Living Will is the twelfth episode of season six of Malcolm in the Middle.


As executor of a neighbor's living will, Hal must decide to keep him on life support or pull the plug.


At breakfast Hal finds it difficult to choose between cereals and eggs. Lois decides he's going to have cereal, which he's happy with. She then asks Hal why he always had a hard time with decisions. This problem stems from Hal's childhood to which he explains. In a flashback we see his mother asking him whether he wants a petting zoo or a clown for his birthday party. Hal requests both and then witnesses a snake attacking the clown. Since then, he's been afraid of making decisions on his own and believes he will make wrong choices. Thus, it's why Hal always deferred to Lois and lets her make the decisions for him.

Craig drops by the house to pick up Lois, but he wants to see the boys for a minute. He tells them that he's being bullied and needs some lessons in dirty fighting from the family that's legendary for it. At first Reese doesn't want to give away his best secrets, but when Craig starts to cry, they agree to help him.

Hal gets a visit from a lawyer with amazing news. Mr. Edelman, who lives down the street, has appointed Hal as executor of his living will. There are some family issues and all the other neighbors are friends. Hal's the only who can be impartial. Mr. Edelman is in a coma and Hal has to decide whether to pull the plug or not.

The boys offer Craig some fighting tips. He falls for all of their tricks and collapses crying. Then Malcolm suggests that he should use his anger for the bully. The transformation in Craig is remarkable. Hal visits Mr. Edelman in hospital and sees how different family members want him to do different things. It makes his decision more difficult.

Craig has arranged to meet his bully in the backyard of Malcolm, Reese and Dewey. To their surprise, the pest is none other than Craig's father, Vic Feldspar, a fitness guru. He wants Craig to take over his chain of gymnasiums. Craig's refusal is the cause of all the fighting. Craig can't stand the constant humiliation from his father.

Hal tries to solve his problem by building a decision tree, filling the kitchen with paper. When Dewey points out that pulling the plug doesn't necessarily mean that the man will die, he has to start all over again.

Hal and Lois invite Craig and his father over for dinner. Again they notice how often Vic Feldspar expresses his disappointment in Craig. Craig shows his disappointment with his dad for coming back in his life even when he told him to stay out of it.

When the doctors demand that Hal makes a decision because they need the hospital room, something strange happens to Hal. He suffers from psychosomatic paralysis(Hysterical Conversion Disorder). The top part of his body is paralyzed, making it impossible for him to speak. Hence, this forces Lois to pick Hal up from the hospital

Vic Feldspar tries a last strategy to convince Craig. He tells him his late mother was also a fitness freak and she would be embarrassed by her son's physical condition. Craig agrees to join his father's business. Malcolm sees past Vic's lies and decides to use it against him.

After a few days, Lois gets fed up believing Hal is taking the easy way out by pretending to suffer from Hysterical Conversion Disorder to avoid making this decision on Mr. Edelman. She tells him, he is very good at making decisions. Hal did make a very difficult one once: he decided to marry her against everybody else's wishes. He snaps out of it, admitting that both his family and Lois' own parents thought he was insane for choosing her over Susan. However, Hal knew that deep down marrying Susan would've been a big mistake on his part because he would've missed out on the only woman who understood him much better than anyone else.

Vic and Craig get ready to leave when Malcolm notices a picture of Craig's mother in Vic's luggage. He presents it to Craig, revealing his mother was apparently a rather obese woman. He can't understand where the photograph comes from as he thought all photos of her were destroyed in the twister that took her life. Vic finally admits that she didn't die from the twister and fabricated the story to hide his own pain along with discouraging Craig from trying to find her. His mother divorced him and ran off with the baker from the pie shop. Craig feels betrayed and decides to stay in his present job, with his friends. Although upset with his son's choice to say in his present life, Vic finally respects Craig's decision and leaves.

In the final scene Lois congratulates Hal on the decision he made regarding Mr. Edelman. It was a stroke of genius. Once he knew Edelman was a bird lover, Hal said, it was easy. And he got everything from Radio Shack, except for the hat. What Hal did is not revealed.


  • 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 StarsEdit



  • Tom Kopache as Vic Feldspar
  • John Ducey as Peter Rubin
  • Michael McShane as Dr. Phelps
  • Elyse Murto as Sharon Wilkerson
  • Dean Bates as young Hal
  • Kerry Carney as a nurse
  • Michelle Spears as Tracy
  • Steve Sheridan as Nick


  • Craig's family is explored, introducing us to his father, Vic Feldspar and his unnamed mother.
    • It's also revealed that his mother is alive and had an affair with the baker from the pie shop. Vic was apparently upset by this because she divorced him without warning.
  • Hal says that he is afraid of clowns and snakes, but does not know why. Through a flashback we find out it is due to the fact that at one of his birthday parties a clown was being strangled by a snake.
  • This episode also reveals why Hal had a hard time making decisions and often deferred to Lois in making them.
  • This was the fourth time that Susan was mentioned, along with how much Hal's family, Victor and Ida disapproved of him marry Lois.
    • This was also the first time that Hal and Lois' own friends were included in the disapproval.
    • Hal finally confessed that he didn't regret marrying Lois against their families wishes because unlike Susan, she was the only woman that understood him better.
  • Craig says he is a level 14 Elf Cleric. This is most likely a reference to the very popular fantasy adventure role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. D&D was created by the legendary Gary Gygax, and is now in its global 5th edition. It has spawned countless games (both pen and paper and computer) and books, a cartoon, and a movie. It is extremely popular among the 'nerdy' sci-fi fanatics, of which Craig is a fine example.
    • In Forwards Backwards, Bob(one of Dean's friends) mentions that Craig is a level 45 Dungeon Master.
  • Sharon Wilkerson, Hal's mother, makes her first on-screen appearance in this episode, though she's only seen from behind, in a brief flashback.
  • The lawyer is conveniently interrupted before he can say Hal's last name- maintaining the series rule of never saying it.
  • Malcolm does not aside in this episode.
  • This episode establishes that Craig never knew his mother, thereby contradicting "Hal Quits," in which he accidentally mails her the Lucky Aide inventory report.
  • Craig mentions having a cat, despite it being killed off earlier in the series. It is unknown if this is Jellybean from earlier in the series or if Craig got another cat.