After a week break, The Middle starts off right where it left off: with Axl on the couch. The recently injured football star’s butt has been glued there since his sister ran over his foot with a car. While Axl see’s this as an excuse to lounge around, the Heck parents are watching their son’s chances at college scholarships go down the drain.
Frankie and Mike convince Axl to get a tutor to boost his odds of getting into college, but Frankie might need a little extra help herself. It’s her first week of dental assisting school, and after coming in late on the first day and cracking outspoken “mom” jokes, Frankie isn’t on the best terms with her professor. In typical motherly fashion, she tries to suck up to the teacher by bringing her a plate of snicker doodles. She quickly learns that this is, in fact, a great way to get embarrassed in front of the class and end up in a dental chair with dozens of prying fingers in her mouth.
Axl may not end up with dental gloves in his mouth, but he does get some lip locking action with his new tutor. After their first hostile interaction in the tutor signup line, Axl was paired with the redheaded girl donning hipster glasses he had already personally insulted. During their tutoring sessions to prepare for an upcoming government test, the two spit insults back and forth, eventually ending in an awkward kiss that sends the shy tutor out of the room in shock.
Wait, where are Sue and Brick? The two younger Heck kids didn’t seem to have that big of a role in this education anxiety based episode. When Frankie is too busy with school to bring a health snack to Brick’s social skills class (no, peanut M&M’s don’t count), Sue volunteers to help out. When the two enter a garage sale with an extra twenty dollars burning in their pockets, they can’t help but flash back to their favorite TV shows. Soon their on a mission to make money by pawning of seemingly valuable items, and get carried away when they see a safe that reminds them of “Storage Wars”. After breaking a spatula, cheese grater, and a wall, the two get the safe open and find a rental car receipt signed by who they believe is President Ford. After turning down a $20 offer for the yellowed paper, Sue and Brick realize it is not a famous signature, and ultimately lose money on their TV show-based expedition.
Back to the main story line of Frankie and Axl. The two are studying for upcoming tests with little success, and Mike sees that emotional breakdowns are quickly approaching. He takes a break from fixing the house to help them study, but after the two accidentally take Tylenol PM, Mike’s just trying to help them stay awake. In a drowsy attempt at kindness, Axl writes dental definitions on his mothers arm, ultimately getting her even more trouble with her sassy instructor. Axl miraculously manages to get a B on his test, surprising himself and his tutor.
While this episode didn’t pull in the whole family to the extent that it traditionally does, I think that next week we will be hearing from Brick and Sue a bit more. I’m expecting a follow up with Axl’s relationship with his tutor, as well as a larger confrontation between Frankie and her dental instructor.
“It hurts my foot to eat sandwiches”-Axl Heck
“The thing that I learned form “Hoarders” is that it usually doesn’t end well for the cats.” -Brick Heck
“If you’re trying to insult me you’re going to have to use smaller words” –Axl Heck
“Well my son and I were taking drugs together and…”-Frankie Heck
“I figured out the problem. The house is broken.” -Mike Heck
“My tutor is pretty and smart and she hates me.” –Axl Heck