“Hey gods,” Never Have I Ever‘s Devi prays at the start of the Netflix comedy’s premiere, reminding the deities to whom she’s praying that she’s “your favorite Hindu girl in the San Fernando Valley.” It’s the first day of her sophomore year in high school, and she’s worried that she’ll be forever marked by a traumatic event that happened in Grade 9 — hence the higher-power entreaties.
In a minute, we’ll want to hear what you thought of the Netflix series’ premiere. But first, a quick recap of Devi’s back-to-school shenanigans.
The teen (played by newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is worried that her father’s sudden death during a school orchestra concert freshman year — as well as her spontaneous paralysis and just as inexplicable recovery that followed — will always be the things she’s known for among the adolescent set.
So Devi starts the year with a plan: She — along with her equally socially awkward best friends Eleanor (Legends of Tomorrow‘s Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) — are going to get boyfriends, any boyfriends, ASAP. From there, she assumes, popularity is the next logical step.
Of course, she’s wrong. But as the girls go about their seduction plans, we meet some of the show’s key players. They include hot jock Paxton (Darren Barnet, who also plays one of the younger incarnations of This Is Us‘ Jack) and Devi’s academic nemesis, Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison). After a nasty encounter with the latter, Devi sees her therapist, Dr. Ryan (Claws‘ Niecy Nash), who hands her a grief journal and encourages her to explore her feelings by writing in it.
At home that night, Devi relates her day to her mother Nalini (The Night Of‘s Poorna Jagannathan) and cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani), a graduate student staying with them while she’s in school. Nalini excitedly announces that Kamala’s parents have found her a suitable arranged marriage; Kamala is less than thrilled about the idea. Later that evening, Devi comes downstairs to find her father Mohan (Heroes‘ Sendhil Ramamurthy) watching tennis. He tells her that John McEnroe is the greatest tennis player of all time — ah, so that’s why McEnroe has been narrating the episode from the beginning! — and comforts her as she unloads her problems. He encourages her to stand up for herself like McEnroe did, then she asks, “Wait, what are you doing here?” and just like that, she wakes up in her bed.
She attempts to rally by dressing sexily for school the next day, but all that happens is that she winds up in the principal’s office for getting into an argument with Ben during class. Then she realizes that Eleanor has had a secret boyfriend all along. And then she breaks a window at home by flinging her geometry book at it during an angry fit.
After another session with Dr. Ryan, during which Devi completely mischaracterizes the therapist’s advice, the teen marches right up to Paxton and propositions him for no-strings-attached sex. To her absolute shock, he agrees — but he’s got plans that evening. Back at home, Devi finally opens her grief journal and begins writing: “I’m gonna have sex with Paxton!”
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!