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The Mindy Project: Mindy Kaling recaps season 5, episode 1

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Vivian Zink/Hulu

Every week, the cast and crew of Hulu’s beloved rom-com, The Mindy Project, are taking EW readers behind the scenes of each episode. This week, creator, star, EP, writer and producer (phew!), Mindy Kaling, brings us into the highly-anticipated first episode of season 5, “Decision 2016.” 

When we came back to write season five, we had a lot of questions to answer. Figuring out how to address them was really fun and surprising. Season four ended on a giant cliffhanger. Will Mindy choose Danny, the father of her child who she just hooked up with in an elevator? Or Jody, the southern gentleman who bought her an entire apartment? Decision 2016, indeed. (That’s the name of the episode in case that wasn’t clear. Directed by Michael Spiller and written by me.) Season five starts right where we left off – Mindy is reeling from both situations. Then she realizes – whoa, she’s in a real-life love triangle! And triangle is the sexiest shape! And she’s the hot prize in the middle! She has about thirty seconds to bask in the glow of her cool romantic entanglement before finding the invitation to Danny and Sarah’s wedding. He didn’t even tell her about this “Sarah.”  Okay, not so cool anymore. 

Appalled that she has unwittingly become an adulterer, Mindy confronts Danny. What is wrong with him? Who’s his fiancé? Is she pretty? Danny feels bad and promises to tell Sarah about his indiscretion. Okay, honesty. That’s a point for Danny. Mindy, who was supposed to be in Miami for the weekend, keeps the elevator tryst a secret at work. But Danny keeps coming up. Everyone is invited to his wedding and won’t shut up about it. Morgan has even bought a $2,000 ill-fitting tuxedo for the occasion. But Mindy also has Jody to worry about – she hasn’t given him a definitive answer on how she feels and now with Danny getting married, she’s even more confused about what to do. The triangle has become – what’s the four-sided one? Let’s call it a triangle-plus.

Meanwhile, Colette and Tamra do some digging into Mindy’s supposed ‘trip to Miami.’ They get their hands on the security tape from the elevator and see what went down. Colette reacts in horror, “Ooh that’s nasty!” She was really excited about the prospect of having a cool sister-in-law. Plus, she can’t believe Mindy wouldn’t want her brother, who’s got that “flat but muscular butt.” Tamra and Colette confront Mindy in front of everyone. Surprisingly, Jody isn’t upset. He assures Mindy she’s done nothing wrong. Mindy defends herself to the rest of the staff. “You see? I am blameless. For what is probably the first time in my entire life.” Jody’s not mad! And he’s really weird about everything. That’s a point for Jody. But Mindy is still torn. 

Ironically, she ends up getting the best advice from the least likely person in the office: Beverly. Sure, she’s great for hiding a body or playing jug in your band, but wise sage she is not. Until now. She tells Mindy she should wait for the right guy to come along. Mindy thinks about it. “Not operate out of desperation? That never occurred to me.” Danny doesn’t want to change, nor does Mindy. There’s no spark with Jody. Neither of them really make sense, so why do they have to be her only options?

Mindy has always dreamed of two men vying for her affection. It’s romantic, it’s dramatic and it’s the plot of, like, every movie she likes. And at the end of those movies, the woman always has to make a choice between the two. But this time, Mindy chooses herself. It’s a new move for her, but this is season five Mindy. She’s a single mom, a small business owner, and she don’t need no man. At least for now.

New episodes of The Mindy Project stream Tuesdays on Hulu.