The Middle 7×02 ‘Cutting the Cord’ : Brick the bookmark

Sue’s officially a college girl, but dorm life isn’t all that she expected. After getting two kids through to the higher education system, Frankie and Mike are too tired to parent anymore, leaving Brick to fend for himself. Axl, he’s got ant problems, and his whole storyline’s rather boring, until he does that thing he does where he redeems himself at the end and you just want to give him a hug. Even if he is kind of a moron.

Last week ended with Sue looking lost and alone in her dorm room. That carries over into this episode, where we see that her roommate is mysteriously MIA. Minus someone to bond and become BFFs with, Sue gets her social fix by texting her mom. A lot. And even her dad, a lot. She’s forced to realize that there are many, many things she doesn’t know how to do, even with Mike and all his square knot training.

Back at home, Brick starts eighth grade, and his parents are too exhausted to care. They unknowingly let him go to a pep rally dressed as a singing, dancing bookmark. Now, I love, love, love books, but that is just not going to go well with a bunch of preteens who’ve probably never entered a library, except maybe, possibly, still probably not to use a computer. Frankie kind of forgets to feed the kid, too. I mean, it’s funny, but it’s also horrifying. The low-key parental neglect has hit medium-key here, and any laughs it does provide make me slightly uncomfortable.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

Axl and his idiot roommate are dealing with a pest infestation in the worst way possible. He’s also ignoring Sue’s calls for school help. His scenes this week are kind of blah, just college guys being impossibly stupid, but with the other kids getting more/better story during this episode, someone always ends up with the short straw.

But, as I said, Axl redeems himself. All it takes is a complete breakdown from Sue first. Her roommate finally shows, in the form of an angry junior who hates everything Sue loves. Those two together were gold, and I dearly hope we get to see lots more of the roomie. That combined with a crash course on politics and police brutality have Sue realizing that she’s the exception rather than the rule as far as college kids. And just as she’s ready to give up and go home, Axl shows up to make her feel a little less alone. Sadly it happens after Frankie and Mike have already decided to drive up and rescue their little girl, but, details.

I’d think all college freshmen can relate to this episode. Because really, no matter how many times your dad teaches you how to plunge a toilet, independent living can be overwhelming. That theme was important here, but not as important as that of family coming together to help each other. As annoying as they find Sue’s constant texts and questions, her parents still run out the door at the drop of a hat to take care of her. Axl thrives on tormenting her, but even he eventually makes the effort to comfort her. That’s what counts, and that’s what works about this family. When the chips are down, they always come through for each other.

Well, no one really comes through for Brick here, except for a non-family member. Seriously, they were kind of really awful to Brick this week. Work on that, parents, you’ll give the boy a complex.

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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