Well, this is exactly what I feared. It’s not as harrowing as Mindy’s breakup with Danny, but I can’t say I’m psyched about going through a divorce. I suppose this final season could ultimately be about Mindy realizing she doesn’t need a man to be happy? Perhaps it makes sense as the final message of a show that’s about busting up romantic-comedy tropes? Hmpf.
I never got that attached to Ben as a character, and maybe that was on purpose. The writers brought him in only to take him out, so I don’t feel badly about the demise of the relationship. I just wish we could have gotten Mindy to an independent frame of mind without divorce; God knows she’s gone through enough breakups. I don’t feel like spending the final season of The Mindy Project on this.
In any case, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of “A Romantic Decouplement.” After two months of trying to make their marriage work since sounding alarm bells about it in the season premiere, Ben and Mindy are flaming out in couples counseling. Specifically, Mindy is flaming out. Ben just cooked her favorite dinner, chicken pot pie à la mode, and she still didn’t come home on time. He did all of his couples-counseling homework, and she just copied off his answers. Mindy is frustrated by counseling. She wants a quick diagnosis like she can give in her business, not all of this talking.
The next day, Ben tells Mindy he’s considering interviewing for a job as lead nurse at a hospital in Philadelphia. Mindy says she’s okay with that, under the guise that she’s being supportive. They can live separately and commute to see each other if necessary. (Later, she also explains, “I actually get hotter the further I get away from New York City.”) Morgan overhears this conversation and decides to try to snake the job for himself.
Meanwhile, Anna and Jeremy are officially the ones decoupling in this episode. Anna tries to return the Limoges box they bought together antiquing, but he insists she keep it. He asks if she wants him to return the bust of Queen Victoria she got him for his birthday, but she insists he keep it. They both seem as sad as can be. Jeremy says, “At home I cried so hard that my Alexa called a suicide hotline.” Anna is almost making actual facial expressions, she’s so devastated. Still, Jeremy seems to be getting on with his dating life effortlessly. At the hospital, an attractive nurse begs him to come over: “I’m dying to cook you my bisque.” Apparently we have chosen the version of Jeremy from early in the series, the cavalier playboy, for this portion of the proceedings.
Anna decides she needs a girls’ night out to move on. Or, as she says, “Tomorrow night, I would like to invite the female co-workers of our practice to join me for alcohol drinking and camaraderie in a bar.”
The dynamic combination of Tamra, Mindy, and Beverly agree to hit the town with Anna. As Mindy prepares to head out, we learn that she has trained Leo to tell her she’s “skinny, Mommy!” by rewarding him with a graham cracker whenever he says it. Also in the repertoire: “Mommy, you’re so pretty.” At the bar, Anna reveals that she’s tried online dating: “I was messaging with a guy online who I had a lot in common with, but he turned out to just be a sentient computer.” The four ladies also discuss the many office breakups among them: Mindy and Danny, Mindy and Jody, probably Mindy and someone else, Tamra and Morgan, and, as Beverly notes, “Don’t forget about me and Dr. Shulman!” Now that’s a show I would watch.
Soon it becomes clear that even if Mindy’s in danger of another breakup, reconciliation is in the air for everyone else at the table (except, as far as we know, Beverly and Dr. Shulman). Tamra still hangs out with Morgan all the time. A successful, attractive guy who won The Amazing Race with his gay brother sends Anna four drinks, but she’s only interested in talking about Jeremy. The guy even offers to take her to a new musical based on the music of Slipknot, called Barf Machine, but to no avail. Instead, Anna punches him in the neck when he touches her flirtatiously. When Anna admits to being a bit awkward with men, Tamra says, “Awkward would be Zooey Deschanel playing a jazz standard on ukulele. You crushed a man’s windpipe.”
Tamra cuts out of the evening with what may or may not be a legitimate excuse: “I’m co-hosting the Today show, so I have to go over my questions for Rex Tillerson.” Instead, however, she goes to Morgan’s place and greets him with a kiss. Anna goes to Jeremy’s, obviously to reconcile, but she finds him clearly postcoitus with a gorgeous woman. (Again, because that’s the Jeremy we’re going with this week.) Anna bluffs by saying she came for the Queen Victoria bust, but it seems likely they’re going to get back together sooner or later.
Things aren’t as happy back home for Mindy. Morgan tells her that he tried to snag the Philly job, but it turns out there is no Philly job. Ben admits he made it up to see her reaction, and soon they’re deciding to get a divorce. “I wish I could feel the way that I’m supposed to feel, but I just don’t,” she says. I’m not sure I do, either — especially once I saw that she went to one of her least exciting exes, Cliff, to hire him as her divorce attorney.