Netflix’s Never Have I Ever is back with season two, and the lovable yet immature Devi is back in a sticky situation: two potential romances at one time. Spoiler alert: if you’re Team Paxton, congratulations!
In the season one finale, Devi, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, is seen battling the news that her mom is moving her back to India, while her romantic life is in turmoil. On one hand she likes Paxton (Darren Barnett), the resident high school popular boy and her long-time crush, but he is unsure of whether he should date her. It’s at this point where Ben (Jaren Lewison), her long-time academic frenemy professes his feelings towards her, and they share a kiss in his car.
Season two picks up with Devi conflicted about her feelings for both guys, and she decides that the only way to figure out her true feelings is to simultaneously date both of them.
“It was a way out of her predicament that required no introspection or mature decision-making, two things Devi hated.”
Unfortunately, Devi finds herself at a party where both Ben and Paxton show up, and she accidentally tells Ben that she is also dating Paxton. This begins the story-arc for the rest of the season, where Devi tries to rebuild her relationship with both men, and herself.
This season also introduces another South Asian character: Aneesa, played by Megan Suri. Devi immediately finds herself on the defensive after Aneesa’s arrival, because she is used to being the only Indian girl at school. Although they get off to a rocky start, Aneesa and Devi slowly start to become friends.
However, true to Devi fashion, in a fit of jealousy after Aneesa and Ben start becoming friends, she ends up starting a dangerous and insensitive rumor about Aneesa.
It seems to viewers that Devi’s apology train doesn’t just stop at Ben and Paxton, but includes Aneesa, and her mom, Nalini. At this point in the season, Devi hasn’t seemed to learn not to create trouble for herself, and gets in a bit of a tough spot when she spies on Nalini and Nalini’s date. Devi can’t seem to understand how her mom could think about dating again when Devi herself hasn’t been able to process his loss. It’s when her mom calls her crazy that Devi starts to break down, and we as the audience feel our first drops of sympathy for her character.
“It was bad enough that Devi’s phone was broken, and her dad’s voicemail had been lost to Jacuzzi water, but to hear her own mother call her crazy? That cut deep.”
Throughout season 2, the writers touch upon important social issues: eating disorders, mental illness, and disability awareness. For a show that prides on its diversity and inclusion, the audience does truly get a diaspora of plot stories that discuss vital issues, in addition to showing Devi’s love life.
Ever since the premiere of the show, Devi stands as a great standard representation for first-generation South Asian American millennials and Gen Z. While every South Asian American woman will not identify with all of Devi’s experiences, she represents a community of girls who have never seen themselves on mainstream television.
As a whole, season two of Never Have I Ever progresses the storylines of the main characters from the end of season one, while addressing important issues that Gen Z teenagers are facing. None of the characters are stereotyped or act as caricatures of what people believe an Indian family looks like in America, and that’s extremely refreshing to see in a mainstream show.
Never Have I Ever also stars Richa Moorjani, Poorna Jagannathan and Sendhil Ramamurthy in pivotal roles.