The Mindy Project Recap: Death Becomes Her

Photo: Hulu
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
The Departed
Editor’s Rating

Like Mindy, I’m really starting to miss Danny: He holds this show together. With him gone, ostensibly off caring for his sick father in California, The Mindy Project can wander all over the place, plot-wise, with reckless abandon. In some ways this has opened up new avenues, like Mindy juggling motherhood with work on her own, but the last few weeks’ worth of charades — Jody pretending to be Mindy’s husband at a preschool open house, Mindy and Peter pretending to be bereaved spouses at a party — has been pushing it.

Thank goodness he and his “Fat-Bottomed Girls” ringtone are finally back home by the end of this episode. We don’t even have to wait the “three holiday Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup shapes” originally promised at the beginning of the episode. Okay, so, what are those? Turkey for Thanksgiving, but what’s in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas? Is there a Hanukkah one? I do not see that on the official listing. Help! I’m confused.

Meanwhile, Mindy is finally trying to sell her old apartment. (Every once in a while, we’re reminded that these two doctors must be pretty loaded as a couple; I can’t imagine just putting off the sale of your New York City condo because you haven’t gotten around to it.) Mindy’s naturally a little wistful about this: “Do you know how many dudes I’ve slayed there?” she texts to Danny. But she finally puts together an open house and flyers to advertise it, which she decides must be distributed at her local exclusive Soho House–type private club. There she is coldly turned away at the front desk, but she does run into apparent buddy Kevin Smith, and meets a grieving widower played by Steven Weber. (I think Steven Weber is on every show I watch. One minute he’s the uncle on Chasing Life, the next he’s an evil zombie-killing mogul on iZombie. Not that I’m complaining.) He mistakes her talk of doing things “alone” with her fiancé “gone” to mean that she’s a widow, too. So he agrees to hang her flyer for her and help her out.

And our office plotline comes to light at a morning meeting — I’m loving the out-of-context Jeremy speeches that have been leading into these scenes this season (“so swab responsibly”). Tamra can’t stay late to meet the medical waste guy, Gordon, because she has a secret musical career. I love Tamra’s life. Morgan and Collette conspire to go to the gig together, somehow pointing out for only the first time that they’re basically the same person. As Morgan says, “Look at us. We both have such bad hair and for completely different reasons.”

Peter’s still in town randomly, and he’s whining about hanging out with Jeremy so much: “He’s taken me to the Frick so many times I don’t even laugh at the name anymore.” So to avoid further perusing of art collections, he agrees to help Mindy host her open house. Steven Weber brings a pleasant older woman from his bereavement group to see the place. She can’t help thinking about her dead husband when she’s at her current home, “mostly because he asked to be buried within its walls.” And just when Mindy finally realizes that both of these people think her fiancé is dead, the woman offers her 10 percent over her asking price, just to help a fellow (almost-) widow. Mindy stammers, “It’s nice that there’s some good that can come from Danny’s, I wanna say … his accident.”

Of course now Steven Weber invites Mindy to their bereavement group, where the desserts are “good now that the gluten-free widow is remarried.” Peter and Mindy now try to come up with a proper death story for Danny. Perhaps he was a stunt double? Despite their concerns (“Who would Danny be a stunt double for? Anna Kendrick?”), this is what they decide to go with. Peter decides to accompany Mindy to the support group, because why not ? And there they find out that Steven Weber is the executive creative director at Nike, so he wants them all to come to a fancy party full of NBA players. Now they’re really stuck, because they like that sort of thing. Peter steals Mindy’s stunt-motorcyclist story for his own pretend dead spouse: “The saddest part is that the scene never even made it into The Intern.” So Mindy goes with something about Danny being a boom mic operator in the movie Everest.

Morgan and Collette show up to Tamra’s gig to find that she’s a Taylor Swift–style, confessional singer-songwriter who perhaps draws on her own life experiences in her work. One song, for instance, has the refrain, “Why’d I ever date a damn male nurse?” She is presumably also singing about Morgan when she says, “I still smell your grandmother’s house when I’m walking by wet cardboard.” When Morgan confronts Tamra afterward, she claims she’s just “using the details of our relationship to seem more relatable, like Taylor Swift … She’s a rich, white model and even you feel bad for her poor ass getting dumped.” True, but we have good reason to feel bad for Tamra: She left the office door unlocked for Gordon the medical waste guy instead of waiting around for him, and he stole all of their computers. Also, she seems to maybe still be in love with Morgan.

At Steven Weber’s party, Mindy finally tries to confess her lie, only to be hit on by Steven Weber. (Mindy Lahiri leaves a string of broken hearts from Wings in her wake … Tim Daly, Steven Weber.) Obviously the truth does not go over well with the bereavement group, especially the widow who offered extra money for Mindy’s condo: “I’m going to tell my husband to haunt you. Have you ever seen a Hispanic ghost?”

Back at Mindy’s place after the party, Peter is questioning the state of Danny and Mindy’s relationship when two figures appear in succession: first, Lauren, who has flown in from Texas to tell Peter she’s mad about his posing for online photos with NBA players holding an “R.I.P. Lauren” sign. And second, Danny, who’s finally home.