The Middle 5.10 “Sleepless in Orson” Review

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The first episode of the New Year showed the Heck kids all still on their winter break.  Axl and his buddies are back to their old ways of making money, only this time they’ve actually gotten lazier.  Brick has been acting even more strange than usual.  This was an especially romantic episode for Sue, as the title might imply with its take on the romantic comedy movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.

Axl, Sean, and Darrin got a new gig shoveling snow from the driveway of an auto repair shop.  After just a few minutes of shoveling, they notice the sun slowly starting to melt the mounds of snow piled up.  Axl hit a new low of stupidity when he suggested they sit back and let the sun do the work.  While they quite literally kicked back and relaxed, Darrin’s current girlfriend shows up and yells at him for not actually working.  Darrin, usually the quiet one, stands up against his girlfriend and friends, demanding to be the boss of himself.  This turned out to be an important revelation for dear old Darrin because it seems he’s ready to change his ways and attempt to win Sue back.

Unfortunately for Darrin, he witnessed one of multiple kisses between Sue and Derek Glossner.  If you remember, Derek is one of the neighbors who were trashing the Heck house while Sue and Brick were home alone and too scared to confront them.  At the end of that episode, Derek admitted to Sue why he was acting the way he was: he has a crush on her, but feels like he’s not worthy of her just yet.  It appears the feeling may be mutual as Derek surprises Sue with random visits to her house and work to kiss her and run away again.  Sue has never had the attention of a boy like this before, so it is cute to see her all nervous about when he’ll show up again.  I especially liked the scenes with her best friend Brad.  We haven’t seen enough of Brad this season, so hearing him complain about Sue’s incessant chatting about Derek and her failing to ask about his “girlfriend” in Canada was pretty funny.

Brick had the best storyline of the night.  It’s sometimes hard to forget that he is still a child when he’s so intelligent and much more well-read than an average adult, so it was nice to see him have a silly and exaggerated fear of burglary and kidnapping.  It all came down to his iPad, where he would receive all kinds of news updates.  A local sub shop was robbed, and it really spooked him so much so that he started sleeping under the kitchen table.  Frankie and Mike try and fail to get through to him, so they think that bringing him to visit his school psychiatrist (played by Dave Foley) at his home may help.  Dr. Fulton has issues of his own, but he does eventually inspire a breakthrough for Brick.

One sleepless night when Brick is awake with worries for the Asian stock market, he stumbles up a Buddhist philosophy on the internet.  Imagining his family dead and their house burned down actually helps him calm down because he will acknowledge that things can be broken, so you might as well enjoy what you have while it’s all still there.  Frankie and Mike don’t quite agree that this is the best philosophy for Brick to live by, but if it works for him, they’re happy.  This way of thinking even applied to Axl, as he was bracing for the news that he and his friends are fired from their shoveling job when the owner of the auto repair shop is outraged to find they haven’t done any work.

I’m curious to see what happens now with Sue and her suitors. (see what I did there? Sue would be so proud!)  It didn’t appear that Sue saw Darrin across the street holding flowers for her, because she was too wrapped up in another surprise kiss with Derek.  Derek said he’s not good enough for her (again), but he clearly can’t quite shake his feelings for her yet if he spent days making sneak attacks to kiss her and run away.  I hope Darrin isn’t too discouraged from trying to win Sue back, as I always loved when they were together last season!  Who would have ever thought that Sue Heck would be caught in a love triangle?

[Photo via Michael Ansell /ABC]

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