The Middleman

Season 1 Episode 12

The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 01, 2008 on ABC Family
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
86 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome
AIRED:
When The Middleman and Wendy investigate a series of strange thefts, a supervillain named The Palindrome opens a portal that sucks Wendy to a bleak alternate universe, run by the ironfisted Fatboy Industries.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • An alternate reality means a delightful romp and a fitting close to the season.

    9.2
    It was only a matter of time before the show tackled the alternate reality concept and they had a ball with it. There was the obvious parts of characters so different like Noser channeling Shaft and Pip as a priest but the hot version of Ida was a nice touch. Having the Middleman basically be Snake Plisskin was inspired and made things even more wildly fun.



    That the alternate version of Wendy was the baddie I saw coming but it did lead to nice stuff of that world's Lacey bonding with our Wendy and highlighting their friendship. Also loved how Lacey became the assistant Middleman in the end with the "reformed" Ida.



    Overall, a wonderful capper to what we can hope is just the first season of one of the most delightful shows to hit the airwaves in quite a while. Here's hoping for more wild fun down the road.moreless
Mark Sheppard

Mark Sheppard

Manservant Neville

Guest Star

Sean Davis

Sean Davis

Joe 90

Guest Star

Drew Tyler Bell

Drew Tyler Bell

Pip

Guest Star

Brendan Hines

Brendan Hines

Tyler Ford

Recurring Role

Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Trivia: Mirror Noser greets Wendy with the same musical password/guessing game lyrics ("Theme from Shaft") that he greets her with in the first episode, "The Pilot Episode Sanction".

    • Trivia: Many times given in the chyrons for this episode are palindromes, such as 6:16 PM for the opening. This also applies to the time chosen to fire the phase polaron cannon within the episode: 9:29 PM.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • The Middleman: If we don't crack this, we're going to end up manacled to a doomsday device while a friendly female voice counts down the seconds to detonation.
      Wendy: Will this scenario involve me wearing a bikini again?
      The Middleman: Not necessary. But it will involve a carefully worded monologue, which will be the last thing we hear.

    • Wendy: So you want a cold pocket?
      Tyler: Oh for the love of… you cooked, too?
      Wendy: Hot Pockets are the American empanada.

    • The Middleman: Dubbie, it is I, The Middleman.
      Wendy: Really? Calling me on the Middlewatch that only we have?

    • Wendy: Who leaves a palindrome?
      The Middleman: Typical supervillain horse feathers. Can't wait to hear this guy's monologue. "I am the Palindrome. Feel my power. Power my feel. Palindrome the am I". Peter piping weirdos.

    • Mirror Pip: I'm sorry? Mirror universe?
      Wendy: A parallel universe, where everyone who's good is evil and evil is good. It's like that episode of Star Trek where Spock had a goatee and Chekov tried to…
      Mirror Pip: Star Trek. You mean the sci-series from the 60s starring the great George Takei?
      Wendy: It is an evil universe.

    • The Middleman: If anyone knows where Wendy is, it's he. Come puppet blood, monkey fudge or terracotta, I'm getting her back.

    • Mirror Ida: I'll be over here exalting in the fact I can't get cancer.

    • Wendy: Maniacal laughter. Didn't see that one coming.

    • The Palindrome: But that's impossible, Niels Bohr died while building it…
      The Middleman/The Palindrome: … in 1962.
      The Middleman: Ah, Bohr, he's anything but. You should see the Christmas card he sent me last year. What a gas.

    • Mirror Joe 90: Oh God. They're gonna put me in the beard.
      Mirror Lacey: Beard?
      Mirror Joe 90: Standard Fatboy employee torture protocol. It always starts with the beard of bees.

    • Wendy: Is this who you are?
      Mirror Wendy: You're right. What am I doing? I can't do this.
      Mirror Lacey/Wendy: Really?
      Mirror Wendy: Psych. Guards!
      Wendy: Well, it was worth a shot.

    • The Middleman: You know, Dubbie, when I saw my mirror self through that gateway, a single question went through my mind.
      Wendy: No, you would not look cooler with an eye patch.
      The Middleman: A man's got to wonder.

