Warning: Since I didn’t care for this episode much, and because it’s the season finale, I thought I would break character and speak as if I don’t care about spoilers. I’m really letting go with this one, so watch out.
I’m chugging along, enjoying the lightness and the fun of The Mindy Project, where out of nowhere comes this mediocre season finale. It’s not the worst episode of TV I have ever seen, but I have a general rule: if something makes me roll my eyes too much or contract my head in a “What the-“ kind of way, something is wrong. The review that follows is me figuring out what exactly that is. In doing so, I might be revealing things I have been trying to ignore about the show that I can forgive no longer.
Mostly, the episode was downright annoying, but why? I think it was the amount of “Mindy and Casey” time in this episode. In previous ones we only really spent some time with them if they were having a conflict. In this episode we are treated to lots of quick-witted playfulness and faux-seriousness that at first just appears unrealistic and then devolves into a “couple that won’t stop making out in public” kind of vibe.
Granted, Mindy starts getting freaked out at all of the time she will be spending with Casey when she moves to Haiti with him for a year, so perhaps they were just trying to drive that point home…but at the end she reminisces on how “good they were together”, and I was lost. I guess the show is telling me (rather than showing me) that I should just see how good they are together. Oh, but of course Mindy decides to go to Haiti after getting cold feet, even though she is totally in the right to fear for her independence and safety. Of course she makes the commitment of going to a foreign country with someone she has only known for 3 MONTHS. I mean, if I was a rich, successful doctor in New York during my sexual prime I would totally do that. C’mon, Kate, they were just so good together! Okay, if you say so.
The same treatment was allotted for Danny Castellano and his ex-wife (with whom his relationship had been re-kindled). They sort of showed him getting nervous at new signs of commitment, but his nervousness doesn’t make sense to me either; he offers for his ex-wife to move in, and then freaks out that “she wants things to move so quickly.” Then, [biggest spoiler] at the end of the episode he almost kisses Mindy and the camera pans away from them still sitting there with each other, watching TV.
I expected more to actually happen in this episode, but the only real change that occurred was Mindy’s choice (after many mind-changes) to go to Haiti with Casey. I’m siding with all of the secondary characters and laughing about how long that will last. Everything else was old news. I already knew there was tension between Mindy and Danny, and his advances towards her seemed a little out of nowhere. He’s usually the voice of wisdom, and this impulsive, nervous, commitment-phobe seems totally out of character, mostly just made up for the sake of the episode. Having characters act out of character and then make decisions that you know aren’t going to last makes for a very un-motivating finale.
I was really excited for this, and it disappointed me in a many ways. It still had some of the show’s charm, but that was sort of all it had. Even then, the jokes were not that strong. One of them even made light of being a “sex slave”. I guess saying “sex slave” evoked more of a harem visual than saying the word “sex worker” or “human trafficking victim.” Mindy insists she would make a great “sex slave”, and one of the main arguments she gives for why Casey should take her back is that she “does stuff for him” that no one else will ever do, apparently. I can handle a lot of the normative humor on the show, but this episode was just weird. I wasn’t sure if some of the jokes were parodying co-dependency, unknowingly endorsing it, or just depicting it in all of its horrors.
The “sex slave” thing seemed really inappropriate at first, but became more fitting than I first realized, given Mindy’s desperation for a romantic relationship which is in full force in this episode. She is even quoted in her romantic take-me-back speech saying “I’ve just wanted to be in a serious relationship for so long, and I give up right when it gets difficult?” Just wanting to be in a relationship is a terrible motivation for a female protagonist to have. She even says to Casey that he is not enough of a reason for her to spend a year in Haiti. All of this changes and is chalked up to cold feet when she hears her patient say “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘Yes’” (cue eye-roll).
I realize we are told that Mindy is independent (she even tells us herself in this episode), but all of her actions speak otherwise. The whole show has centered around her trying to find the last piece of her co-dependent puzzle, and though the writers try to appear self-aware of her faults as well as her borderline obsessive desire for romance, it should just leave the latter issue at the door and start making the show a bit more about something else…like, I don’t know, maybe just her developing as a person not in relation to her current boyfriend.
The ending was underwhelming, the build-up disjointed. The heavy reliance on expositional dialogue and the fast pacing makes The Mindy Project feel that it needs to explain itself. It did way too much of that in this episode. Up to this point the show was funny enough for me to excuse its fixation on relationships, relationships we don’t really ever get to see. The show needs to slow down, just like Mindy. Take it easy, girl. You’ve got your whole life to settle down.