The Middle (S09E18) “Thank You For Not Kissing”

Frankie and Mike get called in for a meeting at the high school because there’s a problem with Brick. They have a talk with Dr. Fulton (played by the great Dave Foley) and he tells them that Brick and Cindy have been making out at school at inappropriate places and during inappropriate times (seriously, why during a prayer vigil 😂) and that if they don’t stop, they will get suspended for 3 days. Mike has to go talk to him about this and explains that out of respect for, he and Cindy should not be kissing in front of other people. However, Cindy is not happy with this and comes over to tell Mike that after his talk with Brick, he’s grown distant. In her madness she attacks Mike’s marriage to Frankie which makes him realize that maybe their love isn’t the way it was used to be. Mike tries to be spontaneous, but when that only ends up scaring Frankie, he tells Brick to just go ahead and kiss Cindy whenever he wants because before he knows it he will be old as well. Mike and Frankie do eventually get their romantic moment at the end of the episode though (I mean, Frankie even shaves her legs…), which is a nice way to finish this storyline.

Meanwhile, after she finds a stack of Axl’s unfinished and unsent thank you notes, Frankie is trying to get Axl to send them all out. Axl thinks he can get out of it the easy way by sending a group thank you text, but that’s not enough for Frankie. So Axl is back to writing personal thank you notes, but can’t come up with anything to write. That is until he finds a thank you card that was supposed to be for Aunt Edie. It has been three years since she passed away, and Axl never sent her a thank you note for a gift she gave him. Axl feels bad about this and eventually finishes writing all his old thank you notes.

42 minutes away at East Indy, Sue is telling Brad about her plan to tell Sean how she feels. When she finally has the courage, she just goes for it, but when she sees him with another woman, she gets worried. Sue tries to change her appearance to look more mature and Brad helps her with it. They try to find suitable clothes, get her to wear makeup and Brad even tries to make her sound more like an adult. When all that doesn’t work out, Sue decides to just be herself and tell Sean that she likes him. When she gets to his apartment, Sean has some very exciting news to tell Sue: he got accepted to a fellowship in Ghana, something the (married) woman we saw earlier in the episode told him about. So the woman turns out not to be a threat for Sue, however, she could lose Sean anyway if he’s moving to Ghana for the summer. And after all this she still doesn’t get to tell him how she feels, sadly dragging out the Sue and Sean story even longer.

I thought most of this episode was great, except for the final reveal of Sean’s fellowship in Ghana. I just need to see Sue and Sean together, and every time there is another obstacle in the road for them to get together I’m a little disappointed and I wonder how long it will still go on. However, I did really enjoy the storyline leading to this final reveal. Brad is one of my favorite recurring characters and his interactions with Sue have always made me laugh, including the scenes in this episode.

The other storylines were great as well. It is so very much like Axl to leave a bag full of thank you notes under his bed and just never send them out. And the way he tried to get out of writing them by doing a group thank you text was also very typical. But what I loved most about this storyline was Axl’s facial expressions and the way Charlie McDermott delivered his lines. I don’t know, the combination of both just made me laugh a lot in this episode. I may have said this before, but if you compare McDermott’s acting now to when the show started, I think he has really developed and grown a lot as an actor.

And then the third storyline, which had some of my favorite scenes of the episode. I loved it that we got to see Dr. Fulton back. Even though he was only in a small part of the episode, I really enjoyed him. I’m happy we got to see him one more time before the end of the series and that, just like Rita Glossner two weeks ago, Dr. Fulton also got his happy ending, now that he and Shelly are finally back together after all these years. The rest of the story was hilarious as well. I loved Mike’s sex talk with Brick, I was laughing out loud during this entire scene especially because of Brick’s weird things. Cindy’s small appearance was a lot of fun as well (man, Brick and Cindy are both just so weird), and obviously the romantic scenes between Frankie and Mike made this whole storyline even funnier.

Anyway, I thought this was another really great episode of The Middle (let’s just forget about the ‘Sean’s going to Ghana’ thing) and I hope the show can continue this great streak for the rest of the season.

The Middle will be back next week, with an appearance of Dr. Goodwin. Be sure to tune in Tuesday April 10th at 8:30/7:30c on ABC!

Like I did for the 3 previous seasons, I have been writing down all of The Middle’s callbacks to previous episodes of this season. So far I have listed all (or at least many) callbacks from the first 12 episodes. You can read them in my post here! Let me know what you think 😊

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