Mark Watches ‘The Middleman’: Episode 13

In the thirteenth and final episode of The Middleman, The Middleman makes his ultimate sacrifice. Intrigued? Then it’s time to finish The Middleman.

Goddamn, what a show.

  • And goddamn, what an ending.
  • It really would have been fun to see “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse” re-created on the screen, as there’s a lot in it that was clearly meant to be a visual treat. But I can’t deny what a special opportunity it was for me to experience the series finale like this. It made me miss Comic-Con. I had a strange experience there last year, as it was the first time in many years that I felt burnt out on going. Which I know is weird to say given that two amazing things happened in 2013 at Comic-Con: the 20th anniversary of The X-Files AND I was actually ON a panel on Sunday afternoon. WHICH WAS SUPER SURREAL. But I spent so much time standing in lines and sitting through panels I had no interest in just so I could see one thing. As Comic-Con grows, it’s now packed into a space that can’t really fit how huge it is. (I’ve heard some whisperings that the Convention Center is growing? Let’s hope so!) I mean, I love that it’s in San Diego, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I love the smaller panels. I LOVE ARTISTS’ ALLEY SO MUCH. I’ve had the privilege of attending the con… shit. Seven times? And this is going to sound so pretentious, but it totally feels different to me. Not in content, mind you. The panels and meet-ups only get better and better. It’s just that last year was the first year I was utterly exhausted by the weekend, and I felt bad because it was my boyfriend’s first time there.
  • And then I watched this and FUCK MY FEELINGS. Because this is a fantastic example of why Comic-Con matters and why I’ll always go if I have the chance to go. This final episode is clearly a celebration of the absurd weirdness of the show, but the table read itself is like a giant thank you to all of us.
  • ACTUALLY, it’s a celebration of Mark Sheppard. Let’s not kid ourselves.
  • Just… where do I start? The episode title is basically the same word said three times, isn’t it? I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS.
  • Let’s also make sure to acknowledge that twice now did I write about how Manservant Neville wasn’t the villain. TWICE. I did that publicly, and THIS IS MY FAULT.
  • How did I not get that Neville was a Steve Jobs parody? WHITE CUBES THAT PLAY MUSIC AND MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER. Well, that went right over my head.
  • Now, this show has addressed the veritable end of the world before, but this episode takes that idea to its surrealist, inevitable end, and The Middleman‘s version of the apocalypse is both hilarious and nightmarish, which makes me somewhat thankful for because then I don’t have to see furry buses running into ladybugs.
  • Actually, now I’m thinking of a city bus line for furries running into giant ladybugs, and I take back everything I’ve said. I’d really, really like to see this.
  • I can’t stop getting off topic. THERE’S SO MUCH HERE.
  • I think that this show’s constant development of the relationships between the characters is what makes this such a thrilling ride. As I’m sure you’ll see in the video, I was kind of SUPER invested in this story? I actually didn’t know what was going to happen, obviously, but the way in which these relationships are tested is vital to understanding the episodes.
  • Initially, there’s the chance that Tyler betrayed Wendy by giving her a bracelet that turned out to be bugged. Now, I admit that I didn’t really believe that Tyler was capable of this, and I don’t think the writers were trying to get us to believe that. But this is about how all these people come together out of loyalty to one another! And it only strengthened them more that Tyler was allowed to learn of The Middleman organization.
  • WHICH IS HUGE. THIS IS SO HUGE. I never ever thought that the other characters would get to learn what it is that Wendy does, and now I’m having tragic thoughts about how cool it would have been if Noser and Lacey got to find out about Wendy’s job. And more tragic thoughts about not getting to see Wendy’s mom on camera.
  • tragedy
  • Can we talk about Manservant Neville’s evil plan? Because if you think about it, his goal was to make the world a better place. When he couldn’t achieve this through his own company, he realized he’d have to force the world to be better. It’s so ridiculous, but you can tell he started off with good intentions. Which mean nothing in the end, but I’m fascinated that he’s a villain who more or less started off as a superhero. (Can I also claim that this also feels like a reference to Adrian Veidt of Watchmen? He kind of does, right?)
  • I figured that the Chac-Mol would come up, but lord, this did not go as I expected.
  • Because I didn’t expect that Manservant Neville would kill everyone. The show is built on the optimism I’ve written about many times, and so it came as a shock that Emperor Palpatine – er, Manservant Neville was so vicious about getting what he wanted. Tyler is electrocuted, Noser is frozen inside the same kind of cruelty-free diamond that Tyler gave her, and Lacey is given LEUKEMIA.
  • Which is the key to unlocking the only real mystery left at this point: Who was it that the Middleman once loved?
  • His Middleman.
  • Oh, also: Clarence Colton. CLARENCE. IT’S THE PERFECT NAME.
  • I love the introduction of Raveena Rao, especially since SHE IS ACTUALLY IN THE EPISODE ITSELF. Oh my god, why must you add so much tragedy to this? Actually, it’s amidst tragedy that we finally learn who Raveena was and get a chance to meet her. Throughout this episode, the Middleman is distracted by his love for Lacey and how much he hates that he’s keeping himself away from her. So I found it meaningful that when the Middleman heads back down to the Underworld, she insists that he move on from her. I’M OVERFLOWING WITH EMOTIONS.
  • Now, I won’t deny how wonderful it was to watch this cast perform this live, but PLEASE TELL ME THAT ALL OF YOU WANTED TO SEE THE ARMY OF MIDDLEMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY SHOW UP TO FIGHT AGAINST MANSERVANT NEVILLE. Because that would have been amazing.
  • (I really need to go out and buy the complete The Middleman set so I can read this.)
  • But I like what this idea represents: The Middleman’s past comes back to guarantee him a future.
  • With one exception, of course. I, too, was confused by The Middleman’s appearance after Neville’s defeat. Wasn’t that the point of the ultimate sacrifice? The Middleman would give up his life in order to shut down Neville’s network of mind control cubes?
  • You know what this means, right? The Middleman’s love for Lacey was more than the value of his own life. It was more of a sacrifice for him to give up ever knowing her than to NOT BE ALIVE AT ALL.
  • WOW
  • But it’s a remarkably fitting end of this series about fighting evil, no matter the cost. Yeah, there’s still a lot of potential to this world, and it’s sad that this is all we got. It may have taken me longer than usual to get into this show, but holy shit. It was totally worth it!!!!

Thank you to the number of folks who were begging me to put The Middleman on the schedule, including my moderators spectralbovine, echinodermata, and cait0716. I know for a fact this show may never have been on my radar without them insisting that I’d love it. It’s nice to know that people get my taste, because sweet mother of ponies, this hit so many of the emotional marks I love. And it was genuinely funny. (Actually, the whole thing was worth it just to hear Brendan Hines accidentally say that Wendy was an alcoholic. TOTALLY WORTH IT.)

And major thanks to Javier Grillo-Marxuach for sending me support and a bunch of new readers. You’re wonderful, and this world you’ve created is something I’ll never forget. Thank you!

Tomorrow, I’m taking a day off from Double Features to get a backlog of commissions done, so on Monday, Mark Watches Band of Brothers will begin, which just might be the biggest tonal change in the history of this site. See you then!

The video for “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features will be: Band of Brothers, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and then Farscape.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014, so check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all currently planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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