This week, Hulu aired the mid-season finale of The Mindy Project, and it is clear some big changes are in store for our favorite TV OB/GYN. The episode, aptly titled “When Mindy Met Danny” takes us back several years to 2007 when Mindy joined Shulman & Associates. Viewers got some fantastic insight into when Mindy and Danny began, and also what life at the office was like pre-Mindy.
The finale opens with Mindy asking Danny to hold an elevator, a request that he ignores. It is Mindy’s first day at Shulman & Associates, and she is bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to conquer New York! Danny, as it turns out, has always been a grump, and does not find Mindy’s enthusiasm amusing nor endearing. When they realize they will be new colleagues, it’s a race to the office.
Just as a friendly reminder, last week left off with high tension and frequent arguments about the possibility of having another child. In present day, as if the holidays are not stressful enough for everyone, Mindy and Danny have the near-constant fighting and tension looming over them leading up to Leo’s first Christmas. At this point, it seems the couple is more focused on fighting over having another child, than they are about caring for their baby.
As the pair prepare for Christmas, Danny takes every available opportunity to make a comment about having another child, or about Mindy wanting to work full time. While decorating a tree, Mindy finds a photo of her first day of work featuring a – gasp! – smiling Danny. They agree that they hated each other at first, so what could have possibly made them smile? Cue another flashback…
Mindy has a rough go of it during her first day with the practice. She has no patients, Danny already has a target on her back, and no one else is overly welcoming to her. The culture of the office is not the fun, friendly, joking environment we as viewers have become familiar with over the last three seasons; instead it is cold, quiet, and just…blah.
When Mindy overhears Danny arguing with his then wife Christina about attending a couple’s counseling session, she offers to take over the C-section he would miss. Danny refuses, claiming Jeremy will handle it, because he does not trust Mindy despite her insistence that she is a good doctor. We know better than to think Mindy would just give up so easily. Instead of accepting “no,” she pretends to be Jeremy (via an instant message) and takes over the delivery anyway.
After the arrival of her office furniture and getting Jeremy out of the way, Mindy heads to the hospital where she meets Danny’s patient. Instead of performing her scheduled C-section, Mindy pleases the patient by offering her a vaginal delivery by using a difficult technique she has mastered.
Danny arrives at the hospital to check on his patient and loses his mind. He goes off on Mindy, threatening to have her fired. Mindy defends her skills and her decision, but ultimately decides that Danny won’t have to get her fired; she quits. However, when Danny hears how great Mindy was and that his patient loved her bedside manner, he has a slight change of heart.
He finds Mindy back at the office, packing up the stuff she had unpacked mere hours ago. Danny admits that maybe he judged her too quickly, and that she should stay. Mindy essentially says ‘thanks but no thanks,’ because Danny is rude and the office is uninviting. Danny, in a rare moment of compassion, encourages Mindy to stay and make the changes she wants to see in the office. He actually gives her some pretty damn good advice.
Danny says, “Don’t ever let anyone stop you from doing what you want… Not even me…” Sound familiar?!
Danny and Mindy make a deal: if her oversized armoire can fit in her office, then it’s a sign from the universe she should stay. Mindy uses a measuring tape for what looks like the first time in her life, and the armoire fits perfectly. She agrees to stay, and the pair takes their ‘sefie,’ and it seems the rest is history.
Back to Christmas 2015, Mindy is very obviously conflicted over her current situation with Danny. She has big dreams, and they include both Leo and her career. Their argument earlier in the episode about Mindy not selling her apartment had an effect on her. She takes the same advice she took eight years ago and takes down some measurements – this time of Leo’s crib.
Taking the subway to her old apartment in the West Village, Mindy also measures the alcove in her walk-in closet: it’s a perfect fit. After a breakdown set perfectly to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Mindy removes the FOR SALE sign from her bedroom window. She climbs into bed later and Danny is none the wiser. Mindy cuddles next to him – but will it be the last time?
This episode was pretty great, actually. I really liked the flashbacks and getting a peek at everyone pre-Mindy. This season has been lacking on featuring Mindy as a doctor (minus the last few weeks with Later, Baby) and it was great to see her as Dr. Lahiri again.
If I am being totally honest, I don’t think I’ve been so anxious for a TV couple to break up since Rory got back together with Dean on Gilmore Girls. Every time these two take one step forward, Danny takes them 87 steps back. It was a better show when they weren’t together, and I’d like to see it get back there. But that’s just one gal’s opinion.
What do you all think? What are you hoping for when the show returns after the new year?
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