For many, the day "The Middleman" was canceled was a dark, dark day. I'm one of the many went through Middle-Withdrawal, so when I saw this Thursday (July 23) Comic-Con table read for the episode titled "The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse," I think I may have squeed.
A loud round of applause from a packed room greeted creator and narrator for today Javier Grillo-Marxuach, cast members Matt Keeslar, Natalie Morales, Mary Pat Gleason Brit Morgan, Jake Smollett, Brendan Hines (wearing an awesome TRON cycle shit), Mark Sheppard (aka TV's Samuel L. Jackson), and writers Sarah Watson, Margaret Dunlap, and Andy Reeser, who did some acting of their own.
The episode kicks off with intro scenes setting up two important bits of info: Tyler (Hines) is telling Wendy (Morales) about a mysterious U-Master upgrade from Fatboy Industries, owned by Manservant Neville (Sheppard), while Lacey (Morgan) laments that despite dating Perfect Warren, her heart's just not in it.
The dialogue is quick and as funny as we've come to expect but it somehow wasn't real until The Middleman (Keeslar) exclaimed, "Sweet Crispy Wontons!" The crowd absolutely erupted.
This episode, the 13th, answered many questions a lot of questions including the (Clarence Colton - "Drink it in," says Javi after the reveal), the identity of Middleman's lost love (her name is Ravina Rao and she was his Middleman), and whether The Middleman and Lacey ended up together (yes...and no).
But truly the best part was seeing the cast have fun with the audience and re-discovering the stuff that made you love the show in the first place. Here's a brief list of highlights:
*** After the intro section, Javi played the theme over the mic and the cast yelled "Middleman!" on cue.
*** A huge roar from the crowed when Noser (Smollett) first spoke - a man of few words but the holder of many hearts.
*** What does MM look like when he's in civilian clothes? Like Christopher Reeve in "Superman II."
*** It was chock-full of "Star Wars" nods (Fatboy-headed Stormtroopers, Emperor-like lightning, Wendy in a slave girl outfit) and others including "Doctor Who" and the Jack Kirby-like Doomsday machine.
*** When Dubby drops an F-bomb, the cast "beeps" over it.
*** Ida opening a keg of robotic whup-ass.
When the reading was all over, they got a much deserved standing ovation. I have to say, I got a bit choked up. If you haven't seen the show, buy the DVD. You won't be sorry, I promise. Hell, buy three. Maybe we can get a feature film out of it. And if you want to see the whole Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, it's available in graphic novel form a at comic, regular, or online bookstore near you.