The Middle (S09E01) “Vive La Hecks”

The Middle is back!
Yesterday The Middle kicked off its farewell season. In the first week of August, ABC announced that The Middle’s upcoming season would be its last (read my thoughts about it here). Of the long running comedies on TV right now (like Modern Family and Big Bang Theory), I have to say that The Middle is holding up the best. As the show progresses, it only seems to get better and better.
The season premiere focuses on how the Heck’s will be remembered and what legacy they will leave behind, but let’s start from the beginning.
Axl is coming home after spending his summer in Europe. He has changed a lot and has taken home souvenirs, a man-bun and a lot of real cheese. The family is excited about his return, and is very interested in all his stories. Mike, however thinks it’s time for him to start looking for jobs, but Frankie doesn’t want Mike to tell him that. She thinks they should give him the benefit of the doubt and let him come to the decision to start searching for jobs on his own. But as we know Axl, this is not something he’ll come up with himself. Mike has a hard time not telling Axl what to do, and eventually Frankie and Mike decide they give Axl one more week before they’ll ‘go American on his ass’ and tell him to start looking for a job… I’m sure the show will revisit this topic in the next few episodes.
Sue has spend her summer differently from Axl. She’s been working every day and has to cram her whole summer into the two days that are still left before she goes back to school. She makes a list of everything she wants to do in her two days of summer (this list couldn’t be more like Sue) and while she’s doing that, she runs into Sean who tells her that he has gotten into a local med school, close to East Indy. This offers a lot of possibilities for a future romance between the two, something that’s been hanging around for a while now (I’m still not completely on board).
Brick thinks it’s time for him to break up with Cindy. He’s going into his sophomore year in high school, which apparently is very important for him, and wants to be able to play the field. He asks for breakup advice from Axl and Mike, but both don’t really help him. Eventually, after butt-dialing her, Brick breaks up with Cindy and finds a way to let Cindy think it was all the family’s idea. After Cindy takes out her anger on Frankie by kicking her, she leaves.
Meanwhile, Frankie is trying to get her family to help her come up with an item to put in the Orson time capsule, that will be opened in 100 years. Nobody really wants to cooperate because they don’t really understand what the big deal is. She tries to explain it to the family, but gets a ‘real cheese fake heart attack’, that makes the whole family realize that it’s okay to slow down every once in a while and enjoy life, like the Europeans, as long as you can spend it with the people you love.
With four main storylines, the premiere was packed with a lot of great stuff. The whole episode was filled with funny situations and hilarious lines.
I loved how much Axl has changed. I’m sure he’ll get back to his old self bit by bit, but his ‘European’-like character is kinda fun. He’ll soon have to go out and get a job though, now that he’s graduated college, I’m interested to see that.
Sue probably has some big storylines ahead as well because the writers are clearly steering towards a romance between her and Sean. Especially since the snow globe that Sean bought for Sue is back at the Donahues house now, without Sean knowing it. I’m sure this will probably bring up some interesting things. I am still not really convinced that I like this whole storyline about Sue and Sean, but I am getting used to it so I think I’ll end up liking it in the end anyway.
I really hope Brindy gets back together. I have always loved them together and I hope we haven’t seen the last of Cindy, now that she and Brick are going into their big sophomore year now.
Frankie’s plea about the Heck’s legacy shows parallels with The Middle itself: “I am trying to create a legacy for our family. I wanna know that all the things that we’ve done, all our pains and struggles and laughs and sorrows, everything that we shared, that it won’t be overlooked. That people will remember the Hecks after we’re gone and that we will have left a mark on the world.” The Middle has been trying to create a legacy over the past 8 years and will make sure that they will have left a mark on the world after the series finale. The Middle might have always been overlooked by most award shows, but they will definitely have left a mark on all the fans of the show.
The Middle’s second episode airs next week, October 10th at 8/7c on ABC.
In case you missed it in my review of the season 8 finale, check out my list of callbacks right here!!