On "The Mindy Project," character actor Stephen Tobolowsky plays Dr. Marc Shulman, the wise head of the medical practice where Dr. Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) works. Tobolowsky appeared in a few early episodes this season, but his character hasn't shown his face for several weeks.
"Two to One," the latest episode, closes the book, at least for now, on that particular character. After receiving an emergency page, Mindy heads back to the practice and learns that Dr. Shulman abruptly retired, leaving only a letter and a sandwich behind to say farewell.
Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) and Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks) assume temporary control of Shulman & Associates. Double-teaming their female partner, the two men turn Shulman's office into storage space and encourage Mindy to take her "best friend day" with Gwen (Anna Camp) and Alex (Kelen Coleman).
Danny and Jeremy may be out of their depth, though, when dealing with the Downtown Women's Holistic Birthing Center upstairs. News of Shulman's retirement prompts Shulman's patients to switch to siblings Brendan (Mark Duplass) and Duncan (Jay Duplass). Danny criticizes the brothers for being midwives, not doctors, but he can't get the patients to return to the practice.
While Dr. Lahiri is out with her girlfriends, her male colleagues almost let the business slip through their fingers. Betsy (Zoe Jarman) sends frantic texts to Mindy, telling her the midwives are stealing her patients. Inspired by Alex, Mindy returns to work and heads upstairs to deal two-on-one with the competition.
"Two to One" resolves a few nagging cast questions while setting the show on a more stable course. Stephen Tobolowsky is a great actor, but his character appeared in name only for most of the season. Shulman's exit is rather abrupt and humorous, much like the unexpected death of a senior partner on the pilot episode of "L.A. Law" back in 1986.
The episode also establishes the pecking order for the remaining medical partners. Danny and Jeremy finally admit that Mindy saved their patients and the practice. The three partners then agree to keep the Shulman & Associates name and promise to be more cooperative with each other in the future.
Moviemaking siblings Mark and Jay Duplass are outstanding guest stars this week. As holistic midwives, the Duplass brothers are so good that it's almost certain the characters will reappear at a later time. Mindy and Brendan also have a few flirtatious moments during their confrontation, which could be bad news for Mindy's boyfriend Josh (Tommy Dewey).
Speaking of Josh, Mindy's steady appears in a funny tag for the episode. Mindy opened the show by trying to catch a few winks in the hospital waiting room. After another delivery, Mindy is back on the couch, but Josh shows up this time with food for his lady. While the two try to get amorous, the cleaning women runs a very noisy vacuum over the carpet.