When it was announced that Chrissy Teigan wouldn’t be narrating this episode of Never Have I Ever, I was surprised, but also wondered who would take her space. Netflix kept it so under wraps that even though I had advanced screeners and Netflix didn’t allow anyone access to episode three. They wanted to keep the narrator under wraps. And I do understand why. Getting Gigi Hadid to narrate an episode is a huge deal.
Last year it was Andy Samberg narrating Bens episode, and this year, Gigi takes into the mind of Paxton. Netflix did an excellent job of making us see why Gigi was the good choice to make for Paxton – she relates to him because they are both battling that “beautiful airhead” stereotype that society has decided that they are.
If you recall at the end of the last episode, Paxton was hit by a car. This is a huge deal because well… he was hit by a car, but also because Paxton is a champion swimmer. Him in a cast, means that he can’t swim. And to make matters worse, the school counselor has told him that his chances of getting into college are slim without swimming. Again, he’s defined by what everyone thinks he is.
And I think for a second he believes that he isn’t worth much – hell, for more than a second. He’s upset that everyone is underestimating him. Even his parents who have told him that if he doesn’t go to college, it’s okay. School isn’t his thing. They’ve come across as that he just can’t succeed in school and their underestimation of him was hurtful.
But a lot of things are hurting Paxton. He isn’t going to let it out, but he’s really hurt over what happened with Devi. He liked her and she cheated on him with Ben. Girls wanted him, everyone wanted to be with him, and he chose her.
The college counselor asks if he’s open to tutoring, but becomes upset when that tutor is Devi. And then becomes an asshole when he’s determined to punish her and decides that her tutoring him means that she gets to do his homework. The girl already feels like shit, but he’s pushing the limits to make sure that she feels worse.
The episode is Paxton centric for a reason and it is a strong episode. There are no secondary storylines that happen, no focus on other drama – just on Paxton and his world. It’s a coming of age, finding yourself, but also the viewer discovering who Paxton is.
And as usual in life, its someone reminding us of who we are and that what matters is what we think of ourselves that counts. Paxton goes to visit his Grandfather, who is definitely a playa in his retirement home. He’s there for his Grandfather, but the truth is that his Grandfather is more there for him. He reminds Paxton that what matters is what he thinks of himself.
It’s also his sister Rebecca who puts him in his place. She drags his ass and it’s definitely what he needs. Between her and his Grandfather, Paxton realizes that if he is going to get into college, he wants to earn it.
And he asks Devi to tutor him for real. Now, I love these two and it’s the chemistry between them that makes me root for them to find their way through and be together. I get that Ben seeing them together is hard and I do love Ben and feel for him. But, Ben, I don’t choose the ship, the ship chooses me.
Seeing them together as Devi tutors him reminds us all why they belong together. They challenge each other. Devi may have thought that what Paxton got was her super horny side, but what he really got was her. And what she got was him.
This episode gave us something to root for again, and I’m not just talking about the ship. We were allowed access to who Paxton is, his complexity, and that he’s not just the hot guy at school. He has hopes and dreams.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like him telling Devi that him and her made no sense, because he knows that is a lie and he’s hurting her for no reason. But what I do love is that they become “cool” with each other which opens a door to them finding their growth in their relationship – whether it be friendship or love.
Whatever happens to these two, we can’t guess, because the road has changed. And it’s a road that we’re all in to take with them.