The Mindy Project Midseason Finale Recap: Are Mindy & Danny Over?

Photo: Jordin Althaus/Hulu.
Last week's episode of The Mindy Project ends on a serious note. Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina) put their marriage plans on hold because they can't agree on what they want going forward. For Danny, the future is chock-full o' little Castellanos, with Mindy staying home from work to rear them. For Mindy, the future is focused on her fledgling fertility practice and continuing to work at Schulman Women's Health Associates. This is a comedy, though, so we need some levity. It arrives in this week's midseason finale in the form of a flashback to Mindy and Danny's initial meeting.

We know that Mindy and Danny's relationship began in a contentious way, because they're extremely different and it takes them a few seasons to get together. They obviously got off on the wrong foot, and this episode confirms every suspicion you've ever had about stick-in-the-mud Danny Castellano's initial resistance to one Mindy Lahiri.

They first encounter each other on their way up to the office on Mindy's first day at the practice. Danny tries to let the elevator door shut in her face, but Mindy squeezes her way in. He recognizes her from somewhere. Mindy mentions she's been in the news recently because she climaxed during a TSA pat-down. Danny says that isn't it; he knows her from a hospital rotation when she insisted on singing "Happy Birthday" with the lyrics, "You look like a monkey, and you smell like one, too." Mindy insists that this twist on the classic delights party attendees, but Danny begs to differ. They're clearly off to a great start.

Then, they realize that they're going to the same office. Danny can't believe he has to work with Mindy. Dr. Schulman (Stephen Tobolowsky) actually reveals that hiring her was an accident. He meant to hire a similar-looking doctor named Mandy Lahoro, who put himself through school performing in The Lion King. Danny's heard great things about Dr. Lahoro, and he wants to do whatever it takes to ditch Mindy and get Mandy on staff. But as Dr. Schulman notes, "The days in which you could fire a young women of color for no reason are long gone...at least three years," so they're going to have to make Mindy want to leave on her own.

Danny vows to make her life miserable by creating a hostile work environment. This strategy includes: giving Mindy a glorified closet for an office (with no computer), having Jeremy (Ed Weeks) hit on her, and not assigning her any patients. They completely underestimate what a go-getter Mindy is, though. She turns that closet office into a second home. She also commandeers one of Danny's patients when he asks Jeremy to fill in for him on a C-section.

Mindy, of course, is an extremely competent doctor. She convinces the mother, who's scheduled to have a C-section because the baby's umbilical cord is wrapped around its neck, to have a natural childbirth instead. Mother and baby wind up happy and healthy, and Danny is suddenly impressed with the practice's accidental new hire. He tries to convince Mindy to continue working there, but he and Jeremy have done a successful job of convincing her that it is, indeed, a hostile work environment. She's pretty set on quitting.

As a last resort, Danny makes a deal. If the armoire Mindy ordered for her office can fit through the door, she has to continue working there. He measures the bulky piece of furniture, and — wouldn't you know it? — it fits. They maneuver the armoire into Mindy's office and take a selfie (or "selfer," as Mindy dubs it in 2007-speak).
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Photo: Jordin Althaus/Hulu.
Back in the present day, Mindy finds the photo and wonders how she and Danny were ever that smiley or happy — especially on their first day of work when they were mortal foes. They've spent the entire holiday season feuding about how their life would be different if they had more children. When Mindy complains about all the extra gingerbread cookies she and Danny made, he says that if they had more kids, they'd eat the extras. Mindy counters that they should just make fewer cookies. It's an ongoing battle, and it's making for a long December.

Mindy's done fighting, it seems. In the middle of the night, she wakes up and takes the subway to her old apartment, which she has yet to actually sell. It's always a bad sign when someone is hanging on to a vestige of single life instead of going all in on a serious relationship. She claims it's because no one will meet her asking price of $10 million, but clearly, she feels she needs a safety net and backup plan.

At her apartment, Mindy calls upon the measuring skills she picked up during that first bonding moment with Danny. This time, it's a much more somber occasion. Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" plays in the background to reinforce this. She figures out that Leo's crib will fit in her apartment and has a good cry on the floor.

Then, Mindy takes the subway back to the apartment she shares with Danny and Leo. She gets in bed and curls up against Danny's chest. She stares wistfully at the snow falling outside. It remains unclear what she's going to do next. Will she leave Danny? It's a big decision to make, especially now that they have a child together. They've both been talking at each other a lot these past few weeks, but neither one has really been communicating directly to the other.

Does the Sam Smith song mean Mindy will stay — or that she wants to stay, but knows she can't? The midseason finale ends on a bittersweet cliffhanger. We'll just have to wait and see what Mindy chooses to do. Ultimately, let's hope she does what's best for her.
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