Cliques is the twenty first episode of the third season of Malcolm in the Middle, which was broadcast on May 5, 2002.

Plot[edit | edit source]

After a chemical mishap, the Krelboynes are forced to join the general school populations, and they all find new groups. Meanwhile, Piama is using the money she and Francis have been making from the casino business to go shopping instead of saving it up to pay off Lavernia.

When Dewey is stricken with chickenpox, Lois tries to keep him busy with dominoes--but then she forbids Reese to knocking them down, and Reese tries to keep Hal from knocking them down, because Lois will blame Reese, no matter what happens to the dominoes.

Sypnosis[edit | edit source]

After a chemical mishap, the Krelboynes are forced to join the general school populations while their old classroom is disinfected, and they all find new groups. Lloyd joins the Goth group, Dabney joins the jocks, Stevie joins the skateboarders, etc. Malcolm finds his way back to his old friends Ian and Eddie and bonds with them. Mr. Herkabe is a substitute Gym teacher and finds it hard going when no one respects him, especially the jocks who remove the whistle pea from his whistle. To compound the problem, he is very clumsy and lacks coordination as a Gym teacher.

In Alaska, Francis is at odds after a failed attempt at fixing his and Piama's house. Piama suggests tacking up a blanket to cover the hole but Francis is upset that because of the tribal council they aren't allowed to expand their own house. Piama tells him that her idiot grandfather built their house on a glacier and it moves slightly every year, claiming after the next century they'll have a nice view of the lake. Upon learning that their home is on Native American soil, Francis opens up a legalized gambling facility and that makes him more than enough money to pay off his debts to Lavernia in the hopes of leaving his awful job for good.

When Dewey is stricken with chickenpox, Lois tries to keep him busy with dominoes--but then she forbids Reese to knocking them down, and Reese tries to keep Hal from knocking them down, because Lois will blame Reese, no matter what happens to the dominoes. That night, Hal is dreaming of Lois encouraging him to knock down the dominoes to give her an excuse to blame Reese. When he enters the kitchen, he finds Reese not only sitting in a chair, but also waiting for him with a baseball bat and guarding the dominoes. He warns Hal to return to bed at once. Should he ignore the warning and knock the dominoes over, Reese will bash him in the head with the bat and then show Lois the evidence of his wrongdoing. This would mean that she will have to punish Hal for ruining Dewey's hard work. Soon he and Reese are locked in a psychological warfare.

Back in Alaska, Francis suspects that Piama has been using the money to go on a spending spree by going shopping with it instead of saving up to pay off Lavernia. He tries to confront her, but she denies it. Francis is still suspicious and this results in a fight between them. That he wants to leave the hellhole and start their lives as a normal couple. Piama admits she's nervous about that because she's not ready to have kids and that living on the tribal land is all she knows. Piama hasn't gotten the advantage of having loving parents because her mom left her when she was a child and her dad was worse in abusing her.

At school, Malcolm gets word from his friends of a potential fight between the cliques. All the groups prepare to fight each other over the rights to the cafeteria as their hangout spot. Therefore, Malcolm must come up with a plan to diffuse the situation before it gets worse. At the same time, he finds himself caught between doing the right thing in stopping the fight and his own needs to ignore it and go back to being a normal kid.

Hal and Reese argues again as they rush inside the house. Hal wants to knock over the dominoes, but Reese is trying to prevent it because of Lois' warning. When they get inside, they discover that Dewey is no longer sick and has outwitted them both by putting the dominoes away. When the two asks why he did that, Dewey points out that he expected this fight to begin because he had witnessed Lois' behavior in planning to blame Reese. Because he's cured from the chickenpox and knowing her sadistic nature very well, Dewey has decided to save everyone from grief by cleaning up the dominoes so no one will attempt to knock anything down or needing to protect it. Hal is humiliated by this because he wanted to see Lois blame Reese.

