Mark Watches ‘The Middleman’: Episode 7

In the seventh episode of The Middleman, Lacey tries to discover what it is that Wendy does at her job. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Middleman.

“The Cursed Tuba Contingency”

  • This really was inevitable for a number of reasons. I don’t think the show could have kept Lacey away from the Middleman for much longer, and I mean that both in the romantic sense and in terms of her suspicions about Wendy’s job. The story that keeps these two entwined isn’t my favorite of the show so far, but I enjoyed what it brought out in these people.
  • However, I can’t deny how endlessly funny it was that the main mystical object here was a TUBA. That is so absurd that I can’t help but enjoy it.
  • I know I mentioned this at the end of the video, but I’ll start things off by pointing out that I now understand why the movie that the Middleman watches is called Ride Lonesome. While “The Cursed Tuba Contingency” flirts with the idea of the Middleman finding happiness in Lacey (and vice versa), this was always about his forced loneliness. I think you could even read a little bit of that into his actions in “The Flying Fish Zombification.” Perhaps he really was jealous that Wendy could have a semblance of a social life when his entire life revolved around being the Middleman. Hell, I think you could even posit that his identity is all rooted in being the Middleman, too. Remember that we don’t even know his name because he never uses it.
  • So, the idea that someone is interested in him genuinely – like Lacey is – intrigues him. And seriously, it’s the lack of irony in their attraction that’s so meaningful. Lacey likes the Middleman’s proper nature. The Middleman enjoys that Lacey is so spirited and loyal. And that’s real.
  • They meet twice over Ride Lonesome and they’re interrupted – twice – by the call of duty. Initially, I thought that Lacey was only there to get more information on Wendy’s job, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much development we got between these two. I love the use of the movie as a metaphor that works on a number of levels. As I said, it’s a way for The Middleman to communicate that what he does begets loneliness. He knows that his job puts others in risk, and he can’t do that to Lacey or Wendy.
  • But in a wonderfully fulfilling twist, Lacey rejects this trope. She refuses to be an unwilling participant. She gets a choice here, and even if she respects that the Middleman can’t date her, she’s not going to let him go without reminding him that things don’t end as expected. (That actually felt kind of meta to me because I expected Lacey and the Middleman to continue dating after this episode.) Just because the Middleman has never been able to balance a job and a love interest doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I mean… what if Lacey eventually finds out what he does? What if she’s okay with it, and what if they can make it work?
  • It’s just an idea. I do love that this episode made me think about this.
  • Admittedly, all of this character development was a lot more interesting to me than the case this week. Still, there’s a lot to like here. Once again, a rich white dude is shown to be UTTERLY HORRIBLE, and it was a fascinating take on immortality. Also, if it wasn’t so silly-looking, I’d say the death that set this case into motion felt very much like one on an episode of The X-Files or Fringe.
  • As ridiculous as the idea of a cursed tuba keeping a person alive is, I adore the way in which immortality is represented. Of course Cecil Rogers would become a COMPLETE ASSHOLE. The man saved himself and his musical instrument at the expense of other people. He already demonstrated a willingness to detach from the people around him, so why wouldn’t he keep doing that in the years to come? The curse basically rewarded him for being a horrible person!
  • This is the first time that anyone has killed a human on the show, right? I mean… technically? Cecil will drown over and over again until the tuba breaks apart. Wow… that’s really disturbing to think about.
  • Otherwise, I thought this was a neat episode! I was definitely surprised by the re-appearance of Roxy and the succubi. I think there have been better episodes than this one, but goddamn, I’ve never watched anything like this before. ALLOW ME TO WATCH MORE.

The video for “The Cursed Tuba Contingency” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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