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The Middle Series Finale: A Heck of a Ride

The Middle

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#1 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:50 PM

The Middle was a show that never seemed to get a lot of attention, not like Modern Family or other similar sitcoms. Despite that, it provided nine seasons of consistent quality. It even managed to side-step the problem of the kids growing up and going off to college that other series find difficult to handle.

The creators decided to end the show with this season. They felt that they had done as much as they could and wanted to be able to give the show a season long send-off. I think they succeeded admirably. This season was full of nice moments for a lot of the main characters as well as the side characters. I, for one, liked seeing Brad finally get a boyfriend and I liked how they wrapped up the nine season long feud between the Glossners and the Hecks in a giant neighborhood brawl. I also liked seeing Brick's weird friends again and seeing that all of them have outgrown their weirdness while Brick is still odd. Honestly, the only surprise was that we didn't see Darrin come back. I was hoping he would since he was a staple of the show in the first 6 seasons.

The hour long season finale brought the focus back to just the core characters (though the supporting cast all got nice cameos). The episode revolved around Axl taking a job in Denver and having to leave in four days.

Frankie decides to play it cool, because she is afraid if she acts too emotional or clingy then Axl will never want to come back home. Mike acts like Mike, being all quiet and stoic but giving Axl an amazing gift. Sue wants one special moment with her big brother before he leaves. Brick simply wants Axl to get all of his crap out of their shared bedroom so Brick can make the library nook he has always wanted.

I have to say, this was a superb series finale. It hit all the right emotional beats and still managed to throw in a few surprises. There were also a lot of nice callbacks to the series' history that managed to evoke a nice sense of nostalgia without bogging the episode down.

The scene with the three siblings having a heartfelt talk in the backseat of the car and then all falling asleep was wonderful. The bond these three have is great, and all three actors have amazing chemistry with one another.

I thought that having the last episode consist partly of the family taking a road trip was genius. The show has had some great moments with the family taking car trips so it was fitting we would get one last car ride. All the staples were there with the kids squabbling in the back, the blue bag being left behind, and Frankie and Mike just trying to survive.

The Sue/Sean scenes were terrific and they had to be considering how long the show has strung us along about these two getting together. The snow globe finally brought them together and they shared a sweet kiss as the Hecks looked on.

Frankie's break down at hearing Axl say he wants off the family phone plan because he is moving so far away that he might as well not be family was touching. It was also a little bit meta as Frankie saying that the five of them will never be together like this again could just as easily mean the actors themselves.

I was pleasantly surprised when, in the last few minutes, the show gave us a peek into the futures of the characters. Axl eventually moves back to Orson and marries Lexie. They have three boys, and all are Axl clones which is his just desserts.

Brick becomes a famous author using real life events from his childhood. This was most definitely a fitting end to his character since he was always book obsessed.

Sue marries Sean and has Reverend Tim-Tom perform the ceremony. All of their friends and family are there.

Mike and Frankie remain poor but they know that they lived good lives.

The final scene of the Hecks driving down the road in the car as Axl, Sue, and Brick start arguing again as a plane flies overhead mirrored the first scene of the pilot episode and was the best way to end the series finale.

I'm sad to see this series end because it was the rare sitcom that never really lost its footing and never had to resort to any gimmicks to keep it going. I'm going to miss the Hecks a heck of a lot but they had a good long run and went out on top.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

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