It looks like Mindy may be preparing to take a stand and finally push back against Danny’s dictatorship.
“What’s weird is that we’re smiling in this picture, but we hated each other.”
The opening scene is a little disorienting. Mindy rushes for the elevator and Danny, whom we’ve come to accept as her loving (if incredibly controlling) partner ignores her requests to hold the door. Then we discover that it’s 2007, and this is their first day as colleagues at Shulman & Associates: before the baby, the proposal, or the big Empire State Building kiss.
When we flash forward to the present-day couple, it seems like they may be regressing. As Christmas approaches, Danny’s outdated relationship expectations clash with Mindy’s love for her career with increasing intensity. Even something as innocent as reading A Christmas Carol to Leo triggers an accusation about how Mindy’s desire to go back to work is a Scrooge-like obsession with money and career. Mindy points out that “if Tiny Tim’s mother had worked instead of having 12 kids, maybe her son wouldn’t have a sad ass limp,” but it’s clear that neither she nor Danny are truly winning in this situation. Their shared love for Leo seems like the only thread holding them together.
Back on their first day, we’re reminded of how determinedly optimistic Mindy truly is. Despite her run-in with Danny in the elevator, she sees exciting potential in every aspect of the office and her new coworkers.
Danny, on the other hand, is eager to get rid of her, especially when he discovers that Dr. Shulman hired her by mistake after having confused her with the musical-theatre star OBGYN Mandy Lahoro. When Dr. Shulman points out that “the days in which you could fire a woman of colour for no reason are long gone- at least 3 years,” Danny decides to create a hostile work environment that will make Mindy want to quit.
He starts out by assigning her the storage-room-slash-fart-room as an office.
When Mindy sneaks into Danny’s office to borrow his computer, she overhears him begging his wife to show up for couples therapy and lamenting the C-section that he needs to get covered in order to make it there himself. Busted for breaking into his office, she offers to take over his patient’s C-section. He refuses. When she leaves, he asks Jeremy (via computer chat) to do it…unaware that Mindy, who still needed to use someone’s computer, is the one occupying Jeremy’s empty office.
She seizes the opportunity in her best digital British accent, throwing in a “mate” and a “Chumbawumba” for good measure.
“He had a family emergency. His aunt stabbed him for being a jerk.”
When Mindy meets Danny’s patients and discovers how anxious they are about the C-section, she offers them a natural birth plan, demonstrating the tricky “somersault technique” with the pregnant woman’s scarf as an umbilical cord (“and voila! You have a baby and a gymnast”). A furious Danny confronts her about this “extremely fireable offense” in the break room after the procedure. She tries to reason with him, but he calls her a joke and tells her she’s fired. She retorts that he’s threatened by her ability, and makes a dignified exit.
Rattled but validated, Danny tells his patients that he’s fired Mindy for her unprofessional behaviour. That’s when he finds out that not only was Mindy’s warm, quirky personality a hit, she actually performed a technique beyond his skill level. And quoted Fat Bastard from Austin Powers while doing it.
“If you wanna change things, stay and make them different.”
Danny’s smart enough to apologize, but Mindy doesn’t want to work with him anymore. She’s unhappy with the competitive atmosphere; she wants “happy hour and Secret Santa” colleagues. In a bid to get her to stay, he measures her oversized office furniture, telling her that if it fits into her tiny room, it’s a sign.
They take a “selfer” photo in her newly decorated office. It’s the first time that Danny cracks a real smile.
Back in the present, it’s late at night. Mindy lies awake next to a sleeping Danny. She rises, goes over to Leo’s crib and begins to measure it. A train ride and a dimly-lit sidewalk, underscored by the mixed messages of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”, take her back to her apartment in the West Village. She measures her empty walk-in closet to see if the crib will fit.
After a tearful private moment, she takes down the “For Sale” sign in the window and goes home to curl up next to Danny. In the final moments before the camera pans away to the window, her expression settles into one of hope and resolve. It’s unclear exactly what she’s decided to do, but whatever it is, she feels as unstoppable as she once was.
Like a modern-day sitcom version of A Christmas Carol, this episode takes us through the past, the present and an obscured hint of the future. Is the opening scene a premonition of what’s to come? Or is it a reference point for how capable Danny and Mindy are of working through even the worst situations? The next episode is a mid-season finale, and whatever happens, it’s going to be big one.