The Fangs Of Love Are Sharp, And Apparently Wooden, On The Middleman

Illustration for article titled The Fangs Of Love Are Sharp, And Apparently Wooden, On The Middleman

I'm still reeling from the revelations in last night's new Middleman episode. Well, two revelations in particular, both involving Lacey, the show's unsung star. I almost had a temperomandibular joint disorder from having my jaw drop so many times. To be fair, the episode's main plot was one that I could take or leave — except that it led to an amazing payoff. Click through for spoilers and jaw-thuds. Obviously all my cries for a bigger role for Lacey were rewarded, and the loss of Tyler for an episode was an acceptable sacrifice. Tyler's back for the last two episodes of the season, and I'm worried Lacey will be shuffled back to the backdrop once again. In an ideal universe, we'd see some further development of the Lacey/MM romance — and after last night, I believe I can call it that — before the season ends.

Illustration for article titled The Fangs Of Love Are Sharp, And Apparently Wooden, On The Middleman

So on the off chance that you've somehow failed to see "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation" yet, there were two Lacey-related shocks. First, that she's been having some very impressively lit sex dreams starring Pip, the evil plagiarist son of the building owner whose property Wendy, Lacey and the others rent illegally. Actually, Pip is quite cute, despite being evil and idiotic. I was just thinking the other day that I was sad we hadn't seen much of him lately. And then the Middleman's reaction to hearing about Lacey's Pip-sex dreams was the best part. And then, just when I'd finally recovered from the crazed Pip sex fantasies (is this show really on ABC Family?) there was the second shock: The Middleman and Lacey are in love.

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Illustration for article titled The Fangs Of Love Are Sharp, And Apparently Wooden, On The Middleman

Oh, and there was a third Lacey surprise, which wasn't a surprise to me because show-creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach mentioned it in our interview: the emergence of the super-skeptic ultra-rationalist side of Lacey. The Carl Sagan-reading, spiritualism-doubting daughter of Dr. Barbara Thornfield MD PhD. I like that side of Lacey, just because it makes her seem less of an airhead, and it'll be interesting to see how she deals with the inevitable revelation of the truth about Wendy's job. Okay, so this episode wasn't all about Lacey. As I mentioned, the "A" plot was another one, like the tuba one and the boy-band one, that felt a bit like something to do in between all the cool character stuff. As the show acknowledged by mentioning Buffy The Vampire Slayer early on, the vampire puppet thing has been done before, and it's a tough comparison to invite. I don't think this episode's puppet-Vlad-The-Impaler storyline was quite up to the comparison with "Smile Time," one of the best two or three Angel episodes ever, I'm afraid. It had a few funny moments, especially the great old TV footage of the ventriloquist putting on Vladdy and going on a killing rampage.

Illustration for article titled The Fangs Of Love Are Sharp, And Apparently Wooden, On The Middleman

But mostly the vampire puppet storyline seemed like an excuse to get the Middleman and Lacey to admit to their aforementioned mutual love... which I'm fine with. And that wedding scene was both creepy and touching. I liked the glimpse of a puppet MM too. I wonder if Lacey really doesn't remember anything about it. I'm assuming we'll learn more about the other woman the Middleman loves in the next two episodes. (As long as it's not Wendy. In that case, I'd rather not know.) I'm still not that crazy about Noser as a character, but at least he's no longer just a one-joke guy. He has a thuggish roommate, Anvil, and a very silly secret past. And a hidden talent. But it's funny that, in an episode which focused on him, he still wasn't that much of a presence, since he was missing most of the time. So pretty much everybody, except maybe Wendy, got some development and revealed some new facets this week. Even Pip — although I really hope he doesn't get redeemed or anything. Pip should really stay Pip. It's why we love him, or at least want to have embarrassing sex dreams about him.

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DISCUSSION

Briareosdx
Briareosdx

I think that with the last bit of info in this episode, we can now piece together MM's backstory. The real clincher was actually last week, when MM was interrupted while trying to decommission Guy just as he was about to begin a reading from his own epic heroic poem. Think about that. And his hatred of plagiarism, as well as his quiet support of Wendy's art, as well as his dislike for scenesters like Pip. It all adds up to one thing: Art School.

My theory is that MM was once an aspiring young poet, if not an art-school student just like Wendy and Lacey. Further, with the info from the recent episode, I'd say that his attraction to Lacey is reminiscent of someone he was in love with back then.

Set the way-back machine to 10 years ago (Which is how much older than Lacey MM said he was in the Tuba episode). A young MM has just graduated from art school, a choice his family is upset with. He's in love with a girl, another recent art school grad, but to please his family he joins the military. He ends up in the special forces, just in time for the invasion of Iraq around 2003. Disillusioned, he gives a superior officer a piece of his mind (as mentioned in the pilot) and gets a dishonorable discharge. This disgraces his family, and might even have been a cause of his father's death. Shortly thereafter, he's taken in by the prior Middleman, and in the Middle Organization he finds a new purpose. However, that Middleman was zombified shortly afterwards and killed (As mentioned in the Flying Fish Zombification), leaving MM in charge. This timeline also fits my theory that MM hasn't been the MiddleMan for long. He really feels like he's trying to prove something, to "be the man he's decided to be."

Now, what about the first girl? I don't know. Maybe he tried to bring her into his world, but either she came to a tragic end or couldn't handle it and left. Or maybe she's out there somewhere, wondering whatever happened to him.