The Middle (S08E18) “The Par-Tay”

Review: This week The Middle continues to explore the love lives of Axl and Sue in an episode filled with callbacks and more importantly hilarious lines.

Let’s start with the smallest storyline this week. After the burst pipes in the basement a few weeks ago, the problem still hasn’t been completely solved. Mike tries to get a plumber on the cheap by catching one off the clock. He finally finds one who can solve the problems, but when it turns out to be Bill Norwood’s plumber, he isn’t happy that Mike poached him to get the job done. This leads to a fight between the two friends, that eventually gets resolved in a way only guys can: a dead car battery and a set of jumper cables (and a bad joke about them).

In the meantime Sue and Frankie are having some quality time together and go for a picnic in the park where they find themselves in the middle of a singles event. Later, when Frankie asks if Sue liked one of the guys there, she mentions that she already likes someone else. Frankie of course wants to know more about Sue’s secret crush, but Sue isn’t ready to say anything. The remainder of the episode Frankie tries to find out more about the mystery guy, but Sue doesn’t talk, not even after Frankie breaks her phone trying to snoop. While Frankie feels like her daughter is pulling away from her, for the first time ever, Sue tries to tell her that she doesn’t want to talk about it because she isn’t sure if she even likes the guy (I think it’s safe to assume now that Sue is talking about Sean, something I’m not really thrilled about…). But Sue assures Frankie that once she’s sure if she likes him, Frankie will be the first one to find out.

Brick convinces Axl to let him come to college for a weekend of fun, something Axl had always promised his little brother. Axl isn’t very excited about spending the weekend with Brick because he thinks that Brick will only be interested in going to museums and the library. But when Brick arrives, he makes it very clear that he came to college to “par-tay”. After throwing an epic Bago party, Brick is ready to party on all night and eventually gets Axl to go along with him. Brick is happy that Axl showed him how to have a fun time, and even gives him a piece of advice when he doesn’t want to talk to a girl that likes him. Comparing bookmarks to girls, he says that Axl shouldn’t waste his time, but just go for it and talk to the girl. Axl takes Brick’s advice and goes over to Lexie’s apartment where they finally kiss: Axl got himself a bookmark.

This was another really great episode of The Middle. This season overall has been very solid especially in exploring the kids’ journey into adulthood. This week was no exception. The episode had three solid storylines, each with some really funny lines and absurd situations. From Mike’s impression of Bill to Frankie trying to come up with the name of Pocahontas, it was all just really great. The MVP of this episode though was Atticus Shaffer once again. The way he portrays Brick has always been great, but this week it was just fantastic, and some of his lines were really hilarious. I am very happy that Axl and Lexie is finally happening now and even though I’m not thrilled that Sue’s crush is Sean (that seems pretty obvious now), I’m still looking forward to see what will happen to her in the next couple of weeks.

The Middle will be back next week, April 11th, with an episode directed by Charlie McDermott. This episode will reunite Patricia Heaton with her former Everybody Loves Raymond co-star Monica Horan, who will guest as Mrs. Ferguson.

Rating: 9.5/10