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The Mindy Project Recap: Biblical Proportions

Danny’s mythical ex, Christina, has arrived, and she is Chloë Sevigny.

With this callback to the earlier episode in which Morgan sent Danny’s heartfelt letter to Christina behind Danny’s back, we have entered fully serialized territory with The Mindy Project. This implies that the show has settled into its groove at last, and it showed here. We got a small addition to the cast in the form of the singing nurse, played by the awesomely named Xosha Roquemore, who’s set to play a bigger role next season.

More significant, Mindy Kaling clearly likes writing about work families, what with her training on The Office. And as she prepares to head back to Scranton for a series-finale appearance later this month, she has also nicely centered this show on the workplace family while still giving us glimpses of her delicious dating life. Finally the two seem integrated, with co-workers concerned enough about her welfare to interact with her boyfriend and wrapped up enough in the ongoing rom-com of her life (Danny’s still her destiny, right?) that she interacts with their romantic prospects (and exes).

The appearance of Danny’s ex, so exciting it served as a cliff-hanger last episode, shocked the office family into gawking. Of course, Mindy couldn’t gawk quietly for long: “I imagined you very differently — sort of like long brown hair. Your boobs are smaller. I pictured them bigger. But yours are better.” (Those last few lines are almost poetry in their own special way.) Danny, Christina added, used to call them “his plums.” It’s possible I will now switch from thinking “impossibly cool and stylish indie actress” every time I see Sevigny to, simply, “plums.”

Danny told Christina he had written the letter a long time ago only because he “was all pumped up from the Chinese drums at the Beijing Olympics” and promptly fired Morgan for sending the letter. (Nice touch: The heretofore unseen dog who followed Morgan out as he left.) I refuse to believe Morgan will leave for good, of course, since he’s possibly the best supporting character on the show.

Since I’m now officially loving Casey the Cool Pastor at least as much as I liked Josh once upon a time, I was happy to see him back again, now helping Mindy train to take Morgan’s place on the office triathlon team. Mindy wished Casey would “dangle, like, pancakes on a fishing pole” to motivate her to do push-ups and seemed uninterested in his idea to kiss her for every push-up instead. But still: Aww.

Casey even dropped a major sign of commitment on Mindy. (Mindy: “This sounds important. I will put away my sangria.”) He said she wasn’t exactly what he’d had in mind when he’d once imagined the woman he’d spend his life with. “Thinner? Whiter? Younger? Casey, I can change all these things.” (I can only put up with her saying such things about herself because she’s also so brazenly self-confident at other times, not to mention that this is also just a good joke.) No, of course, he’d just always seen himself with a Christian woman. You know, so they could spend eternity “strumming harps and playing doubles tennis with Abe Lincoln and Tupac.” Well, when you put it that way …

Back at the office, we learned that Morgan had gone to the other side and joined the DeLauriers, a.k.a. the nemesis midwives, and would be competing on their triathlon team. Meanwhile, Danny, who was recently revealed to be a hardcore Catholic, expressed his general support for the idea of Mindy converting, saying Christianity could use more believers from “the emerging world.” Though, as Mindy pointed out, she’s from suburban Boston. Betsy offered to share her Bible study with Mindy, and Mindy offered to host it at her place.

Thank Tupac and Lincoln for that, because this gave Mindy the chance to put on a theme party like only she can: She played Amy Grant (though she opted for “Baby Baby” Amy Grant instead of anything actually Christian). She also prepared to serve wine (this would make Bible study much more fun), but Betsy stopped her because alcohol would send one of her ex-prisoner Bible buddies off the rails. The nicest touch came in the form of artful renditions of Jesus in both dark- and light-skinned versions that Mindy set up just for the occasion.

Just when I was wondering what had happened to that whole triathlon thing — lots of story lines going here today! — Danny called Mindy to see when she was going to show up. Yes, she chose to just do a quick Bible study group before dashing over to the triathlon to do the running leg for her team. She was still planning to do that, but first, a quick stop at Casey’s Sunday School class to tell him she couldn’t be a Christian after all. (Wearing the cross Betsy gave her felt weird, even though it was very Lady Gaga.) Because Mindy made the religion of her birthright, Hinduism, sound super cool, with elephants and all that, all she accomplished was intriguing all of Casey’s students into wanting to be Hindu. And possibly ruining things forever with Casey, but hey, now she had to run, literally!

She managed to get to the NYC Marathon for Carpal Tunnel in time, though still in her street clothes and projectile vomiting. So Danny decided to take the running leg in her place, still wearing his Speedos and borrowing Mindy’s running shoes. (They’re the same size, natch!) Casey showed up to tell Mindy he wanted to be with her whether or not she converts, which was, as Mindy said, “very Jesusy” of him, though I can’t imagine they’re going to last that much longer given the show’s premise. I even got a little choked up (or ill?) when he kissed her despite her recent vomiting.

Also touching, literally and figuratively, was Morgan scooping Danny up and carrying him across the finish line, thus giving up the DeLauriers’ chance to beat the doctors. Morgan declined to take his old job back, but I’m confident he’ll still be around. And Danny declined a dinner invitation from Casey and Mindy, instead calling Christina to ask her out for coffee. Are we taking the Danny-Mindy possibility off the table for now? Or setting up for something more rom-com-dramatic in the season finale?

Photo: null/Fox