The Mindy Project, “Lahiri Family Values”

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I hate to say that this was one of the more disappointing episodes of the season, mainly because everything felt kind of off. We’re clearly spearheading toward a major plot change, and this episode kind of haphazardly dealt with closing certain doors and opening up new ones. We got a number of cameos, but everything about this episode felt disconnected and I felt like the show could’ve gone one direction but is going another.

The big thing here is Mindy wants to pursue a fertility clinic and pushes the issue for Danny to move to SF to start the practice with Gurglar and herself. This in itself is a fine jumping off point to address a major plot point – what is next for the fate of Mindy and Danny’s relationship. Not only is the end mildly dissatisfying, it draws connections to otherwise unrelated material that doesn’t soundly connect back to the conclusion of Mindy starting the fertility clinic instead in NYC. When Mindy goes back to San Francisco, she and Gurglar visit the bank to find out if they were approved for their small business loan. Sure, it’s fun for it to reveal Mindy is the reason their loan almost didn’t go through, but the launch into Mindy’s resolution with her brother just didn’t feel right. I would’ve wanted better for the comeback of Rishi, but this was odd and not as fun as I’d hoped. Mindy wants to hold out and give her brother a second chance after he basically destroyed her credit by not paying his rent while she’s the guarantor on his lease. Rishi is a fun character, but played in this pathetic way, I’m not so sure. It then becomes this hunt to get Rishi out of drug dealing and at a proper job, which Mindy just drops when Gurglar resists and then she just goes back to NY and abandons actually helping her brother. This felt both very Mindy and very un-Mindy. The decision to ultimately go back last minute? Makes sense, kind of. I would’ve loved to explore the Stanford life more. To ditch out on Rishi after she gave him such a hard time? THIS doesn’t make sense to me.

Danny dealing with telling everyone he’s moving to San Francisco is probably the gag that fit the usual Mindy mold – we have that trope of miscommunication and misunderstanding when Morgan overhears Danny adjusting his will to add Mindy and him saying he’s “leaving.” Everyone getting all somber for Danny thinking he’s dying was actually pretty fun, and it’s, again, the funniest Jeremy’s been in a while. When Jeremy isn’t being a dog, and he starts weirdly revealing how odd and sad his upbringing was, he’s great, and he hinted as such (like with his Aunt Imogen “visiting” him) And even with the Staten Island boys choir coming to sing a final round of “amazing grace” was a great step. The sad thing here is after all this effort Danny put in to let go his ties – and he was clearly otherwise stubborn about leaving NY behind – Mindy is just deciding to move back after he’s all settled up. I’ve never seen Mindy and Danny as a couple so disconnected.

And adding a cameo for Cliff to drive a faux wedge between Danny and Mindy felt like a cheap comeback. It was great to see Cliff write off Mindy as she’s asking for legal advice – I mean, she totally did him wrong. But that final elevator ride with Danny was unnecessary tension, and only served to have Danny find out Mindy wants to get Cliff’s old office space for her fertility clinic.

The more fun cameo was John Cho as “Big Murda,” an actually well-to-do, very businessman-like drug dealer. Though jumping into Mindy confronting Rishi’s drug dealer boss is totally outlandish, I did enjoy seeing John Cho acknowledge the thought of “hey, let’s break the typical druglord stereotypes here.”

If Mindy is really done with Stanford, I’ll miss what was established out there so briefly. I wanted to see more develop with Neepa, Rishi, and Gurglar. I enjoyed seeing Mindy come out into her own. The introduction to Mindy’s pregnancy was such a well crafted arc, and it seemed like this episode was half a throwaway to propel forward other movement in the Mindy projection for this season. Let’s hope the next episode gets us back on track.

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