Reese Joins the Army: Part 2 is the 22nd episode of Season 5 and the 107th episode overall of Malcolm in the Middle. It aired on May 23, 2004.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Reese injects the violence that he and his brothers used to have for each other into his work for the army, making him one of the best soldiers in the army. Meanwhile, Hal is testifying before court, being blamed for some extreme crimes that his CIA group has caused. Lois is also sinking deeper into insanity and makes a bunch of milk jug pigs instead of saving Hal.

Plot[edit | edit source]

In the pre-credit sequence we get a summary of the previous episode.

Hal is in front of the public library, pretending to be from the bomb squad, defusing the device in his backpack, which is really a transmitter for his electronic ankle bracelet. An officer from the real bomb squad shows up, but Hal confuses him with technical mumbo jumbo. Suddenly, he shouts that the bomb is about to explode. He counts down to one, when all the police officers avert their eyes. Nothing happens and when the officers open their eyes, they see that Hal has run away.

Lois is still suffering from a nervous breakdown, making pigs from empty soap bottles. Francis and Piama plead with her to stop with her madness and help Hal out because it's not doing them any good. However, she continues to worry them by giving in to her insanity more. This makes Malcolm further regret chasing Reese away by stealing Beth from him. He believes if Reese had been home, he'd help the family snap Lois out of her insanity and convince her to help Hal.

Meanwhile, at the army camp, the instructor boasts to his colleagues about Reese's blind obedience. Perhaps his team can win the next battle simulation.

In court, an impressive number of people testify against Hal, all of them doing this to avoid prison time for themselves. Hal believes his luck has changed when Gordon Walker gives his testimony. This is the mystery man who promised to help Hal the other day at the library. But Walker also points the finger at Hal. (He later explains that he isn't dying after all, and so he doesn't want to go to prison.)

At the battle simulation, Reese and the red team perform remarkably; Reese even stops a truck by jumping in front of it. Unfortunately he breaks his walkie talkie that way, and bereft of instructions, he doesn't know what to do next. He gets caught by the blue team.

In court, the prosecutor lists all the evidence against Hal, and the dates on which he did the illegal acts. Depressed by his bleak future, Hal gives the boys some life lessons that evening. He even teaches Dewey how to shave, which concerns Francis and Malcolm.

Outside in the backyard's porch, Hal has a heart to heart talk with Malcolm over his poor parenting abilities. He admits that it is ironic that he got in trouble by his boss for a job he never really liked. Hal hated it so much that he never even went to work on Fridays for 15 years and skipped out to go on his own activities which he really enjoyed. He admits that if he ends up going to jail, he's proud of Malcolm for remaining calm and keeping it together even after all the Wilkersons been through. After Hal leaves to have sex with Lois one last time, Francis comes outside. He's really worried about her mental state that he has a heart to heart talk with Malcolm about the situation. Francis proposes to have Lois declared mentally incompetent by having him forge Hal's signature on a legal document he received at the state's government office. Francis mentions that when he goes to jail, she would be declared mentally unfit as a parent to care for the children and she'll be sent to an assisted living facility. Malcolm would be emancipated and be able to live his own life. Francis also mentions that Dewey and Jamie will be in safe hand with him and Piama in New Mexico. Dewey makes an off handed comment about how he thought it would be Lois going to jail for her abusive and controlling nature, while he thought Hal would end up being in the assisted living facility. While happy at first at the prospects of finally getting a life away of his own choosing, it proves to be a failure. Malcolm remorsefully reminds Francis that he can only forge Lois' signature and can't help him forge Hal's signature. The only one who can forge his signature successfully for such a legal document is the missing Reese and even he's feeling terrible in chasing him away. When Francis tries to remind him how to build a rebellious streak, Malcolm recalls his conversation with Hal. It isn't long until he quickly figures out a way to save Hal from going to jail and having Lois return to normal. Francis is confused and asks Malcolm what he has in mind. He mentions that Hal's confession in skipping out of work on Fridays and he discerns that the dates of the crimes committed are on that day. Malcolm claims that it could help break the Prosecution's case over him.

Reese gets interrogated by the blue team. He answers every question with "Ask the sergeant", but after a while, he finds that rather annoying. He realizes following orders doesn't always work and he switches his brain back on. He decides his problem can be solved in much the same way he handles Lois. He holds his breath until he faints. The men from the blue team bring him to the cage where Reese's colleagues are kept. The colleagues revealed they're in prison, but Reese disagrees and begins to untie himself. He explains that they're not in prison, but grounded. He suggests that they should just do what any grounded teenager might try. When one of the colleagues reminds Reese of their predicament again, he has untied himself and mentions that he never brothers who tied him up on trash day or an overbearing mother who reigns punishment wherever she goes. One guy eats dirt until he starts to vomit. This distracts the guards and Reese can overpower them. He and his team locks the two guards inside the prison. Later on, they do reconnaissance work and steals three keys(two for the armored cars and one for the tank).

The next day with Malcolm's encouragement, Hal gives his testimony in court. He explains that his genius son pointed out that all the dates of the illegal activities were on Fridays. Hal confesses that he hadn't gone to work on that day for 15 years. He can prove that he was absent those days by showing tickets and photographs of all his Friday trips in his memory box. With the prosecution's case broken, the jury clears him of the charges, but it's still far from over. Lois has recovered from her trauma, but can't get over the fact that Hal lied to her all that time about his working on Fridays. So she berates him for lying to her all those times.

