'The Middle' recap: 'Hungry Games'

By Amanda Jo Scott,

“Hungry Games” has the Hecks desperate to use their squatter coupon for the buffet at King Henry’s. The only thing standing between them and a day full of meals at King Henry’s is church. Should be easy enough, right? Think again.

Brick is pretty excited for the soups, like Thousand Island and Ranch. Sue tries to tell him that those are salad dressings, but he thinks she’s wrong.

Before heading to church, Axl realizes that Sue is contemplating applying to East Indiana State. Axl doesn’t want her attending the same school as him. This fight spills over into church, where they continue arguing before praying to God. Sue prays to get into East Indiana State and Axl prays she doesn’t. They start becoming disruptive and refuse to listen to Frankie and Mike.

As a last resort, Mike throws the Bible at Axl. Unfortunately, Mike’s aim is a bit off. He hits the lady in front of them in the back of the head. This gets Reverend Deveaux’s attention. He asks to see them after the service. They reluctantly agree.

Reverend Deveaux comments on the family being under a lot of stress. He also mentions that the previous Reverend hinted at the Hecks having quite the history. They say everything is okay. Frankie, Mike, Sue, and Axl get up to head to King Henry’s while Brick stays seated and says, “Sometimes I feel invisible.” So close to an all-you-can-eat buffet heaven, yet so far away.

Frankie says Brick is not invisible, “He’s not invisible, we just ignore him.”

Brick has a one-on-one with Reverend Deveaux. All that Brick has been through, including living with the wrong family as an infant and waiting ten years for green Jell-O, astounds Reverend Deveaux. Brick says he tries to speak up, but when he asks for things like wintergreen toothpaste, they just ignore him. He feels as though they wish he didn’t exist. Reverend Deveaux calls the family in so that Brick can tell them how he feels. Instead of saying he feels like they don’t want him around, he asks for wintergreen toothpaste. They agree to get it for him. At this point they’ll agree to anything to get to King Henry’s.

As they’re walking out the door, Sue admits, “I got drunk at a part and danced inappropriately.” They all sit back down to discover that Sue took one sip of alcohol and spit it out. Then, she twerked. Not nearly as sinful as she made it sound. However, she demands a one-on-one with Reverend Deveaux because she feels as though she’s heading down the wrong path. During her one-on-one she confesses all of her sins, including fake giggling when being tickled.

While Sue’s having her one-on-one, Frankie finds a mint to eat. Brick asks for it, but the spits it out. It’s wintergreen. I guess he doesn’t need that wintergreen toothpaste. Mike questions if Frankie knew about the party, which starts a fight between the two of them. They’re the next to have a private meeting with Reverend Deveaux. At this rate, they’re never making it to King Henry’s.

Mike and Frankie work it out. Frankie breaks out in tears when Reverend Deveaux says, “Mom is the toughest job in the world.” They walk out, ready to enjoy the buffet, but Reverend Deveaux wants the whole family to get back together and talk it out. Axl immediately says no.

Axl continues, “We are tight. We hang with each other and we goof on each other and we crack each other up. And, we’re always there for each other and I think that’s because we have parents who, everyday, a million times a day, show us what being a family is really all about. They have our backs and we have theirs and isn’t that the whole point?” He adds, “We get the job done,” even though it’s not in the prettiest of fashions. Reverend Deveaux is amazed by Axl’s speech and sends the Hecks on their way.

At dinner, while Brick enjoys his salad dressing soups, they all commend Axl for making that speech up. Axl admits that he wasn’t just saying it to get out of there, “I kind of sort of meant it.” And, Axl is right. Family is all about having each other’s backs and being there for one another. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect to work.

image: ABC

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