The Middle (S08E06) “Thanksgiving VIII”

Review: Let’s first get the B-plot out of the way before we talk about Thanksgiving at the Heck house. Spudsy’s is looking for new employees and Brick needs cash to buy Cindy a Christmas gift and just like that Sue and Brick are co-workers. But Sue keeps interfering with Brick’s work to see if he does everything the way he should. They almost get fired when they get into a fight over jalapeños and Brick wonders why Sue is always on him at work. Sue explains to him that she has always felt responsible for him, and while Brick gets that, he also tells her that now that he’s older, with a friend, a girlfriend and a font club, she shouldn’t worry so much about him. This was a cute storyline, it’s nice that Sue always looks after Brick and to see them work together at Spudsy’s was pretty great.

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Thanksgiving is coming up and for once it smells good in the Heck’s kitchen, thanks to the Donahues who have a broken oven and have to use the oven of the Hecks. While secretly enjoying the Thanksgiving dishes of the Donahues, Frankie tries to figure out how she can keep April out of the family Christmas photo. Frankie fails and realizes that now that she’s in the photo, April will have to come to Thanksgiving too, but instead it turns out that Axl will be celebrating Thanksgiving with April’s family. When Frankie tells the rest of the family that Axl won’t be home for Thanksgiving, they confess that they never really liked April either, but to accommodate Axl, they decide to have Thanksgiving together at 8 in the morning. However on the day before Thanksgiving, Frankie tells the family once again how much she dislikes April and that Axl can do much better, not realizing that Axl just walked into the room and heard everything. Instead of apologizing, she makes it worse by telling him exactly how she feels about his girlfriend. Axl is hurt and walks out, and on Thanksgiving morning there is no sign of Axl coming to celebrate the holiday at home…

I’ve never felt so empty after an episode of The Middle, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The Middle has been quite emotional so far this season, but this was a different kind of emotional. Axl is seriously hurt by what Frankie said and I think it’s interesting that they are exploring that. I kind of feel like Frankie deserved this ending, obviously it all comes out of love, but what she said about April in this episode wasn’t very nice. Kudos to Patricia Heaton and especially Charlie McDermott for playing such a heartbreaking scene so well.

It is going to be interesting to see how the writers will resolve this plot. Either Axl breaks up with April at some point, but then all that stuff about April being the love of his life at the end of season 7 was weird and unnecessary. Or April does something that makes the family fall in love with her so that they finally accept her. I wonder if there is a way for the show to solve this in a creative way and I’m really looking forward to find out next week!

Rating: 8.5/10