of their mornings waking up together. At first, things are incredibly sweet between them, but of course complications arise — Dev's neat while Rachel is messy and Dev hasn't told his parents that he is dating anyone — as they spend months together. Things nearly fall apart when Rachel believes she might have to move to Chicago for work, but after the move is averted, the couple decide to stay together.
Episode 10: "Finale"
And in the final episode of the season, Dev's two big accomplishments, his relationship and his role in the film, both disintegrate. While attending the movie premiere, he realizes his part was completely cut, and an attempted confrontation with the director goes poorly when Rachel speaks up on his behalf. And while attending a wedding, Dev realizes that he may not be ready to commit, and the relationship ends. Rachel responds by choosing to move to Tokyo while she's still young, and Dev decides to travel to Italy in order to study pasta-making.
Season 2 picks up right where it left off with Dev in Italy, and you can check out his pasta adventures on Netflix starting May 12.