overnights

The Mindy Project Recap: The Reese Witherspoon Hallucination

The Mindy Project

Girl Gone Wild
Season 6 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC Universal Television/Hulu

A guy forgets to bring your breakfast gordita one time and next thing you know, you’re stuck in a cave in Boise, Idaho, talking to a Reese Witherspoon hallucination. Ah, to live in Mindy Lahiri’s world.

As much as I would love to hang out in a cave with Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling talking about how romantic comedies are lies, but also who cares (honestly, please auction off this exact excursion at a charity gala), so much of the plot of “Girl Gone Wild” has to be glossed over with a joke because it is that contrived. I’m always here for rapid-fire jokes and Mindy’s wardrobe, but a little plausibility every once and a while would be cool.

Instead, we get Mindy discovering that Ben forgot to cancel the secret honeymoon he planned for the two of them long after their wedding. Nurse Ben does not seem like the kind of guy who forgets to cancel a honeymoon. Mindy rejects the idea of going by herself at first (she’s “not that kind of pathetic”), but then the blows to her fragile and very, very single ego add up. Morgan isn’t available to bring Mindy her usual breakfast gordita because he’s busy wedding-planning. Jeremy can’t talk The Bachelorette because his late-night chats with Anna are getting him behind on his TV. Even Pepe the Raccoon has gone and found himself some basic bitch named Doreen. The final straw, however, is when Mindy goes home and finds Leo watching an episode of Dora the Explorer with his new little girlfriend. It’s tough being single when all the people and raccoons around you are so in love.

Which is why Mindy decides to get her groove back … in Boise, Idaho. She’s going on her honeymoon alone, a “one-ymoon,” if you will. After all, “One is the horniest number.” It seems like Mindy might find the hot hookup she’s been looking for before she even takes off: A handsome man sits down in her row and charms her with his affinity for The Boss Baby, but the two are interrupted by Martha in the middle seat. You know Martha is going to be annoying because she legitimately enjoys being in the middle seat, and she interrupts Mindy while she’s reading the table of contents for the Reese Witherspoon sexy nature adventure book, Wild (definitely not who it is by or what it’s about). Well, wouldn’t ya know it? Martha is headed to the same nature retreat as Mindy. Even less likely, Mindy and Martha are sharing a room with twin beds because all the rooms with king-size beds need to be reserved for couples. I mean, sure?

Down in the lobby during bitter-greens-smoothie hour, Mindy realizes this one-ymoon may not yield any hot hookups — everyone there is already a couple! This includes the next blast from the past on The Mindy Project’s Final Season March of the Exes: Pastor Casey. Yes, you guys, Casey and his 22-year-old wife, Babe (!!), happen to be at the same retreat on the same weekend in Boise. I MEAN, SURE.

Casey is surprised to see Mindy there. Mindy is not outdoorsy — she hates trees and thinks they all should be turned into tables — and it easily shows in Boise. She loses a toenail on the walk from the parking lot to the start location of the group hike. But she presses on, if only to overhear more about Casey and Babe’s less-than-romantic vacation. The two are arguing because Babe is ovulating and Casey keeps making excuses not to have sex with her. This is too good for Mindy not to eavesdrop on. Unfortunately, since Mindy can’t keep up with the group and the retreat’s policy is to leave the weakest behind (the resort was founded by Ayn Rand), Mindy finds herself alone and lost on the trail.

Eventually, she seeks refuge in a cave — it could provide shade and also a bear may have some honey for her to snack on — but she immediately tumbles and winds up with her ponytail stuck between two rocks. Mindy is trapped, 127 Hours style.

A 127 Hours parody is great on its own, but things get so much better: In her thirst and deliriousness, Mindy hallucinates Reese Witherspoon. She is as wonderful as you’d imagine. And Reese, queen of rom-coms, is the perfect celebrity hallucination for our Mindy Lahiri, someone who so desperately wanted the rom-com happy ending and is just beginning to learn that life doesn’t work that way. The show itself has continually subverted romantic-comedy tropes, but it seems like recently our own heroine is finally in on the joke.

Hallucination Reese has to remind Mindy that life isn’t like the plot of Sweet Home Alabama, and no, a person cannot get into Harvard Law with a bikini-clad admissions video. While Mindy demands a refund for all the money she’s spent on Reese’s movies, Hallucination Reese drives home a lesson from Wild: Life isn’t about finding a man, it’s about finding yourself. And just like that, our beautiful angel-hallucination person is gone. Good-bye, Reese Witherspoon, thanks for stopping by our little show. And also just like that, Mindy realizes no one is coming to save her in this cave, so she does what she must: She pulls out a pair of nail clippers from her bag and cuts off her ponytail.

Back at the resort with a terrible haircut, Mindy attempts to flee. She again overhears Casey and Babe arguing about not having sex, and this time Mindy decides to have a chat with Casey. It turns out, he’s scared. He’s only 38, after all! It’s practically “babies making babies.” Mindy gets real with him: He’s reinvented himself so many times, he is more than ready to take on being a dad. Of course, Babe sees Casey and Mindy hugging it out, assumes her husband is rekindling things with this old woman, and punches Mindy in the face. Don’t worry, those two crazy kids make up in time to have high-altitude sex.

Mindy ends up back in her room to have a heart-to-heart with Martha. Martha, as it turns out, used to come on this retreat every year with her now-deceased husband. She reminds Mindy that you can lose people at any time (real bleak, Martha) and the only vacation partner you can count on is yourself.

So it takes the tag team of Hallucination Reese and Not-a-Ghost-Haunting-the-Resort Martha for Mindy to learn that she needs to rely on herself — and more important, enjoy being by herself. It would be a great message for Mindy’s character to finally understand by the end of the series, but instead of just letting it lie, the show goes a different direction. At the very end of the episode, Martha, now friends with Mindy, mentions that she thinks Mindy needs a guy who is feisty, someone who can keep up with her. Mindy, of course, already had a guy like that. And if Mindy’s face as the episode cuts out is any indication, it seems like she might be rethinking how things ended with that guy. Are we really going back to Danny? After the show worked so hard at trying to make us hate him? Where’s Hallucination Reese Witherspoon when you need her?

The Mindy Project Recap: The Reese Witherspoon Hallucination