The Middle Series Finale Review

The title of the episode is true, it really has been a heck of a ride over the last nine years. The way that this family has grown over all of the seasons has been amazing to watch, and it has done that while being consistently funny. Now we have reached the emotional final hour of The Middle.

S9E23-24 "A Heck of a Ride"

The series finale picked up right where last week's episode left off. Frankie is crying, and can't decide whether she wants Mike to hold her or not. The scene is very funny, even though we can't see Frankie or Mike because it's dark. They have a great conversation about Frankie's nightstand cookies, and in the morning Mike wakes up to crumbs across Frankie's side of the bed. On a cookie high, Frankie has accepted that Axl is moving. Axl tells his siblings that he's leaving, and the two very different reactions are hilarious. Axl tells everyone that he has a month, as he starts his new job in June, but Mike discovers that the job actually starts in May, which Axl realizes after a hilarious debate about what the 5th month is.

Axl is upset about how Brick doesn't seem to care that he is leaving. This is a story I did not expect, but it is a great one. Axl is usually not a sentimental one, but he does care, and this story clearly shows it. Sue meanwhile tries to have a moment with Axl, but Axl just wants to talk about Brick. Axl and Brick talk about this in the backseat of the family car, where Brick reveals to Axl how he doesn't know what the room will be like without Axl. Sue interrupts, as she wants in on a moment with Axl. It's then Axl's turn to reveal his hidden emotions, telling Sue how hard it will be for him to say goodbye to her. This scene with the three Heck kids in the back of the car is absolutely wonderful, both funny and heartfelt.

Preparing for Axl to leave, Frankie acts cool so that Axl will want to take her calls and visit for the holidays. There is an enjoyable scene where she puts this into action, as they try to get good boxes from the Frugal Hoosier, and Frankie doubts that they are giving her the best boxes. Right before the family leaves, Mike gives Axl a sentimental gift of a watch with the latitude and longitude of their house on it. It's a very heartfelt scene, and there's a funny part here when Frankie gets annoyed by this. As the family prepares to leave, some neighbors say goodbye, as well as Brad, Lexi, and best of all, Weird Ashley, who has a hilarious goodbye for Axl. As the first half of the finale ends, the Heck family leaves Orson, and it's great when Nancy comments that they are fighting already, she knows them well!

The family heads out, and Frankie is still annoyed about the watch, telling Mike that when she gives a gift, she writes both of their names on it. I had a good laugh at Mike's response when he has trouble hearing her: "Maybe I don't want to get my ears checked." Frankie decides to stop and get peaches, but the peaches end up attracting bees. When Frankie gets an alert that they are nearing their data use limit, she tells the kids to get off of their devices. This is a great way to get the family to interact, which leads to arguing about Axl freezing Sue's head. I love the old recurring jokes that are getting brought up again in this finale, such as this one.

At the airport, Sean discovers the snowglobe. While I dislike how long this story has been dragged on, the fact that it began and is ending with the snowglobe is a great way to weave it all together. Sean decides to rush after Sue because of this, and while stories like this have been done before, it doesn't make this one any less great. Sue and Sean share a great scene, and I loved how the snowglobe broke once its purpose had been served. I also enjoyed the recapping of this story, and how Axl and Brick were involved.

Frankie gets another text alert about data usage, and when she brings this up, Axl suggests she take him off the family plan, because he will get a phone plan with his new job. When he says that he won't be part of the family anymore anyway, Frankie loses it. They stop the car, and she gets out. It is a very emotional scene, and Frankie's freaking out is perfectly balanced by Mike's reassurance that this is the way that things are supposed to be. This family moment on the highway is perfect, an absolutely wonderful moment of emotion. They don't forget the the comedy though, as this emotional scene is accented by the family forgetting the blue bag.

In the final minutes of the series, Frankie tells us about the future for the Heck children. Each one is wonderful, Axl having three boys just like him, Brick writing a novel series party inspired by his life, and Sue marrying Sean. The family has all grown up, and it is wonderful to see them as adults. The wedding scene also gets us one last look at some of the show's recurring characters, such as a pregnant Lexi, and Brad with a boyfriend. I lost it at the wedding, it was such a great moment showing the family all together again and happy. At the end, the family drives off, and it's ended with a perfect final moment with Brick whispering "the middle." The series could not have ended in any better of a way.

I am absolutely stunned by how wonderful of an hour this was, and my expectations certainly weren't low. The Middle creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline did a fantastic job writing a finale full of both comedy and heart, with a perfect ending to send the show off. Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, and Atticus Shaffer have been great as the Heck family, and this finale is no exception. I will miss this show dearly, but I am also so happy to see it conclude in such a strong way.

Score: 10/10 (part 1)
Score: 10/10 (part 2)

What did you think of "A Heck of a Ride"? Was it a proper conclusion to the series? Will you miss The Middle? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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