Quick Take: How to Make It in America, "Never Say Die"
"Sometimes there's greater forces at work than we're aware of." – Domingo
Review: How to Make It in America, "Never Say Die"
(S0108) There are some great New York City street scenes in this episode. There are ones that remind why living in NYC can be harsh and trying, such as when Ben and Cam (Victor Rusak) pull their hoodies tight walking into the wind. And what a lonely place it can be too, such as when we see Ben smoking a cigarette on his front stoop. My favorite though is a scene with Ben and Domingo (Kid Cudi) in a park. It's a chilly day but not cold from the look of it. Ben is trying to Figure It All Out in the wake of the Rasta Monsta truck being stolen (with the shipment of 300 vintage t-shirts in tow), and Domingo is there to spit some philosophy, to try to help his friend out or at the least to make him feel a bit better. "Sometimes there's greater forces at work than we're aware of," he says. That felt very vintage New York to me.
There's also a good and healthy dose of change and moving on in this (short) first season finale. Rachel (Lake Bell) essentially tells boss and potential business partner Edie (Martha Plimpton) and boyfriend Darren (Jason Pendergraft) to shove it at the same time, nicely resolving both of them pressuring her on fronts both professional and relationship-y. She drops on Darren that she slept with Ben the previous night on the way out the door (whoops!). We learn that Ben and Rachel slept together in the opening scene, which was not at all clear at the end of "Keep On Truck'n," where they had merely entered Ben's building together (maybe it should have been obvious?).
Once again, the scenes involving Rene (Luis Guzman) are the weakest of the episode. His character is kind of a downer; he's a pissed off ex-con who kind of broods around most of the time. I'd much rather be spending time with the boys, Edie, Rachel, Darren, Kappo, or even break out some more screentime for our man Domingo, etc. I'd be much obliged if the showrunners take note for Season Two (the reviewer writes one-quarter seriously!).
The episode ended with kind of a rushed feeling, Rachel departing for Paris (probably), Rene more or less cool with Cam after the Rasta Monsta truck heist, and Ben and Cam looking to next steps after the final successful delivery of the t-shirts to Haraki (Ted Oyama). It was most disappointing to not see any of Edie or Darren after the post "group breakup" scene.
All in all I became more impressed with this show as it kind of grew up before our eyes this season. It has some problems but more potential so I'll be looking out for Season Two. The key thing I realized – I think – is that this show works as a drama with a good dose of comedy, as opposed to the other way around. The jokes landed better after the third episode too, which helped a lot, as did the improvement in the chemistry of the cast.
More on "Never Say Die":
Video: How to Make It in America, "Never Say Die"
Let's bring things back to the beginning, with the opening credits and theme song, which are kind of growing on me more every time I see it. The name of the song is "I Need A Dollar," by Aloe Blacc.
Recap: How to Make It in America, "Never Say Die"
Cam suspects Rene of having something to do with the theft of the Rasta Monsta truck.
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