In the third episode of The Middleman, this truly is the most over-the-top thing I’ve ever watched. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Middleman.
- I don’t know how else to describe this. It’s ridiculous and absurd, and the show makes no apologies for how fucking bizarre it is.
- ALSO HOLY SHIT, SENSEI PING WAS PLAYED BY THE CHAIRMAN FROM IRON CHEF. I KNEW HE SEEMED FAMILIAR.
- Can I also definitively state that this is so much better of a luchadores episode than that one episode in season five of Angel that was… really weird?
- CAN I ALSO DEFINITIVELY STATE THAT THE MIDDLEMAN SAYING “Mutual of Omaha!” AS A SWEAR IS THE BEST OF HIS CUSSING YET? BECAUSE I CAN’T GET OVER IT.
- So far, this was the most fun episode of the show. SO FAR. It’s just… luchadores acting out a blood feud with an old martial arts master, and the whole thing is the most overblown mess of tropes imaginable, so much so that you realize this is no longer a trope but a unique use of these archetypes, and I just can’t wrap my mind around how the writers are able to be so sincere and so cheesy all at the same time.
- Like, I shouldn’t be surprised. Wasn’t Javier Grillo-Marxuach on the writing staff for LOST for the first two seasons? THAT SHIT WAS SO GOLDEN.
- LET’S DISCUSS THIS. Because I’ve noticed that, three episodes in, this show never stops addressing the fact that Lacey and Wendy are both graduates of art school, and they both still struggle to make ends meet. AS A COLLEGE DROP-OUT WHO SPENT YEARS IN POVERTY WORKING SOME OF THE STRANGEST JOBS EVER, I fucking love this. It’s so refreshing and hilariously spot-on, until it’s too accurate, and then it hurts. But Lacey and Wendy are there to support one another because they understand their mutual struggle. It’s great to have ideals, to believe that you can change the world, but sometimes, those values clash with your need to have food. Or a roof over your head. And there shouldn’t be so much shame attached to trying to survive!
- So Lacey decides that working at the Booty Chest, a Hooters knock-off, is the only way she can chip away at her student loans. I love how the Booty Chest is constantly defined in full throughout “The Sino-Mexican Revelation.”
- But really, this episode is about worth, isn’t it? For Wendy, she has to cope with the growing fear that she’s not good enough. Not to get too serious when discussing this, but when you’re moving from temp job to temp job, when you have no security or safety not, it’s very easy to slip into self-deprecation. I mean, I’d like not to associate my own self-worth with how much money I have or how easy it is to pay my bills, but we live in a world that’s run by money. It’s unavoidable.
- I kept this in mind when I thought about why Wendy so quickly turned on Sensei Ping. She’d learned that she wasn’t The Middleman’s first choice. She had to pick Sensei Ping up in a car that was… well, “historical” might be a good word to describe it. And Sensei Ping immediately starts picking on Wendy, and why wouldn’t she feel overwhelmed? I do like that The Middleman later points out that her reaction to all of this was to do the precise list of things that she was told never to do, and it’s an important point! But when you’re not being paid for a job until you’ve passed through a rigorous test, and you’re constantly being questioned about whether or not you can complete the job, and Ida has absolutely no faith in you until you demonstrate to her that yes, you can indeed fly a plane… look, I’m not surprised at all that Wendy lashed out.
- I ALREADY FEEL PROTECTIVE OF WENDY WHAT’S HAPPENING
- MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THE ROBIN SIDEKICK VISION SEQUENCE BECAUSE OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO AMAZING.
- I swear, there are more pop culture references packed into a single episode of this show than a whole season of a Whedon show.
- I feel like analyzing all of the fight scenes in this episode is redundant? BECAUSE COME ON, LUCHADORES FIGHTING SENSEI PING AND IT’S SO CLEARLY CAMPY AND NONSENSICAL. Even when The Middleman is chosen as Sensei Ping’s fighter, The Middleman’s scene is like a video game. One punch, and someone is out cold! That’s it!
- I suppose to watch this show is to absolutely suspend your sense of disbelief and never, ever go back to get it. It’s not a show about realism, that much is clear. We don’t even get an explanation for how Wendy knows how to fly something as potentially complex as the Middlejet, or how she gets inside the Dread Pyramid. Because who cares? There is a scene in this episode where a masked wrestler stereotypically pulls The Middleman’s leg, which actually causes no pain because that’s the direction knees bend in. It’s not intended as a brutal exploration of the societal wrongs of supervillains.
- THE WUHAN THUMB OF DEATH. There’s all the evidence you need that this show is intentionally over-the-top, a long form joke told in pieces.
- I just like that this episode is about Wendy proving her worth, not just to her employer, but to herself. She matters. It was brave of her to fly to South America; she saved The Middleman’s life, as well as Sensei Ping’s. And she finally makes The Middleman realize that she deserves to be paid. Could someone pay me with a cute car? THAT WOULD BE SO GREAT.
- I think in order to fully enjoy this show, I just have to let go. I’m gonna do that. This shit is unreal, and I think that’s how I’ll have fun.
- two-day amnesia OH MY GOD.
The video for “The Sino-Mexican Revelation” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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