Tuesday, November 17, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Mindy Project' - Mindy Gets Mistaken as a Widow and Plays Along to Get What She Wants in 'The Departed'

Hulu's The Mindy Project - Episode 4.10 "The Departed"

With Danny gone, Mindy's loneliness leads her to join a support group under false pretenses. Meanwhile, Morgan and Colette discover Tamra's secret pastime.

Danny is still missing from The Mindy Project during "The Departed." And yet, this episode handles his absence much better than the past few weeks. These episodes offered the chance to bring the focus back on Mindy. This is her show after all. Mindy and Danny's relationship is so great and gave the show a strong focus to build on. But Mindy and Danny's dynamic affected everything about their characters. That's something that this episode tries to point out. Mindy is very lonely with Danny out of her life for the past few months. She has learned to handle being a single working mom. And yet, she is still doing a lot of things because of Danny. That's what leads to a somewhat awkward main story in this episode. But it also provides some interesting character work during the final third.

Danny wants Mindy to sell her apartment. She is living out of his place full time now. She no longer needs her own space. Mindy is very happy to comply. She is able to find a buyer quickly too. However, it's only because she gives off the appearance of being a widow. No one wants to listen to her talk about Danny anymore. That's largely because everyone knows he's just a phone call away and Mindy doesn't need to bring him up in every conversation. That's a very pointed way in showing just how much Mindy has come to rely on Danny. She has gotten stuff done by herself these past few weeks just fine. But she also desperately wants Danny to return as soon as possible. It's easy to see why a group of people believe that Danny is dead. They come from that same vulnerable space and sympathize with Mindy - even though that's not what she is going through at all.

Mindy only really plays along because her new friend, James - played by Steven Weber - does a lot for her. When she can't get her open house flier posted at an expensive apartment building, he hangs it up for her. When it comes time to do the open house, James is there with another member of his widow's group who is very interested in the place. It's a lie that Mindy becomes aware of after awhile. But she can't pull herself out of it because it's just too enticing to continue the lie. Sure, it means she has to go to a support group where other people are grieving the loss of their loved ones. But it also means she can go to an awesome party with a bunch of basketball players.

It's an experience that Peter tags along to. The previous Peter episode this season wasn't that great because it focused on the Peter-Jeremy friendship even though Peter's connection with Mindy is much stronger. Initially he wants them to just party with some new experimental drug. But then, he helps her keep up this lie and even goes along with it because he wants to go to the party as well. Sure, it's ridiculous that no one in the group questioned their stories after neither one could come up with something better than both of their spouses dying in stunt accidents on movie sets. But it's all about them shamelessly sucking up to these people in order to sell a house and go to a nice party. And the party atmosphere is great. Peter is having a fantastic time. But Mindy feels bad about what she did in order to get there. It was nice to talk about her loneliness with people who wanted to listen. But she also manipulated them into thinking something that wasn't true. That was a very Mindy thing to do. But even she felt remorseful in the end.

Individuality in a relationship is important. One doesn't want to completely lose their identity just to appease the other person. Mindy is selling her apartment because Danny wants her to. It's something she does without question even though the space has a lot of personal memories for her. Sure, she's making even better ones with Danny and Leo. But this decision should be her's to make whenever she feels comfortable enough to do it. Mindy and Danny don't have a bad relationship like Peter and Lauren suggest. Mindy doesn't need someone to tell her what to do. She has so much more ambition than that. Peter points that out though and Mindy does listen. She wants to have a serious conversation about it with Danny too. And yet, the moment she tries to call him is the moment he decides to surprise her in coming home. This relationship has changed during his time away. Hopefully, it's for the better as Mindy has learned what exactly she wants to do moving forward with her life. Now, she just needs to do that alongside the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Her personal growth is done. Now the relationship needs to do the same.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Departed" was written by Lang Fisher and directed by Claire Scanlon.
  • The only reason Tamra cares about a relationship with Morgan is because the show wants her to. The last time they dated, they had no purpose or personality as a couple. Now shouldn't be any different because Morgan is even more repulsive than before. Seriously, what does Tamra see in him that makes her want to be a better person? That could be nice for her character development. It just makes very little sense right now.
  • So Lauren flies all the way to New York just to take Peter back home to Texas? That makes very little sense - except for the fact that it gets Tracey Wigfield on screen again.
  • Kevin Smith also pops up to torment Mindy about being fat - while not helping her situation at all. That's a nice callback to that plane ride they shared in a previous season.
  • What are the odds that the office is going to have computers again by next week? It seems very likely as they only disappeared to teach the nurses a lesson - and not to create some meaningful story for the future.
  • It's great that Danny has changed his ringtone to "Fat Bottomed Girls" just to remember Mindy.
  • Peter: "Who would Danny be a stunt double for? Anna Kendrick?"
  • James: "I have never seen anything so shameful, and I come from the combined worlds of corporate finance and professional sports."
  • Peter on the shoes he got for Mindy: "They reminded me of you. They're bold, tough and totally inappropriate for work."