One of the best aspects of The Middle is its predictability. Not in the boring sense of the word, because this week’s episode was anything but boring. I more so mean the fact that Sue’s freshman week at college didn’t miraculously turn around. Frankie and Mike truly gave no thought in the world to their last kid at home, instead embracing their (not-so) empty nest.. Out of everyone, Axl surprised me the most.
Homesickness is a natural part of the college experience. Sue continues to cling onto her parents, almost annoyingly by her parade of constant texts at all hours of the day and night. It makes me wonder what Brad and Carly are so busy doing that she’s not bothering them with her every worry. Anyway, it was a relief to finally meet Sue’s roommate who intentionally waited to show up at the end of all the cheesy freshman week activities since she’s actually a junior. On top of that, she’s nothing like Sue could’ve ever expected. This really adds to her disappointment in college life so far. Her breakdown over the phone with her parents broke my heart.
Frankie and Mike spent much of the episode unapologetically favoring Sue via text and phone calls instead of Brick, who paraded through the house in a book mascot costume that they haven’t even seen yet. Mike encourages Frankie that it’s time to “cut the cord” with Sue and let her deal with her problems on her own but as every parent can attest to, no matter how old a kid gets, you can never actually cut that cord. They heard her cries for help loud and clear and headed straight for campus.
Luckily, college has done a fine job of maturing Axl. He may not tolerate every text or call from Sue, but he instinctively picked up on his sister’s problems and made a genuine effort to reach out to her. When it was revealed Axl was knocking at her door, I thought Frankie and Mike had put him up to it by bribing him with money in exchange for saving them the trip out there. Nope, Axl was there on his own accord to invite Sue out to grab pizza with him. This is exactly the kind of gesture I was hoping Axl might make now that Sue followed him to the same college. He can complain and crack every joke in the book about how annoying she is, but deep down he loves his family.
As I mentioned, Brick goes unnoticed by his parents since he’s the lone third child still at home. I myself am the youngest sibling in my family so I can relate to Brick’s situation. There’s a certain sense of freedom that comes with being the last kid at home. Of course, my parents have always continued to feed me. That’s certifiable child abuse if Frankie and Mike constantly ignore Brick and forget to provide dinners for him. Then again, the Hecks’ family dinners have never been conventional either. It’s always been fast food. Life’s not all bad for Brick though because he made a new friend at school! Also, how cute was his library mascot costume and dance? Everybody read now!
What did you think of the episode?
[Photo credit: Michael Ansell/ABC]
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