‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 4 Review: A Wholesome but Unsurprising Finale
It’s been three seasons since we first met the walking chaotic mess that is Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and with Season 4, which also serves as the show’s last, Never Have I Ever sidesteps any last-minute twists to offer a wholesome and, ultimately, unsurprising finale. This is a tad disappointing, considering that we spent much of the seasons leading up to this finale going on a wild ride with Devi only to end up in a place that we always expected to.
‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 4 Offers a Predictable End for Devi
From dating two boys at the same time to inadvertently causing one of them to be hit by a car to talking to a wild coyote that she thinks is her reincarnated dad, Devi’s road in Never Have I Ever has never been straight or smooth. She’s the very definition of chaos, ruled by her whims and her temper, even earning herself the unfortunate moniker of Crazy Devi. So when Season 4 of the series kicks off, it feels like another chapter of wild antics leading up to Devi’s final year of high school.
It’s senior year and Devi has not only lost her virginity to Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison) but is prepping to apply for her first (and really only) choice school: Princeton. In such a transitional moment in life, everyone’s future feels like it’s simultaneously set in stone but also in flux. Eleanor (Ramona Young) is planning to go to a conservatory, Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) has her eye set on studying robotics at an Ivy, and, of course, Ben has his eye on Columbia University. After years of studying and competing, it’s finally time for the next step of their lives.
But, before the kids of Sherman Oaks High can put on their graduation gowns, they still have to get through senior year. That means Devi has to deal with the awkward aftermath of her hookup with Ben, a relationship that has now been irrevocably altered. We also meet the new Hot Pocket (a literal group of hot guys at Sherman Oaks) and the Paxton replacement, bad boy Ethan (Michael Cimino). But most importantly, Devi has to charm the Princeton rep. From trips to the East Coast to picking up a new sport (yes, a new sport), Devi’s final year is as unconventional as her last three.
Unfortunately, despite all the twists and turns, you can see the end coming from a mile away. In fact, if you’ve been paying any attention, you can probably guess who Devi ends up with. This isn’t exactly bad, since a good show will build up to its resolution and the ending shouldn’t come from left field, and Never Have I Ever has been slowly heading towards this particular conclusion. But how Devi ends up in the final episode of the series is the issue. In an attempt to tie the show up with a bow, the series feels a bit too tidy by the final minutes of the series.
Season 4 Is a Coda for ‘Never Have I Ever’s Story
In many ways, Season 4 of Never Have I Ever plays like a long epilogue rather than another full chapter in Devi’s life. Her worries and fears play out exactly as you might expect them to. Maybe it’s because we’ve been trained by television these days to anticipate a more surprising ending, one that makes sense in hindsight but still offers a bit of a shock, but there’s nothing that unexpected that happens by the end of Never Have I Ever. Everyone ends up where you’d predict they would.
The season plays around with romantic pairings, but ultimately everyone (and I do mean everyone) is coupled up so that they get their happily ever after, even if it might not fully make sense. Season 4 lacks the depth of the previous seasons because, aside from the wildness of the plots, the series has always had a very solid backbone—specifically when it comes to Devi’s relationship with her late father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Flashbacks or hallucinations featuring Mohan typically braid disparate stories together in the season to formulate a grand vision or thesis.
This is lacking in Season 4, and in trying to give everyone a neatly wrapped-up finish, it feels like we’ve glossed over a lot of the development that is required to get there. Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan) and even Nirmala (Ranjita Chakravarty) receive romantic storylines that end up feeling rushed rather than romantic. It’s indicative of the fact that even though Devi has had her long slow-burning will-they-won’t-they romance, no one else really has had the same amount of development on the romantic front. For Devi, there are moments where we can see her growth and maturity, indeed the lack of wild antics in the final season might be an indicator of that, but the story doesn’t emphasize that this is merely the beginning of a new chapter not the end of her story.
The final season of Never Have I Ever is very much intended to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s a conclusion that will likely leave fans smiling while lacking the emotional depth and impact that the three seasons prior have. It’s not a bad ending, but it’s a bit disappointing. It’s a testament to how good Never Have I Ever has been leading up to this finale; each season hit hard on humor, heart, and strong character development. Sadly, that means Season 4 lives in their shadow. Everyone earns their happy ending, but the series as a whole feels robbed of the realism that was so often present in the seasons that came before.
All episodes of the final season of Never Have I Ever are available to stream on Netflix.