The Mindy Project recap: The Lahiris and the Castellanos
Danny returns, the in-laws meet, and chaos ensues.
Danny is finally back, and that means this entire episode has me alternating between rejoicing his return and venting my frustrations at his boneheadedness. But the episode starts off with the former. Mindy blissfully wakes up in the morning with Danny next to her. They have a whole lot of problems to figure out, but for now, it’s all rainbows and sunshine. Danny wants to set a date for the wedding, and Mindy wastes no time at all getting started on the plans.
The two have dinner at Annette’s house, where we’re also treated to an all-too-brief appearance by their brothers, Richie and Rishi. (Ha, I just noticed their names. You think the writers planned that all along?) The conversation revolves around the upcoming nuptials, which Annette has already started planning. Mindy tries to appease her for at least while, but we all know that won’t last long. “Your mom’s gonna come on the honeymoon with us, right?” she asks Danny. “So she can tuck you in at night?”
Mindy agrees to go dress shopping at Gretchen’s Bridal Pile and Beeper Store with Annette and Dot, where she presumably tries on eight nun-like wedding dresses (alas, we are deprived of a fitting room montage). Annette lays on the guilt, saying that she never got to help during Danny’s first wedding, so Mindy agrees to buy the hideous dress without too much argument.
Well it turns out Mindy already has a wedding dress, a slinky skirt with a revealing crop top that Tamra models. As the co-workers debate whether or not Mindy can pull it off, Jody interrupts to lecture her on her questionable commitment to Later, Baby. He booked them for a presentation at his alma mater, but Mindy says she can’t go because she still hasn’t told Danny about their business, much less her desire to continue working.
It’s a conversation that will continue to be put off now that Mindy’s family shows up unexpectedly. That’s right: THE LAHIRIS ARE BACK. I’m so ecstatic for the return of Sonu (Sakina Jaffrey) and Tarun (Ajay Mehta) that I’ll even forgive the show for Danny’s long absence. They’re in town to help plan the wedding, and the first order of business is throwing an engagement party where they can also meet the Castellanos.
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Danny is less than thrilled to hear that, telling Mindy that having Annette meet them is a bad idea because she’ll feel threatened by how educated, worldly, and wealthy the Lahiris are. Unfortunately, Annette and Dot walk into the apartment the next morning and see Mindy’s parents, and it’s clear that though the in-laws are happy to meet one another, there will be some definite tension between the mothers. Mostly from Annette.
Annette and Dot arrive to the engagement party, modeling their inappropriately racist saris made from curtains. And it gets worse as Annette tries to out-charm Sonu…and even worse when Sonu announces that she and Tarun are paying for the entire wedding to be held in Boston. And still even worse when Annette finally learns that Mindy has another dress picked out.
NEXT: Mindy finally sticks up for herself
In the other room, an even bigger crisis is escalating, when Danny walks in on Jody packing up Mindy’s clothing for their Later, Baby business trip. It’s reckoning time. Mindy tells Danny that even though working and being a mom is the hardest thing she’s ever done, she loves it and wants to continue. Danny thinks that not having her stay at home means Leo’s going to have the same awful childhood he had. “Why don’t you give up your career and stay home?” Mindy asks. “I don’t like to be bullied like this!” I feel like cheering for Mindy, who’s finally sticking up for herself and telling Danny that his behavior is unreasonable. But Danny still thinks she’s the one in the wrong, and things are left worse than when they started.
But the good thing to come out of this whole mess is a sweet heart-to-heart between Mindy and Annette. Despite the things that Annette says about staying home with family, she’s the one to encourage Mindy to go on her business trip. “You’re working to make your dreams come true,” Annette says. “And it sucks…for me. For you, I couldn’t be happier.”
So while Mindy leaves for the business trip, Danny and his future father-in-law have a conversation about Mindy’s job. Sonu put her acting career on hold to raise Mindy and Rishi, which Danny thinks was a great decision. And while yes, she did love it, Tarun says she also resented him for making her stay at home. “Once a week, she screams ‘You ruined my dreams!’ and throws a scalding tea bag at my face,” he deadpans.
Danny flies out to the school just in time to watch Mindy and Jody’s presentation, and it look like he’s finally going to support her once he realizes that she can work and be there for Leo. Eh eh eh, hold up now. What was that, Danny? “You can stay home with Leo and do this on the weekends, like a hobby,” Danny says. While Mindy is still reeling from this invalidation, Danny continues to yap like nothing’s wrong, making plans for the second baby they’re going to have soon. Exsqueeze me?!
Mindy loses all her fire from before, nodding and smiling for the sake of reconciliation. Once again, Jody’s there to help put things in perspective a bit. And though he doesn’t exactly say what we’re all thinking — “Danny’s an idiot” — he does leave Mindy with something to ponder: “Just make sure that when you do figure out exactly what you want, you don’t lose sight of it, okay?”
“Mindy, I am not going to be a groomsmen at some honky’s wedding, okay? I’m the DJ. ‘Here comes the bride, all dressed in cash. Church is going crazy ‘cause it’s all about that ass.’” —Rishi
“Sonja might be my mom. But you, you’re my Ma.” —Mindy to Annette
“You love introducing your mother to people. I mean, except me and my parents — oh my God. Does your mother have a problem with beautiful people?” —Mindy to Danny
By the numbers:
Game of Thrones references: 1
Inches Mindy has to grow to fit into her wedding dress: 5
The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.