Spoilers for the season (and hopefully not series) finale of "The Middleman" coming up just as soon as I see how this beard of bees looks in the mirror...
Well, if you're going to go out, might as well do it all guns a'blazing. "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome" didn't provide much in the way of closure (not that this is necessarily a show that needs closure), but it did give us "The Middleman" on something other than a shoe-string budget, and in a way that didn't sacrifice the series' homespun charms.
Mirror-Middle-verse looked relatively big and scary, but this was still an episode of "The Middleman," which meant mirror universe signifiers like Noser's lyric-quoting suddenly having life-or-death consequences, or a sexy, bikini-clad version of Ida who still talked (and sounded) like the one we knew. And it meant that, even in this dark and twisted place, the series' fundamental belief in the goodness of humanity applied, as Dubby was able to inspire the Snake Plissken-esque Mirror-Middleman to lose the beard and get back to helping people. (His reformation only goes so far, of course; he shaves and turns Ida back to normal, but he sure doesn't have a problem with Mirror-Lacey's hot pants version of the Middle-uniform. And why should he?)
(In case you're scratching your head at who Snake Plissken is, get thee to The Middleblog for the usual rundown of pop culture references, plus a tribute to Neil Levin, in whose memory the episode was dedicated. Plus, it's where I got the picture of Mirror-Middleman.)
Original recipe Middleman continues to be one of the most quotable TV characters I've ever encountered. Among my favorites this time: "My Little Pony!," "This is a sack full of eels and coat hangers," "Dang skippy" and the line about "Come puppet blood monkey fudge or terra cotta." But really, the entire Middle-verse (both versions of it) is awash with wonderful sillyness, from Ivan N. Avi getting his psychic powers after a freak accident at his bar mitzvah to the chyrons referring to the Mirror-apartment as "an evil loft in a parallel universe."
My only complaint is a minor one: they didn't do enough to change the look for Mirror-Dubby. Of course, had they changed her too much, it would have made it harder for our Dub-Dub to try and impersonate her, plus it might have distracted from what turned out to be a strong personal storyline for Wendy. After all, it's only after she's confronted with a version of herself who became so twisted by her father's disappearance that Wendy finally lets go of most of that angst and sounds truly happy when talking to her mom.
If this is it, I will purely miss this show. Such an unexpected surprise, and such a burst of concentrated joy for the entire summer of '08.
What did everybody else think?