First, we must acknowledge that the third season of Netflix’s Master of None, on some level, feels like a dodge.
That’s because this new crop of episodes isn’t focused on the character who dominated the first two seasons of the show; often-hapless actor Dev Shah, played by co-creator, co-writer and director Aziz Ansari. Instead, the third season highlights the marriage of Dev’s best friend Denise, played by Lena Waithe—a supporting character featured in the second season episode “Thanksgiving,” which won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy for Waithe and Ansari back in 2017 (Waithe made history as the first Black woman to win in the category).
This new season is a pensive, charming, deliberate exploration of how Denise’s marriage was affected by her wife Alicia’s suggestion that they have a baby. Co-written by Waithe and Ansari and directed by Ansari, it talks about success, failure, self-obsession and the masks we often wear in relationships. And it’s a low key, compelling look at an evolving relationship between two strong Black women.