The Middle (S07E22) “Not Mother’s Day”

Review: After years of getting crappy gifts for Mother’s Day, Frankie decides that she’s had enough and doesn’t want to celebrate it anymore. So, besides her mom Pat coming over for the weekend, Mother’s Day is off. Frankie does get another idea though after a man pays for her stuff at the grocery store: everybody pulls a name out of a hat and does something nice for that person.

Let’s start with Axl, who tries to come up with something thoughtful for himself as he drew his own name from the hat. He buys himself second hand boots, but because he wears them all the time, he gets a rash.

Next up is Mike, who pulled Sue’s name out of the hat. When he sees that her stuffed animal Woofy Dog looks old, he decides to get it fixed up and cleaned so that it looks as new. He thinks he did a good thing, but Sue clearly isn’t happy with it (something she doesn’t tell him though). Sue is already having a hard time because of her way of paying it forward. She picked Brick and gave him her room for the summer because she will be at Dollywood anyway. But Brick changes the whole room right away, and starts using it as his own, renames it and to pay it forward to Frankie, he even wants to change Sue’s desk to a craft area for his mom. Sue doesn’t want to kick him out, and feels very down because she wants her room and her old Woofy Dog back. Axl hears her cry and is the one to comfort her and make her feel better (while wondering why he’s failing his psych class) in one of the best scenes of the episode. Him paying it forward to himself might not have worked out, but he did do something nice for his sister.

Frankie, who drew her mom wants to buy Pat a chicken that Frankie has been enjoying in the past days. But when Mike calls her to say that Pat’s leaving early and Frankie can’t give her the chicken on time, she decides to pay it forward to the next person in line at the grocery store and pay for their groceries. However, when they show up with a full shopping cart, Frankie goes up to them after she’s paid to tell them she’d rather pay it “slightly less forward” and asks if she can take a few of their groceries.

Then last but not least, Pat. She pulled out Mike’s name and tells him that her way of paying it forward is making sure that he will never have to dance with her. After Mike’s confused reaction, Pat gives a detailed explanation about how he wouldn’t dance with her at Janet’s wedding 20 years ago. And even though she says it isn’t a big deal, Mike is upset that he humiliated her in front of everybody at the wedding. He tries to apologize, but Pat doesn’t want to hear it. Then later, when Mike is bringing her home, he tells her that he never meant to hurt her like that. Pat is very important to him because his mom died when he was young, “You’ve kind of been the only mom I’ve got”. To fully make it up to her, Mike dances with Pat at the gas station.

I loved this episode, I thought it was funny and it had a lot of heart too. This season we have seen Axl become more mature, including the growing relationship with Sue. It’s good to see that he can actually be nice to her, and talks like the one in this episode between the two are always very sweet. My favorite two scenes were the ones between Mike and Pat at the end of the episode. I always love it when Mike cares about something, and I think Neil Flynn did a fantastic job portraying him this week. I also thought it was nice to see Marsha Mason back!

Rating: 9.5/10

Best scene of the episode: