The Mindy Project Recap: Nursing Wounds

The Mindy Project

Nurses Strike
Season 5 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating *****
Ed Weeks as Jeremy, Mindy Kaling as Mindy, Garret Dillahunt as Jody.
Ed Weeks as Jeremy, Mindy Kaling as Mindy, Garret Dillahunt as Jody. Photo: Hulu

Jody is selling the apartment he bought for Mindy, helping to further erase the mistake that was last season’s romantic plot between them. Ever since Mindy opted out of their love triangle in last week’s season premiere, he’s been mad. Really, really mad. Enough so that he says she’ll have to bid on it like the rest of the potential buyers if she wants to keep it for herself and Leo. It also turns out Mindy has somewhat pulled her finances together since we last heard, which further indicates that this season will rightly focus on the actual project that is Mindy Lahiri finding herself and maturing a bit on her own. For plot purposes, however, she still needs a quick $25,000 for the condo’s down payment.

But she is distracted from her grander apartment plans by Leo’s ear infection, for which she takes him to his fabulous pediatrician, played by Nasim Pedrad. And, hey, that’s the guy from One Tree Hill and October Road and Prime as the nurse whom Mindy disrespects! (Yes, I watched all of those.) (His name is Bryan Greenberg.) The doctor must soon dash, she says, because “Savannah Guthrie’s giving me the silver labia award for my work on third-world PMS.” We are left to wonder if the nurse is being introduced as a love interest for Mindy — he certainly looks like her type, doesn’t he?

Anyway, Mindy has to get to her own staff meeting, where one of the Deslauriers is making a pitch. “What are you doing here?” Mindy asks. “Trying to get us to use mushrooms as tampons?” I’m still dealing with that gross image while we learn that he’s actually there to get one of the doctors to be their “on call” physician for their midwife practice. Mindy is adamantly against this, but at least for the moment, she’s pretty sure she’s in favor of the next subject of discussion: the nurses unionizing. She agrees to sign a petition supporting their movement: “I love signing petitions. They make me feel less bad about never voting.”

With that handled, Mindy heads back to her office to Skype with her mom — an always welcome character sighting! — about selling the condo in India that Mindy once bought them. Instead, Mindy is surprised by the news that it’s her father’s birthday. (“Morgan, go to the bookstore and get one of those Bill O’Reilly killing-someone books and mail it to my dad!” Morgan, can you get one for my dad, too? Dads really do love those things.) And furthermore, Mom says it’s not a good time for the upheaval of selling a condo — her brother Rishi is changing his DJ school major “from scratching to general studies.” But Mindy could invest in Mama Lahiri’s new album of standards with an Indian twist, like “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” with riffs about different pronunciations of Bombay and Calcutta!

Mindy is wisely unimpressed with this business venture, but pressure is mounting because Jody is ready to sell the apartment to a businessman who will pay cash “so his useless son can intern at BuzzFeed.” And her money situation further complicates her feelings about unionization. When we last left Mindy two paragraphs ago, she was into the idea. (“I love unions. Can you imagine life without the SAG Awards?”) But then her fellow doctors explain to her that the money to cover higher pay and benefits has to come from somewhere — that is, from the doctors. Despite the fact that “the Clinton Foundation has all that Saudi money.”

Mindy gets caught by the nurses while sneaking into Morgan’s office to erase her name from the petition (which she apparently signed in pencil). This may not be the sole reason the nurses all decide to strike, but it certainly doesn’t help. Further inflaming the situation is Mindy snapping, “If you guys wanted to make more money, you should’ve gone to medical school.”

We know pretty much the second she utters those words that she will soon eat them. First, she and her fellow doctors try to hire scab nurses, but all they get are a creepy guy who used to work at an asylum, a guy just off “a month-long vacation plan,” a woman who’s allergic to tree nuts and air conditioning, and Beverly. These options, naturally, do not work out, and soon Mindy finds herself doing nurse duties like taking patients’ blood. (“Wait, that might be an artery!”) Incidentally: excellent visual joke, having Mindy and Jeremy walk around with blood-spattered doctors’ coats.

The nurses are showing some signs of weakness, like Tamra’s comment that “picketing is boring. It’s just walking back and forth all day. It’s like modeling with bad clothes.” And Morgan accepting a lunch invite from Jeremy (who wears pearls to remind him of his idol, Margaret Thatcher) and Mindy at the Pancake Factory. But Ben shows up to crash lunch and talk Morgan back onto the picket line. “They think you’re the weakest link,” Ben explains. Morgan reluctantly agrees.

Of course, Mindy is about to get a further lesson in the value of nurses. When she gets home to find Leo still upset about his ear infection, she calls the pediatrician, only to get her voice-mail: “I’m either unavailable or accepting an award for powerful women right now.” Desperate, Mindy is forced to take Leo to the ER. Nurse Ben gallantly clears a path through the picketers for her, but the waiting room is packed, and the guy manning the desk — Asylum Guy from before — is no help. The wait time is four hours.

Finally, Ben gets Mindy’s number from Morgan and arranges to meet her away from the hospital. He shows her how to apply Leo’s ear drops and to keep them in his ear by having him watch his favorite show. (Mindy claims it’s Entourage, but Ben settles for Dora the Explorer.) In the course of all this, we learn that Ben has a 13-year-old daughter, and that he’s working at Dave and Buster’s for some extra cash during the strike … because he’ll always do what he has to to support his child. Awww!

But hey: Points for letting Ben teach Mindy a valuable lesson instead of turning him into a love interest (at least for now). Mindy soon presents Jody with a check for the condo down payment. (Jody: “Was it the mob? You already owe them so much.”) We learn she has even agreed to help the Deslauriers to make some extra money. Of course, they’ve splashed her photo on a bus advertisement that says, “I wish I was a midwife!” But she’s doing what she has to do.

The Mindy Project Recap: Nursing Wounds