Since leaving The Mindy Project over the holidays, this week’s episode picked up where it left off with Mindy and Cliff’s budding relationship. Facing typical new relationship “firsts,” Mindy finds out that slipping off satin sheets is nothing compared to getting in a bikini. But after Cliff suggests a romantic getaway featuring a jacuzzi, Mindy is left to do just that with her winter body (“Over the holiday I had five hams and a goose, like I am a wolf in a children’s story!”). Though she and Cliff have reached a “UTI” level of intimacy, Mindy reveals that through a series of illusions she can have sex without being seen naked. (“I pretend that I’m really into blindfolds.”) Tasked with getting in shape and prying her hand out of a coffee cake, Mindy briefly employs Morgan before upgrading to Danny as her personal trainer, setting the primary plot line in motion. There were only a few cheesy Tinder jokes along the way. (“I’m on Timber, that’s an app for loggers looking for trouble.”)
Meanwhile Dr. Reed has fallen ill with, as we find out later, a case of the threesomes. Dr. Party Boy Peter Prentice takes over as managing partner at the practice, raising the classic question, “What could possibly go wrong?” Well, besides everything, Dr. Prentice finds that being in charge comes with challenges that broing out can’t solve. Between conflicts with Morgan and Tamara and a cameo from Owlie the owl, his work is more than cut out for him. But while Mindy and Danny are off doing sit ups in Fat Steps, this secondary storyline is setting up Dr. Prentice and Dr. Reed to gain a greater understanding of each other as characters. It only took a million rubber gloves to do it.
Mindy sums up her motives for getting fit best, saying “I want to be so hot that Cliff would date me even if I had a bad personality.” This inspires Danny more than anything to treat her like the weight loss equivalent of a “Marine movie where a guy kills himself during basic.” As these two have danced around each other for nearly two seasons, their relationship makes us question if Danny is a romantic interest or just a facilitator of romantic interests for Mindy. Their platonic dynamic during this episode suggests that Danny is the only one who understands Mindy enough to motivate her (“Michael Fassbender is trapped in a well!”). Their familiar and misguided sexual tension returns with a slightly forced yet enjoyable steam room scene, where Danny not only sees Mindy naked, but gets stuck to her that way.
Mindy endures a leg injury and an offer of constructive criticism from Danny about her body, before they return to a practice full of new Prentice-induced problems. The primary and secondary storylines meet when Mindy strips down in front of the mirror in her office, exposing herself to Owlie as Danny walks in. Misunderstanding his suggestion as criticism about her body, a fully-clothed Mindy unloads her insecurities on Danny (“I know that I have a scar on my back that looks like a swastika!”) and fires him as her trainer. Danny clarifies and concludes the episode, only suggesting that she should not suck in her stomach so much. He offers further hope for a slow burn romance with Mindy, telling her she’s got a body like a woman and should not change that.