This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of The Mindy Project, including last night’s Season 2 finale (2x22), “Danny and Mindy.” Enjoy!
That feeling of supreme satisfaction you get when you turn the last page of an epic romance novel? That smug smile that you just can't wipe away once the hero and heroine finally declare their love? That urge to tell the world to dive into this story now now now? The Mindy Project came through on all counts last night, wrapping up a two-season will-they-or-won't-they romance arc with multiple grand gestures inspired by beloved rom-coms and a happily-for-now so delightful and well-earned that fans can hardly even begrudge the summer hiatus ahead.
Taken alone, “Danny and Mindy” is a charming episode of TV, but when you look at it as the last 20 minutes of a much longer story, it becomes seriously impressive, not to mention dangerously romantic. As in, the feelings it evokes might just kill you. After all, if you've been watching the series since the pilot episode, you undertand EXACTLY how far Danny Castellano has come from his “Who would do that???” exclamation at the sight of Billy Crystal running to Meg Ryan at the end of When Harry Met Sally, which Danny once disrespectfully dubbed When Doofus Met Dummy but which he now VOLUNTARILY watches for Mindy. And if you've been watching since “Harry and Mindy,” you also understand how far Mindy has come; where once she was positive the Empire State Building was the romantic ideal*, now she understands that in reality the location is the least important part of her relationship with Mr. Right. “Why did you make me come to this stupid place?” she asks as she recovers from her climb to the top of the ESB, clearly over the moon that Danny (“possibly the love of [her] life”) answers with a simple “Because you love it, and I love you.” SWOON. What a gift this show has given us that we got to follow these two through so many life lessons and become deeply invested only to actually get rewarded with a worthy payoff. Even that period of delicious despair is beautiful in hindsight, no? Look at where it got us!
Shipping a TV couple rarely pays off this well, let me tell you from personal experience. This is huge, guys. HUGE.
But onto the episode itself with a recap courtesy of the much more coherent and eloquent Anna.
*(Though it should be worth noting for the record that Mindy won that particular argument from Season 1—the ESB did indeed turn out to be her/their most romantic place. So far.)
On a morning subway ride, Mindy distracts herself from Danny’s chatter about mimes by making eyes at a handsome man in a nearby seat. Though she denies “eye-banging” the Salinger-reading stranger, when she spies a missed connections ad in the newspaper, she’s delighted. Danny warns her against responding, but as soon as his back is turned, Mindy whips off an email to her mysterious suitor, who gives his name as Andy.
Later that night, as soon as Mindy bids farewell to her escort for the evening, Charlie the cop, she gets an email from Andy, who wants to meet her in person. Mindy agrees to meet Andy for drinks after her next date with Charlie. The camera pulls back to reveal that “Andy” is actually Danny, and Morgan has caught him in the lie. Danny confesses he’s still in love with Mindy, and created the Andy persona in order to get Mindy interested in him again.
On her date with Charlie, Mindy means to come clean, but Charlie beats her to the punch; he already knows she has feelings for somebody else and wants to explore those. Mindy is impressed. Did Charlie use his keen detective skills to ferret out the info? Nope, he read her phone while she was in the bathroom.
En route to drinks with Andy, atop the Empire State Building, Mindy asks Danny's help in getting gum out of her hair. Danny, about to head out to meet her, can't fend her off, and speed-strips to shirt and shorts so that Mindy will believe he was staying in all night, watching something special on TV. The two talk while Danny de-gums Mindy’s hair, and he excuses himself to the bathroom.
Mindy tells Danny the two of them were never right for each other, from the other side of the bathroom door, and heads out to her date with Andy. A dejected Danny stays put, leaving Mindy to wait on the observation deck, alone.
The next morning, Mindy calls out sick, after catching cold the night before. A guilty Danny rushes over, with a good book and chicken soup. He wants to talk about Andy.
Mindy doesn’t want to talk about Andy. She should have stayed at Danny's place and hung out there all night. Will he stay now? They'll do whatever boring thing he wants.
Danny will stay, but they'll watch When Harry Met Sally.
They tour the city together later on, in a montage with voiceover by Danny, visiting every place Meg Ryan ever cried in a movie, and it’s comfortable and easy between them. Perfect, right? Eh, not so much.
In the subway again, Mindy sees “Andy” and rages at him for standing her up, but “Andy,” a European student, has no idea who Mindy is. Danny confesses that he is Andy. Mindy does not take this well.
Danny wants to explain. He was trying to be romantic. She would get to the top of the Empire State Building, see him waiting there for her, and everything would be all right. He loves Mindy and wants to be with her.
Mindy isn't buying it. Danny loves Mindy until he doesn't.
Danny insists his love is real, and he'll prove it, if Mindy will meet him again atop the Empire State Building. He doesn't care if Mindy says no. He'll wait all night, even if she doesn't show. Mindy replies that she can't. She has plans...not to be the stupidest person in the world.
By nine-fifteen that night, Mindy, still in her office, gets a big surprise. All of her co-workers barge in, urging her to meet Danny, and in one case, dragging her by the hair into Danny's office to show her the pair of earrings he's kept all this time. Mindy dashes to the Empire State Building, only to find none of the elevators are working. Mindy doesn't care, as she's off to rendezvous with the possible love of her life. She charges up the stairs.
The gang, fresh from their intervention with Mindy, turns on Danny, whom they find chowing down on pizza, having left the observation deck after an hour of no Mindy. Chastened and desperate not to blow this, Danny races off, only to be struck by a cab. Even that doesn't stop him. He takes the now-working elevator, only to find Mindy still isn't there.
Except that she is, exhausted and lying flat on her back on the observation deck. Elated, Danny lies down next to her. He loves her, and he wants to go all in with her. After a friendly argument over the number of children they’ll have, Danny silences Mindy with a passionate kiss.
And another ass grab!!!!! Cannot leave that out. Stick a fork in me, I am DONE.
|Image source: annieedisons.tumblr.com (click for full gifset)|
Mindy/Danny magic hour image source: Michael Spiller via Mindy Kaling's Instagram
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.
Heather Waters is the site manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers and a 24/7 fangirl. Dandy 'shipper since day 1. Tweet her @redline_.