The Mindy Project Season 4 Episode 6: Danny's Big Secret

Photo: Evan Vestal Ward/Hulu.
Let's be honest: Who among us has not left a Billy Joel concert, and — still under the hypnotic influence of "River of Dreams" — been a little lapse in the prophylactic area? The Piano Man has that influence on people, and he apparently had it on Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) in 1999. At least, that's what Danny's been led to believe in this week's episode of The Mindy Project.

You really have to wonder why Danny insists on driving to California to see his father when the man has just had a heart attack. Surely time is of the essence, and Danny would want to take the quickest means of conveyance available. This being the year 2015 (last time I checked), I believe that means would be a plane. But nope; Danny insists on driving out to CA from NY, which seems like an extremely contrived sitcom plotline. Oh, and of course Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) is going with him, because Schulman & Associates can most definitely be down a nurse. No one needs blood work done or to be weighed in the next few days, I hope.

This being sitcom world, though, where such practicalities don't matter, it turns out there's actually a reason for Danny's decision to drive to California. He's making a secret stop in Oklahoma to see — gasp — his even more secret 15-year-old son on his 16th birthday. In fact, Eric (Justin Prentice) is SO secret, that Danny himself only just found out he existed. Eric is, of course, the product of the aforementioned amorous feelings induced by the dulcet sounds of Billy Joel in concert. To reiterate, one can hardly blame Danny and Eric's mother (Paula Pell). Have you ever heard "She's Got a Way" live?

After a little Hardy Boy-ing from Morgan, though, it comes to light that Danny isn't Eric's father. His mother only invented that lie so she wouldn't have to tell Eric about his real dad, who abandoned them. She never thought Eric would reach out to Danny, or that Danny would travel to Oklahoma to meet his supposed son.

That's just the type of stand-up guy Danny is, though. Morgan, too. Eric is most afraid of being the only one of his friends without a father — especially at his 16th birthday party (where one of his friends has two fathers...what a show-off) — so both Morgan and Danny claim the position. Danny even gives Eric his car (much to Morgan's chagrin, because now they have to take a bus the rest of the way to California and can't listen to Howard Stern or control the temperature).

The entire point of this episode, of course, is for Danny to realize all of the unresolved issues he still has with his own father. He vows to work them out with his dad when he finally makes it to California, which I guess means that Mindy will be single mom-ing it up for a bit longer than anticipated. I'm sure she'll nail it, though, because if there's one thing Mindy loves, it's a challenge — and the chance to emulate women from '90s sitcoms, like Grace Kelly (Brett Butler) in Grace Under Fire (1993-1998).

I really hope someone buys Morgan a plane ticket home, though. He's been through enough; what with Danny trying to leave him in New Jersey, Oklahoma, and at the grave of Eddie from Frasier. At the latter spot of Danny's abandonment; however, Morgan managed to get this, the greatest photo of him that's ever been taken. He looks like a young André the Giant!
Photo: Evan Vestal Ward/Hulu.
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