'The Mindy Project' recap: 'Best Man'
Who's the baby daddy?
Mindy and Danny have always butted heads, to a certain extent. Even before they started dating, they were constantly bickering like an old married couple. But in the season 3 finale, we get a glimpse at what happens to Mindy and Danny when they’re on completely opposite pages about a major issue, one that many of you have been waiting to see addressed, I’m sure: marriage.
The episode kicks off with Peter, who is getting closer and closer to tying the knot with Lauren, showing up to the office to ask Mindy to be his best man (see episode title). His old best man, Pube, got a little handsy at the bachelor party, and Peter needs to find a replacement, stat. Mindy agrees, of course, which is very disappointing to Morgan, who was really hoping to be the backup. There’s one catch: Mindy will have to learn the best-man dance, but she’s up for the challenge.
Peter’s wedding isn’t the only party happening in Lahiri Land: Mindy’s parents are moving to India for a year, and there’s going to be a going-away party for them in Boston. Mindy invites Danny to come so he can finally meet them—OMG…ARE WE, THE VIEWERS, FINALLY GOING TO MEET THEM?!!—and he agrees. He adds, though, that he has a procedure and will have to arrive later.
Down the hall, Jeremy tells Peter that he can’t make it to the wedding, and makes up some awful excuse (see best lines). Peter quickly catches on, and asks Jeremy if they’re cool. Jeremy says they are, but the tension in the room suggests otherwise. Morgan, the voice of reason, tells Jeremy he’s making a big mistake, giving him something to think about.
The day of the going-away party finally arrives. Danny’s procedure runs long, so Mindy suggests he come later that night—he can meet her parents in the morning. Ultimately, he suggests that he meet them another time. Mindy says it’s fine, but is clearly disappointed. And as a viewer, not meeting Mindy’s parents has been very frustrating, especially because we’ve seen so much of Danny’s mom, Annette. But, I like that the show has turned this absence of Mr. and Mrs. Lahiri into a plot device. I just wish it had come sooner, and that we had seen Mindy tell them that she’s pregnant because earlier in the season she alluded that it wouldn’t go well.
Back in NYC, Peter recommends a new doctor to Mindy because he can’t deliver the baby via Skype. (Very sensible, and I respect that, but is this going to be the official end of Peter? Me, right now.) Danny interrupts their meeting to apologize for being a no-show at the going-away party and offers to send flowers to Mindy’s folks, which she quickly shuts down, explaining that flowers are a sign of death in India.
When Danny leaves, the always-cunning Peter asks what the big lie was all about, and she comes clean with a big confession: Her parents know Danny exists as her co-worker, but they don’t know that he is her boyfriend, let alone the father of her child! Mindy waited to see if Danny was going to stick around before telling them. Since Danny has proved that he’s here to stay, she was going to break the news to her parents at the going-away party. She never got the chance, though, because Danny didn’t show up, which makes her question how committed he really is.
Peter asks Mindy if Danny didn’t get her pregnant then who did, meaning who do her parents think is the father. Mindy says just some guy she dated who isn’t in the picture anymore. Morgan overhears their conversation and gets the completely wrong idea. Knowing Morgan, he’s bound to take action. Peter leaves Mindy with some advice, telling her she needs to fess up. “When your heart is filled with lies, it makes it hard for your feet to be light with dance,” he says, referencing the imminent best-man dance. And he tells her to go see the doctor he recommended, which she does.
The doctor is none other than Dr. Ludmilla Trapezikov, played by Laura Dern with a very thick Eastern European sounding accent. She tells Mindy she’s high risk in her pregnancy because she’s “fat” and has “much age.” Mindy doesn’t take kindly to this, of course, but moves on to more important matters. “I’m going to be in Texas for a wedding, and I need to know if I can ride the mechanical bull,” she inquires. Trapezikov immediately shuts her down. Mindy has preeclampsia, which means she can’t ride a mechanical bull, or a man, and she also can’t get on a plane until the baby arrives. The most important, and upsetting, takeaway: She can’t be Peter’s best man because she can’t fly out to the wedding.
It isn’t totally glum for Mindy, though, because she is treated to a surprise baby shower. Annette apologizes for not inviting Mindy’s parents—Danny didn’t know how to get in touch with them—but she touched base with Rishi, who connected Annette with Mindy’s parents so they could Skype in to the baby shower. It’s a nice gesture, but Mindy is FREAKING OUT because her parents still don’t know about Danny. Luckily, she’s sort of saved by Morgan, who shows up with a major announcement.
He tells everyone that Danny isn’t the father of the baby and proceeds to bring in a handful of Mindy’s ex-boyfriends who could be the baby-daddy: Jamie (B.J. Novak), Casey (Anders Holm), Lee (Max Greenfield), and Josh (Tommy Dewey).
[A couple notes: One, noticeably missing is Cliff (Glenn Howerton), who she dated just before Danny. If Morgan’s theory were correct, which it’s not, wouldn’t he be the most likely contender? And two, I loved how Dot asked why all of Mindy’s exes are white. The show has been criticized for this in the past, and I really appreciated this moment of self-awareness.]
“I used the extensive knowledge of your sexual history, and the plot of Mamma Mia and several thousand dollars of my savings to wrangle the four of your ex-boyfriends that I find the sexiest to find out which one is the father,” Morgan exclaims. Then he prompts Mindy to hand a rose—a la The Bachelor—to the real father.
Mindy and Danny both quickly correct Morgan, but Danny asks why he would even think that. It’s time for Mindy to do some explaining, which she does. Danny isn’t angry, like I thought he might be, but he says that he would have come to the going-away party if he knew that this was his chance for her parents to learn about his place in Mindy’s life. Mindy says it shouldn’t take that much, and she’s right. (#GIRLPOWER!)
