The Middle 6×18 ‘Operation Infiltration’ : The cuddle picture

Here’s the thing. Devin Levin is the best girlfriend Axl’s ever had. May they date long and prosper, and share many, many more episodes together. She’s a gift to Axl, and the audience. Why? Because she humiliated her boyfriend and gave us some awesome Sue scenes in the process.

So, Devin tells Axl that she’s super close to her family, and that if he wasn’t close to his sister, that would be a deal breaker for her. Now, this was the April Fool’s show, making it pretty obvious that her statement was BS. It doesn’t matter. Badly hidden twist aside, was it not great to see Axl’s painfully forced affection toward Sue? But Sue catching on to the game was even better, because how fun was it to see Sue blackmailing Axl into doing cutesy garbage with her? And I love the fact that Sue and Devin will be at the same school next season, so they can totally trade embarrassing Axl stories, and plot out new ways of torturing him. I didn’t realize how much I needed that scenario until it was presented to me. And that, ladies and gents, is the magic and power of Devin Levin.

Elsewhere, Frankie has to chaperone Brick’s field trip, and finds out that he wants to befriend a couple kids on the bus. Unfortunately, said kids don’t want to sit with him, and when Frankie goes to one of their moms, a fellow chaperone, to ask for help, she gets shot down. At which point she goes on a typical Frankie rant about how the other mom should be more understanding, and encourage her son to start a friendship with Brick. It’s funny, Frankie rants usually are, but it’s also sweet. And a little heartbreaking too. Because who among us hasn’t had to sit alone on a bus, while other kids chat away with their friends? It sucks. And you can’t help feeling bad for Brick. And really proud of Frankie, because she pulls this mother bear act, trying to help her son. It’s a sweet thing, wrapped up in the usual Heck humor, and it’s one of my favorite Frankie storylines this season.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

This week, Mike’s hanging out with his brother Rusty while they try to dispose of their dad’s junk. Mike learns a lesson of his own on family when he realizes that he was a real tool to Rusty when they were kids, and maybe that’s why the guy’s such a screw-up now. It’s hard for me to judge the Rusty scenes fairly, because I’m not a fan of the actor who plays him. Don’t know why, it’s just something in my DNA that reacts negatively to the guy, so every time he guest stars, I want to tune out a little bit. Maybe it’s not the actor, maybe I just find Rusty as a character more annoying than funny at this point. Whatever the case may be, if you like Rusty, you’ll be happy this week. If not, you’ll probably be like me, bored and waiting for Frankie, Sue or Brick to show up again.

So, great Sue moments, endearing tries by Frankie to be a good mother, and a Mike storyline that just didn’t grab me. A decent episode that would’ve been better if Rusty wasn’t in it.


Nicolette Schneider

is a lit geek, a comic geek, and a certified TV fanatic. She often prefers fictional people over real ones. When she does make friends with regular humans, she likes the ones who give her access to their Netflix accounts. She loves words and hopes to one day make money stringing them together. Until then, read those words for free on

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