After a long, tumultuous and largely unfocused season, The Mindy Project closed out with a strong finale that launches the show, and its characters, into new territory for season five.
The episode opens with Danny arriving at Mindy’s apartment with Leo and a surprise – he’s getting married. However, rather than tell Mindy the truth, Danny attacks her for the messiness of the apartment until she melts down, worried that she’s an unfit mother. To his credit, Danny changes his tune and tells her that the uncleanliness is good for Leo’s immune system but he leaves without informing his ex about his impending nuptials, choosing instead to simply mail an invitation.
At the Schulman & Associates office the next day, Mindy plans a weekend trip to Miami with her friends, Whitney and Chelsea. The trip is, in part, an excuse for Mindy to escape Jody, who has been leaving apology gifts for her – in order to make up for not telling her about his Chlamydia. The latest? A firearm with a note reading: “If it will help you forgive me, you can shoot me in the leg.” Jody then walks into her office to apologize yet again and inform her that his STI has cleared up, but Mindy is still unwilling to forgive him.
Elsewhere in the office, Tamara is rebelling against the nurse’s dress code by cutting the stomach off her scrubs in order to rock a crop top when the fire alarm goes off. Evidently, the rack of clothes that Mindy keeps in the storage closet of S&A came into contact with a hot pipe and combusted. Collette quickly extinguishes the fire with her volunteer firefighter skills and Mindy comes in, distraught: “I was saving that dress for the funeral of an enemy! That’s who did this! Kelly Ripa!” Since turning the walk-in closet of her apartment into a nursery for Leo, Mindy has had to store her clothes and accessory collection at her office so Jody hatches a plan with Morgan and Collette to build her a new closet while she is away in Miami – another grand gesture in the hopes that she will forgive him.
However, Mindy’s vacation plans are thwarted when she ends up trapped in an elevator with Danny. The co-parents have just emerged from a meeting at Leo’s school to discuss his suspension due to biting another child when the elevator breaks down. The lack of cell service means that Mindy is missing her Miami “sex vacation” with no way to tell Whitney or Chelsea where she is. So, to pass the time, Mindy starts talking about Jody until Danny cuts her off, refusing to hear about her love life. But Mindy is persistent, and instead convinces Danny to tell her some dating horror stories of his own. The highlights? A widowed woman he suspected of trying to poison him, and another who changed Danny’s desktop photo from one of Leo to a photo of herself.
In return, Mindy tells Danny about a time she saw him on the street and decided to follow him – observing him as he went about his daily business – and how it reminded her why she loved him. This confession inspires Danny to come clean about mistakenly receiving Jody’s letter, in which he confesses his feelings for Mindy, and rushing to discourage Jody from pursuing his ex. Danny’s display of jealousy reignites Mindy’s affection for her baby-daddy and she asks him if any of the relationships Danny had during their time apart was serious. Instead of taking the opportunity to tell her about his engagement, Danny kisses her – to the tune of Zayn’s PILLOWTALK. The exes have sex on the floor of the elevator, fall asleep, and are finally freed by a janitor the next morning.
While Mindy and Danny are (possibly) re-kindling their relationship in a Quaker School elevator, Jody, Collette and Morgan are at Mindy’s apartment, creating disasters with every twist of the wrench. The three musketeers break into Mindy’s place and start prepping her living room for the new walk-in closet. Right off the bat, Mogan’s vertigo causes him to fall off the ladder, taking Mindy’s spiral bookcase down with him and creating a gigantic hole in the ceiling. Jody heads upstairs to smooth things over with Mindy’s upstairs neighbour, and ends up purchasing the entire apartment for her and Leo.
Once freed, Danny walks Mindy home, and they exchange “I love you’s” on her front stoop before she lets herself into her apartment and finds Jody putting the finishing touches on his handiwork. He reveals a ladder that pulls down from the ceiling, and leads her upstairs despite her protests: “Is that Narnia? I don’t want to go! It’s for nerds!” Jody tells her to imagine the new apartment as a space where Leo can live and grow while she can reclaim the space in her old apartment for her things. Mindy is blown away by all Jody did for her, and he tells her that he’s done it before for “someone [he] might… possibly… against [his] better judgment, be in love with.” In the face of that major revelation, Mindy is rendered speechless as the camera pans down the ladder to the kitchen counter, and the invitation to Danny’s wedding that is waiting for her.
The Mindy Project’s jump to Hulu prior to their fourth season promised more freedom, but also a longer run (26 episodes!), and although their efforts have been valiant, I found this season to be unfocused and at times hard to watch. The disintegration of Danny and Mindy’s relationship in the first half (due entirely to Danny’s unwillingness to yield in his insistence that Mindy be a stay-at-home mom) was heartbreaking and infuriating in equal parts. And, while Mindy’s dating- and motherhood-related shenanigans have been amusing to watch, they have not been quite as captivating as the will-they/won’t-they struggles from early on in the series.
Despite these shortcomings, I will still tune in on October 4th when the series returns for season five to follow the aftermath of Jody’s declaration of love and the inevitable fall out when Mindy finds out of about Danny’s upcoming marriage. We’re in love triangle territory now, and things are sure to get interesting.
The Mindy Project returns to Hulu with new episodes on October 4, 2016.