After a traumatic year, a first-generation Indian-American teenager wants to improve her status at school, but friends, family, and feelings don’t make it easy on her.
First episode date: April 27, 2020 (USA)
Writers: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher, Ben Steiner, Aaron Geary
Budget: $2.5 million per episode
Genre: Comedy drama; Coming-of-age; Teen drama
Original network: Netflix
Never Have I Ever Final Season Trailer
‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 3 Recap’
In just a little over a week, Netflix’s original series Never Have I Ever officially comes to a close. As the YA comedy heads into its fourth and final season, the streamer is keeping viewers up to date with a series of recap videos featuring Devi’s, and the show’s, biggest moments. Recently, Netflix shared the third video for Season 3, offering up a refresher of what Devi and her friends were up to during junior year.
Like the recaps before it, the Season 3 video hits on key moments from each episode, focusing on scenes that fit with the episode titles. It kicks off with Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) fully in a relationship with Paxton (Darren Barnet). However, it’s not all smooth sailing, as Devi is viewed negatively by her fellow peers for how they believe she landed him. Despite any poor reception from others, Devi carries on, although she and Paxton eventually break up. Enter Des (Anirudh Pisharody), another Indian-American student – from a different school – with whom Devi feels a spark. Sadly, Des and Devi also eventually break-up.
Another moment the recap hits on is Paxton bringing Ben (Jaren Lewison) to the hospital. In the non-Devi centric episode of the season, the stress of maintaining an impressive academic record takes its toll on Ben. He focuses solely on his class and homework, doing everything to ensure he impresses Columbia. This also meant his diet was… not good, leading to some digestion issues. But, thankfully, they got resolved, and Ben and Paxton had some nice moments right along with it.
Honest Review of Season 4
In many ways, Season 4 of Never Have I Ever plays like a long epilogue rather than another full chapter in Devi’s life. Her worries and fears play out exactly as you might expect them to. Maybe it’s because we’ve been trained by television these days to anticipate a more surprising ending, one that makes sense in hindsight but still offers a bit of a shock, but there’s nothing that unexpected that happens by the end of Never Have I Ever. Everyone ends up where you’d predict they would.
The season plays around with romantic pairings, but ultimately everyone (and I do mean everyone) is coupled up so that they get their happily ever after, even if it might not fully make sense. Season 4 lacks the depth of the previous seasons because, aside from the wildness of the plots, the series has always had a very solid backbone—specifically when it comes to Devi’s relationship with her late father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Flashbacks or hallucinations featuring Mohan typically braid disparate stories together in the season to formulate a grand vision or thesis.
This is lacking in Season 4, and in trying to give everyone a neatly wrapped-up finish, it feels like we’ve glossed over a lot of the development that is required to get there. Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan) and even Nirmala (Ranjita Chakravarty) receive romantic storylines that end up feeling rushed rather than romantic. It’s indicative of the fact that even though Devi has had her long slow-burning will-they-won’t-they romance, no one else really has had the same amount of development on the romantic front. For Devi, there are moments where we can see her growth and maturity, indeed the lack of wild antics in the final season might be an indicator of that, but the story doesn’t emphasize that this is merely the beginning of a new chapter not the end of her story.
The final season of Never Have I Ever is very much intended to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s a conclusion that will likely leave fans smiling while lacking the emotional depth and impact that the three seasons prior have. It’s not a bad ending, but it’s a bit disappointing. It’s a testament to how good Never Have I Ever has been leading up to this finale; each season hit hard on humor, heart, and strong character development. Sadly, that means Season 4 lives in their shadow. Everyone earns their happy ending, but the series as a whole feels robbed of the realism that was so often present in the seasons that came before.