One of the reasons I was so disappointed to hear that Adam Pally was leavingÂ The Mindy ProjectÂ back during the show’s third season was that it meant the (onscreen) end of Peter and Mindy’s friendship, which had quickly become one of my favorite relationships on the show. The dynamic between the two of them was so entertaining, marvelous, and unique that I didn’t want to see it disappear. Thankfully, after wasting what I had feared was Pally’s one reappearance this season,Â The Mindy ProjectÂ gifted us with this week’s “The Departed,”a half hour that finds both Mindy and Peter stumbling their way into a bereavement support group after a big misunderstanding. It’s easily the best Danny-less episode that we’ve seen so far in Season 4.
While Mindy and Peter have always been able to be honest with each other and give each other tough love when needed, the two of them also indulge each other’s worst tendencies more than they would probably like two admit. Both sides of their friendship are on full display in “The Departed,” as Peter initially insists that Mindy tell James (Steven Weber, who can currently be found on one of my other favorite TV shows,Â iZombie)Â and his group the truth about Danny being alive before he’s quickly seduced by the celebrities, women, and wealth that are promised at the Nike executive’s party. Mindy and Peter give into their troubling impulses throughout most of the episode, continuing the cover-up until James kisses Mindy and she blurts out that her fiance is still very much alive; and while their actions are by no means defensible, Mindy and Peter’s ridiculous journey does provide some incredible comedic moments andÂ forces Mindy to confront the issues that are plaguing her very real, very alive relationship with Danny.
Although not an actual widow, Mindy finds comfort and solace in the bereavement group; these are people who will listen to her without complaint or judgment, and having the opportunity to open up about how much she misses Danny is a wonderful outlet for her. Still though, as much as talking about Danny helps her deal with his absence, Mindy doesn’t get what she truly needs until Peter mentions that her and Danny’s relationship may not be as perfect as she would like to believe it is. While it’s obvious that Danny loves her, the two of them lack balance, with him constantly making all the decisions that Mindy simply follows, and as Peter knows very well, Mindy Lahiri is not the type of person who simply sits by and gives up a piece of herself, which is why it’s so exciting and mostly satisfying when she tells Danny that they need to talk “right now” in the episode’s closing moments.
Of course, Mindy and Danny’s conversation doesn’t happen, as her phone call, and the wonderful ringtone that is Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” lets both Mindy and viewers know that Danny is finally back, but the fact that Mindy finally takes action and makes a choice for herself, against what Danny wants, is a major step. As Mindy ProjectÂ fans will remember, Mindy was about to tell Danny that she didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom (something that he encouraged her to be) before he left for California; any feelings of loneliness or dissatisfaction that she’s had since there are a byproduct of that important conversation being cut short.
That’s why Danny’s return home (although Chris Messina is still not onscreen for it) works as both a warm and hopeful moment for his and Mindy’s relationship but also a significant start for the change that must come. Danny’s arrival back in New York cannot simply be a return to the status quo that has dominated these last few weeks ofÂ The Mindy Project. As “The Departed” announces, Mindy needs to regain her place in her and Danny’s relationship, ensuring that her needs and desires are given equal weight to his. The sounds of “Fat Bottomed Girls” signal that this pivotal encounter is coming; here’s hoping that Mindy and DannyÂ can figure out a new, better way to come together and ensure that whatever clash that awaits will make them a stronger, happier couple.
- Also in this episode: Morgan and Colette go see Tamra’s music performance, only to find out that all her songs are about Morgan. She says that it’s only because singing about their past relationship makes her more relatable (like Taylor Swift), but there’s some hints near the end of “The Departed” that indicate that Tamra may still be harboring feelings for her ex.
- Peter stealing Mindy’s stunt double story was already great, but the fact that he says his wife died while filming a motorcycle stunt forÂ The InternÂ (that didn’t even make it into to the movie!)Â makes the whole thing even better.
- Also, how sweet were the shoes that Peter got for Mindy?Â “They reminded me of you: They’re bold, tough, and totally inappropriate for work.”
- Really loved Kevin Smith returning for another cameo. It was a nice callback to the plane ride in Season 2’s “L.A.”
- Peter’s “Sh*t just got real” reaction to the widow carrying her husband’s ashes had me laughing so hard that I had to pause the episode. AdamÂ Pally, can’t you hang around, please?
- Mindy’s continued obsession withÂ Dora the ExplorerÂ is my favorite recurring gag. This week, she says the promos for the next episode seem “ambiguous.”
- “Fat Bottomed Girls” is an amazing song, and its use in “The Departed” may have directly impacted the score I gave the episode.
- “I’m gonna tell my husband to haunt you. Have you ever seen a Hispanic ghost?” “No.” “Well you’re gonna.”
- “Who would Danny be a stunt double for? Anna Kendrick?”
- “I have never seen anything so shameful, and I come from the combined worlds of corporate finance and professional sports.”
What did you think of this week’s episode ofÂ The Mindy Project? Comment below and let me know.
[Photo credit: Jordin Althaus/Universal Television]