Okay, I reinspected it again.
I looked through the "viewholes" I'm going to be honest, that "rod" I saw turned out to be wire...
Next, I looked through both holes and I could not find the actuator, so I took off the bottom "guard" and looked up. I found it and tried to move it manually, it did not budge.
Next, I started the car and moved the thermostat (cold to hot, then hot to cold). I had my hand on the actuator itself (long arms rules!!! I wasn't even laying down!) and it moved smoothly and flawlessly. So the actuator is elimnated.
My next thought? Low freon possibly, because recently it'* starting to blow mild air, not hot but not cold cold but I would say maybe 62-68*