The Middle S9E18 Review

We're really in the final stretch for The Middle now, as the show has made a move to 8:30 for the spring to air after the first revival season of Roseanne. In this week's episode, the Sue/Sean story continues, but they aren't the only ones dealing with romance, as Brick and Cindy are kissing all around and all during school, and Frankie and Mike deal with romance at their age. Also, Axl is forced to write thank you notes from years ago that he didn't complete.

S9E18 "Thank You for Not Kissing"

After Sue hilariously debates which part of a chocolate bunny she should start with, she and Brad talk about Sean, and they decide she is going to tell him how she feels. However, they end up seeing Sean hug a girl, and Brad hilariously tries to come up with some reason why they may be hugging that isn't that these two are dating. Brad tries to train Sue to act more like a grown-up, so that she won't seem like Axl's younger sister to Sean. There are some funny moments here, such as when Sue tries to contain her excitement about glitter and double rainbows, but this seems pointless, Sue already knows at this point that Sean has at least some interest in her.

Luckily, Sue realizes that she should be who she is and should go and tell Sean how she feels. Sadly, the show refuses to come to the realization that they should just make the pairing of Sue and Sean happen already rather than dragging this out, and when Sue shows up at Sean's, he shares news that he will be leaving in a month for a summer-long internship in Ghana.

Frankie and Mike are called into Brick's school, where they learn that Brick and Cindy have been making out all the time at school. These two are not strangers to meetings having to do with Brick's behavior, but the issue this time was surprising. Mike goes to talk to Brick, and it's hilarious when he asks "what's wrong" when Mike turns off the TV while a basketball game is on, assuming someone died. He tells Brick that he and Cindy should kiss in private, and there are some funny lines, especially from Mike, here.

Cindy shows up and interrogates Mike, which is hilarious, and has a theory that the love is gone in Frankie and Mike's marriage. Affected by what Cindy said, Mike surprises Frankie, but she elbows him, which is a funny moment, and as a result he tells Brick to kiss Cindy wherever and whenever while he's young. The episode ends with a funny moment where Frankie gets home to Mike trying to seduce her, so she quickly shaves her legs and shouts that she's on her way.

When Frankie stumbles upon old thank you notes that Axl started writing but didn't finish and didn't send, she insists that he complete them and send them. This is a great set-up for a story, as it is very true to Frankie and Axl's respective personalities, and it shows how, even though Axl is an adult now, she's still in charge. Axl's initial solution is to send out a group thank you text, which Frankie disapproves of. The funniest moment here is when she describes the text, where Axl didn't even spell out the words.

The obvious end to this story is that Axl will write the thank you notes, and getting him to do that seems like a stretch, but the show pulls it off wonderfully when Brick goes through the notes and makes a comment about how one to Aunt Edie is too late. This affects Axl, and the portrayal of this is powerful. In the end, Axl gets a response to one of his thank you notes, and it contains money, which Frankie tells Axl he will have to write a thank you note for, and he hilariously collapses on the floor in response.

This was a very funny episode that had stories that were rooted in the characters' personalities, and it even had a great serious moment with Axl's realization that Aunt Edie would have loved the thank you note he never wrote her. Still, I do not appreciate the show dragging out the story between Sue and Sean, and I'm quite disappointed as this is the last show I would expect to fall into a typical will they/won't they that goes on for way too long.

Score: 9.5/10

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