The Middle (S08E08) “Trip and Fall”

SPOILER ALERT!

Review: As we saw last week, the Hecks, while sad that Axl isn’t speaking to them, know how to go on with their lives. We see that again this week, when both Frankie and Mike are in a situation that doesn’t give them time to focus on Axl estrangement from the family.

Mike falls at the quarry, and while he doesn’t want to make a big deal of it, it does have consequences. After Dave, one of the quarry guys, reports the accident, a guy from the health department comes to the quarry to tell everybody about safety at work. But the worst thing of all is that because of Mike’s fall the quarry doesn’t go one year without any injuries and misses out on a much wanted cupcake party. The quarry guys are disappointed and Mike tries to make up to them by making cupcakes himself, but he fails. After a talk with Brick about being embarrassed, Mike knows what he has to do: he shows the embarrassing footage of his fall to the guys in charge of the cupcake parties to assure them that his fall happened after working hours. This means the quarry did go one year without injuries, and the quarry guys can have their well-deserved cupcake party.

In the meantime we finally get to see Rita Glossner, one of my favorite recurring characters, again. She needs a car and because Frankie isn’t comfortable with lending Rita her car, she sort of agrees to drive her to whatever place she has to go. After driving for hours and gossiping about the other neighborhood families, they finally arrive at the destination. Frankie is still a little apprehensive about going inside the house that they just arrived at, but she follows Rita’s orders and goes in anyway, to see that Rita’s son just became a dad. When she sees Rita with her grandson, Frankie realizes that she wants to make up with Axl. The question is now, is it too late for that?

Let’s get to Axl and his rift with the family. Sue tries to find him on campus to tell him that he has to come home for Christmas because Thanksgiving without him was terrible. When she finally finds him, he tells her that he can’t promise her that he’ll come home. Later he’s talking to April, who tells him that her family doesn’t like him at all, and they realize that they don’t want their families to tell them what to do. The important thing is that they have each other, so they decide to get married.

I have to say I’m not happy with the turn the show took with this storyline. All we know about April is that she isn’t the smartest person around, and I’m still wondering what Axl sees in her. However, Axl freaking out about what he just did, makes me feel better about it because after seeing his reaction, I’m pretty sure this storyline will have a satisfying ending for me, even though it maybe doesn’t look like that now. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next week. How is the family going to react? What are Axl’s thoughts after marrying April? And what does April think about it herself?

Besides that storyline I enjoyed the rest of the episode as well. It was maybe a little over the top that the quarry guys cared so much about cupcakes, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t funny. I loved seeing the quarry guys again and I think it’s great that Mike cares about them so much. It was also fun to see Rita back after one year. With the storyline she had this week, it was kind of obvious that nothing bad would happen to Frankie, but I really liked the twist they gave it. I never expected her to be a grandma. The interactions between Frankie and Rita are always great, and I love it that, even though the roles were reversed last Halloween, Frankie is still scared of Rita.

I thought this was a funny episode and while the storylines might have been a little too cliché or over the top, I still really enjoyed it and I can’t wait for next week’s Christmas episode!

Rating: 9/10