Home Alone 4 is the third episode of Season 1 of Malcolm in the Middle and the third episode overall of the show.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Francis comes home from Marlin Academy for the weekend to watch his brothers while Hal and Lois are attending a wedding out of town.

Summary[edit | edit source]

In the cold opening the family are enjoying dinner by making jokes and Malcolm states that every once in a while they are all able to enjoy a nice meal together. The mood shifts when Reese jokes about flinging mashed potatoes at Lois but panics after repeatedly telling her he wasn't going to. Malcolm claims Lois is dynamite and Reese is a kid with matches. Eventually Hal breaks the tension between them by flinging mashed potatoes at Lois himself which only makes everyone laugh hysterically. Malcolm states it's still a good dinner.

On a Friday afternoon, Malcolm attempts to leave class early but is stopped by Caroline. After being mocked by his classmates Stevie rolls up to him and they discuss how Malcolm could be in trouble for jokingly pushing Stevie down the stairs the previous day, Stevie responds with "point taken". Caroline tells Malcolm that although he is doing well in his subjects she knows he has a colourful home life after her previous visit to his house. She wishes for them to connect on a deeper level. Malcolm assumes he is coming onto him and questions her relationship with the janitor. Caroline says this is different kind of connection, she confides in him that if he ever needs any emotional support he should come to her, Malcolm states that another mom is the last thing he needs to the audience but reluctantly agrees with Caroline's offer.

Lois and Hal are going off to a wedding leaving Francis in charge of his younger brothers for the weekend since it is his first time being home since being sent to Marlin Academy. At breakfast Dewey asks Francis several questions with Reese telling him to quit annoying him. In the bedroom Lois calls out to the boys she left them pizza money but wants a receipt and exact change. Lois isn't looking forward to the wedding since Hal's family has always hated her. They then talk about how Nice it is to have Francis back in the house and it might be time to think about it Lois says they'll see how he does this weekend before they decide. Malcolm eavesdrops from the hallway and believes they are planning to let Francis come home. Reese and Dewey get into a squabble but Malcolm breaks up the fighting. He tells them of their parents plan and this weekend is going to be a test for Francis in whether he deserves to come home. Reese suggests telling him about it right away. Malcolm stops Reese and reminds him about the previous times Francis was told what to do. The flashback reveals Lois demanding him not to get his nose pierced or else he's going to Marlin Academy. To show she's not in charge of him, he gets his nose pierced multiple times. Lois was so furious at Francis along with his arrest for burning a neighbor's car and being brought back home by the cops, it's precisely that reason he was sent to military school in the first place. Reese realizes Malcolm is right and comes up with a muddle plan. To help Francis, they decide to behave themselves and not cause any mischief so Hal and Lois will let him come home. Dewey is unsure if they could pull off being good and well-behaved, knowing Malcolm and Reese's track history in misbehaving. He is concerned that Francis may sway them into his muddled scheme to get into trouble. Malcolm reassures Dewey that if they just stay inside and watch cartoons on TV they can't get into any trouble.

Hal tells Lois they should get going. She gives the boys a briefing on the precautions she's taken how they've marked the liquor bottles and can taste when they are watered down, locked the X-rated TV channel, checked the cars odometer, counted Hal's cigars, knows the exact balance of all their credit cards and left phone numbers at the hotel they're staying at for the neighbors to call them. Before driving away, Lois reminds them Dewey will tell her everything that happened while they're gone and they better behave. They start driving off, but back up and she warns Francis "Don't even think about it". Hal and Lois drives off to the wedding out of town.

Francis calls her bluff and decides to come up with a fun activity. Malcolm, Reese and Dewey tries to act good and suggest they watch TV. However, Francis suspects what's going on with the boys and tells them he's in charge. As they sit in the living room and watch a game of golf Malcolm says their plan had better work since the only thing worse than no TV is nothing but golf on TV. Against their wishes, he invites his lowlife pals, Richie, Justin and Circus over to the house, he warns them not to party too hard. The results are what anyone expects with the neighbors calling the cops to complain, the trio's arrest for vandalism and the house trashed. Francis didn't think only three guys could make such a mess. Richie thanks Francis for inviting them over to party and tells him to call them when he gets back in town. He, Justin and Circus bid farewell as the cops takes them to be booked at the police station.