    • Mirror Ida: All right, kiddies, let's kick some coil-tailed bacon.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The phased polaron cannon is the same prop used in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008). Both production companies bought their props from the same company.

    • Featured Music

      "I'm Not Scared" by Ladytron
      "Humanitarianism" by Zeigeist
      "Light of Love" by Music Go Music

    • This episode was dedicated to Neil Levin, a script coordinator who was born 25 January 1969 and died in July 2008 after suffering a hemorrhage from a fall. Although never credited, he had a brief cameo in "The Accidental Occidental Conception" and can be seen as a photo on the wall behind The Middleman.

    • The Middleman was originally given a 13 episode order, though this was later trimmed to 12. ABC Family stated, "[We] want to put all our creative forces into making a great season finale."

  • ALLUSIONS (21)

    • The Middleman: Three days ago an unknown criminal stole a Beryllium Sphere.

      Referencing The Shadow (1994), starring Alec Baldwin. A Beryllium Sphere is used by Shiwan Khan to create an atom bomb.

    • Outland

      Polydichloric Euthymol is the addictive drug of choice in the 1981 movie starring Sean Connery as a U.S. Marshal assigned to the moon of Io and finds himself involved in a drug-smuggling scheme run by a company executive (Peter Boyle). The movie is in turn a remake/homage to High Noon (1952), starring Gary Cooper.

    • Escape From New York

      There are several references to Escape From New York (1981):

      * The duos' aliases of Russell and Van Cleef refer to two of the movie's stars, Kurt Russell and Lee Van Cleef.
      * The Duke of New York Toy Factory refers to the Duke of New York, the main antagonist of the movie, played by the late Isaac Hayes.
      * Carpenter Rd. Transformer Station refers to John Carpenter, the movie's director.
      * The security guards' uniforms resemble those worn by the movie's prison police.
      * The mirror Middleman's appearance with an eye patch, long hair and a beard echoes that of Snake Plissken, the protagonist in the movie.
      * 1997 Plissken Circle refers to Snake Plissken, the main character played by Kurt Russell and the year the movie is set in.

    • Galaxy Quest

      A Beryllium Sphere is used to power the NSEA Protector in the 1999 movie Galaxy Quest, starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Tony Shalhoub. The movie, which has aliens mistaking the actors of a '60s science fiction television series as real space travelers, parodies numerous science fiction television shows, primarily Star Trek.

    • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension

      The Oscillation Overthruster is used in the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin and Christopher Lloyd. The Overthruster allows its user to jump across dimensions and pass through solid matter, and is sought by the evil Lectoids who try to steal it from adventurer Buckaroo Banzai and his Hong Kong Cavaliers.

    • Wendy: Well, who didn't want to know ¿quién le disparó a J.R.?

      Referencing the famous 1980 season cliffhanger of the television series Dallas, where an unknown assailant shot the series antagonist J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) in the episode "A House Divided" (21 March 1980). The episode received the highest Nielsen ratings of any single episode up to that time, and set off the popular "season cliffhanger" technique of Hollywood writers everywhere.

    • Wendy: How many dates have you had unfold like the second act of Miss Saigon?

      Referencing the 1989 musical, an adaptation of Madame Butterfly. The musical is set in Saigon during the Vietnam War and tells the tale of a doomed love affair between an American soldier and a Vietnamese call girl. The second act features a flashback to the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the evacuation of the American Embassy by helicopter.

    • Lacey: Yet, our Wonder Twin powers are still intact.

      Referencing the super-powered alien twins Zan and Jayna, who were teenager sidekicks to the Super Friends. They first appeared in The All-New Super Friends Hour (1977) and were later incorporated into the continuity of the comics in Extreme Justice. Zan, the boy, can transform into any form of water while Jayna can transform into any animal she can name. They activate their powers by touching hands and saying "Wonder Twin powers, activate!"

    • Wendy: I don't know. I just can't shake the feeling that I'm gonna kiss Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity good night and wake up to Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd.

      Referencing two of Matt Damon's movies, The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Good Shepherd (2006). Both movies feature Damon as spies: in the former Jason Bourne is an amnesic spy trying to discover his real identity. In the latter Damon portrays Edward Wilson, a senior CIA officer.

