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Minx season 1 finale review: can Minx survive?

Doug and Joyce are hit with lawsuits in the Minx season 1 finale.

Idara Victor, Jake Johnson, Ophelia Lovibond and Oscar Montoya in Minx
(Image: © Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max)

Our Verdict

There are a lot of loose threads left dangling in a solid finale, which leaves us wanting more from the magazine staff.

For

  • The letters from appreciative readers
  • Doug and Joyce's arc
  • Guest stars Allison Tolman and Amy Landecker
  • Lots of loose ends means we are eager for season 2

Against

  • No Shelly/Joyce scenes since the radio show
  • Maybe too many unresolved storylines
  • A perfect moment for Shane to appear was not utilized

NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Minx season 1 episode 10 "You happened to me."

Minx magazine has faced many obstacles in its short life. From getting onto newsstands to the editorial team falling apart when Bottom Dollar publisher Doug (Jake Johnson) insisted on a big name centerfold who is the antithesis of Joyce’s (Ophelia Lovibond) vision. The final episode of the first season sees Joyce and Doug fighting each other for control and against several figures who are trying to sue them into oblivion. 

Joyce returns from her time in New York to wrestle Minx back from Doug’s terrible (and illegal) Billy Bruson (Austin Nichols) erection-sporting centerfold. Not only that, but shock jock Willy (Eric Edelstein) has started legal proceedings against Doug and Joyce because of injuries sustained after a Minx article inspired his wife Wanda (Allison Tolman) to take matters into her own spicy hands. Wanda grew fed up with his sexual demands and didn’t wash her hands after chopping up spicy peppers. 

"Audacious blistering of the shaft" is how it is described in the legal papers and Joyce cannot untangle herself from this mess. Willy has a large audience of equally disgruntled men who are annoyed at Minx for its content and the furor gets louder as the finale progresses. 

Eric Edelstein speaking into a microphone on Minx

Eric Edelstein (Image credit: Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max)

Bottom Dollar customers like Norman who sent hate mail in episode 7 have got more vocal and the Men Energized Now (aka MEN) movement is targeting Joyce and Minx. They are also joined by Councilwoman Bridget Westbury (Amy Landecker), who is trying to banish all adult entertainment from being produced in the San Fernando Valley. Bridget even goes on the Willy & Franco radio show to show her support for their cause even though this pornographic material ban will impact publications they enjoy. 

The Minx squad is not presenting a united front as Bambi (Jessica Lowe) and Richie (Oscar Montoya) are both hitching their wagons to Joyce. The latter makes it seem like he is contemplating Doug’s offer of becoming the art director, but he has no desire to work for a bully. 

Earlier in the episode, Richie warns Joyce she hasn’t seen Doug when he plays dirty. She gets a good indication of his tactics during another meeting with his lawyer. The folder of material against Councilwoman Westbury is reintroduced after Doug told Tina (Idara Victor) he didn’t want to use it, though we still don't know what it contains. Doug's lawyer immediately rips it up because it is a felony to blackmail a government employee.

Everything is going against Team Minx and their downward spiral continues when Bambi’s plan to quell the protestors does the opposite. Her impassioned speech hits all the right notes until she announces her retirement from nude modeling. The group storms the Bottom Dollar offices and there are enough of them for it to be considered dangerous. Unfortunately, the councilwoman has told the police not to come to their assistance. 

Doug doesn’t want to use his more nefarious contacts but realizes he has no choice when an effigy of Joyce is set ablaze. The Russians are called in and though any hope for a visit from the fire brigade so OG Minx centerfold Shane can make another appearance is not meant to be. 

Before the rioters get flame happy it gives the team an opportunity to argue it out — Joyce gets to say the name of the episode when she tells Doug "You happened to me.” It isn’t all misery, as this time tucked away gives them the chance to look through bags of letters that aren’t just strings of threats. 

Jessica Lowe reads a letter in Minx

Jessica Lowe in Minx (Image credit: Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max)

It is a gratifying experience to hear the impact they are having in the face of the hate that has been directed their way. Willy’s wife Wanda took action because of Minx and the "jalapeno handjob" was not intended to cause harm but reclaim her space at home. That plan backfired, but this magazine is a valuable resource. 

Doug and Joyce’s rift is detrimental though, highlighted by and a public quarrel over Wanda’s story earlier in the finale. Willy’s wife observes "jilted lover vibes," which isn’t completely inaccurate as Joyce agrees that Doug "did break my heart" as a business partner. 

Thankfully, the romance angle is still absent from this dynamic and there isn’t an inkling it will start up soon. Joyce is surprised when Tina opens Doug’s door in a bathrobe, but there is no hint of jealousy on Joyce’s behalf. Tina is very much in the supportive girlfriend and partner role but doesn’t do much else. Hoping for more for Tina in the second season — for the record, I definitely want a second season.

Dissolving Minx is one way out of the lawsuits, but thankfully they don't resort to this. By the end of the episode, Doug is willing to give Joyce her title back with no strings attached. Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah-Kim) has written a hit piece about them in Betsy and Doug tells Joyce he pulled the deal "because she’s not you." It's a lovely moment but not a full reconciliation. He acknowledges he turned Minx into an ugly thing, but Joyce doesn’t know what she wants to do next because in this industry there are many Dougs who will take away her power. 

There are several other unresolved storylines such as Shelly (Lennon Parham) and Joyce not having a moment to reflect on the radio oversharing. Also, Shelly returns to her family, but the fact she is wearing the bracelet Bambi gave her shows their may be hope in their romance left. We can't expect every story to be wrapped up in a bow, but creator Ellen Rapoport has left a lot of loose threads to address. 

Much like the magazine at its heart, the first season of Minx has been a welcome addition to a packed line-up. Yes, there have been a few bumps along the way, but the cast has delivered a delightful mix of saucy and sweet highlights.

Emma Fraser
Emma Fraser

Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.