In “Le Nozze,” Arnold (Eric Wareheim) arrives in Italy for a wedding (“le nozze” translates to the wedding in Italian). That wedding provides some semblance of a narrative structure for the episode, but for the most part, Arnold and Dev wander aimlessly in the episode. Their aimlessness is essential to the episode though, which shows both men grappling with their romantic lives, unsure if they’ll ever find a meaningful connection with partners again, both hanging onto the past and the last women they felt that connection with.
For Dev, that woman is Rachel, who he texts cute but ultimately meaningless messages throughout the episode. For Arnold, that woman is Ellen, his ex-girlfriend whose wedding he’s in Italy for (he initially tells Dev the wedding is for an old friend before coming clean and asking Dev to accompany him as emotional support). They arrive at the wedding to discover that despite telling Arnold he wasn’t her type physically when they broke up, she’s marrying a man who looks pretty much exactly like a slightly smaller version of Arnold. It’s a funny enough bit, but it opens up a deeper discussion between Dev and Arnold about relationships, personal growth, and change. Arnold is blinded at first, attempting to confess his love for Ellen and get her to run away with him. The show, thankfully, gives no credence to his absurd and self-centered declaration. Dev rightfully points out that he’s acting from a place of fear and not love. Dev reminds Arnold how much fun he’s having with his “hey cuties,” the form letter greeting he uses with all the girls he has met on online dating apps, some of whom he has had fun, memorable dates with.
In “Le Nozze,” Master Of None doesn’t arrive at any conclusive answers about romantic connection, although it does end on a sweet and subtly sad note when Arnold toasts to Ellen, saying that he does love her, just “not in that way” and that they’re on different paths now and that’s just the way it is. A shot of Dev catches his own revelatory reaction to these words, and later, he drafts a message to Rachel saying they should stop texting because it isn’t helping him move on.
The plot of “Le Nozze” is thin, especially leading up to the wedding. Arnold and Dev wander around a Modena grocery store, tasting samples of strawberries and cheese. They keep eating for the rest of the day, the only plan Dev made for his friend’s visit. Arnold reveals he got Dev a reservation at an exclusive restaurant, where they partake in an indulgent tasting menu. All the while, their conversations as they move from one snack to the next touch on where they’re both at in life, setting up the crises that hit them both near the end of the episode. But the exposition in their conversations is kept to a minimum, the dialogue doing more to develop their dynamic rather than move the story along.
And that’s ultimately what “Le Nozze” is about—not the titular event but the relationship between Dev and Arnold. Those seemingly plotless scenes in the beginning—as well as later when Arnold’s freak out leads the guys to ride mopeds to a nearby town for some pecorino, aperol spritzes, and pasta—serve to define the “big bud/little bud” friendship foundational to this episode. Starting with Dev flinging himself into Arnold’s arms, their earnest and enthusiastic friendship shines brightly. Their shared food obsession makes them giddy to eat together. Dev quite literally does a happy dance when Arnold tells him about the reservation. “Le Nozze” gives specificity to their friendship. Arnold explains that Ellen instilled a love for food and wine in him when they dated in college, and those are the exact things he enjoys with Dev throughout the episode, suggesting that even though they’re both paranoid about finding meaningful romantic connections, they aren’t lacking meaningful human connections in their lives altogether. Their friendship is tender and steadfast. And their dynamic is enough to carry the episode. Like real friends, they can be goofy, talking about things that don’t matter and simply enjoying each other’s presence, and they can talk about the serious shit, too. “Le Nozze” focuses more on the goofy stuff than the serious, so it never gets too dark. And that’s a good thing: Its earnest celebration of friendship enthralls more than its relationship ennui.
- Dev returns to New York at the end of the episode and books a gig hosting Clash Of The Cupcakes, a ramped-up parody of Cupcake Wars.
- I have been off the dating app circuit for a while now…are flirty Boomerangs a real thing?
- I guess this season is determined to make me hungry during every single episode.
- Given that lingering look on Francesca’s face, I’m assuming we’ll be seeing more of her even though Dev is back in New York.