On the way, Hal asks Lois whom is shaving her legs if she's trying to seduce him. She points out that coming to the wedding of his relatives is a big mistake. Hal reassures Lois everything will be fine and that they should take advantage of not dealing with any bad behaviors from the boys. She agrees before yelling at a car's driver for his indecisive driving.

The younger boys fume over what Francis has done, Reese is taped to a chair with macaroni all over his shirt and Dewey is covered in stuffed animals with a lampshade on his head, Francis claims they must've learned not to give up when Circus broke a cinder block with his head after multiple attempts. Malcolm states to Francis they need to clean up immediately. Malcolm finally confesses that he heard Hal and Lois talking about their plans to let Francis come back home. The weekend is a test to see if he succeeds or not. If Francis succeeds, Hal and Lois will likely let him come home. If he fails, they will make sure he stays in Marlin Academy. Francis tells the boys that he appreciates the concerns, but he knows Lois too well. When Reese warns him that she will do everything in her power to keep them away from him, he is convinced to clean up. The boys clean the house until it is spotless realizing the house has never been so clean. Then they realize it's so clean their parents will never buy they cleaned up without a reason, so they make the house a bit messier by leaving out a board game, tossing dirty clothes and trash around the kitchen and leaving muddy footprints on the walls.

After they finish cleaning up, Malcolm gets a head injury from a broken shelve collapsible after he leaves crumbs on it and Francis had to take him to the hospital. When Lois calls home, Dewey covers for Francis by claiming everything is fine at home and they're behaving. The boys takes Malcolm to the hospital by using the family van. Malcolm reminds them that Lois checked the odometer so Francis drives in reverse. Malcolm states that one good thing about a head injury is there was a good chance he wouldn't remember any of the events of the day. Francis questions how a one way street would work if they go in backwards.

At the wedding, Hal is offended with his family when he learns of the new nickname they given Lois: Lois Common Denominator. He states they don't understand her and it makes her his secret treasure so he decides to teach them a lesson and forces them to watch him and Lois having sex in the limo.

At the hospital, the nurse, Laverne Roberts, isn't happy to see the boys back at Sacred Heart hospital and immediately discerns that Malcolm got a head injury. He mentions they have a history being here, with flashbacks of the boys' injuries to support it and of which is why the family can't afford medical insurance. When they learn the hospital bill will be around $400 they believe they are screwed. Malcolm gets another idea and calls Caroline. She refuses to pay the bill after explaining she meant emotional help. However, Francis manages to guilt trip her by having Dewey crying over not seeing him again. Caroline agrees since Jamaica isn't going anywhere.

Hal and Lois comes home to see everything the way it is. However, they did notice Malcolm's injury, but doesn't say anything. Although glad to be home, they are happy Marlin Academy is turning Francis around and decides to keep him there. The boys soon realize the truth in his words about Lois. Malcolm claims the score now is Mom: 62,451, Kids: 0.

Malcolm explains that they get to see Francis again in a month or two and it wasn't a total loss because they got to spend more time with him and now school is easier for him since Caroline won't make eye contact with him anymore and states one of their mothers lessons actually helped them "It's not a wasted experience if you learn something from it." He and Dewey are lying on the sidewalk as Reese rides towards them prepared to jump them with his bike.

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
  • Catherine Lloyd Burns as Caroline Miller
  • Frankie Muniz as Malcolm

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Recurring[edit | edit source]

Cameo[edit | edit source]

  • Aloma Wright as Nurse Laverne Roberts
  • Scott Haven as Groom
  • Tom Virtue as Priest
  • Richard Penn as Doctor

