The final chapter of Never Have I Ever gives the first season a fitting farewell (and if I say I wasn't an emotional wreck by the end of it, I'd be lying!). A lot is shown going wrong in Devi's life by the end of episode 9, some of which seems almost unforgivable. After saying something unpardonable to her mother in the previous episode, Devi Vishwakumar did exactly what she wasn't supposed to: move in with Ben.
Perhaps, a logical move would involve her apologising to her mother and friends, but by now we know that Devi doesn't think logically -- she only thinks emotionally.
The episode begins with her waking up in Doobie-brothers themed plush bedroom, and by then we already know that she's moved into Ben's palatial estate. We know we wouldn't spare a chance to do the same! After not asking her friends (who don't speak to her) and Paxton, (who gives her a cold-shoulder) -- she is left with only Ben, whose family seemed more than happy to take her in.
Devi and her arch-nemesis (not-so-surprisingly) get along fine and have breakfast together every day. Besides, getting to use a bathroom with television was something Devi could get used to. But despite her holidaying at Ben's, Devi appears visibly upset about her mom not calling to get her home. Ben asks her to be the bigger person and apologise, to which, our protagonist retorts, "She's (Nalini) the one who's ruining my life by moving to India". Ben jokingly suggests her to emancipate herself as child actors do, and Devi takes it up for research (because, why not?).
The same morning, Kamala visits Devi in school and gets her stuff from home, and tries to convince her to come back. Looking back at the first episode where Devi is distant and annoyed to have her 'perfect' cousin around, it is almost refreshing to watch how the two turned out by the end of the series. Devi looks hopeful when Kamala tells her that her mother misses her but later rolls her eyes on knowing that Nalini threw her favourite snacks out (albeit hesitatingly!).
Meanwhile, Nalini is shown phone-calling her agent Arlene to put her house on sale. Arlene hangs up after saying how much Mohan loved their house, and a wistful Nalini slips into a flashback. She's taken back to the day when Mohan and herself were looking for houses -- until they got to this one. In the flashback, an undecided Nalini is shown strolling about the premises of the house, and Mohan is shown trying to convince her with his endearing antics. They eventually agree to get the house and are portrayed celebrating over U2's 'It's a Beautiful Day' playing from Arlene's car stereo.
Devi's problems weren't limited to her mother trying to take her back to India; she also had Paxton to deal with. While she solemnly hoped that her kiss with him was not a one-time deal, she also realised that he had been acting distant ever since her mom humiliated him by calling him stupid. She tries to make small-talk with him in school, but he shrewdly brushes her off by saying he's not sure if he has the time anymore.
We thought we might never see Dr Jaime in this season but were genuinely delighted to see Nalini visit her out of the blue. Nalini seems reluctant to talk about anything except Devi's progress and coolly says, "Therapy is for white people". However, we certainly love Dr Jaime, who has the knack of pinpointing exactly what's wrong. "Changing your geography won't necessarily change the problems Devi is dealing with," she tells Nalini, who stubbornly suggests that moving to India is the only way to enforce discipline. Dr Jamie catches up with the pain on Nalini's face after she says that Devi thinks her mother doesn't like her. Despite her strict measures, we can't help but empathise with Nalini -- who keeps up with her daughter's tantrums and puts up a calm exterior to hide her grief. The session ends with Nalini telling Dr Jaime that she will be spreading Mohan's ashes on his birthday the next day.
Instagram and Facebook memories can sometimes be a bane, especially when you're trying to forget a day that will only cause you despondency. Devi faces a similar situation the next day when her Instagram memories show her the frolic she had with her father on his birthday one year ago. Not long after that, Nalini comes in to visit her at Ben's, and calmly tells her about her plan to scatter her father's ashes at the Malibu beach later in the day. Afraid about letting go of her father's last memory, Devi spews a few more hurtful things to her mother, but this time Nalini sighs and tells her that whether or not Devi wishes she will be embarking for Malibu.
Ben realises that Devi was serious about emancipating after she (very seriously) approaches his father for the same. After learning about her mother's agenda, Ben worriedly approaches her friends -- who although hesitant at first -- decide to come and help him in convincing her to go to Malibu.
At the same time, Paxton is shown melancholily sitting outside his house, until Rebecca comes to him and tells: 'If you blow her (Devi) off, you're actually, really stupid. We couldn't agree more!
Eleanor and Fabiola, along with Ben, visit Devi who's studiously researching over 'Child actors who emancipated themselves'. And while the duo reluctantly begins to explain how Devi is doing wrong by not going with her mother, Devi deftly deflects the topic to Eleanor. She advises her to pursue her drama and not give up because of her mother. They reconcile after the long discussion, and Devi realises that she's late to leave for Malibu. And that's when Ben offers to drive her!
The drive, which was earlier supposed to end at Devi's house, extends up to Malibu after Ben drives at a sluggish pace. Meanwhile, at the beach, Nalini dejectedly tells Kamala that Devi would not be joining them for the ceremony and that they should go ahead. For some (odd) reason, both Nalini and Kamala's phones are unreachable, and a sense of panic creeps over Devi. They arrive at the beach, and Devi leaves Ben to run after her mother and sister. She sees them from afar, performing the ceremony without her, and breaks into tears to know that she won't make it on time.
Of course, it is during times like these when someone unexpected drops in to help! She bumps into John McEnroe, our narrator, who yells out to them for her.
She meets her mother and Kamala after a long, Bollywood-ish sprint and they hug knowing that their bitterness is now behind them. They gracefully let Mohan's ashes into the sea, with U2's 'It's a Beautiful Day' playing on their speaker, and they hold hands knowing that they have all gotten a closure.
Nalini tearfully reminds Devi that although stern, she still loves her daughter more than anyone. Devi too apologises, and we're all left with a watery sort of a smile because there couldn't be a better way to end this episode.
But only, there was! Devi returns to find Ben sleeping soundly in his car, awaiting her return. And at first, she seems perplexed to see him wait back for her, but then he replies saying that he wanted to make sure she was okay. The camera pans out with the two of them kissing, and realising, maybe the old cliche about your enemies secretly having a crush on you is true!
The season wouldn't leave us without a fitting cliff-hanger, of course. So, the last scene of season one shows us Paxton Hall-Yoshida standing outside her house, calling her phone -- only to reach her voicemail. Maybe that's a clue for the viewers that there is more to Devi's life that we might have to wait for!
The emotional-rollercoaster that this series puts you through is worth it. We've watched several Netflix dramas that have started off with a solid plot but have lost their way towards the end. However, Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever found a way to keep its viewers even more engaged (if that is possible!) through the series. Despite a few hits and misses here and there, she manages to keep the stereotype minimal. She gives us relatable content with every episode. The series that begins by centring only on Devi's social life ends with giving us a closer look into how every character deal with their interpersonal relationships. The mother-daughter relationship keeps the series very real, and they show us the colossal damage that unsaid words can cause. Just like everyone else, we too are waiting to see more of Devi, and are hoping that Netflix drops its second season as soon as possible.