The thing with female characters in Mindy Kaling’s universe is that they are all very similar in the outward makeup of their personalities. They are hopeless romantics who are pop culture obsessed and are always living out a fantasy of being the most popular person in their vicinity. Be it Kelly Kapoor from The Office, our personal favorite, Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project, or the current Devi Vishwakumar from Never Have I Ever, they are so similar in the way they express themselves and the things they choose in their lives. Yet, what makes them unique is the deep personal growth that they experience, which is unique to them. Hidden amidst the countless pop culture references are people looking for their happy ending by following whichever path leads them there.
One thing we have to say about the story of Never Have I Ever so far is that the teenagers of this universe are cringely articulate. The way they talk or the things they talk about have seen no change from Season 1, yet Devi has undoubtedly grown as a person, and every season has beautifully captured her journey at every stage. While we wish that the dialogues (the funny ones) had been better written, the story itself has left a mark on us, and we would be sad to say goodbye to it after its final season. Until then, here is a recap of Devi and her friends’ messy lives so far.
How Does Devi Deal With the Trauma of Her Father’s Death?
Season 1 starts months after the passing of Devi’s father, Mohan. Like every story set in high school, Never Have I Ever starts with the protagonist’s longing for a person she has liked for a long time, and in this case, it is Paxton Hall Yoshida. He is Devi’s reason to fight against the grief that is consuming her and the reason she gets up from her wheelchair. In Season 3 of the series, Devi’s therapist, Dr. Ryan, tells her that she has centered her life around the aforementioned fantasy of a perfect boyfriend, a popular persona, and the best college. In this case, that fantasy is what propels Devi to escape and eventually deal with her grief. Maybe when Paxton Hall Yoshida was so heavily objectified until a large part of Season 2, it was for this very purpose: to prove why he was such an ideal fantasy. Devi puts forth her request to him point blank, asking whether she can sleep with him, and Paxton agrees, but Devi herself has trouble going through with it. However, she later becomes friendly with his sister, and Paxton decides that their arrangement would be awkward now.
Season 1 is mostly about Devi’s constant conflict with her mother, Nalini, and her failed attempts at living her high school fantasy of being “popular.” While her friends and partners in crime, Eleanor and Fabiola, are staunchly by her side in all of her hare-brained schemes, their friendship is seriously affected when she starts prioritizing Paxton over them. This ultimately distances her from them, who are dealing with troubles of their own and are tired of Devi not making them a priority the way they do for her. But Paxton softens up to Devi, and they end up having a moment, which Nalini accidentally learns about. Following this, Paxton tells Devi that he would prefer it if they didn’t see each other anymore. But Devi always has bigger problems, and she moves into Ben Gross’ house, her arch nemesis and academic competitor, who has come to like her. Devi moves in with him as a rebellion against moving to India, which her mother is considering for them. Nalini finds life difficult as a single parent, and considering Devi’s constant rebelliousness, she feels that the move might make her life easier. Before leaving, Nalini wants to release Mohan’s ashes into the sea, a Hindu ceremony that is like saying a final goodbye. But Devi refuses because she believes it is another case of her mother being difficult and ignoring her wishes.
Time and again, Devi’s temper has constantly ruined things, and even now, that very emotion is making her act like a fool. It is finally time for Ben to step in and ensure that we are Team Ben forever by asking her friends to knock some sense into Devi. That works, and the three friends reconcile. They convince her to look past her anger and not miss out on such an important goodbye. Seeing how her anger has clouded her judgment, Devi rushes for the ceremony, and Ben drives her over. She makes it in time, and the mother and daughter have a tearful reconciliation, declaring how much they love each other. Mothers and daughters always have difficult relationships, especially during the child’s teenage years. It is a struggle to look past all that to the love underneath, and Devi and Nalini are facing something similar. Regardless, Season 1 saw a meaningful ending with Ben and Devi kissing and the latter also seeing her mother through a softer lens thereon. But it is not high school hell, or, should we say, paradise, unless there is another equally complicated relationship. Paxton gets told off by Rebecca for his stereotype of the division between the cool and not-so-cool kids. Rebecca likes Devi and wants Paxton to date her without such prejudices.
