THE MIDDLE “Back to Summer” (Season Finale) Review

THE MIDDLE (ABC) Back to Summer

THE MIDDLE “Back to Summer” Season 2 Episode 24 (Season Finale) – Frankie’s new tiki torch doesn’t save her from end of school year crises like Brick once again almost being held back, Sue’s quest for a perfect attendance award, and Axl’s involuntary volunteer work in the “Back to Summer’ season finale of THE MIDDLE.

“You really should get that checked.” Frankie’s end of episode epiphany/montage about what’s important may ease her concern over her memory lapses, but not mine. First we get the hilarious montage of her absent-mindedness and then she can’t find the phone she’s speaking into. Heh. This is such a tough episode for poor Frankie- she’s so excited at first, holding her tiki torch like a trophy, but as her kids’ crises mounts, she visibly deflates. Both her near-lunge at Brock and her pleading to Ms. Rinsky (Yay to more Doris Roberts) are well-played by Patricia Heaton who gives Frankie just the right touch of hysteria.

“I spend my whole life congratulating myself. I want other people to congratulate me.” That’s Sue in a nutshell, isn’t it? While the principal can’t remember her name, he certainly nails her tenacity, and oh, how I love this sweet, awkward girl. The tape of her destroying band practice is hilarious, as is her clueless triumph as the principal and assistant watch in horror. Eden Sher plays spastic so well without veering into slapstick and her dissolve into laughter at the graduation is wonderful to watch. Barb Heckie rules.

You know, if Axl used some of his powers for good instead of selfishness, he actually could change the world. Love his “nothing sad, nothing hard, nothing gross” requirements for the “communist” mandatory volunteer work and that he gets the tiny tots to assemble the meals. His selfishness really has hit an apex, and I’m glad Mike deals with it head on, especially since it leads to an honest moment between the two. As self-involved as Axl is, he really is a good kid and it’s important to see the cracks in his cocky teen exterior. We also get one of my favorite exchanges yet: “You kids are the best thing to ever happen to me.” “You must have a really sucky life. “Yes, I do.” Ha!

“We’re doomed. *Doomed*” The writers are using Brick’s whisper much more sparingly lately, which makes it all the more effective. I’m not completely sold that Brick would miss as big an assignment as the journal, but the story is just too much fun to quibble over and it is the perfect thread to tie the episode together.

Favorite lines:

“If we’re going for paradise, we’re probably going to want to fish that dead possum out of the pool.”

“I put myself and countless others at risk, but it was worth it.”

“I’d blame yourself all-ly.”

“The world’s been through enough. Make the call.”

“You know how stupid the kids in your class are now? Imagine if they were a year younger than you.”

“All right. That’s it. I’m shutting this sweat shop down.”

“You kids are lucky you don’t have a dad!”

“I’m so tired I can’t even insult you.”

“Brick is your youngest, right?” “Oh, yeah, you’re in the clear.”

“Back to Summer” is a fitting finale to a solid season of The Middle. All the characters are well-served, the stories are funny, and the sentiment is sweet but not sappy. I wish it aired right before Modern Family on a regular basis because they are perfect companions.

What did you think of The Middle‘s season finale? What were your favorite moments or lines? Let me know in the comments.