Mindy Lahiri was living her nightmare at the end of season 3 of The Mindy Project. Her boyfriend, and father of her unborn child, had just revealed he never wanted to get married. In the 4th season premiere, “While I Was Sleeping,” just released on its new home, Hulu, Mindy lives an even worse nightmare.
But let’s start with what happens in real life:
Danny and the Binder Full of Bachelors
Danny, as the viewers know, has shown up at Mindy’s parents’ house to declare his love for their daughter. Predictably, the brown-skinned man to whom he gives his first version of the speech is not related to Mindy. When Danny sees the big-ass knife in the hands of the real Mr. Lahiri, he decides discretion is the better part of valor and introduces himself as Mindy’s coworker.
We find out Morgan keeps in touch with the Lahiris and sends them presents all the time, because of course. As Danny gets to know the Lahiris, it becomes clear there’s a genetic source for a lot of Mindy’s quirks. Mr. Lahiri drops pop-culture references non-stop, like Mindy — but with more sports stars involved; Mrs. Lahiri swans around dramatically, singing unnecessarily and liberally applying “Ex-squeeze me?”s.
When it turns out the Lahiris had an arranged marriage (another foot-in-mouth moment for Danny) and that they have a righteous grudge against the unnamed man who got Mindy pregnant but wouldn’t marry her, Danny jumps head-first into helping them select an arranged marriage partner for his girlfriend.
The Lahiris have a pretty sweet Binder Full of Bachelors from which to select Mindy’s husband. Of course, just as he did with Mindy’s actual boyfriends before they were together, Danny finds something wrong with each one.
But Morgan shows up, with his usual disregard for boundaries or rationality, just as Danny’s sucking up to the not-in-laws with a home-cooked Italian meal. Of course, Morgan has invited over a sexy Indian dude who went on tour as a hip-hop dancer in his youth but now owns a hedge fund.
Once Morgan’s bachelor figures out that Mindy is pregnant, he decides he’s not really getting a great deal out of this. Danny finally admits he’s the father of Mindy’s child, expecting to be excoriated because he has (his term) “issues” and doesn’t want to get married.
Double reversal! Danny suddenly realizes that if he’d known marriage could look like it does for the Lahiris (who are still madly in love, despite the supposedly “archaic” arranged marriage), he might not have been so against it. The Lahiris realize that he’s committed to Mindy and clarify that they never meant he had to be married-married to her.
So it looks like just as Danny was almost won over to the idea of marriage, Mindy’s own parents killed the momentum of his change by reminding him that commitment and marriage can be separate.
Meanwhile, Mindy Basically Just Stays Unconscious for the Whole Episode
Mindy goes to sleep in a huff, wishing she’d never started to date Danny, who not only just announced he’s against marriage but has also mysteriously disappeared, leaving her alone and pregnant. She even turns down a picture of him on her nightstand. Take that, photo-Danny.
When she wakes up, she’s in bed with someone else. Panic time! Even seeing the generally pleasing features of Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn’t calm her right away. But when she realizes she’s married to him, her ring has a diamond the size of an olive, and they live in a sick apartment on Gramercy Park (“There’s Jon Stewart eating a hot dog!” she exclaims), she starts to come around to this new life of hers.
Mindy, voice-over: “OK, Detective Mindy. You just need to focus, be cool, and ask him normal questions.”
Mindy, out loud: “Hey honey. Can I see your birth certificate?”
Turns out Mindy’s living her wish: that she never started dating Danny Castellano. She and “Handsome Matt,” her husband in her parallel life, apparently have a great meet-cute story that involves him mistaking her for a man, about five minutes before the Danny-Mindy airplane kiss of Original Timeline. Plus, Mindy’s not pregnant, so she can enjoy a lunch of “sushi and a forty.” Score!
Until the worst thing happens: Brendan Deslaurier, Detested Midwife Extraordinaire, comes into Mindy’s office and starts nuzzling her neck, uninvited.
Deslaurier, disgruntled: Well, Mindy, I like to think I exist in multiple realities as well. However, in this one, I can tell we’re not going to have sex, sooo I’m gonna go.
Then Mindy, who’s not doing great at asking people normal questions today, busts into Danny’s office and demands a description of their current relationship. “Hostile, frosty,” he Merriam-Websters. It turns out she never even invited him to her wedding, and he doesn’t think she’s a very good person. Wonder why!
When Mindy, wearing an enviable low-cut sequined dress, bravely confesses her infidelity to Handsome Matt (well, not that bravely: she’s planning to take him for half his assets if he doesn’t forgive her), he’s all, “…So?” They have an open marriage, apparently, which Mindy thinks is only appropriate when you’re joking about your relationship with chili fries. Handsome Matt is pretty mad that Mindy’s backing out of their plan to have a threesome with his college roommate, though.
Disillusioned, she finds Danny at a restaurant with his girlfriend, the actual Freida Pinto. When Freida refuses to give the psychotic interloper alone time with her boyfriend, Mindy sits on her. Pained yelping ensues. “If you ate more that wouldn’t hurt so much,” Mindy victim-blames, awesomely.
She finally gets Danny outside of the restaurant by playing the parallel-timeline pregnancy card, and the two have a rain-soaked confrontation, ticking off another romantic comedy must-have. “Why didn’t you kiss me?” Mindy demands, in the same heartbroken tone she once used to demand why he did kiss her only to dump her. Danny says she’d just have cheated on him. She kisses him dramatically, but he pushes her off and yells at her. Then he kisses her, even more dramatically. (I like how Mindy Kaling managed to give this romantic duo a satisfying “reunion” arc without actually breaking them up.)
Danny stomps away and Mindy, calling that he makes her a better person and she does the same for him, and that she wants him and not a husband, gets hit by a bus.
Happily Ever After…?
Mindy wakes up screaming in horror, but Danny has somehow taken a super-sonic jet, or possibly an FTL battleship, home from India and is there to hold her.
Gift-of-the-Magi-style, Mindy says she’s happy to be with him and doesn’t need to be married, but Danny has realized he wants to be wrong about marriage. Mindy’s eyes light up as he segues into a proposal. (Somehow, he also managed to get a ring while Mindy was sleeping. Either Danny is magical, or Mindy took like nine Ambien before going to sleep and seventy-two hours have passed.)
Fannishness for this couple aside, I’m really glad Mindy got what she wanted because I wouldn’t want to watch a whole season of her patiently, or impatiently, waiting for Danny to commit without ever knowing if he would. Too painful, and potentially too destructive for even Mindy’s buoyant ego. Instead, I have to assume based on the pace of recent developments that we’ll see Mindy plan a black-tie-sari Indian-Italian fusion wedding in about the first ten minutes of next week’s episode.
all images copyright Hulu and The Mindy Project