Mindy Project: Christmas Party Sex Trap: THAT WAS SO DELIGHTFUL.
Aside from the parts where the two addicts, a/k/a characters I like least aside from Morgan and that freaky midwife, were talking, I loved every single second of that, including Mindy's romantic plan, Danny's labeling of it as the title phrase, Danny learning a ridiculous diva song routine for Mindy's enjoyment (my eyes were like stars; I have not been that delighted by a stupid dance since Burt Hummel learned the Single Ladies routine for Kurt's graduation), Danny and his stupid romantically charged moment of romance, Danny and his stupid smitten face letting her go and watching sadly from a window while Mindy's perfect romantic vision comes true after all, and best of all, the better pairing getting the romantic first kiss in the snow.
Mini highlights: the party being gluten/alcohol free (to Mindy's epic disgust, which is the right attitude), Danny staring at Mindy's wine rack, Mindy's gorgeous blue holiday party top, Santa Baby by That One Chick I Should Know (and Peter body checking Morgan to make sure he's right there when she passes)
Still upset that Mindy literally threw the prettily decorated tree out the door, though.
Mindy: Help me fill my bra with wine.
Barouk: I was once caught in a man trap. I knew I had to escape the net or else endure the horrors of human trafficking.
Mindy: Well, we'll miss you, but it's probably for the best and ultimately we won't really notice your absence.
(did you mean: me whenever someone quits a show/fandom in a cloud of offended disgust)
"The Kiss": awww, that was so cute! Mostly Mike & Frankie's storyline -- nothing I love more than those two being romantic in their old-married-couple way (with a lot of grousing and complaining first). Unless it ALSO contains them being Old People Battling Confusing New Techonlogy, a/k/a Me In Twenty Years...Or Right Now. In second place, the roundabout road trip culminating in the epic stealing of onion rings (I'm with the dudes. Who leaves a full plate of onion rings unattended?? Also, now I want onion rings from a restaurant).
In very distant third best, the Home Alone storyline with the wild Glossners -- there were some funny parts, but I just didn't get why they weren't calling the police. They didn't have to say it was neighborhood kids, they could just report it as a possible intruder. Pretty sure the police would take that seriously, especially from someone who sounds young and scared and whose parents aren't home. Although it was cute how Sue politely asking them to leave actually worked. (let's just ignore any horrifying surprise kisses that occurred, shall we?)
"The Christmas Tree": Kind of cute, mostly odd (Sue's isolation chamber). The best part came from Axl's GOD, MOM, YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE! rants, followed by my other favorite trope on this series: when his dad gets through to him with a subtle yet extremely sentimental statement. For two guys who are pretty much 100% against overt displays or statements of affection, they have a really great bond and I love when it gets highlighted.
And lastly, I'm finally ready to accept the changing of the guard, so on to...
I didn't know much about the new character beforehand, only that a really liked her name (Ellie is one of my favorites) and nothing in her character description irritated me outright, and she had been turned into a regular after something like one episode, so I really hoped she was going to be worth it and not a pain in the butt. Good news: I love her almost beyond comprehension.
Literally, it took about five seconds from laying eyes on her to going "YES I LIKE HER LET'S KEEP HER FOREVER. Good call on the series regular thing!" I already like her as much as Ziva, fell in love with her faster than I've loved anyone on this show except maybe Abby, and like her infinitely more than either long-established dude on Gibbs' team.
Things about her I love so far include her name, her youth, her super pretty elfin face, her fabulous long and slightly unruly waves of hair, her job background, her apparently super-intelligence, her casual college-age wardrobe, the fact that she is married (yay! that is a ridiculous rarity among attractive women under 40 on TV, especially if the husband isn't a central character, so I hope they don't blow that up later), her general personality -- sometimes dangerously impulsive, but also quiet and respectful when need be -- and most of all, that delightful quirky trait she displayed when we met her, sitting on the floor with her work spread out and ear buds in her ears. Not sure I like her initial food-hound ways, but I think that's already dropping by the wayside, so we're golden.
She's just so much like an eager young service dog -- halfway through her training and showing great promise, but still with youthful puppy exuberance that needs some fine tuning. I love that the guys aren't picking on her the way the ragged on Ziva when she entered probie status, but are treating her very much like a buddy. Actually, no, more like a little sister -- not their little sister, but like their friend's little sister, who can be teased but also deserves respect and affectionate protection. Most importantly, it's important that we trust Gibbs' gut instincts in choosing her -- and they did a wonderful job of that in her debut, the mild irritation (fully deserved) at times giving way to the perception of the raw talent below.
I JUST REALLY LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT HER SO FAR. I'm also pretty sure that this is the best example of a good character being replaced by a better one in TV history.
And since the above section pretty much covers everything about 11x09, let's move on to:
Devil's Triad: I'm sorry, two A-level episodes in a row? On this show, at this age, and not at the very beginning or end of a season? What? I am so confused and delighted. I don't even know where to look first. Fornell? Diane? Gibbs bursting into their hotel room in pursuit of a case lead? Their weird quasi-reconciliation, which is such a trainwreck but so awesome. Gibbs being all eye-rolly and huffy about being turned into their relationship therapist at every turn (dear god: that. was. beautiful). Abby excitedly brimming over with news about Diane's racy texts with her lover...oh hai Diane. And Diane's other lover. And their daughter.
Continued: FORNELL'S YOUNG TEENAGE DAUGHTER. Having everything in common with Castle's daughter right down to the smarts to aid her own rescue and fiery red hair. The part where she keeps showing up at "Uncle Gibbs'" house for refuge and protection from her parents' crazy, which is ten baskets of puppies' worth of cuteness in the way he indulges her. Fornell punching her abductor when they finally catch him.
All this, of course, is to say nothing of the fact that Ellie Bishop (even her last name is pretty!) is doubling down on all the things that made me love her in the previous episode and just cementing her place at the top of my heart forever. She needed to know more about autopsy, so she read and apparently memorized all the relevant parts of a 596-page medical text over the weekend. You know, for funsies.
Homesick: Awww, what a happy-feel good episode. Sick children (none of whom die) being saved by 11th hour cures, Jimmy & Brina hot on the road to adoption, Abby's friend Carol/Meredith Eaton is back, Abby wearing a super-adorable festive hat and passing out labmade cookies, and Ellie going out of her way to find a comparable delicious treat for Gibbs. The only thing I had no time for was the Vance family crap, which looked so boring I literally skipped their every scene after the first sighting of Estranged Grandpa.
Also, as for Toxic Mold Guy, he's misguided but I just can't bring myself to hate him, as his heart was clearly in the right place. If you you nursed me back to health, I'd probably be more fond of your existence. Even if you made me sick on purpose in the first place. (depends whether or not the illness made me throw up) Besides, he said he wasn't going to do it until he had a cure in place. He's not a monster. P.S. Nobody poison me with toxic mold, now, as I am not currently in need of a new dude.