“The Mindy Project” – Two to One episode review 1

Mindy, Jeremy, and Danny inherit the practice after Dr. Shulman’s retirement

★★★½☆

Well, that was actually a pretty solid episode of The Mindy Project. I didn’t like it quite as much as “Thanksgiving,” but I definitely enjoyed it far more than last week’s “Teen Patient.” At least in “Two to One,” Mindy acts like the capable, intelligent professional that she is, even if Danny and Jeremy don’t realize that at first.

The episode opens on the reveal that Mindy hasn’t been home much lately; with her hectic schedule of delivering her patients’ babies she keeps crashing on the couch in the lounge to the sweet soundtrack of late night Law & Order marathons. The main plot of the episode kicks off with an emergency page Mindy receives from Jeremy: Dr. Shulman (who, to be honest, I had almost completely forgotten existed because he was barely present) has retired, leaving Jeremy, Mindy, and Danny to run the practice.

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Mindy heads off to deal with one of her patients, Lauren, who has brought in WebMD printouts of things she thinks are wrong with her, which is hilarious to me because I am literally one hypochondriac step away from being that girl in the doctor’s office. Mindy shows off her excellent patient relations skills (as opposed to her dealings with Sophia last week) by setting Lauren at ease.

Mindy then meets with Danny, Jeremy, and the practice’s attorney to discuss the matter of their assets. Turns out they’d be personally liable if the practice were to go under. That’s a pretty terrifying prospect, one that’s immediately complicated by the news that they’re starting to lose Dr. Shulman’s old patients to the midwives at the holistic birthing clinic upstairs.

Danny demonstrates his callous capacity to A) not take any advice from anyone ever and B) treat his women patients as a group of consumers rather than individuals by deciding a mass email offering a 20% discount on copays is the best way to get their patients back. Mindy suggests calling patients individually (which, granted, is a time consuming but good idea), but is immediately shut down. Danny has also apparently launched a taxicab ad campaign featuring Jeremy as the face of the practice. I don’t know about any of you, but I actively try to avoid medical practices advertised on public transportation.

Shauna and Betsey refuse to send up any patient files for the women who have transferred, and end up confronted by Diana, the administrative assistant from upstairs. Betsey predictably gets a little weird in her hostility (“You’ll have to pry them from our cold dead fingers,” etc), but I like her and Shauna as a team. They seem to be able to balance each other out well, which I wouldn’t have expected from the very beginning.

In the midst of this crisis, Mindy’s reluctant to take her scheduled day off tomorrow for “Best Friends Day.” I’m not even mad that Danny hates the name for her day off with her two friends because “Best Friends Day” is a little juvenile-sounding. He and Jeremy push her to take some time for herself and go, though their motives are clearly sneaky, since they are currently overriding Mindy’s prenatal patient resource center idea for the newly empty office and opting for storage instead. We’ve known for a while that Danny’s uncomfortable with Mindy (and I suspect women in general) being in a position of power over him, and now we see that play out in his power trip, fueled by Jeremy’s willing support.

Out in reception, Shauna’s dealing with a literal pain in the neck after all this stress. Who should swoop in to her rescue but Brendan (Mark Duplass), one of the very midwives stealing their patients? His brother and co-midwife Duncan (Jay Duplass) arrives as well, and they get into a masculinity contest with Danny over intelligence and the title of “doctor.” I am so over Danny’s power issues (remember when he went to get his license?), but I enjoy the Duplass brothers’ performances.

Mindy takes her day off with her friends, Gwen and some woman we’ve never met before named Alex (Kelen Coleman). There is no explanation offered as to why this “best friend” of hers has never been mentioned. It might be because she’s pretty abrasive; while she does land a couple good bits of dialogue, I feel she might be best in very small doses. Her aggressive confrontation of the woman in the sample sale who jacked Mindy’s skirt was a little over-the-top for me.

I did, however, enjoy Betsey’s frantic texts to Mindy popping up on screen as Mindy read them. That was admittedly pretty cool, and I was not surprised to learn that Betsey types in very stereotypical chatspeak. We flash over to the office, where chaos is slowly taking hold as they lose more and more patients to the midwives. Jeremy makes some questionable remarks about not being hirable by another practice (being too tan for England is a little bit funny, being a “constant erotic distraction” to women is not so much) and reveals that he doesn’t want to lead at all, he just wants Danny to make the decisions.

Betsey calls in reinforcements in the form of Mindy, finally getting through to her via Gwen’s phone. Patients seem to be fleeing en masse, and while this plot point makes less sense the more women up and leave the practice all at once, I think I’ll just let that go for the sake of suspending my disbelief. Now that it’s gotten personal, Mindy marches back to the office and immediately takes charge of the situation. Dare I call it character growth? I wouldn’t have thought the Mindy from the pilot could command Shauna, Betsey, and Morgan without even asking them to follow her, yet here they were, filing behind her up to the holistic birthing clinic.

Mindy clatters the gong in the waiting room to summon the midwife brothers out of their offices for a little confrontation. She questions Brendan and Duncan about what they would do if someone was having a heart attack, proving that she’d be more helpful in a medical emergency. She then addresses the room full of pregnant women, making the case for “real” medicine: if they have anything but a normal birth, the midwives pass them off to the obstetricians anyway, so they might as well come back now. Mindy also makes a problematic comment in the course of this speech where she calls two of the larger ladies obese, demonstrating yet again how this show often sours a funny scene by incorporating a line that goes too far.

With Danny’s announcement that they’ll be incorporating a new prenatal resource center, Mindy and the team have won their patients back. Brendan removes an eyelash from Mindy’s cheek on her way out and has her make a wish, which she finds hot and I find very, very strange. Sometimes I just accept that I will never understand certain moments on this show.

Back in their office, Danny admits to owing Mindy an apology. After she makes him give her ten dollars as part of her metaphor, he actually apologizes to her, as does Jeremy.  He tries to pawn the responsibility of leadership off on the two of them, but Mindy and Danny vote two to one that he needs to share equally in their three person partnership. Aww, they’ve come full circle from before. The guys head home while Mindy scrubs up and heads into surgery to deliver another baby. She snuggles up on the lounge couch afterwards, and is pleasantly surprised by Josh. To be honest, I was too. That was an unexpectedly sweet gesture on his part. Maybe he’s growing too after their conversation about “forever” last episode. They make out as the cleaning lady vacuums around them, and everything is much less sweet. Couldn’t they have waited five minutes until she left?

Beyond that detail, though, the ending was pretty satisfactory. In fact, this episode overall was an improvement from last week. While there were still several problematic elements for me, I enjoyed seeing Mindy starting to get her life more under control than it was even just a few episodes ago. I also really liked the Duplass brothers’ midwife characters. Hopefully they come back for some more doctor/midwife rivalry in a later episode.

Favorite Lines from “Two to One”

Mindy: “Et tu, Morgan?” Morgan: “No, I think there’s only one.”

Duncan: “Does this plant have a utility or is it strictly decorative?” Morgan: “One time I put sunglasses and a hat on it.”

Mindy: “They took a vote, majority ruled. Hello, I thought we lived in a democracy!”