The Middle (S09E05) “Role of a Lifetime”

This week, let’s first dive into the smaller storylines before we get to the plot that takes up the biggest part of the episode.

Axl, as a business major, has decided to make a recipe for a new beverage: bwine, which is a combination between beer and wine (sounds gross to me, but whatever). Frankie and Mike are fine with whatever he does, as long as he doesn’t waste their beers.

Brick has some concerning news about Cindy. She seems to be on the prowl now that she’s stopped wearing her safari hat (and “decided to be normal” as Mike puts it). He wants to start playing the field by joining the orchestra , only to find out that orchestra might not have been the best choice to find a girl.

Now, let’s jump to the biggest storyline of this episode. Frankie and Mike find out, through the Donahues, that their anniversary is coming up. And it’s not just any anniversary, it’s their 25th! Frankie doesn’t want them to float it like they always do and expects Mike to come up with something great. Mike tells her he’ll take care of everything, but instead runs to Sue for help. She is excited at first, but when she can’t get her brothers to help her with anything, like always, she calls a family meeting to discuss it. She’s tired of being the ‘go-to person’ for whenever something needs to get done and stops helping out. Mike is now on his own to plan any festivities (although he doesn’t really get that at first), and asks Frankie how important this thing actually is to her, considering she forgot it too. He doesn’t want to have the role of planning things like anniversaries, and that’s when the whole family eventually decides to ditch all the roles they have within the family.

Frankie will no longer support everybody, Mike will stop doing the more practical things around the house, Axl will stop being the face of the family, and Brick instead of not getting and wanting attention at all, starts to soak up all the attention there is, with his French horn. The fighting between all family members eventually leads to them imitating each other. This goes on for awhile, but the fighting and imitating ends abruptly when Frankie gets a call that her mom’s in the hospital. While in the hospital everybody comes through for each other when they need each other the most: Frankie keeps everybody positive about Pat, Mike makes sure all the practical things are taken care off, Sue wants to help as much as she can, Axl charms a nurse into getting everybody some lime green jello and Brick, well Brick is back to being a cactus because seeking attention is too exhausting. The Hecks have returned to their old roles: “A family is a lot like an orchestra. Everybody plays a certain part, but when it all comes together, it makes a beautiful symphony.”

Usually this much fighting and bickering in one episode isn’t really something I like to see, but it seemed to work for me in this episode. I laughed a lot during most parts, it had a lot of funny lines and solid callbacks. Long scenes with the whole Heck family are always great. The family meeting and the scene in the kitchen are good examples of that. I thought that scene where everybody was imitating each other was really hilarious and it made me sad when we heard about Pat.

We don’t really get to hear what’s going on with Pat exactly, but it’s safe to assume that this story will continue in the next episode, as Marsha Mason, who plays Pat, is listed in next week’s cast. I can’t wait to see her back on the show, let’s hope she’s okay!

The Middle’s next episode, with Marsha Mason, airs next week, November 7th at 8/7c on ABC.