The Middle (S07E20) “Survey Says…”

Review: Let’s start the review with Brick, who had the smallest (but hilarious nonetheless) storyline this week. He buys graph paper for a school project and gets an email if he wants to rate his purchase. He takes this responsibility very seriously as only Brick can: he reviews the paper’s density, the line to space ratio and the taste (by licking the paper, of course..). He spends most of his time in this episode home alone (and at the Donahues) because Frankie and Mike are both at East Indiana State.

Frankie, sick of all the guys in her house, visits Sue for lunch, only to meet Jeremy, the tree hugger who Sue has been dating. The three of them go out for lunch together, but Frankie gets annoyed with Jeremy very quickly because he tries to solve all of the world’s problems. Later when she confronts Sue about how different she has become now that she is dating Jeremy, they get into a fight. Sue wants to change the world and Frankie just wants her sweet Sue back.

Axl is tired of playing football, and knowing that he will never become a pro, he wants to focus his last year in college on his classes or just having fun. Mike, not ready to accept that his son wants to quit football, tells him that if he does quit he will lose his scholarship. But Axl is prepared and is looking for other ways to pay for his final year in school.

Both Frankie and Mike end up in a bar at East Indy, drinking their feelings away. This leads to one of the funniest and sweetest scenes of the entire show when they drunkenly decide to crash in Axl’s Winnebago. First of all both Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn pulled off playing drunk very well (I don’t know, maybe they were just drunk for real lol) and the lines in this scene were hilarious. And then it turned into a very sweet scene when Mike gets sentimental and talks about when he was really happy: back when he still had to drive everybody. Neil Flynn was so great when he gave this speech, I choked up when I was watching it.

The next morning, Frankie and Mike wake up to Kenny, Hutch and Axl in the Winnebago and when they want to go home, they see that Axl has already driven them home. Of course Mike and Axl make up for the situation that occurred the day before. Mike tells his son that he can do what he wants, and Axl realized that continuing to play football is the best (and cheapest) option for him. Frankie and Sue make up too when Sue comes home to do laundry. She realizes that changing the world can be overwhelming because there is just so much to care about. Frankie reassures her that she will always care just the right amount, as she always does.

This is one of my favorite episodes of The Middle ever. The storylines were all really great, especially the stories of Sue and Axl are essential for their characters’ growth. The Middle has focused a lot of its time this season on showing that the kids are growing up, and this episode was a great example of that. Outstanding acting performances by the whole cast this week.

Rating: 9.5/10