The Middle celebrated its 200th episode Tuesday by commemorating a much smaller milestone achieved by the town that Frankie & Co. call home.
Early on in “The 200th,” Nancy and Ron Donahue dropped by the Hecks to inform them that Orson had just been named one of the top 200 cities in Indiana, coming in at… No. 200. To mark the occasion, the town’s upcoming cow rededication ceremony — thrown by none other than Frankie’s former boss Mr. Ehlert — would double as a celebration of Orson’s having made the list.
Leading up to the event, Axl enlisted Sue as his temporary assistant — or, rather, his “asisterant” — to impress a potential employer, Jackson Plumbing Supply. After he was called to come in and speak with the company’s president, Sue drove her sib to his interview and was there to give him the push he needed when he nearly chickened out and began panicking about entering adulthood. As a result, the interview went well, and — miracle of miracles! — Axl was hired as the company’s newest junior sales rep for the tristate area.
Meanwhile, when Brick confronted Cindy about leaving threatening notes in Lilah’s locker, his ex admitted that she still had feelings for him. What’s more, she’d consider taking him back if he completed three acts of bravery in her honor. Among them was the retrieval of her favorite safari hat from the Glossner kids. (Though Brick gave it the old college try, he wound up being chased off the property by a ferocious mutt.) For his final act of courage, Brick acknowledged that he’d made a mistake by breaking up with Cindy in the first place. With that, she forgave him, and Orson High’s most peculiar pair was an item again.
In other couples developments, Mike — gobsmacked by the news that Bill and Paula Norwood were separating — realized that he needed to start showing Frankie, not to mention everyone else in his life, just how much he appreciates them. This resulted in him opening up in a way that we haven’t quite seen before. At the hotly anticipated ceremony, he got up on stage and gave a touching speech about how grateful he was to live in a place like Orson, where everyone’s always willing to lend a helping hand. This sentiment even inspired the item that he wound up putting in the Hecks’ time capsule: a hammer that he thought belonged to Bill but was actually passed on from neighbor to neighbor whenever someone needed it.
Later, Frankie acknowledged what an amazing speech Mike had given — and noted how loving he had been recently toward her and the kids. Before he was accused of being too open-hearted, Mike disputed Frankie’s claim that they were soulmates. He also argued against the idea that he wouldn’t have found another great place to live had had he not settled down in Orson. Frankie responded jokingly, telling him that he was lucky to have buried that hammer before ruining a precious moment, then, as the episode drew to a close, gave him a kiss on the cheek.
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