Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!
While Never Have I Ever fans are divided over #TeamPaxton vs. #TeamBen, actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan already knows her answer: she’s 100% #TeamDevi.
Speaking with the AV Club, she explained,
“My joke that I say is ‘I’m Team Devi,’ and people think I say that only because I don’t want to make a choice. It’s also because Devi’s not.”
“When I was in high school and I dated people… now looking back, I’m like, ‘Girl, you were not ready for a relationship. You barely thought anything of yourself. You barely respected yourself.’ And that’s the case for Devi. She barely respects herself first. She doesn’t like herself. So if you don’t do that, how are you ready for a relationship?”
Maitreyi couldn’t be more on-point. Devi is definitely struggling with her self-worth — she lets Paxton (Darren Barnet) jerk her around for most of season 2. One minute he’s climbing into her bedroom window to kiss her, and the next he’s ignoring her at school. And yet, she keeps seeing him.
In fact, it’s not until the end of the season when Ben (Jaren Lewison) confronts her that she starts to rethink things. Ben tells her in the women’s bathroom,
“Devi, when are you going to realize that that dick doesn’t deserve you?”
It’s around then Devi finally starts to put herself first. She eventually turns down Paxton’s request to be his secret girlfriend and breaks things off with him.
In the end, however, Paxton comes around and surprises her at the dance. The two walk into the gym arm-in-arm in front of the whole school.
But just because she finally gets a little self-respect doesn’t mean all her problems are solved forever.
In a separate interview with Refinery29, Maitreyi revealed that she wasn’t sure if she ends up with Paxton because she’s just grateful that someone, anyone showed up for her in the end, or whether she actually wants to be with Paxton over Ben.
“It’s a mix. She’s happy that someone showed up for her because she’s looking at everyone having someone — somebody showed up for everyone.”
“But also [she and Paxton] had some really honest, proper conversations throughout the season, which I think are very genuine.”
Devi obviously likes Paxton a lot. But if she truly likes Ben more, then she shouldn’t let herself settle. She shouldn’t date a guy just because he was the only one who bothered to show up. That’s definitely not respecting yourself.
Devi is still clearly very insecure — and, to be completely honest, her friends Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young) don’t exactly help.
In the first episode of season 2, Devi was leaning towards picking Ben over Paxton. But her friends told her to pick Paxton because “when would she have another chance to date a Paxton?” — the implication being that Devi’s not in Paxton’s league and shouldn’t expect anyone that conventionally attractive to want to date her again.
Her friends have good intentions, but their words have weight. Hearing your friends say that you’re not good enough to date the hottest guy in school, well, of course, that’s going to impact your self-esteem. How can it not?
But as Ben points out, Devi deserves love. She deserves to be treated well. And until she realizes that, she won’t truly be ready for a healthy, loving relationship.
Obviously, we’ll have to wait until season 3 to see if Devi continues to stand up to Paxton, or if she goes back to letting him walk all over her.
Hopefully, she won’t continue to let Paxton get away with BS just because he showed up for her that one time. He needs to show up for her again and again. And if he doesn’t, she’ll need to move on.
You can watch both seasons 1 and 2 of Never Have I Ever on Netflix.