The Crying Game – While Frankie feels the need to have a good cry after having a bad week, Mike shares the good news that, after 25 years as manager at the local quarry, he is being offered the job of regional manager but feels uncomfortable saying goodbye to his co-workers. Meanwhile, Brick suspects that he’s being treated unfairly by his health teacher because of how horribly Axl treated her back when he was a student.
Toasted – Things don’t go as smoothly as planned for the Hecks when Frankie helps Sue celebrate her 21st birthday by taking her to a bar close to the college, Mike begrudgingly accompanies Brick to a “Planet Nowhere” convention, and Axl and Hutch head to Ohio in the Winnebago to attend and make a toast at ex-college roomie Kenny’s wedding.
Guess Who’s Coming to Frozen Dinner – Mike’s wayward brother, Rusty, comes to town and presents Sue with an extravagant gift, which Mike thinks is stolen goods. Meanwhile, with Sue now older and living the college life, Mike feels like he’s not as close to her as he used to be and tries to figure out a way to reconnect; Axl blows the money from his first paycheck on a big screen TV and blames his spending spree on years of learning from Frankie’s lack of financial wisdom; and Brick is stumped, but delighted to discover mysterious, unmarked gifts being left at the front door of the house.
The Other Man – Now that Axl has a real job, he begins to bond more with Mike and spends a lot of time with him – leaving Frankie frozen out of their interactions; and just as Sue is about to break up with Aidan, Brad pleads with her to wait a beat until after he has a chance to win the affection of Aiden’s handsome friend, Luke.
New Year’s Revelations – As New Year’s Eve approaches, Sue admits to Frankie that she likes Sean Donahue and that she kissed him at the Christmas party. But she’s still trying to figure out if her kiss with Sean was a fluke or if it actually meant that he likes her. Meanwhile, Mike forces Axl and Brick to take a drive with him and Mike’s dad, Big Mike, and they are shocked to discover what is planned when they reach their final destination.
The Christmas Miracle – It’s Christmastime, and Frankie and Sue are devastated after Axl informs them that he’s not going to church this year because he’s beginning to question his faith. Meanwhile, Mike goes to war with the Glossner kids after they keep defacing his new, giant inflatable snowman; and Brick goes all out in an attempt to wrap his first present for a planned Christmas Yankee Swap.
The 200th – The Middle celebrates its milestone 200th episode! When Orson is named as one of the top 200 most livable cities in Indiana, Frankie is reminded that she has to come up with something to place in the time capsule that will be buried in the base of the newly rededicated Orson Cow. Meanwhile, when Bill Norwood informs Mike that he and Paula are separating, Mike is gobsmacked and starts to appreciate Frankie more; in order to win back Cindy, Brick must complete three acts of bravery for her; and Axl volunteers Sue to be his personal assistant to impress prospective employers
Eyes Wide Open – Axl heads to Chicago to visit Hutch for the weekend but discovers that his friend, who has his own apartment and a job, is now acting more like a responsible adult than the free-spirited college student he once knew. Meanwhile, Sue’s excitement over having the apartment to herself over the weekend turns to horror when she is unable to sleep after watching “Silence of the Lambs”; and Brick enlists Frankie and Mike’s aid to help convince Lilah, a new student who doesn’t know anyone at school yet, that she and Brick would make a cute coupe.