Back in Alaska, Francis confronts Piama again for spending the money they had made for the casino. This time, she confesses that she had already took care of his debt earlier. Piama had paid Lavernia off by giving her the money before going shopping to get some clothes for both her and Francis. She also made the latter promise not to bother them anymore with her debt book since Francis no longer lodges at over there and lives with her. He realizes how much Piama cares for him and reconciles with her.

At school, Malcolm diffuses the situation by revealing to his classmates to the other students realize that they are in the presence of Krelboynes. They pants the Krelboynes and Malcolm, who are left at the school in their underwear. Mr. Herkabe returns as their teacher and in a rare moment, he shows empathy for them and Malcolm by telling the class their new classroom will be ready in 6 weeks, much to their dismay.

In Alaska, Francis and Piama are in bed. They realize how similar they are to each other and even Hal and Lois, in their marriage.

Back at home, Hal resets the dominoes in how Dewey has it. However, when he leaves to get a camcorder to film it, the wind from the closing door knocks them down before he starts filming. By the time he comes back inside, Hal is frustrated by this and Reese laughs at him, implying that he got some form of karma for his earlier behavior.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Jane Kaczmerek as Lois
  • Bryan Cranston as Hal
  • Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis
  • Justin Berfield as Reese
  • Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey
  • Frankie Muniz as Malcolm

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Recurring[edit | edit source]

  • Chris Eigeman as Mr. Herkabe
  • Craig Lamar Taylor as Stevie
  • Evan Matthew Cohen as Lloyd
  • Kyle Sullivan as Dabney
  • Emy Coligado as Piama
  • Victor Z. Isaac as Kevin
  • Kristin Quick as Flora Mayesh(uncredited)

Cameos[edit | edit source]

  • Ivan Naranjo as Ivan
  • Richard Gross as Dave
  • Miles Marsico as Ian
  • Shawn Pyfrom as Eddie
  • Michael Lawrence Morgan as Goth Ronald
  • Jesse Flanagan as Jock Joey
  • Charlie Zigler as Jock Wally
  • Curtis Williams Jr. as Skater Andy
  • Richard Alan Brown as Skater Dave
  • Glenn Lutz as Preppie Kent
  • Thomas Mills as a Teacher
  • Gary Ambrosia as Mike Jeffers(uncredited)
  • Ricky Dominguez as Bryan(uncredited)
  • Ted Hollis as a Janitor(uncredited)

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Last episode where Malcolm is in middle school
  • It is the only episode where the Krelboynes split up to join other gangs.
  • Reese runs home from school here on this fake road on the premises of the CBS Studio Center. This private location would later be reused several times over the course of MitM, next time in Forbidden Girlfriend.[1]
  • You can see an Extreme Mandibulas, a Hot Wheels toy created in 2002, in the scenes of domino tiles.
  • Even though Lavernia didn't make an actual appearance, it's revealed that Piama had used the money to pay off Francis' debts to her and is no longer able to bother them.

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • Mr. Herkabe made the comment that Albert Einstein was a nerd, who carried around a spare pair of pants until he was 24 and that he was made fun of by everyone for being so nerdy. This is absolutely untrue, although he was a genius, Einstein was not a "nerd" when he was at this age group, he was actually very suave and seductive with women. Although this is a common misconception, made by many people, being as educated as he is, Mr. Herkabe should have known this was false.
    • Or probably, Mr. Herkabe was lying to avoid hear crying from the Krelboynes. Whatever were his reasons to say that Einstein was a nerd never were explained.
  • During the scene when Hal sets up the dominoes and they accidentally fall causing a chain reaction; while this is happening a hand can be seen near the domino flag.
  • One of the goth kids asks Lloyd if the Dante's Inferno quote was from the "new Ministry album". Ministry is a industrial metal band that developed a respectable fan base during the 1990s and into the early 2000s (and again since the band's reformation in 2011). Although releasing the live album Sphinctour in 2002, Ministry did not release any studio albums that year (the last one being 1999's Dark Side of the Spoon, while their next album (Animositisominia) would be released roughly a year after this episode aired)

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.