Beyond the plot, "The Thief" also cribs the shot of Dev and his chubby adolescent sidekick Mario (Nicolo Ambrosio) sitting destitute together in the gutter, as well as the sequence where absolutely everyone in the plaza is overly infatuated with their cell phones, directly from iconic moments in Bicycle Thieves.
And, OK, so maybe Dev's situation isn't even half as bad as Antonio's, but maybe it's also not so easy to laugh off. Ansari treats the situation with appropriate silliness, but what if Dev and Sara were meant to be together? What if that was supposed to be the start of a loving, lifelong relationship? What if his fate was stolen along with his phone?
As usual, Master of None has layers. It also has more references to classic Italian cinema: The second episode has some light echoes of Antonioni's La Notte (The Night), and co-creator Alan Yang promised an homage to L'Eclisse (Eclipse) further into the season.
Not only is Master of None better than ever, it's also a great excuse to prep some cacio e pepe and revisit the Golden Age of Italian Cinema.
Bicycle Thieves is available to rent on Amazon and stream on FilmStruck.