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This episode's title is a homage to the Home Alone franchise. By the time this episode was made, the franchise had made three movies and so this was titled "Home Alone 4" as a joke sequel on that.
    • In 2002, they actually would have come out with a Home Alone 4, albeit it was against the wishes of Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci who thought the movie was a bad idea.
  • The initial cold opening for this episode is the family sitting around a table and Reese making a joke, saying he's going to fling mashed potatoes at Lois, only for her to take it seriously and start an argument. However, this was only seen on the first airing of the episode. In all syndication reruns, the cold opening from Krelboyne Picnic (where Hal and Lois are forced to get out of bed because the boys are causing a bunch of chaos), takes it's place. In the DVD version of the episode, the original cold opening is in it's place.
    • When the show re-aired on Netflix, the original cold opener is seen in its proper place.
  • This episode reveals that Caroline Miller is either sexually or romantically intimate with the school janitor.
  • First episode where Francis is in the house with the family.
  • While Lois is shaving her legs in the car, they drive past 4238 Whitsett AveStudio City, CA 91604.[1]
  • This episode reveals why Francis got sent to military school. It was because Lois had specifically told him not to get his nose pierced, with the threat that he'd get sent to military school. Just so that he could spite her and prove his freedom to her, he did exactly what she told him not to do.
    • In Pilot before this episode, everyone thought Francis was sent to Marlin Academy because he got arrested for destroying a car and having sex with his girlfriend.
    • In Traffic Ticket, it's confirmed that it was Francis being arrested for destroying the neighbor's car that got him shipped off to Marlin by Lois
  • Almoa Wright plays the role of a sassy black nurse in this episode. Aloma Wright would shortly after be cast to play the role of Laverne Roberts. A character in Scrubs who has the exact same role and personality as this one.
  • Incidentally, the hospital set where Malcolm has his head wound stitched was the same set that was used for Scrubs, namely the former North Hollywood Medical Center.[1]
  • Lois says that sending Francis to military school was the best decision she ever made. However, she would later admit that is was a big mistake in the episode Ida Loses a Leg.
  • The episode reveals why the family is poor due to the boys' constant accidents that lead to incurring hospital bills.
  • This episode introduces Hal's family's disappointment in him marrying Lois that lead to her being called Lois Common Denominator. Family Reunion later reveals their shared disgust with Victor and Ida in Hal marrying her against their wishes and wanted him to marry Susan.
  • The song that plays during the boys's injuries montage was "Right Place, Wrong Time" by Screaming Cheetah Wheelies. That song is also included in the Malcolm in the Middle soundtrack CD.
  • The Boys' injuries are as follows
    • 1. Reese nailing a WD40 spray can
    • 2. Francis playing with a knife and tossing it in the air
    • 3. Malcolm is asleep with the scissor blades facing him and Reese pops a balloon.
    • 4. Malcolm uses his hands to pedal the wheels and Dewey uses his mouth to catch the back tire.

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • While Malcolm, Reese, Dewey, and Francis are deliberately making their house messy, you can see right above their ceiling a bright light shining down and a black background. It shows that they film their interior of their house on a set.
  • After Malcolm gets his head injury, his forehead can be seen under the raw meats with no damage. Not even makeup was added to give the illusion of a serious injury.
  • When Reese, Dewey, and Francis are taking the bandaged up Malcolm to the car, you can see the reflection of the camera crew in the windows.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

[Malcolm has caught Reese and Dewey fighting]
Malcolm: Guys, quit it. Listen for a second. I just heard mom and dad talking. They're thinking of letting Francis come home.
[Reese takes Dewey off his shoulders and they listen to Malcolm]
Reese: You serious.
Malcolm: Yeah. They want to see how he does with us this weekend. So we can't screw up.
Reese: Cool, let's go tell him.
Malcolm:[stops Reese] No. You know how Francis gets when people tell him what to do.

[Flashback with Lois confronting Francis as she's making dinner.]
Lois: I am warning you. If you get your nose pierced, you are going to military school and I mean it really. Do you hear me?!
[Francis smiles in defiance and later comes home with a bunch of nose piercings]
Francis: Hey mom. What's for dinner?

Lois: Lois Common Denominator.

Laverne: Oh for God's sake, you kids again..[notices Malcolm's head in a makeshift tourniquet comprising of Francis' shirt and Hal's belt.] and a head injury. You boys like to keep it interesting, don't you.
Malcolm We kinda have a history here.
[The flashback reveals the boys doing reckless stunts. Reese hammering a nail to a spray can. Francis playing with a knife. Reese popping a balloon while Malcolm is asleep holding scissors. Malcolm pedaling his bike's wheels too fast and Dewey injuring himself while trying to stop it with his teeth.]

References[edit | edit source]

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