She met his parents because they’re important to him and she wanted to, and now she’s pissed because he had one chance to meet her parents before they move to India for an entire year and he blew it. Even all her ex-boyfriends—whom Morgan refers to as the Manhattan Meat Train, which is so gross, but also really funny—had met them.
Danny is feeling guilty, and reveals he didn’t go to the going-away party because he was afraid that her parents would ask why they’re not married. When Annette asks why that would be a big deal, Danny says because he’s not sure if they have to get married, or if he even wants to. Talk about not being on the same page about marriage.
The two talk alone and Danny admits he’s not sure he wants to get re-married, after his divorce from Christina. Mindy is completely confused because Danny proposed when he found out about the baby, which he says he did because he thought it was the right thing to do. He wants to be there for her and Baby Castellano, but admits he was relieved when she said no.
She says she didn’t mean no forever—she just didn’t want him to propose out of obligation. “It’s not weird to want your boyfriend to get down on one knee, to meet your parents, and get you a ring,” she says, tears starting to form. Danny says marriage doesn’t mean anything, but it means something to her. She’s upset that she won’t get to try it out for herself (with Danny at least, apparently).
In a really nice dramatic moment for the show, Annette tells Danny that she’s upset at herself for letting her terrible marriage mess up her son. He contests that he’s just a realist:
“When you married dad, you thought he was the greatest person in the world, right? When I got married to Christina, I thought she was the greatest person in the world, and now what, we hate them both, Ma. We hate them. I don’t want to end up looking at Mindy that way, okay? I don’t want to split up from her, and leave my son, and have him feel like I felt, alone. I don’t want that. That’s what marriage is, Ma. I’m sorry, but that’s what marriage is.”
She tells him, wisely, that maybe they just chose people who didn’t deserve it.
Danny takes off to go to Peter’s wedding and leaves Mindy a note saying they’ll talk when he returns. This gives Mindy some alone time, which she uses to write her parents an email, confessing everything about Danny. But, she never sends it—she only saves it as a draft. (Is she unsure if she wants to stay in the relationship? Is she still not ready to tell mom and dad? Will Danny’s next action win Mindy’s favor back? It’s a big one. Keep reading.)
Mindy chats with Morgan—who is at Peter’s wedding, and is very upset—on the phone. He thought if Mindy was out, that he would be next in line for the role of best man. Turns out Peter and Jeremy reconciled, and the scene cuts to them doing the best-man dance to “The Boys Are Back in Town.” It was absolutely adorable. Morgan proceeds to complain that Dr. C isn’t even there to keep him company, which is news to Mindy. If he’s not at the wedding, then where is he?
Drumroll please…India! That’s right, Danny flew to India to try to amend things with Mindy and introduce himself to her parents. He enters a building, and the door opens. You can’t see who is inside the home, but you know it’s Mindy’s parents (Mom? Dad? Both?) because of what Danny says next: “Hi, I’m Danny Castellano, and I’m in love with your daughter.” Taking a cue from The Sopranos, the scene cuts to black, and the credits roll.
“Remember how I told you my parents were moving to India for a year?” —Mindy
“Yeah, I said even the third world is better than Boston.” —Danny
“I can’t make it, buddy. I’m so sorry. I have a lot going on at work, and I have these new succulents that are having real trouble adjusting to their pots, so I’m totally busy.” —Jeremy telling Peter he won’t be able to make it to his wedding
“You’re not that busy. You’re taking a gift wrapping class.” —Morgan
“What was that lie about? Do you not have parents? Were you raised like Mowgli from The Jungle Book? I think I’ve seen you eat a bug.” —Peter to Mindy when she tells Danny not to send flowers to her parents because they’re a symbol of death in India
“That was one time and of course I have parents.” —Mindy
“Now he’s all in. He’s even practicing jogging while pushing a stroller.” —Jeremy on Danny’ dedication to the baby
“Where I come from, this is compliment. You not understand. Fat like big, happy, lots of meat for the baby, this mansion you give. You are pregnant, yes?” —Dr. Ludmilla Trapezikov defending herself for saying Mindy is a high-risk pregnant woman because she’s older and overweight
“Cookie from Empire says no man hushes me, and I’m like her.” —Mindy when Danny tries to get her to be quiet
“The gifts have been so thoughtful with the exception of the edible underwear that Beverly gave me. I can only assume she thought this was a bridal shower.” —Mindy on her baby shower gifts
“Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t look good, babe.” —Beverly defending the edible underwear she gifted
“Mindy, I know it’s been a minute since I’ve been all up in it, but I want to be in my son’s life. I want to provide tight kicks for his little feet…” —Casey (I missed him so, so much.)
By the numbers:
Mindy’s outfits: 6
Times we’ve met Mindy’s parents: 0 (This has to change if the show gets a fourth season)
Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions made by Mindy’s baby: 1, according to Peter who is listening to Mindy’s stomach
Purple baby onesies with “FEMINIST” written across it: 1 (Thank you, Tamra!)
Months we’ll have to wait to find out what’ll happen between Mindy and Danny: Way too many
Readers, what did you think of the finale? What did you think of the season as a whole? There’s no word on whether or not there’ll be a fourth season, but where do you think the show will go from here? How will Danny’s meeting with the parents go? Will we ever get to see them? Will Mindy and Danny stay together? There are lots of questions to mull over here, which you should absolutely discuss in the comments! For my part, rather than theories, I’ll leave you with a note: Thank you for reading, and fingers crossed for a fourth season!
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.