[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 3 of Never Have I Ever. Read at your own risk!]
It was another rollercoaster season for Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) on Never Have I Ever. Season 3 began with Devi seemingly having everything she wanted: the hottest boyfriend in school, Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet); a supportive group of friends; and her road to Princeton mapped out. However, in true Devi fashion, it only took a few episodes for her to self-destruct and leave her relationship with Paxton in shambles due to her low self-esteem.
There were a lot of tears and rage in the wake of the breakup, and the series made a mid-season time jump to the second semester of Devi's junior year to help push her progress forward. Dating, and losing, Paxton as well as a new boy named Des (Anirudh Pisharody), helps push Devi to realize that she is a person worthy of love. However, it is neither Paxton nor Des that benefit from Devi's journey to self-actualization. It's Ben (Jaren Lewison), who bears his heart on his sleeve when he tells Devi he doesn't want her to go to the prestigious boarding school she's been accepted to, who Devi chooses at the end of the season. She redeems her "One Free Boink" card Ben gifted her earlier in the season and the credits roll after Devi shows up at his bedroom door.
While Devi and Ben were briefly together at the start of Season 2, this cliffhanger may be the beginning of a solid relationship between the two characters that the show has been circling since the beginning. However, according to showrunner Lang Fisher, Devi's choice at the end of Season 3 does not mean the love triangle is over. We talked to her about this season's twist and turns, what that boink card means for both Ben and Devi, and what this sets up for the fourth and final season, which has already finished filming.
Let's talk about that cliffhanger and that free boink card. What made now the right time to put Devi and Ben together after circling it for three seasons?
Lang Fisher: We wanted to do that cliffhanger because we wanted to make the season a story about self-confidence and getting to know yourself, believing in yourself and realizing who you actually are. We start her season with Paxton but she can't be happy with Paxton because she doesn't believe that she's worthy of him. Then we moved her into Des, who is unaware of what she is like at school. He has no idea that she's considered to be a dork or whatever. He doesn't think of her as a dork and she starts to realize that maybe this is something that she's put on herself. She has always thought of herself as a low-status loser, but maybe that's not true. Maybe she doesn't need to feel that way. What we wanted to get to at the end in that moment with Ben — and I say this with the caveat that the love triangle is not done. We just filmed Season 4 and it is not done.
That was going to be my next question, so thank you for saying so.
Fisher: It's not done. There is a choice made at the end of Season 4, but the love triangle exists. But for [the boink card] choice, because at graduation when she sees Paxton give her this great speech, she is realizing that for so long when Paxton showed her even the smallest kind of attention…she held him on such a high pedestal that now she realizes she's worthy of nice words. She's not breathless every time he shows her attention. But Ben, who we kind of see become more vulnerable over this season when he really puts it out on the line for her and says "I don't want you to go," that surprises her. It touches her in a way where she's like, "I want to have sex and I actually want to have sex with him."
Does she make this decision to go to Ben because it's Ben or because she realizes she's the last person in her friend group to lose her virginity?
Fisher: I think it's both. She realizes that she's the last person, but I also think that what he says to her moves her in such a way that she realizes she has deep feelings for him. So it's a little bit of both.
What about Ben, though? His feelings for her have been very obvious, at least to the audience, but Devi isn't aware, so I am a little worried about his heart in this situation.
Fisher: Without spoiling Season 4, there's going to be a certain fallout after the boink card is presented.
This might also be spoilery, but if they go through with the boink card deal, how would losing her virginity change Devi? She has been focused on it for so long. It's the centerpiece of her vision board.
Fisher: Well, Princeton is still up there on the vision board. If she goes through with the boink card, I think these relationships that she has just become more grown up. The stakes get a little higher in terms of her feelings about these boys and their feelings for her. When sex is introduced, then the stakes kind of ramp up, but whether or not she does that, I cannot tell you. If she goes through with it, I think that's what happens.
What was the motivation for having her get into this really prestigious school and then turn it down?
Fisher: We did do a version where we actually broke her going there and starting Season 4 with her at that school. Then we decided that it would be more moving to see her turn it down to be with her mom. I think showing that she actually didn't need to get out and tick off all these boxes to be happy. She had everything she needed and that was the biggest motivator. We saw her in the pilot episode like, "Here's how we increase our status. We shall have boyfriends. We will be popular." By the end of Season 3, she cares a lot less about that.
We know that Season 4 is the final season, so what are the biggest questions you aim to answer with the final episodes?
Fisher: The biggest thing is that it is senior year. It is their final year together. It is her final year at home with her mom and her family. Even though this is a comedy, a romantic comedy, it is a tale about grief. I think we also want to show her moving on and growing up a bit and being able to say goodbye to the house she's lived in her whole life, that she lived in with her dad. I think it's an epic kind of final year of high school.