Original air date: 10/03/2017 Runtime: 21:49 min. On the ninth season premiere, Axl returns home from his summer trip to Europe, sporting a man-bun and with a new, chill European outlook on life. Mike just wants him to clean up and look for a job, but Frankie thinks Axl will do this on his own and asks Mike to give him a little breathing room. Meanwhile, because Sue worked the entire summer at Spudsy’s and missed out on having any fun, she decides to cram in a whole summer of fun in two days before going back to college; Brick makes the decision to break up with Cindy because he doesn’t want to be tied down in a relationship when he’s about to embark on the revelry of his “big sophomore year”; and Frankie desperately tries to come up with an item for a time capsule that’s being buried under the Orson cow that will make the town remember the Hecks when it’s opened in 100 years.
Original air date: 10/10/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. After Frankie gives neighbor Nancy Donahue (recurring guest star JEN RAY) an old scarf that is just sitting around gathering dust, Nancy returns the favor by baking her a delicious apple pie. Believing she's stumbled upon a way to get free and tasty meals, Frankie makes it her mission to find miscellaneous items around the house to give to her in exchange for some culinary delights. Meanwhile, Sue and Lexie prepare to move back into their college apartment but find that it's been sublet to a man who refuses to leave; and Axl's new job as the school bus driver gives him a chance to see how Brick's high school sophomore year is treating him, and he discovers that Mike has refused to speak to Brick's class on Career Exploration Day.
Original air date: 10/17/2017 Runtime: 21:31 min. Frankie is stoked when Axl invites her and Mike to meet and have dinner with girlfriend Lexie's rich parents, Tammy and Bennett (guest stars LISA RINNA and GREGORY HARRISON). But Frankie is worried that their less then luxurious lifestyle may put a damper on their meeting. Meanwhile, Brick is excited to be a part of the Sophomore Slammer fundraiser, in which fellow classmates fake arrest each other and friends come to pay money – which will go to charity – to bail them out. But Brick soon discovers that no matter how hard he tries, he just can't get arrested.
Original air date: 10/24/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. As Halloween approaches, Frankie discovers that a woman had died in the bathtub of the Heck house close to 50 years ago; Frankie and Brick become convinced that she was murdered and, much to Mike’s chagrin, attempt to track down and find the murderer. Meanwhile, Axl and Lexie become frustrated over losing their alone time when Sue insists on hanging out with them wherever they go.
Original air date: 10/31/2017 Runtime: 21:19 min. While Axl tries to invent a new beverage that mixes wine with beer, and Brick decides to join the school orchestra in an attempt to play the field and find himself a new girlfriend, Mike asks Sue to take the reins in putting together a romantic evening for he and Frankie to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary - which both of them totally forgot about. Frustrated with being the family member whose role is to do everything they ask of her without complaint, Sue puts her foot down and declares that she will no longer be that person anymore, which causes the rest of the Hecks to re-think and rebel against what their supposed familial roles have been.
Original air date: 11/07/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. Frankie is tasked with being at her mom Pat’s (recurring guest star MARSHA MASON) beck and call when she has to stay for a few days at the Heck house after coming down with an ailment. Meanwhile, just when it looks like Sean is about to ask Sue out on a date, Sue nervously blurts out that maybe they should both try to set each other up on a date with one of their friends; and Axl and Brick ponder what it is exactly that Mike does at the quarry.
Original air date: 11/14/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. The Hecks take a hectic road trip for Thanksgiving to Frankie’s sister’s house but soon find themselves running into barriers that could make them late to the feast; and with Axl now working with Sue and Brick at Spudsy’s, they have been informed by their manager that, due to budget issues, one of them needs to quit, and they must decide amongst themselves which one will take the hit.
Original air date: 11/21/2017 Runtime: 21:35 min. Axl heads to Chicago to visit Hutch (recurring guest star ALPHONSO McAULEY) 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 (guest star BRENNA D’AMICO), a new student who doesn’t know anyone at school yet, that she and Brick would make a cute couple.
Original air date: 12/05/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. 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 (recurring guest star PAT FINN) 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.
Original air date: 12/12/2017 Runtime: 21:34 min. 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.
Original air date: 01/02/2018 Runtime: 20:58 min. 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 (recurring guest star JOHN CULLUM), and they are shocked to discover what is planned when they reach their final destination.
Original air date: 01/09/2018 Runtime: 21:32 min. 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 (guest star JACKSON WHITE), Brad (recurring guest star BROCK CIARLELLI) pleads with her to wait a beat until after he has a chance to win the affection of Aidan’s handsome friend, Luke (guest star CORBIN BLEU).
Original air date: 01/16/2018 Runtime: 21:00 min. Frankie decides that she needs to find something new that she’s passionate about – life’s third act - and Reverend TimTom (recurring guest star PAUL HIPP) offers the perfect solution. Meanwhile, tired of hearing Sue and Brick argue because of the giant hole between their bedroom walls, Mike orders them to fix it; and after Axl refuses to let rich girlfriend Lexie pay for some extravagant outings, Lexie finds a way to fool him into thinking he’s becoming lucky when money and other high priced items suddenly make their way into his hands.
Original air date: 02/06/2018 Runtime: 21:33 min. Mike’s wayward brother Rusty (recurring guest star NORM MACDONALD) 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.