May 7 2014 10:19am

“I Wanna Go All In”: Thoughts on The Mindy Project Season 2 Finale, “Danny and Mindy”

Mindy/Danny magic hour pic by Michael Spiller via Mindy Kaling's InstagramThis 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: (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.

Find Heather Waters on Twitter at @hwaters_

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. lauralee1912
Squee! I love how Danny couldn't stay away and the way he was revealed as "Andy." Great rom-com stuff!

I have to say, though, the scene with Mindy trying to break up gently with Charlie the detective was perfect. Loved the way he gently kissed her and stepped away.
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
@lauralee1912 -- Oh, Charlie was FANTASTIC. Others have said this before me but he's basically Danny in 15 years (except Danny loves Mindy and would never let her go), so he was the perfect foil.

The slow pan up from the keyboard to reveal Danny was a stroke of genius. And Morgan finding out! And Tamra being so angry that Mindy was stood up! And Peter giving Mindy a talking-to! Gah, I loved it all.
Anna Bowling
5. AnnaBowling
@lauralee1912, Mindy and Charlie's last scene was lovely, and I actually cheered when Danny was revealed as Andy. This is rom-com at its finest.

@redline_, Yessssss on Charlie being Danny in 15 years, but of course Danny wouldn't let Mindy get away. :happy sigh: The whole episode was perfect.

@smexybooks, I wholeheartedly concur.
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
@Anna -- Oh, let's talk about this! I was super spoiled for the episode, so I already knew Andy was Danny. Did you know in advance? If not, did he give himself away to you before the reveal?
Anna Bowling
7. AnnaBowling
@reline_, yes, let's talk! I was completely unspoiled, so it was a surprise for me to see Andy was Danny, though I could tell from the onset that the main dynamic was going to be with Mindy and Danny, rather than Mindy and Andy.
Heather Waters
8. HeatherWaters
@AnnaBowling -- Oh, that's awesome! I adored the slow pan up from the computer to Danny's face, and then the voice switched over to his...*happy sigh*

A few people were saying they didn't think Danny was acting nervous enough about whether Mindy would buy the scheme when she found the missed connection listing, but I thought it was very in-character--after all, Danny pulled off the Secret Santa thing ("Here, I got you some medical gauze," "Here, take this stapler," etc. before giving her the dance).
9. lauralee1912
@redline_ Danny knows Mindy and he knew she would fall for it, and especially after he discouraged her. :) To me, once I figured it out, it was absolutely in character. And I was unspoiled and surprised.
Anna Bowling
10. AnnaBowling
@redline_, the slow pan was gorgeous, and I do think it was very in character for Danny. He may be curmudgeonly on the outside, but that's only to protect the soft center...does that make him sound like a Tootsie Pop? Though I don't think Mindy would mind the analogy.

@lauralee1912, oh yes, Danny knows Mindy better than anyone, and his telling her not to pursue Andy was the best nudge he could give her in that direction. Smart guy, that Danny. His ruse was totally in character, but that camera pan was a lovely suprise for us unspoiled folk.
11. ParanormalChic
Except, now I'm wondering if this happened too soon in the series for it to last. I love them together.. now I'm just waiting for their inevitiable doom.
Heather Waters
12. HeatherWaters
@lauralee1912 -- Oh, I'm so glad, and I agree! I loved his reverse psychology with the whole "Promise me you won't contact him." He does know her so well.

@AnnaBowling -- Awwww, he's totally a Tootsie Pop.
Heather Waters
13. HeatherWaters
@ParanormalChic -- I totally understand that fear, but I think that people were also getting tired of seeing Mindy date someone new every week when they knew she'd eventually get together with Danny. So maybe Mindy Kaling will be able to use this opportunity to set a new standard in comedy and show us how you can keep a couple interesting. I have to say that because of how the characters are set up (they can literally bicker over EVERYTHING, it's great!), I can see lots of fun potential conflicts in their future. Fingers crossed!
Anna Bowling
14. AnnaBowling
@ParanormalChic, I understand that fear, too, but with characters like Mindy and Danny, I don't see an end to challenges at different stages of their relationship. The writers and cast are talented enough to stretch the boundaries of what we know as the sitcom repetorie and give us something new and satisfying.
K.M. Jackson
15. kwanawrites
Oh my, I couldn't love it more. This was perfection. I look forward to seeing how Mindy and Danny get along. They are different enough to make the conflict lots of fun.
16. Cassandra B.
I loved the first season of the show, but I really didn't like the way Mindy and Casey broke-up early in the season. I didn't mind they broke-up, but I just could not buy into the way in which Casey was flip-flopped from a solid guy to a flake and I stopped watching. But I followed some of the blog posts on this site and got drawn back in after the big kiss between Mindy and Danny. I watched several of the past episodes last week and was prepped for the season finale. I loved it! The build-up was worth it and I am back to being a fan. But as mentioned by others, I have the fear that it might quickly be off again in this on and off again relationship. Mindy is a great character, but a new relationship every three episodes isn't working for me. I, too, hope that the writers focus on making a long-lasting relationship between Danny and Mindy interesting and fun!
Anna Bowling
17. AnnaBowling
@kawanawrites, it was perfection indeed, and I have no doubts Mindy and Danny have lots of conflict yet to come, as their romance grows.

@Cassandra B., that big kiss was powerful enough to draw viewers in and never let go. I'm sure the writers and actors can make Mindy and Danny's relationship fun and romantic at every stage.
Post a comment