In the sixth episode of The Middleman, the team tracks down an obsessed fan who appears to be trying to kidnap her favorite boyband. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Middleman.
“The Boyband Superfan Interrogation”
- I just watched an episode of a show that was about outer space tyrants disguised as a boyband. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT JUST HAPPENED IN MY LIFE.
- I honestly never thought we’d see Pip again, and now I’m convinced that we will now never see him again. He got shamed off the very show he was on.
- Seriously, this episode was a blast, even if it did get very sad there for a moment. “The Boyband Superfan Interrogation” is about sacrifice and what these people are willing to give up in order to save others. I loved the parallel storytelling here, though it shouldn’t be a surprise since I love stories about friendship. And really, isn’t that a big part of Wendy’s role here? She cares too much about Lacey and Noser to risk splitting them all up and losing their illegal sublet. (Though I now have a very important question: Where the hell does Noser live? In the hallway? Okay, I assume he’s got his own illegal sublet in the building, but it wasn’t until this episode that I realized that he had to live in that building or else this whole thing doesn’t make much sense.)
- Note that I am debating the logistics of where Noser lives after I just watched a fourteen-year-old electrocute a ton of people. I should just stop.
- So! Let’s talk about Wendy’s part of the episode before we address boy bands. This show really takes entitled white boys to task, doesn’t it? After Ben, we get Pip, who was not just a disaster in the previous episode. Here, he steals Wendy’s art by copying it and exhibiting it as his own. Even worse, he blackmails Wendy, threatening to have the building evicted if she ever breathes a word of what he’s done to the folks at The Gate. Seriously, it explains why Pip is so upfront about the theft. He knows he’ll get away with it. He knows his money and privilege shields him from his responsibility.
- And bless Noser and Lacey, who really do want to help Wendy! They’re determined to get revenge, and I love it. It actually reminded me of how Lacey offered to provide the emotional support Wendy needed when Ben broke up with her. Then, she was overbearing at times, and I think you can see some of that here. But, knowing what Pip can do, Wendy reasons that it’s much better if she takes on this personal attack all by herself. She’ll let Pip steal her art blatantly, and she’ll get to keep her friends.
- IT’S SO SWEET. And I love that the narrative so purposely values Lacey and Noser. They’re in every episode, they clearly mean a lot to Wendy, and she’ll do anything to make sure they’re still in her life.
- Of course, it’s not until later that Lacey finds out what’s really happening. Up until that point, it seems like Wendy is just being stubborn, which… well, Wendy can be stubborn. We’ve seen it!
- All of this is paralleled with the Middleman’s difficult journey. A case involving a duck stuck in a rift in space turns into an alien mission to kill exiled tyrants who are using their boy band to build enough wealth to construct a portal back to their homeland so they can continue being tyrants. NONE OF THIS IS AN EXAGGERATION AND ACTUALLY DOESN’T EVEN DO THIS STORY JUSTICE. Holy shit, I loved that Cindy was meant to trick us into thinking she was a villain when she was just doing her job, one that was vital to the survival of her own people. Plus, it toyed with our expectation that the superfan here was nothing more than a teenage girl. I was happy that this was turned on its head.
- And for what it’s worth, I’ve worked with a lot of bands over the years, from tiny local ones to massively huge bands who tour stadiums. A lot of them have folders of stalkers and creeps. And guess what? They’re not all women. Occasionally, a band’s demographic might mean they are mostly women, but lord. THERE ARE LOTS OF CREEPY MEN. And actually, most of the creepy men in these folders? They’re also super gross to everyone around them, not just the bad.
- So yeah, switching Cindy’s characterization around so that she’s pretending to be a teenage creep actually works in her favor.
- But this is necessary to put the Middleman into a moral conundrum where he’d choose to let Ida die instead of saving her.
- Cindy is trying to protect her world, and the only way to do so is by using the powerful battery with Ida. Without it? Ida dies. For real. She’s gone, and they can’t get her back.
- At least until the end, the episode also examines what it would be like if Ida really were gone. She’s not just an integral part of the job as a Middleman; she’s part of these people’s lives, even if she is mostly insulting Wendy. Wendy missed her drug jokes!
- I feel like The Middleman is not the type of show to wallow in cynicism and grimness, so I think it fits that things work out for Wendy and the Middleman. The Middleman uses a truth bomb to shame Pip, and Wendy gets proper credit for her work. (Oh gods, I loved how angry the Middleman got about plagiarism!) The organization that sends out random gear and gadgets replaces Ida because obviously a Middleman can’t go without Ida! There’s friendship and I’m sure there were rainbows and puppies somewhere.
- At the very least, the Middleman’s joke about being the middleman for concert tickets spawned five rainbows. Because really good puns are how rainbows are born. This is science.
- I liked this episode! This shit is so much fun to watch.
The video for “The Boyband Superfan Interrogation” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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