Hendricks of the red team meets his counterpart of the blue team to surrender. The sergeant of the blue team, McManus, reminds him of their deal and he must appear in a dress and high heels. However, both men are surprised by the arrival of a tank cannon behind McManus. Then Reese orders the men in the armored cars to rip the tent apart. He is revealed to be in the tank, so the red team won after all. Hendricks is impressed as Reese orders McManus to surrender right now or else he will be covered in flour which he secretly stolen from the mess hall's kitchen. He reluctantly surrenders and must endure humiliation.

Everything is back to normal at Malcolm's house, apart from the fact that both Lois and Hal are out of a job, now that Hal’s bosses are in prison for white collar crimes and for framing Hal for them, that they are $20,000 in debt and that they have no idea where Reese is. But then a letter from him arrives. Lois is upset to learn that he has joined the Army and is further upset with Malcolm's behavior. In Reese's letter, he explains that he's ok, has graduated first in his at the army training post. For this he will get some reward.

In the final scene we see Reese in an army plane, on his way to Afghanistan. McManus is seen giving him a parachute ordering him to pull the green cord before the light green one. Reese realizes too late he's in over his head.

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]

  • Emy Coligado as Piama
  • Steve Rankin as Sgt. Hendrick

Cameos[edit | edit source]

  • Paul Gleeson as Mystery Man/FBI Agent Gordon Walker
  • Jan Deveraux as Hal's former co-worker 1
  • Noel Conlon as Hal's former co-worker 2
  • PJ O'Connor as Hal's former co-worker 3
  • Michael Chieffo as Dennis
  • Michael Milohan as Sgt. McManus
  • Judith Moreland as Prosecutor

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Kenneth Mars, (the actor who plays Otto Mannkusser), provides the voice of the Narrator during the "Previously on Malcolm in the Middle" segment for this episode.
  • The instrumental that plays over the part one recap is a cover of the iconic riff to the 1973 Heavy Metal song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple; the song that plays during the war games scene is Spiderbait's cover of the folk song "Black Betty"
  • This episode, along with Christmas Trees was submitted for an Emmy, but it was not nominated.
  • The document that Francis procures for Malcolm to forge Hal's signature is implied to be custody papers concerning the welfare of Dewey and Jamie. Meaning if Hal winds up in jail, Lois will be declared mentally incompetent and likely be sent to an assisted living facility, Malcolm will finally be emancipated, while Francis and Piama will take custody of Dewey and Jamie.
  • Out of the members, Malcolm is the only one who's aware of the stakes in what could happen to his family in that courtroom if he hadn't convinced Hal to testify in his own defense. As much as he desires his own life away from his family, he knows the consequences of his own actions. Malcolm would have to live with the guilt over breaking up his family once more with his selfishness in stealing Beth from Reese(which lead to him running away from home), Hal going to jail for a crime he obviously was framed for, Lois remaining mentally broken and sent to an assisted living facility, Dewey and Jamie would end up living in New Mexico with Francis and Piama. To him, Malcolm would rather deal with an angry Lois than live with his guilt.
  • The trips that Hal goes on every time he missed work on Fridays to disprove the prosecutions case are: Barvaria Land, Go-Karts, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Sea World and a few others.
  • This episode marks the 4th time that a cold opener episode has deviated from the normal cold opener routine, in which it has a significant role in the plot. The first time was in Emancipation. The 2nd time was in Humilithon. The 3rd time is in Day Care and the last time will be in Reese Comes Home

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Hal: I haven't worked on a Friday for the past 15 years.
Dennis: He hasn't worked on Fridays for 15 years.
Hal:(to the judge) That's not going to be on the record, is it.
Dennis: Is there any evidence to back up this wild assertion.
Hal: Well yeah. Once I knew what I was looking for, I realized I have almost all I need in my memory box.
Dennis:(goes to the first Friday date) The prosecution maintains you gave the Board of Directors a set of cookbooks on August 9th.
Hal:(procures a picture him on a roller coaster) Yes, that's when I went to Barvaria Land.
[Dennis posts the first picture on board, shocking the prosecution]
Dennis: And when you were supposed to be hiding money off shore on December 6.
Hal: I went to the Nutcracker. Pretty good for a community college production.
[Dennis posts a ticket of the Nutcracker. He later posts a driver's license at a Go-Karts]
Dennis: December 21st.
Hal: My Driver's License at Grand Prix Go Karts.
Dennis:(posting another picture of Hal at wooden cuffed with an Asian female co-worker) June 27th!
Hal: Pilgrim Village.
Dennis:(posting a newspaper clipping from an incident from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion) July 11.
[Everyone in the jury snickers]
Hal: There was a ghost in my car. Right in my car.
[Dennis posts a picture of Hal at Ocean Land feeding a killer whale named Kiku II.]
Dennis: And finally August 22nd.
Hal: Well, I was chosen to be a junior trainer at Ocean Land. He did all the work I just stood there.
[The prosecutor is embarrassed over her case being broken.]
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