Review: The Mindy Project 3.21

Summary: The gang attends two big events: Peter’s wedding and Mindy’s baby shower. Meanwhile, a simple dinner with Mindy’s parents reveals a much larger issue for Mindy and Danny.

Best Scene: In a heartbreaking but beautifully executed scene, Danny and Mindy discuss their feelings about marriage.

My Review: O.k., so let me start by saying that, as I’m sure most of you have gleaned from my reviews, I loved this season. Loved it. The amount of character development was amazing, the dialogue was the sharpest (and funniest) it’s ever been, and Mindy and Danny’s relationship progressed further than I ever thought it could in a single season. That being said, this finale left me underwhelmed, possibly because, after such a stellar season, my hopes were a little too high. My largest issue with it lies in that last moment and the wish that it had packed a bigger punch, especially with the possibility of this being the series finale. But before I get to that, let’s talk about what I did like.

We didn’t hear from the supporting cast quite as much as usual in this episode, but I liked what we did see. Everyone going to Peter’s wedding was great, and, as sweet as it was that Peter asked Mindy to be his best man, I liked that it ended up being Jeremy even more. Since this is likely the last we’ll see of Peter for awhile, it’s important that their friendship was mended before he sailed off into the sunset, and I could watch Adam Pally and Ed Weeks dance together for hours. I also loved that Beverly and Tamra were at Mindy’s baby shower; their gifts for her were amazing and totally in-character (as was Danny’s clear discomfort at the “feminist” onesie).

Morgan rounding up Mindy’s exes at the baby shower was a very Morgan thing to do, and the way that Mindy encouraged him was hilarious, desperate as she was to stop the video chat. Ike Barinholtz was amazing in that scene, and I loved that he wanted Mindy to choose the baby daddy Bachelorette style. Also, seeing them all together made it that much clearer that Mindy’s exes are a tiny bit crazy, right? But then again, so is Mindy, in her own lovable way.

One other little thing I liked before I dive into the meat of the episode: Mindy’s new OB. Full disclosure, I absolutely love Laura Dern so I may be biased, but I thought she did a great job in the little scene they gave her. Her accent was a welcome surprise, and I loved her little compliment-digs at Mindy. I’m hoping we’ll get to see her again next season (if there is one) because that character has so much potential. She and Danny in the same scene would be comedy gold.

Speaking of Danny, as expected, this was a huge episode for he and Mindy. One of the reasons that their relationship feels so grounded and believable is because Kaling and Co. are unafraid of tackling the questions that real couples wrestle with, in this episode, what exactly it means to be committed. Does it mean just being in a loving, monogamous relationship? Or does it mean getting married? And to make things even more complicated, is true commitment getting married even if it scares the hell out of you, just because you know how happy it will make the other person?

That’s what it came down to in this episode. After not meeting her parents, Danny had to explain why, leading to that wonderfully raw (especially for a comedy), scene in the bedroom. Mindy Kaling played her part perfectly, showing Mindy’s vulnerability as she asked Danny why he didn’t want to get married, and her strength when she was unafraid to stand up for what she wanted in their relationship. Really, no line has summed up the character of Mindy better than what she said there:

I want you to love me in a way that I can show on Instagram, because that’s what I’m like. It’s not weird to want your boyfriend to get down on one knee, and to meet your parents, and to get you a ring.

I loved this line for a couple of reasons. One, it showed that Mindy is unapologetic about who she is and what she wants in life. And two, not to turn it into a big feminist statement, but I love that, in an era where our movie and TV screens are populated by tough women with damaged pasts, women who love casual relationships, who don’t want to settle down, who represent what guys supposedly find desirable, this line showed that wanting to get married is still not something that women have to apologize for. It showed that they shouldn’t be afraid to say what they want from a relationship, regardless of what it is.

Danny’s reaction to Mindy confirming what he already knew about her is a little tougher to analyze. On the one hand, I see where he’s coming from; he loves her, he’s committed to both her and their future family (and willing to give her ten rings to prove it), so why does she need a marriage? But despite that commitment, the larger issue at hand (one that I don’t think Danny fully grasped in this episode) is that his unwillingness to get married comes from a place of fear and not being willing or able to overcome that fear to do what will make Mindy happy.

That fear was explored beautifully in my other favorite scene of the episode, where Danny and Annette talked in her kitchen. Annette was so wonderfully frank with Danny there, and I think her line about knocking up the wrong girl showed that she understands Mindy in a way that Danny sometimes doesn’t. The vulnerability that Chris Messina gave Danny as the real reason that he didn’t want to get married became increasingly clear, was heartbreaking. I understood his desire to not mess up what and Mindy have, and especially not wanting to risk inflicting the same pain on his son that he faced growing up. That’s what made me proud of him for what he did at the end of the episode, despite my issue with the last line.

Nobody does a “last five minutes” montage like this show, and maybe that’s part of the reason why this one left me underwhelmed. When a guy has danced to Aaliyah to cheer up a girl he’s not even dating, run to the Empire State Building like a bat out of hell to declare his love, and taken countless subways to touch a girl’s stomach and say “We’re a family”, then, call me crazy, but I have high expectations for him. Flying to India to meet Mindy’s parents was a grand gesture, yes (and I loved the visual of buttoned up Danny navigating the colorful streets of India, no doubt wildly out of his comfort zone), but I don’t know if it was a season (and potential series) finale caliber gesture, especially with what he said when he got there. We already know that he loves Mindy, and saying it to her parents doesn’t make me believe it anymore than I already do. What would have made me believe that his love for her continues to grow, that their relationship is evolving? If he had asked her parents for permission to marry her, or better yet, just asked Mindy herself. If that had happened, then you have Danny, terrified of failing at another marriage but facing that fear because it’s what the love of his life wants. That’s a grand gesture. And, I might add, a pretty solid punctuation mark on a season chockful of character growth for Mr. Castellano.

The good news? This was still a stellar season, and really, a pretty solid finale overall. I’m also pleased that Mindy Kaling at least seems fairly confident that they will be back next year, and the ending of this finale may look a whole lot better when we know for sure that it isn’t the end. I highly recommend checking out this interview with her, as it made me feel a lot better about their renewal chances. I’d also like to thank everyone for checking out my Mindy reviews this season. Fingers crossed I’ll be back at it next year!

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Mindy Project 3.21

  1. I agree. It was a great season. I kind of worry about next season because the baby jokes could be really lame.
    As far as the finale I was so mad at Danny. I liked him at the beginning but I wonder if they made him a little too cold? Why have these issues of marriage not come up before? It seemed a lot to pile on in a brief time.
    I actually thought Laura Dern was really cringeworthy. Just too over the top.
    The ending made me happy so it was a nice way to leave things so we will see where it goes next season. It’s amazing with ratings how it clips along.

    Like

    • I’m nervous about how they’ll handle the baby too! Hopefully they find a way to do it that fits the show’s style, like they did with the pregnancy. I totally agree about the marriage stuff too; they did a lot with commitment issues this season, and I wish that marriage specifically had come up earlier. And I can definitely see how Laura Dern might have been a little much, I’m definitely biased since I like her so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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