The news that it’s time for Danny’s wedding weekend instills some dread in me: It seems I don’t want to get mired back in all that again. I’m not sure I even want to watch him marry this Sarah! Luckily, Mindy isn’t going to the wedding, which is the first sign that everything might go well for us. If she doesn’t attend, we probably won’t have to, either.
My feelings remain mixed when Grandma (Rhea Perlman) and her friend Dot stop by Mindy’s to pick Leo up for the festivities. On the one hand, I always love seeing Grandma and Dot. On the other, I’m still resisting a backslide into Danny territory. Things feel even less certain when Dot mentions that Danny’s mom “doesn’t like the new one.” Wait, is there still an opening for Mindy here?
Even worse, Mindy must spend the wedding weekend alone because Ben has plans with his daughter. One more reason for her to end up at this wedding. The situation is more precarious than ever as Mindy watches Wheel of Fortune and receives text updates about Danny’s bachelor party from Jeremy. But she’s got $100 of barbecue takeout on the way and plenty of red wine, which seems like it’ll keep her safely at home — until Danny’s photos throughout the apartment start talking to her. “I’m gonna need holy water, garlic, a Catholic priest …” Mindy says to herself, trying to figure out how to stop this haunting. “Wait, no, Danny loves those things.”
She flees in her car, and my relief settles in as it becomes increasingly clear that we’re in for a confident, smooth, and entertainingly surprising episode of The Mindy Project.
In the car, Mindy tries to distract herself first by singing “Love Takes Time,” which she tells us is the song she sang when she got banned from Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. (Will someone please make a comprehensive list of all the places Mindy is banned from? Thanks.) Then she listens to a radio program, but it’s all about “how female regret can lead to brain tumors.” So instead she decides to sing the entire Les Misérables soundtrack to herself, and before she knows it, she’s parked in front of her parents’ house in Massachusetts. Yay, we get some Mama Lahiri! And after Mindy’s startled mom hits her over the head with a frying pan, thinking she’s an intruder — yay, we also get some brother Rishi! Alas, Daddy Lahiri is away at a gem show in Nashville, but we’ll take what we can get.
Mindy’s disappointed to learn that her mom actually has a packed schedule for the weekend, including Disco Stretch class, so she won’t be spending all of her time comforting Mindy. Rishi and Mindy hang at home together playing board games, since he’s back at home after escaping the rigors of DJ school. Mindy explains that she’s stressed out as well, “between raising a son and satisfying my Snapchat follower.” When they decide to call their mom to complain about the lack of food available in the house they find that, gasp, she is not at Priya Auntie’s where she said she’d be! They hack into her email — okay, they open her computer and see her email right there — and discover she is having dinner with some guy named Conrad who is involved with the community theater. They’re even going to Bertinelli’s, which is so fancy it’s where you go before prom.
Rishi panics like only a coddled suburbanite adult child can (I say this as one). “They’re going to get a divorce!” he says. “Where am I going to have Christmas?” Furthermore, he blames their father: “Why does he have to buy his jeans at Kohl’s?” They’re about to head to the restaurant to crash their mom’s date when Morgan calls, saying Danny told him he might be making a mistake by marrying Sarah.
Thank goodness, Mindy chooses to confront her mom instead of heading to the wedding. Mindy and Rishi see their mom with Conrad, using “her coquettish laugh, the one she uses to get dad to buy her lawn furniture at Costco.” No shrinking violets, they rush the table. “If you want to cheat with a mom,” Mindy says to Conrad, “why don’t you go to the Chico’s at the Burlington Mall?” (The suburban jokes are gold this week.) Though Mindy’s mom denies that her assignation with Conrad is a date, it soon becomes clear that it was neither a date nor not a date. “I’m an actress,” she says later at home. “Every scene is a seduction.”
Touchingly, she wonders why she’s the only one in the family who doesn’t get to pursue her dreams. Rishi explains that she does get to live her dreams! Her dreams of cooking, cleaning, and “buy[ing] us dope presents.” Leave it to Mindy to smartly reply, “Shut up, shut up, you’re describing, like, the Taliban.” Though Mindy had planned to head straight to New York to maybe stop a wedding or something, she realizes she has to make things right for her mother first.
That’s how we get to Conrad’s place, which Mindy describes as “like where a witness lives in Spotlight.” Soon Conrad is popping herbal Viagra and trying to extract sexual favors from Mindy while also admitting that he was hoping to bed her mother. Back at home, Mama Lahiri laments, “My acting will never be as good as my boobs.” Mindy says she’s finally going to head back to New York, while Rishi promises to keep their mom distracted with his “sick beats.”
As Mindy drives, Danny’s photo starts talking to her again, this time bossing her around about which route to take. Then, luckily, Ben calls … and he drops the L bomb! He even says he knows she’s crazy, which sounds bad but is actually really sweet. He loves her and her crazy!
Mindy turns around and heads back to her mom’s house, where she’s promptly hit on the head with a pan again, but also gets homemade mac ‘n’ cheese with hot dogs. (So perfect.) And when she finally reveals that she was heading back to New York to possibly stop Danny’s wedding, Mama Lahiri has some smart stuff to say: Namely, that the voice Mindy kept hearing was not Danny’s. It was her own. Mindy has always been hard on herself, and that’s how she’s accomplished so much. But as Mama Lahiri says, “You ended up with the man who did the criticizing for you. Now that Danny’s gone, I’m worried that you’re doing the criticizing for him.”
Mindy returns the favor with some smart advice for her mom: She should write her own play! As Mama Lahiri gets out her old journals to mine for material — and to do an impromptu dramatic reading — Mindy gets a call from Danny. But she doesn’t answer it. Instead, she texts Ben that she loves him, too.