The Mindy Project: 3.11 “Christmas” Review

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December 10, 2014 by Rebecca VanAcker

Last night’s episode of The Mindy Project continued last week’s trend of one character making me really, really proud and another making me really, really angry. But before I get to that, let’s break down what happened this “Christmas”.

As we learned a few weeks back, Mindy Lahiri is hoping to be engaged by year’s end, and time is a ticking. In a perfectly in-character move, she begins interrogating jewelry store employees and piecing together Danny’s shredded credit card statements, at which point she finds a $20,000 charge for “Forever Stones”. When you add in the fact that Danny has been discussing stones and settings over the phone, Mindy is pretty damn sure that she’s leaving that night’s date with a ring on her finger. But alas, at said date Danny excitedly tells her that he bought a cemetery plot, and what’s worse, it’s a solo cemetery plot. Ouch.

Earlier in the episode, impressed by Mindy’s teaching ability, Dr. Fishman suggests that Mindy apply for a fellowship at Stanford. At the time, Mindy tells her she’s not sure, since Danny may be proposing, but when he doesn’t, bounces back nicely and tells Dr. Fishman that she will definitely be applying. One thing I liked about this move for Mindy was that it was clear that she was applying because she actually wanted to, not because she was reeling from the non-proposal. Instead, as Mindy explained to Danny a couple of scenes later, she very logically came to the conclusion that since they aren’t engaged or married yet, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this kind of opportunity. Again, so proud!

Now onto the character I’m less proud of: Danny, who I’m choosing to believe did the following because he couldn’t handle being apart from Mindy for eight months, talks to Peter about the fellowship, who says that Mindy has put him in a proposal trap (really, guys?) and that she doesn’t actually want to go to Stanford. Armed with this supposed knowledge, Danny sabotages Dr. LaDroe’s letter of recommendation for Mindy, by telling him that she isn’t serious about it (again, really?!). At that evening’s Christmas, er, Holiday party, Danny discovers Mindy crying in her office, after learning that Dr. LaDroe didn’t write the letter. He says it sucks but “You didn’t really want to go, did you?” To which she responds: “Of course I wanted to go. I wanted to go so badly that I was willing to be away from you.”

For me, this is exactly what’s been wrong with their relationship the last few episodes. Mindy continues to prove that she knows Danny extremely well (look no further than the Ken Burns-style and Ken Burns-featuring documentary that she put together for him) and Danny continues to prove that he’s basically clueless about what Mindy wants. He’s also fallen into a pattern of realizing he screwed up, and then rather than confessing that, covering it up with a grand gesture, as he did here. After Danny sees how much the fellowship means to Mindy, he replaces Dr. LaDroe’s letter with a very sweet one he wrote himself, and races to deliver it to Dr. Fishman on time. When he shares this with Mindy she’s thrilled, even more so when we fast forward two weeks and learn that she got the fellowship (you go, girl).

My issue with this pattern is that it makes their relationship feel unequal. Danny constantly gets to play the hero, even though, unbeknownst to Mindy, he’s saving his own skin as well. And really, it’s going to be hard for him to remain a lovable character if he continues to do so. Danny, maybe in the latter half of the season do a little more dancing and a little less lying, ‘kay? And speaking of the rest of the season, I’m curious to see what this fellowship will mean for Danny and Mindy’s relationship. With the place they’re at now, I think it could be really good for both of them, as well as their relationship, to have a little time apart. O.k., with that rant over, let’s move on to the rest of the episode…

Impressed with how Pete has matured, Danny agrees to set him up with a doctor friend of his. After a popcorn mix-up, said friend, Jessica, approaches Morgan in the hospital lounge thinking that he’s Peter. Morgan thinks she’s Danny’s Secret Santa gift to him, and very happily goes on a date with her. And it’s a good date apparently, because it’s not until the morning after that Morgan realizes she thinks that he’s Peter. At the office party, Jessica shows up unannounced and Morgan convinces the whole office to say that he’s Peter (including, amusingly, Peter himself). This works until Mindy’s documentary, complete with name cards, exposes the ruse. Jessica leaves, but later on that night, Morgan tracks her down and convinces her to give him another shot. I really like these two together (And I’m a huge Julia Stiles fan), so I hope that we have more episodes with Jessica in the new year.

As an added bonus, Peter (who I was originally kind of sad for when Morgan accidently stole his date) has a nice moment with Lauren at the party, where he gives her a truck he bought for her son. I feel like the writers are building towards a reconciliation for these two (sorry, Jeremy!) which could be interesting.

The notable quotables:

“I know, can you imagine being tan in February?” – Mindy, on why Stanford is an incredible opportunity

“You are so wise. Why are you wasting time on medicine? You should be a life coach on The Biggest Loser.” – Mindy, impressed with Jean’s career advice

“I’m fighting two urges here: date a smart, beautiful woman I have earned through self-improvement, or help a bro get a girl by lying.” – Peter, torn about Morgan and Jessica

“Through the years, Danny overcame such obstacles as: poverty, sizeism, and skank addiction to graduate from medical school.” –Mindy, in Danny’s documentary

What are your thoughts on this episode and the season so far? Let me know in the comment section!


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