The Minx season finale begins with a house divided in the aftermath of Joyce’s (Ophelia Lovibond) Dick Cavett interview gone wrong. Joyce stays on in New York with her friend Maggie (Gillian Jacobs) for a bit longer, while Doug (Jake Johnson) returns to LA to push forward with Minx and continue its third issue.
For much of Joyce’s New York visit, Maggie tries her hardest to get her friend to pack it up and move back, but Joyce realizes how much her views have changed in comparison to her New York friends’. This is highlighted even more when Maggie throws a dinner party and all of the guests commend Joyce for taking time to “slum it” with Doug and the Bottom Dollar crew before she can get into more legitimate news with her newfound notoriety. Joyce is quick to defend the people she’s come to know at Bottom Dollar, saying they aren’t much different than them and are just more comfortable with their bodies, highlighting a big moment in her growth throughout the season. Back in Minx episode one, she would have been quick to judge as well; now, Joyce feels she relates more to everyone at Bottom Dollar than her stodgy and incredibly elitist so-called friends. It’s the push that she needs to suck it up and head back to Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, since Joyce has effectively quit, Doug does what he must to keep Minx going without her. He takes meetings with Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah-Kim) about becoming Minx’s new editor in chief, asks Tina (Idara Victor) to be the managing editor – saying she’s the only one he trusts to handle the day-to-day with which Wendy wouldn’t be bothered – and explains to Bambi (Jessica Lowe) and Richie (Oscar Montoya) how things are going to work now that Joyce is gone. Bambi isn’t ready to get on board without Joyce, so she leaves, but a hesitant Richie sticks around, since Minx still need a photographer for the Billy Brunson (Austin Nichols) centerfold shoot.
Doug is here to make a profit, something he’s made incredibly clear throughout the season. Of course, he doesn’t count on Billy Brunson making things even more difficult by wanting to take the photoshoot in a direction so un-Minxlike that after a while it seems even Doug isn’t sure that this is how he should be moving forward.
Meanwhile, Shelly (Lennon Parham) attempts to work out her sex life with her husband Lenny (Rich Sommer). During one of her Minx promotional interviews, Joyce let slip that in all their years of marriage, Lenny has never been able to satisfy Shelly. And Lenny has an even harder time trying to get Shelly off now that his pride has been stung so publicly on national radio. Things are bleak for Shelly’s marriage, and she’s not sure what to do.
Enter Bambi, who turns to Shelly when she needs to commiserate about Doug’s changes at Minx while Joyce is still in New York. Shelly brings up her issues with Lenny, and Bambi suggests sexy photos. Shelly says she doesn’t do sexy, but Bambi shuts that line of thinking right down, telling Shelly she’ll take the pictures to get her out of her own head. Of course, one thing leads to another, and, building on the chemistry the two had when they were marketing the magazine together, Shelly kisses Bambi, giving in to her desire while attempting to run away from her problems.
Joyce’s returns to Los Angeles just in time: radio show host Willy (Eric Edelstein) sues Bottom Dollar and Minx after claiming that his wife Wanda (Allison Tolman), who damaged his penis by rubbing it after touching hot chilis, was inspired to commit this violent act by one of Joyce’s articles about marital rape. Willy and his co-host Franco (Samm Levine) lead a group called Men Energized Now – that’s MEN for short – in a boycott of Minx and Bottom Dollar. They even have Councilwoman Westbury (Amy Landecker) on their side – she states she’ll bring a motion that will ban the production of pornography in the San Fernando Valley.
In the midst of all this, both Doug and Joyce attempt to appeal to Wanda, trying to convince her that she should allow them to help tell her story. The interaction shows the holes in Doug and Joyce’s partnership, as they still can’t see eye-to-eye on anything. Wanda even goes so far as to say “Some people just want to use you for their own stupid desires, or selfish aims, or petty squabbles.” It gives both Doug and Joyce pause: Doug knows that’s exactly how his partnership with Joyce started, and Joyce remembers that some of her behavior has been no better than Doug’s. Nevertheless, at this point, it seems like their relationship is hanging on by a thread.
In the end, the Minx crew bands together one last time, hiding from angry MEN protestors who breach the Bottom Dollar’s building when Bambi’s attempts to calm them – she announces she’s retiring from nude modeling – goes awry. As they hide in the layout room, the staff read through some of the nicer letters that Minx has received, and they realize the positive effect of Minx outweighs the negative press they’re used to getting.
The Minx season finale ends with a lot of questions (and plenty of potential places for the show to go next). Bambi returns home to find Shelly gone, off to try and work things out with Lenny. Tina, seemingly unbeknownst to anyone, applied and got into multiple business schools; she eyes the University of Chicago’s acceptance with a smile on her face. (This moment hits especially hard after an earlier Doug comment: “What would I do without you?” Tina offered only a smile in response. I get the feeling he might find out exactly what he’ll do sooner rather than later.) Doug finally offers Joyce a real apology, acknowledging what he’s done wrong; and, when Joyce says she’d rather try to strike out on her own, Doug tells Joyce he’ll let her have Minx, adding he wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else but her. This is a big full circle moment! All throughout Minx season one, I have posed the question, what will it take for Doug to finally respect Joyce? I think the moment when she declares she’s no longer interested in giving away her power is when she has finally earned his respect.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Minx a month ago, but I’ve enjoyed watching what Joyce, Doug, and the rest of the Bottom Dollar crew get up to every week. With everyone seemingly going their separate ways, it will be interesting to see what turns Minx takes if we’re afforded a season two. I am hopeful – and I’ll keep shouting from the rooftops to get everyone to watch until HBO gives it an official renewal.