The Mindy Project returned Tuesday night, and its second-season premiere, "All My Problems Solved Forever," heartily welcomed back the show’s intrepid hero, the hopelessly romantic ob-gyn Mindy Lahiri.
When we last saw Mindy, in the first season's finale, she was about to move her entire life from New York City to Haiti to live in a tent with her pastor boyfriend, Casey. She decided to make the sacrifice despite her general aversion to tents and the outdoors, as a sign of her devotion to True Love. She also cut her hair off as a sign of her devotion to True Love. Her logic barely made sense back in May, so I'm not going to bother trying to work it out now. The upshot is that Mindy is all-in with regard to her relationship with Casey.
As this episode begins, we learn that Mindy did, indeed, move to Haiti with Casey. Fortunately for Mindy, they appear to live in an extremely fancy tent that is nicer than most Manhattan apartments. Mindy's exposure to the great outdoors appears to be minimal.
According to Mindy’s voice-over, she is enjoying her time in Haiti, after all: "Haiti's not that different from New York City, except not as many people scream at you and it smells much better."
We are treated to a montage of Mindy and Casey frolicking in Haiti. Mindy has, for reasons that are beyond me, chosen to communicate with her family and friends from home solely through handwritten letters. I read Mountains Beyond Mountains; I know that there is internet access in Haiti.
Casey eventually proposes to Mindy, which leads to an attempt at celebratory engagement sex. Instead, Mindy has to be airlifted to New York for emergency gallbladder removal surgery (there are no doctors between Haiti and New York, obviously).
Mindy wakes up in New York to find that the world has continued in her absence. We learn that Dr. Paul Leotard, a sex therapist played by James Franco, has taken her spot at the practice. Danny and Christina have reunited but are having problems in bed, and they break up before the end of the episode. Jeremy has gained weight due to stress from being the practice's managing partner. Nurse Morgan is still funny. Betsy, Tamra, and Nurse Beverly all still have roles on the show, much to my bewilderment.
Mindy is surprised to find herself in New York — perhaps she, too, thinks that they could have found a doctor closer to Haiti? — but happy to see her friends. Ike Barinholtz provided some of the episode's funniest moments, including a surprisingly hilarious exchange about Mindy failing to bring him gifts from Haiti, reminding me why I love Nurse Morgan.
Casey enters as Mindy is chatting with Danny and Morgan, and asks Mindy if she told them the good news yet. Mindy announces, "I lost three ounces of water weight from diarrhea!" Morgan high-fives her, as Casey rolls his eyes and pointedly waggles his ring finger. I've missed sassy, self-centered, and shallow Mindy. Where did she go? Did cutting her hair off sap her sass, Samson-style?
Thankfully, the end of the episode seems to herald the return of Mindy's audaciousness. Mindy admits to Danny that she actually wants to stay in New York and has no desire to return to Haiti, but she decides to go through with her marriage to Casey anyway. Fortunately for us, Casey suggests that Mindy stay in the city and work to raise money for their wedding. (Sure, Mindy could probably just sublet her enormous New York apartment to pay for the wedding, but where would that leave us?)
I’m excited to see Mindy return to New York and finagle her way back into her old practice. Mindy seemed genuinely frustrated at being replaced by another "Dr. L," and forgotten by Tamra (who greets Mindy with, "We told you, we don't want any candy bars, little boy").
Unfortunately, this may mean the end of Mindy's relationship with Casey, even though they're continuing things long-distance for the moment. It’s not a good sign that the most "awww"-inducing part of the episode in which Casey proposed had nothing to do with their relationship. For me, that moment came when Mindy wore her scrubs to get married, after Danny said, "You know what I always thought you looked nice in?"
On the topic of Danny, the show has definitely improved the quality of its subplots. Unlike some episodes, in which secondary characters' plot lines felt like filler, I felt genuinely invested in Danny’s relationship with his ex-wife — possibly more than Danny himself. Danny’s response to their breakup was priceless: "Who's going to explain Colbert to me?"
I also really enjoyed Franco’s performance as a model-turned-sex therapist, and Chloe Sevigny killed it when she snapped Danny’s laptop in half. I’m looking forward to watching Mindy and Franco battle it out next episode, as Mindy makes her return to the great city of New York.