“The Middle” episode review: Halloween III

Grade: A-

“Here’s what I’m thinking: a cupcake for breakfast, Twinkies for lunch, and we sneak some M & M’s into his hamburger meat for dinner”-Frankie

No matter what the show, I have always been a huge fan of Halloween episodes. Unlike past seasons, “The Middle” unfortunately spent little time on the holiday this week, but the episode was still impressive in my opinion.

Sue had just received her learner’s permit and was absolutely ecstatic about it. Despite her enthusiasm, she was not at all eager to actually get behind the wheel. She spent most her time practicing her driving skills by simulating the road in her kitchen and also obsessively deciding on which key chain she should use. When Sue finally worked up the courage to take the car out for a drive, her obsessive pre-road “check-list” stressed out both her and her parents. As someone who is not fond of driving (and is sadly a little too much like Sue), I was highly amused by her hypersensitivity, such as when she yelled “Don’t rush me!” when prompted to put the vehicle in reverse. I also found the interaction inside the car between Sue and her parents to be priceless, particularly because of how differently each of them reacted toward her.

I can honestly say that I was not expecting Sue to accidentally run Axl’s foot over with the car, and I immediately felt sympathy for her after her panic during the incident. I was pleased to see that she was able to overcome her fear though and make it up to him by driving Axl to the polling place.

On a similar note, Axl’s storyline this week focused on his newly acquired right to vote in the election since turning 18. It was so ironic that he had become informed of all of the candidates through a voter’s guide, especially since he began to know more about the election than his parents. Obviously his maturity did not last long when he informed his dad that he would be voting for candidate Harry Butts, simply because of his name. The thought of Axl having a say of anything in this country is frightening, so I thought that this was the perfect storyline for his character.

Finally, there was a storyline that centered around Halloween, but only to a certain degree. Frankie was able to take a break from trick-or-treating when Nancy Donahue offered to take Brick this year. What Frankie was not expecting though was Brick to come home with a new record of candy after visiting some of the nicer neighborhoods. To keep him from getting sick, Frankie told him that he had 24 hours to eat as much as he wanted, then the rest was getting “donated.” I was stunned when he announced the next day that he had successfully completed what he thought was a challenge and finished off his entire candy stash.

The next result was certainly unexpected! That large amount of sugar he had consumed turned Brick into a social, interactive individual with no interest in books and an absence of tics. It was amusing to see him with a different personality, but as his parents eventually realized, it wasn’t really Brick. I’ll admit that I found it hysterical that Frankie considered giving him sugar more often just to get a break from all of his quirks, until he passed out and returned to his normal self.

Overall, while this episode was not as Halloween-centered as I had hoped, it was still a very solid one nonetheless.


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