    • Tyler: And what do you say you and I pick up right before I Airwolf'd off the roof.

      Referencing Airwolf (1984-87) starring Jan-Michael Vincent, Ernest Borgnine and Alex Cord. The series went into syndication in its last season and restarted with a new cast of Barry Van Dyke and Michele Scarabelli. The real star of the series was Airwolf, an advanced supersonic helicopter used by the U.S. government to conduct top-secret missions.

    • The Middleman: Eyes without a face!

      Referencing the 1959 French horror movie Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face) starring Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli and Edith Scob. Directed by Georges Franju, the movie tells of Doctor Génessier, who attempts to restore his daughter's face by grafting material from unwilling female donors. The movie was released in the U.S. as The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus.

    • The Middleman: My little pony!

      Referencing the 1984 animated special Rescue at Midnight Castle spun off from the Little Ponies toy line, and the two subsequent animated television series. The line of anthropomorphized collectible stuffed horses started with the six Earth Ponies, but later spawned Sea Ponies, Flutter Ponies, Baby Ponies and much more. Only one feature film resulted: My Little Pony: The Movie in 1986.

    • Wendy: I'm pretty much trapped in Alan Parker's 1982 theatrical film version of The Wall.

      Referencing Parker's adaptation of Pink Floyd's The Wall concept album, starring Bob Geldof, Christine Hargreaves and Bob Hoskins. It tells the story of Pink, a fatherless boy who grows up to marry and become a rock star while building his "wall".

    • Wendy: No one but his woman.

      Referencing "Theme from Shaft", written and recorded by the late Isaac Hayes in 1971. It went to Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song the following year.

    • Mirror Lacey: I always knew someday you'd come walking back through my door.

      Referencing the line from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), spoken by Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) when he comes to see her at her bar in Nepal. Just as in that movie, Lacey punches Wendy after saying it.

    • Mirror Pip: Come with me if you want to live.

      Referencing the line spoken in all of the Terminator movies, starting with the 1984 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. It's inevitably said to the protagonist by the secondary hero showing up and rescuing them from a dire situation.

    • Mirror Pip: I heard an unidentified was in danger in Theta Sector…

      Theta Sector is one of several sectors aboard the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). It contains the Superlaser Simulator and the Superlaser Fire Control.

    • Mirror Middleman: Now little Dorothy just wants to get home.

      Referencing The Wizard of Oz, primarily the 1939 movie adaptation starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr. Dorothy's quest throughout the movie is to find a way to get from Oz back to her home of Kansas.

    • Wendy: Holy Kill Bill: Volume. 2.

      Referencing the 2004 movie directed by Quentin Tarantino, chronicling the efforts of the Bride (Uma Thurman) to gain revenge on Bill (David Carradine). The loss of an eye refers to Elle (Darryl Hannah), who has her eye plucked out by her sensei, Pai Mei (Gordon Liu).

    • Wendy: This is New Jack City.

      Referencing the 1991 movie starring Wesley Snipes, Judd Nelson, Chris Rock and Ice T. It relates the story of real-life crack dealer Nino Brown and his gang, the Cash Money Brothers, who rule over their community with an iron fist while distributing crack cocaine.

    • Star Trek

      There are several references to the Star Trek franchise:

      * The phased polaron cannon references a directed energy weapon (a phased polaron beam) employed by the Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
      * Fatboy Industry's insignia parodies the insignia of the Terran Empire in Star Trek mirror universe episodes.
      * The presence of goatees in the alternate universe is an homage to mirror universe Spock, who popularised the usage of a goatee in fiction to indicate an antagonist.
      * Wendy mentions the Star Trek: The Original Series second season episode "Mirror, Mirror" during a conversation with Pip.
      * The Middleman's comment while watching video footage of Wendy's abduction, "Who are you? What's with your suit? Where's your beard?", is a paraphrase of a line spoken by mirror universe Kirk in "Mirror, Mirror".
      * In the Star Trek universe, a quantum singularity is a region of infinite density that exerts an extreme gravitational force. Quantum singularities can be both naturally occuring and artificially produced (e.g. the power source for Romulan D'deridex-warbirds).
      * Wendy's line about reflecting darkly in a mirror references the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly".

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