Saturday, February 4, 2023

‘Never Have I Ever’ Review: Season 2 Is a Delightful Continuation

TELEVISIONNETFLIX‘Never Have I Ever’ Review: Season 2 Is a Delightful Continuation

Never Have I Ever season 2 is here! This season, Devi tries to decide whether she’s #TeamBen or #TeamPaxton. New characters are introduced, familiar ones return, and we find out what happens with Nalini’s decision about India.

Similar to season 1, this season focuses on Devi’s quest to find a boyfriend. While she sorts out her feelings for both Ben and Paxton, they don’t consume her quite as much this time around. Viewers see more of a balance between Devi’s romantic pursuits and her friendships. Neither type of relationship is painted as picture-perfect. In fact, they’re rather messy. Devi demonstrates that matters of the heart — romantic or platonic — aren’t always easy. They take work. But beyond that, Devi also begins to learn her worth lies beyond what any boy can give her. This season is just as much about Team Devi as it is Team Ben or Paxton.

Along the same vein, character development across the board shines. Viewers continue to see Devi’s grief manifest. However, it has a more noticeable impact that Dr. Ryan (her therapist) helps her realize. Meanwhile, the softer side of Nalini peeks out. She also dips her toes into the dating scene. While she remains tough on Devi, she also works to understand her a little more. Kamala displays growth primarily through her work, where she is the only woman. Early on she presents herself as someone willing to do the most tedious tasks to gain acceptance. But that only sustains her for so long. Eventually, she, too, realizes her worth and stands up for herself. (And it’s one of the best moments of the season.)

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Two characters who really stood out for me, though, are Fabiola and Aneesa. First up is Fabiola. Last season, she explored her sexual identity and eventually came out. (Read our Pride spotlight on her here.) This season, she’s out and dating Eve. Everything goes well for the most part, but she still has a journey ahead of her — and a relatable one at that. Part of what this show does so well is demonstrating that being out isn’t as simple as, well … just being out. Fabiola owns her pride. She also faces doubts about whether she’s lesbian enough for Eve and her friends. Both sides are presented clearly and thoughtfully.

Next is Aneesa, the new girl. Viewers immediately get a sense of Aneesa’s personality. She and Devi form an important bond with one another as Indian girls; they get each other in a way their other friends don’t. Aneesa’s history also reveals how a person can display a specific persona to others to protect themselves.

This season continues to offer the endearing qualities established in season 1. It remains goofy and humorous and entertaining. Alternately, it brings a slightly heavier tone. It’s not afraid to bring just as much emotion (and tears) as it does laughs. New characters such as Nirmala and Dr. Jackson are great additions. Returning characters continue to flourish. (I found myself feeling rather proud of Paxton this season.) The show continues to mature without sacrificing its uniqueness. We can’t wait to see what its future holds.

Never Have I Ever is streaming now on Netflix.

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