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'The Middle' fan recap: RIP, Aunt Edie

Season 6 | Episode 12 | “Hecks on a Train” | Aired Feb. 4, 2015

This week’s episode of The Middle starts off on a sad note: Dear old Aunt Edie has passed.

Aunt Edie was Frankie’s lovely great-aunt who worked hard as an accountant for Mike. She also kinda chained smoked cigarettes and drank hard liquor like the Earth was about to run out of both.

So, it is sad that she has passed, but she was 96 and didn’t exactly live the healthiest lifestyle.

The family heads to South Dakota, where Aunt Edie wished to be buried. Instead of the usual fun Heck car rides that we’ve enjoyed over the years, we get a cross-country train ride. And it is an event-filled train ride, to say the least.

Axl is not taking Aunt Edie’s death well. He was pretty close to Edie. They spent a lot of wonderful moments together. Which makes it even sadder that he thinks he killed her.

If you remember, Axl has a habit of inventing excuses to get out of things. And his favorite excuse has always been that his Aunt Edie died. And now she actually did.

So while Axl is dealing with the fact that he thinks he could be a murderer, Brick is having an existential crisis. He’s been living with his head in a book for too long, and he’s taking a cue from Aunt Edie’s book. He’s living for the moment. He’s taking in the world, and truly living life.

The only problem with having an existential crisis at 13 is that fellow 13-year-olds who also live for the moment can sometimes be undesirables.

The undesirable whom Brick encounters on the train tries to get him to steal beer from the train bar. So, on second thought, it’s probably best for Brick to just live for the books instead.

Speaking of books, Sue has been hitting them hard lately trying to get into college. She’s been working on her final college applications the whole train ride, and it’s revealed that one of those applications is to East Indiana State.

Yeah, the same college Axl goes to.

As you can imagine, Axl is not taking this news well. Not only does he think he’s a murderer, but now he believes that karma is also working against him. If Sue does go to East Indiana State, clearly that’s payback for Axl’s so many lies throughout the years.

They say when something sad happens, you should tell your loved ones that you love them. But for Frankie, Mike has never been one to express these sorts of human emotions. So Frankie is a little down, too. She’s feeling like she’s in a “hugless marriage” with Mike, and would just like a little compassion from him every once in a while.

She would also like Mike to pay attention when she gets off the train and isn’t there for the final hours of the trip. But he doesn’t notice. None of the Hecks do.

When Frankie reunites with her family at their final destination, it’s clear that Aunt Edie’s death has had a profound effect on the entire family. But in the end, all the family crises have made the Hecks remember that you should live the life you want to live to the fullest, and stay close to the ones you love.

Even if you don’t really like them that much sometimes.

The Middle airs Wednesdays at 8/7C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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