By Vianney Morales
School is back in session and so is the hilarious and witty ‘Never Have I Ever’ Netflix series, co-created by comedy genius Mindy Kailing (The Sex Lives of College Girls, The Mindy Project).
The series first premiered amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which arguably played a vital role in how well it was received.
Famed tennis player John McEnroe returns with much needed commentary as the narrator for Devi (Matreyi Ramakrishnan) in season three as she navigates a new phase in her adolescence, healing from the trauma she was struggling with following the sudden loss of her father in the previous season.
After a turbulent love triangle between the school’s heartthrob Paxton (Darren Barnet) and her academic nemesis Ben (Jaren Lewison), Devi made a choice between the two in the previous season’s final moments. This season kicks off as a direct continuation of her newfound relationship and the typical high school drama that comes with it.
Though the series still maintains the essence of its original comedy, there’s a more mature tone this season. It’s very representative of Devi’s growing maturity.
I particularly liked how the music was toned down this season. The previous seasons heavily incorporated many pop songs and while it helped to cement it as a high school show, it took away from the story at times. This season, the music is used more sparingly which helped the story speak for itself. Notably, there wasn’t a musically driven moment between Devi and Paxton which was slightly disappointing in the grand scheme of things. Beloved scenes which featured “Fire For You” by Cannons in season one and “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals in season two were pivotal moments between Paxton and Devi.
The season started off strong and kept the ball rolling without feeling like the story is too fast paced, but it eventually slows down at episode six to ground the story.
In true Mindy Kailing fashion, there’s romance at every corner but not in a way that feels forced. The romance always feels organic, even if it’s mildly surprising at times.
The writers upped their game this season in terms of both the plot and characters.
Audiences see more of Paxton’s personality and inadvertently his character growth. He becomes the genuine person audiences always knew he would be, even though his fate might leave viewers torn. However, the most rewarding aspect to watch unfold was Devi’s genuine growth. We see Devi go through the motions in previous seasons. Season three, however, really shows her healing and learning from her past mistakes. Though she makes mistakes this season, as expected for any teenage girl, she doesn’t let them turn into spirals like she would have two seasons ago. I also enjoyed seeing the change in her therapy sessions. In the previous seasons, she goes to therapy begrudgingly and doesn’t want to put in the work. Now, she’s ready to work through her troubles and deal with trauma. It’s such a subtle detail but it’s representative of the correlation between one’s commitment to therapy and their quality of life and personal growth.
The audience gets a well-deserved payoff from the previous seasons’ angst and drama. Overall, this is the show’s best season. The series will end with its upcoming fourth season, leaving viewers to wonder if things may change between old and new flames alike.