THE MIDDLE “The Big Chill” Review

The Middle "The Big Chill"

THE MIDDLE “The Big Chill” Season 2 Episode 12 – Axl tortures a mechanical baby, Sue and Brick get a lesson in home repair, and Mike freezes out Frankie for an unexpected reason in the “The Big Chill” episode of THE MIDDLE.

“I thought it was $20!” This is my favorite Frankie and Mike story to date. Oh, Frankie, rule number one is that the smaller the jar of eye cream, the more insanely expensive it is. Always. Love the scooping it back into the jar and that Frankie takes every free sample as she threatens to take her business elsewhere. I also think Mike freezing her out is extraordinarily well-played. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing someone is angry and wanting to get the fight over with, and Frankie’s fight with herself is spot-on and hilarious. That the reason for Mike’s anger is actually much more poignant and resonating than Frankie’s mistake is icing on the cake. “You think that I like it that we’re at the point in our lives where we have to have 4 jobs just to stay poor?” Nicely played re: frustrated dreams and the reality of the economy. For such a funny show, The Middle often surprises me with its depth, though it really shouldn’t by now.

I hope Axl remembers the lesson that going into a girl’s bedroom has consequences (Brick’s “Tell me about it” might be the line of the night, by the way.) and waits a very long time to procreate. Poor, poor Little Brick. Shaken baby syndrome, radiation sickness, multiple amputations, decapitation, and, I’m assuming, diaper rash since he didn’t even know she’s a girl. I’m in awe of the sheer magnitude of abuse that baby took while still being able to cry, and all he had to do was rock the poor thing. While I love the duct-taped bottle, I think my favorite image is the shot of the two of them in the same position–it’s both funny and more than a little disturbing. Kind of like Axl himself.

All Sue wanted was a roommate and she ends up with half her wall missing. Ha! Having undertaken a few home repairs gone awry, I love the avalanche of errors complete with tell-tale egg. The problem is that they borrowed Axl’s screwdriver instead of the duct tape. Duct tape fixes everything. Very sweet moment between these two when Sue shows just how lonely she can be.

Favorite lines:
“How do you fail personal hygiene?”/ “It’s all politics.” I would have been more surprised if Axl had passed personal hygiene.

“I have a fire drill tomorrow. If I’m going to keep my hands to myself and line up in an orderly fashion, I need sleep.” I love Brick. That is all.

“We’re too poor to get a divorce, so we’re going to have to fight.” Frankie does have a way of getting to the heart of the matter.

“He’s never been this quiet for this long without a game on.” Ha!

“I paid three head of cattle for you, a fine price for a sturdy bride.” Isn’t being a woman grand?

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m rocking a piece of our grandchild.” I was wrong–this is the line of the night.

“The only room we’ve redone is Sue’s” Well, of course.

The Middle is firing on all cylinders here. Both the Frankie/Mike and Sue/Brick storylines were completely relatable and funny, while Axl’s was hilariously surreal, adding a great subversive edge to the episode. Good times.

What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by Mike’s real reason for being angry?

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