Season 2 follows the blunder of Devi dating both Ben and Paxton as a way of living her best life before she leaves for India soon enough. But Devi has no luck, and both her boyfriends come to know about this together. Devi follows Paxton as he runs out angrily, and this seals Ben’s realization that Devi wouldn’t choose him. As for Paxton, he gets hit by a car, which Devi is indirectly responsible for. The mess intensifies when Nalini cancels the move to India because she finds that she was misguided to expect emotional help from her relatives.
Who Does Devi Choose Between Devi And Ben?
Season 2 has Devi dealing with the repercussions of her mistakes. She is unsure about her feelings for Ben and certainly seems to be more attracted to Paxton, but she misses her and Ben’s friendship. When he starts dating a new, popular girl in school named Aneesa Qureshi, Devi angrily spreads a rumor about her having an eating disorder, but it backfires since it turns out to be true. The rumor is eventually traced back to Devi, and Aneesa’s mother wants her to change schools again, but Devi prevents that disaster by getting her mother to step in, thus redeeming herself. As for Paxton, he has grown to have genuine feelings for Devi once again, and they start dating in secret, but he refuses to acknowledge her in front of his friends. It is the same cycle of him being conscious of his “cool” image and, as Devi repeatedly calls herself, of her being a “dork.”
A heartbroken Devi is finding it difficult to decide her next course of action, which is when she sees the vision of her father, as she has since his death, and he tells her to never settle for anything less than she deserves. That gives Devi the courage to end it with Paxton, which finally pushes him to do the right thing. Paxton has constantly said that he is more than the “good-looking guy” of the school, yet when it comes to it, his decisions have more often than not been shallow, especially regarding Devi. But finally, knowing that he cannot get everything he wants pushes him out of that mindset, and Paxton asks Devi to start dating officially, with the second season ending on this note. We didn’t like it because we have always been Team Ben, but it remains that he is in a pickle because he comes to know that after he drove Devi to scatter her father’s ashes, she wanted to continue dating him, but her friends talked her out of it. This means that Ben was always Devi’s first choice, unlike what he had previously believed, but there is nothing to be done about it now.
Never Have I Ever Season 3 has Paxton and Devi happily dating, but it doesn’t last long because of Devi’s own insecurities. It is confusing how her fears were made to be her fault when it was Paxton who had made her feel less than, not very long ago. Maybe if he had not treated her like a dirty secret, to begin with, she would have had more confidence in herself. It also felt rather off that she ended a relationship in two episodes with a guy she had spent two seasons pining over. Regardless, after a few months of getting over each other, Devi starts dating a new boy, Nirdesh, who goes by Des and is the son of Nalini’s friend, Rhyah. This boy was the talking point of Season 3 because, when he broke up with Devi because of his mother, every Asian woman across the world related to the experience of having had to deal with a mama’s boy at least once in her life.
Regardless, Nalini defends her daughter and lets Rhyah know that she has no place for her friendship in her life. On the other hand, Devi has had enough growth to realize that she is completely over Paxton. She expresses her gratitude to Paxton as he had helped her overcome her father’s death. Devi also turns down the opportunity to spend her senior year at a prestigious school in Colorado because she wants to be with her mother. But just like her doctor told her, Devi is still open to new experiences, and she decides to act on her actual feelings for once and shows up at Ben’s door to spend the night with him. Ben is surprised but willing, yet this could turn out to be a dicey thing since he has a date lined up with a girl from his art class, Margot.
Coming to the other characters, Kamala is happily dating Manish Kulkarni, and she also has her family’s approval for it. Eleanor is happy that Trent has failed his senior year which means she will see him again in school. Even Fabiola is going strong with her girlfriend, Addison. Paxton has graduated and enrolled in the Arizona State University. It is a near-perfect ending, and it only remains to be seen whether Season 4 adds to it or ruins it.