The Mindy Project recap: Road Trip
In a departure from every other episode, “Road Trip” follows a single story line: that of Danny and Morgan driving across country.
Danny’s on his way to California to see his dad, who had a heart attack (and who he still resents). He won’t fly, so he’s driving, and Morgan’s joining him for 3,000 miles on the road. So how long will Danny last? Less than an hour it looks like.
Danny pulls over to a cheap motel in Jersey and tries to get rid of Morgan because he has to make a “slight detour for personal reasons.” And Mindy can’t know. Morgan is so suspicious he won’t even take the $500 Danny offers him to leave. Eventually, Morgan reaches peak annoyance, and Danny gives him the silent treatment. Notable things that happen during that time:
1. Morgan pukes all over the front seat.
2. Morgan pukes all over the back seat.
They make it to Oklahoma before Danny finally opens his mouth again. He apologizes to Morgan about his surly attitude, but it’s all part of his plan to trick Morgan and leave him at Eddie the dog from Frasier’s graveside while Danny takes care of his private matter.
He later pulls up in front of a house, only to find Morgan inexplicably trailing behind him on a kid’s bike. It’s reckoning time. Danny admits he does have a secret, and he’s here to make it right. “Dad, is that you?” yells a teenage kid from the porch.
Turns out the kid, Eric (a.k.a. Teenage Chris Pratt), emailed him a month ago about being his son, and Danny wanted to see him in person to make sure he wasn’t being catfished. Apparently, Eric’s mother Evelyn told him that his father was a handsome med student named Dan she met at a Billy Joel concert. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was quite the aphrodisiac back in those days.
While Eric and Danny are bonding, Morgan’s talking to Evelyn, trying to figure out what the heck is going on here. 1) Eric is really tall, and 2) Eric has blue eyes. “You know, I think Eric got his blue eyes from somebody on Danny’s side of the family,” Evelyn says. But Morgan knows that’s impossible since he already did the research for Mindy, who so desperately wanted a blue-eyed baby. Evelyn admits that Danny isn’t Eric’s dad, but she won’t tell him today because it’ll ruin his birthday.
And cue Eric throwing a punch at Danny. Their meeting started off so well, but Eric soon got upset that Danny has the perfect family and hasn’t been around to see him grow up. At this point, Evelyn confesses that she lied, and both Eric and Danny storm off. Morgan tries to convince Danny to stay, but he drives off in a huff.
We get our first appearance of Mindy since the opening scene when she calls Danny to help her get Leo to stop crying. “Aren’t you lucky to have such a great dad?” Mindy asks Leo. With that, Danny’s conscience kicks in, and he drives back to play the hero. He walks in on what must be the saddest Sweet Sixteen that ever was, and announces he’s Eric’s father.
After saving the day, he leaves one last gift for Eric: his car. Which means he and Morgan are stuck on a bus the rest of the way to California. The good news is that this whole situation made Danny realize that he needs to work things out with his dad. Will we be seeing some touching father-son moments next week? Or will we be stuck with road trip part 2?
“I just wanted my friends to see that I had a dad. Especially Tyler. He’s got two dads.” —Eric
“That man’s fiancée had me dig through his genealogy to find out if there was any chance she could have blue-eyed children, and I still have the scratch marks from when I told her it was impossible.” —Morgan
“You don’t even know him, man! I waited hand and foot on you, and you gave me a free T-shirt from your bank on my birthday!” —Morgan after Danny gave Eric his car
By the numbers:
States Danny and Morgan drive through: 10
Hours left before they arrive in California: 34
Mindy Kaling’s rom-com follows the hilarious lives of an OBGYN and her medical practice coworkers.