Though the episode title "A Romantic Decouplement" referred to Jeremy and Anna on The Mindy Project, Mindy has also found herself single once again. Ben asked for a divorce on The Mindy Project. But, fans all knew it was coming, since it had been reported by Entertainment Weekly ahead of the premiere. Spoilers for The Mindy Project ahead.
In Tuesday's episode, the ease with which fictional Mindy accepted this news proves that this relationship was never meant to be. In the episode, Ben pretended to have a job interview in Philadelphia. When he saw that Mindy was totally fine with a long distance marriage, way too fine in fact, he decided to call it quits. According to his assessment, Mindy was in love with the idea of marriage more than she was with Ben. She wasn't even mad that Ben lied. Lukewarm, agreeable relationships work for some people, but Mindy Lahiri is not one of those people.
This is the final season, and a divorce like this is actually what Mindy needs in terms of character growth. Though she married Ben, he was never her most serious relationship, and this isn't her most dramatic breakup. Ben's right. Mindy has been worshipping romantic comedies — and they rarely deal with the details of the happily ever after. Those stories are all about the chase, with a wedding at the finish line. If the point of The Mindy Project was to subvert the romantic comedy genre, then it's right on track.
Marriage has always been her end goal. Now that she finally tied the knot, she is forced to look at herself and confront what she really wants out of life. It's unfortunate that Ben had to be an emotional casualty in Mindy's journey, but that's how it is sometimes. Mindy has also been engaged twice before, first to Casey and then to Danny. Incidentally, Mindy's exes Brenden, Danny, and Cliff are all set to appear in the final season — so she'll really come face-to-face with her past.
She's not terrible at relationships, don't be mistaken. While the show is often self-deprecating with regards to its hero — Mindy admitted in this episode that a Hogwarts house quiz said she was "a Dursley" — she has many redeeming qualities and wasn't completely inconsiderate when it came to Ben. She brought up one very good point during his fake job offer scenario. It would be hypocritical for Mindy to keep a partner from pursuing their career goals and dreams. That's what destroyed her relationship with Danny, because he tried to do that to her. She knows what it's like to be on the other side.
Still, the lack of passion speaks volume, and Ben's time is up. What's next for Mindy? Divorce isn't exactly an easy process, so we may be seeing Ben a few more times before the season is up.
After that, the possibilities are endless. It's great that she's suddenly so involved in the lives of her coworkers and female friends again. She's also still a new mother — which comes with plenty of drama on its own.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mindy Kaling called her character's relationship with Ben, "a marriage so short that it would rival a Liza Minnelli-Kim Kardashian marriage." However, it paves the way for the end. "The cool thing," Kaling said, "is Mindy abandoning what she thinks is a childish pose of 'my life can be a romantic comedy,' and having a sad, weary, cynical take. That’s how we kick off the season, and by the end I want the audience to be rooting for her to take that back."
Cynical Mindy is certainly something we've never seen before. Now that her divorce with Ben is on the table, The Mindy Project can start chugging towards that series finale at full speed. Whatever lesson that Kaling and the other writers want these characters to learn is a little unclear, but that just makes for an exciting final stretch.