March 22, 2023

Devi’s character growth in this season is much more extensive (Photo provided by @neverhaveiever via Twitter).
There’s a lot to unpack in the life of Devi Vishwakumar. Throughout the season, we see the short-tempered Desi girl and her friends take a journey of growth, self-love and healing. 
That’s honestly one of the best parts of this season: the growth the characters experience. In comparison to the past two seasons, Devi’s character growth in this season is much more extensive. While we still see aspects of her short-tempered, self-destructive nature, we see her begin to practice the art of restraint. Rather than get angry and let the girls who slut-shamed her in episode 1 get into her head, she simply confronts them and leaves it at that, which is miles ahead of what she would have done in season 1. 
Furthermore, we see her take a leap in healing and self-love. While happy in her relationship with Nirdesh, she suddenly begins to feel guilt as she sees and envisions her deceased father in the audience of her show. After expressing this to her therapist, she learns that the fact that her father’s death wasn’t bothering her up until that point, was a sign she was beginning to heal. On the other hand, we also get to see her love herself outside of her relationships. After her mother, Nalini’s, friend Rhyah orders her son to break up with Devi after seeing her in a bad mental state and deeming her unstable, Devi confronts them. She breaks up with Nirdesh with the full support of her mom, who cuts off Rhyah for saying such a thing about her daughter.
This is a massive moment of development for her, as it’s one of the first moments where she begins to see herself as a lovable person outside of her romantic relationships. This continues, and by the end of the season, she had gone from feeling terrified that she wasn’t enough for Paxton, to being happy for his growth as a person, which was something worth celebrating. 
Speaking of Paxton, we see all of the other characters grow much more as people. Paxton learns to see himself as more of a whole person than what others see him as; Aneesa begins to embrace her non-heterosexual identity after her breakup with Ben; and Fab learns to put herself first in her relationship with Eve and finally breaks up with her. 
But in my opinion, one of the best character growth arcs came from Ben, Devi’s academic rival and frenemy. His workaholic tendencies finally catch up to him, landing him in the hospital after his combination of stress and poor diet keep him from going to the bathroom for over two weeks. With the help of Paxton, he finally learns to let himself slow down, and afterward, choosing to drop some of his classes and pick up an art elective. Throughout the rest of the season, we see him drawing as a means of managing stress rather than trying to just power through it.  
Something else that I really liked with the supporting characters was how much more screen time they all got. While it still focused mostly on Devi, several of the characters in the show all got unique storylines and much more time to take center stage. As previously mentioned, characters like Ben, Paxton, Aneesa and Fab all had major storylines and character arcs surrounding them. 
But the real show-stealer was Trent, Paxton’s goofy best friend who had way more time on screen than the past two seasons. While a lot of his character arc surrounded Paxton, we also got to see him exist as a character outside of him, seen in his relationship with Eleanor, where his immature sense of humor mixed with Eleanor’s quirky, outgoing personality meshed perfectly to give the show some great comedic relief. 
Overall, while "Never Have I Ever" in and of itself is a journey of self-love, growth, and healing, season 3 portrayed it best.


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