Grading the Season Finales 2013: The Mindy Project

Title Take Me With You (1.24)

Written By Mindy Kaling and Jeremy Bronson

What Happens? After Mindy decides to go to Haiti with Casey, she attempts to prove herself capable of surviving in that environment during a camping trip with Danny, Christina, and Morgan. However, she soon finds herself wanting to go back on her decision and stay in New York instead. Rather than let Casey down, she decides to scare him off during their going-away party by demanding they get engaged before taking the trip together. Her plan backfires, though, when Casey attempts to propose, and Mindy is forced to tell him the truth: She doesn’t want to go to Haiti with him.

Following the successful delivery of triplets, Mindy and Danny both make big decisions about their relationships. Mindy realizes that Casey is worth the year in Haiti, and she proves this with a late-night trip to his apartment building and a pixie cut. Meanwhile, Danny decides to take a step back and slow down his reunion with Christina. After telling this to Mindy, the two share a moment that blurs the line between friends and something more—before Mindy tells him that she got back together with Casey and is going to Haiti for the year.

Game-Changing Moment With just one look, the dynamics on this show were suddenly changed forever. Danny’s quiet intensity and surprising softness as he looked at Mindy after cleaning her glasses couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than an intimacy far beyond friendship. For this whole season, the audience has been able to see the potential between these two characters, but it appeared that the characters were either unaware of it or unwilling to acknowledge the obvious chemistry between them. After this moment, though, neither will be able to ignore it any longer. Danny made himself vulnerable with her in a way we’ve never seen from him before, and that’s going to fundamentally alter their relationship—even if they both try to pretend like the moment didn’t happen. For someone as obsessed with romance as Mindy Lahiri, it’s going to be hard for her to ignore the fact that her closest male friend put himself out there in a romantic way with her, and it’s going to be interesting to see how that moment is handled at the start of Season Two.

Most Memorable Line “Oh my God, Casey…Your penis just knocked off my glasses!” (Mindy)

What Didn’t Work I know Mindy is overly dramatic and loves big gestures (two of the things I relate to most in her character), but I don’t believe for a second that she would last in Haiti. I found it much more believable that she would convince Casey to do a long-distance relationship rather than deciding to actually go with him after she had originally backed out. Maybe it’s because I don’t love Casey as much as most people seem to, but I don’t see the appeal of leaving behind your whole life to spend a year with a guy you’ve only been dating for a few months. (Or maybe it’s because I know I couldn’t ever go to Haiti for a year and the reasons why are reasons I think I share with Mindy’s character.)

What Worked I thought this episode was hilarious. It had great lines from almost everyone in the cast, and the scene with Mindy outside of Casey’s apartment made me laugh out loud. My favorite comedic moments on The Mindy Project are ones I can personally relate to, so her bit about her “indecisive boobs” at the beginning was one that had me both nodding and cracking up. Mindy Kaling is able to capture the humor of everyday life for women better than anyone else writing for TV right now, and that one scene demonstrated that so well. Kaling is also great at physical comedy. The moment when she tried to stop Casey from proposing by putting her knees under his was one of the best moments of the whole episode.

Of course, a discussion of what worked in this episode can’t happen without talking about Chris Messina. He’s been so consistently brilliant as Danny throughout this season, and this episode was no exception. From his fear of scary campfire stories to his stress smoking (and getting caught by Mindy), every physical detail and reaction was played perfectly. Messina is blessed with a great gift for walking that fine line between gruff and gentle, and that gift was showcased in a great way in this episode. His easy, warm chemistry with Kaling is one of the best things about this show and has been for most of this season—I believe in their friendship and not just their potential as romantic partners, and that’s important.

However, Mindy and Danny’s potential as romantic partners was never more believable than at the end of the episode. I loved how quickly the mood of that scene changed from the normal tone of their scenes to something more intense but also more subdued. From the second Danny leaned in to grab her glasses, I could feel myself holding my breath—and that’s the best way to feel during a scene like this. Messina played every beat of that scene to perfection. The naked vulnerability on his face was gorgeous, and I loved that he wasn’t looking at her with lust; it was something more intimate than even that. And then when Mindy told him about Casey, you could see the way the openness in his eyes shifted so quickly to regret, You could almost hear him berating himself for showing his hand like he did, and it absolutely broke my heart. Everything about that scene was restrained and quiet; it was mature in a way that I didn’t know this show was capable of being. And now I’m even more excited for the day (far in the future) when they finally get together.

Final Grade A – . While it wasn’t my favorite episode of the season, this finale showed off everything that I’ve come to love about this show: its humor, its honesty, and its heart. After a rocky start, The Mindy Project has become one of my favorite comedies on TV, and this finale was a great example of why that is. I still may not believe that Mindy would actually go to Haiti, but that’s not the part of this episode that really mattered anyway. What mattered was a small moment between Mindy and Danny that beautifully nudged them a little further into the gray area between friends and lovers. It was one of the most memorable scenes of the season, and it ended the episode on a strong note for the characters and the show as a whole.

 

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6 thoughts on “Grading the Season Finales 2013: The Mindy Project

  1. I love love love The Mindy Project and your post sums up my feelings on the entire season and finale perfectly.

  2. I love this review – these were my feelings exactly. I hope you continue to review The Mindy Project next year!

  3. Pingback: TV Time: The Mindy Project 3.15 | Nerdy Girl Notes

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