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The Mindy Project - Leo's Girlfriend - Review: "The OG Danny Castellano is Back"

“The Mindy Project” gave long-time fans a good reason to smile this week. That’s right. Danny Castellano is back, rocking that salt-and-pepper bearded look. Chris Messina, who was a series regular for the first four seasons, has returned for the final few episodes of the HULU comedy. And, yes, he still has hella great on-screen chemistry with Mindy Kaling.

As a bonus, we get a glimpse of the old Danny; conservative but still loveable and sweet, not the douchebag, sexist Danny they turned him into because Messina was going to leave the show. That’s right, as a goodbye gift to us, “The Mindy Project” returned Danny to us in all his glory.

Let’s take a look at everything that went down in “Leo’s Girlfriend.”

Mindy is getting her son Leo ready for school and during their conversation, we see that Leo is more like his father because he prefers salads to carbs. When the door opens, Min assumes its Annette, coming to pick up her grandson, but it’s actually Danny! The two banter about their upcoming divorces. Danny argues his case is better because he’s getting annulled, not divorced.

He points out to her that she’s barely come to Leo’s school. He does it regularly, as does Annette. Mindy argues that she doesn’t really need to be there so often, her money reaches the private school anyway. At work that day, Mindy shows Leo’s drawings to her colleagues and tells them about her kid’s girlfriend, Daisy, whom she actually hasn’t met yet.

Tamra tells Morgan they need to stop hooking up, especially since she’s about to be inseminated and there's a good chance she can become a mother soon. He’s clearly upset because he’s still into her and tries his best to intervene with everything she does. Colette finds Tamra’s diva necklace in Morgan’s sheets and to avoid the truth from coming out, he lies and tells his roommate that the necklace is his gift for her.

During an ultrasound exam for Tamra before the insemination, Mindy realizes she’s already pregnant (!!!). Tamra and Morgan are about to become parents! She doesn’t want anyone to know and is pretty upset at the turn of events. Colette tries to talk to her. Instead, she unwittingly learns that Tamra is the one who’s sleeping with Morgan. The two awkwardly move away from the subject.

Later, Annette calls to say she won’t be able to pick up Leo from school. Mindy’s happy to do it because she actually wants to meet this Daisy. Turns out, Daisy (played perfectly by Julie Bowen) is another mom! She took Leo “under her wing” because she always felt bad for him, standing alone, while the rest of the kids were with their family.

Some other parents come over to express their shock at Mindy’s existence. They’ve never seen her around they didn’t believe she is real. “You’re our Loch Ness Monster,” she’s told. In order to stop all this berating, Min signs up not only to monitor the event of planting a cherry blossom tree (sent to the school by their Japanese sister school) but agrees to bring snacks catering to all the children and their dietary needs.

Of course, she gets Jeremy to make the snacks. The perfectionist that he is, Jeremy makes cherry blossom-colored meringues for the kids. Mindy is about to head out of work with the food when Daisy calls her just to remind her to make it on time. (side note: Mindy has saved her nemesis’ number on the phone as Psychotic Bitch). Before the elevator can shut, Tamra whisks Mindy away citing a medical emergency.

Tamra doesn’t want anyone to know that the baby is Morgan’s, so she convinces Mindy to pretend that she was artificially inseminated, without telling her as well who the baby daddy is. Morgan gives Tamra flowers, congratulating her on the insemination, not knowing about the pregnancy. She’s touched by the gesture and almost tells him the truth but...doesn’t.

When Dr. L finally makes it to the school, a soft pretzel in hand, she’s missed the whole thing. Daisy and the other parents take this opportunity to once again call out Mindy on her bad mothering skills, while she points out Daisy’s obsession with Leo. All the verbal fighting leads to actual fighting, as the two ladies start punching each other, toppling the freshly planted cherry blossom tree.

Mindy is taken to the principal Dr. Green’s office. Danny is there, too. Dr. Green calls out Mindy for being an absentee mom, referring to Danny as the model parent because despite going through a similar emotional turmoil, he’s present in Leo’s school life whereas Mindy isn’t. She almost agrees with the principal’s remarks but then Danny defends his ex-fiance.

Yes, the very same Danny Castellano who wanted Dr. L to give up her job after Leo was born so that she could become a stay-at-home mother like his ma and wanted to try for a second child right away, stood up for Mindy. He tells off Dr. Green, who has a Ph. D. in interior design (“we’re real doctors”) and claims that she’s always been there for Leo because parenting goes beyond being present at the school. He calls Mindy a great role model for their child.

I would say Dr. L is definitely a good role model in that she's had a successful career. Of course, she loves Leo and is a protective, fun parent to him but at one point before picking up Leo, she wonders aloud to Jeremy what time school will, maybe eight at night? He's pretty shocked by this and tells her school ends at 2 pm.

Anyway, Mindy and Danny exchange a quick meaningful glance after all of this. SPARKS!

She and Daisy quickly apologize to one another. Daisy accepts that her behavior was mostly because she was jealous of Dr. L’s work-life, she had to give up her job as a lawyer for the Justice Department when she became a mother, to which Mindy says “24” is her favorite show. Mindy thanks her now frenemy for taking care of Leo when she wasn't able to. Bowen was really top notch here, as expected, and I hope we see her again.

Later that night, Danny treats Min to a pizza at home, knowing she’s had a tough time recently. The two finally open up about the difficulties of divorce, Danny wonders out loud how Mindy’s eating habits have managed to keep her alive so far, and the two immerse in conversation as the camera pans out, playing syrupy music. If this scene tells us anything, it’s to expect a swoon-worthy reunion between the two. My heart is ready for it.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from “Leo’s Girlfriend.”

1. Danny: "45 minutes early is early, 15 minutes early is on time, on time is late."

2. Danny: "People are starting to think she and I are Leo’s parents. Like I could ever score a beauty like that."
Mindy: "Please don’t bite your lip like that about your own mother."

3. Daisy: "You must be Dr. Lahiri’s nanny. I’m Daisy."

4. Mindy: "Jeremy, you can’t come. I’m sorry but today is about me taking credit for your work."

5. Tamra: "I don’t want twins. Beyonce owns that now."

6. Danny: "This woman makes time to make breakfast for her son every morning or sing her son to sleep every night. How many preschoolers do you know who know the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Red” album? Mindy is a great role model."

7. Tamra: "[Cousin] Sheena only got me a copy of “Rosemary’s Baby” with a note saying this is the best-case scenario."

What did you think of "Leo's Girlfriend?" Are you excited or annoyed to have Danny back? Morgan and Tamra are about to become parents! Thoughts?