Reese tells Stevie that he is going to beat him up, which puts Stevie on the edge. After Hal catches Dewey smoking, he makes a deal with him that he will stop drinking coffee if Dewey quits smoking. Dewey and Hal engage in a battle, with Dewey drinking a lot of coffee and Hal smoking cigarettes simply because the other is not allowed to indulge in their preferred vice. Meanwhile Lois tries to get Jamie to talk by telling him everything about herself, and eventually has an epiphany about her mother influencing her insecurity all these years. Fed up, and after Lois leaves the room, he speaks his first word that was similar to Francis: "Shut Up."
Hal is in the garage when he catches one lit cigarette for his secret stash. After putting out, he assumes it's Reese behind it and orders him out of the hiding space. To his surprise, it's Dewey that's smoking cigarettes. Hal reprimands Dewey for smoking, mentioning how disgusting of a habit it is and along with how long it took him to quit. He asks Dewey if he wants to have respiratory problems and end up having to rely on breathing in an air tank. For the first try, Hal gives him a one free pass. Depending on the seriousness of the offenses Dewey's older brothers committed and which Lois can't know about, he is the only one who decides in how the free pass will be used. In the flashbacks, Hal gave Francis a free pass when he snuck out to go to a strip bar and handcuff himself to the pole in an attempt to make the stripper give him back his dollar. Reese used his one free pass when he put roller skates on a donkey and killing it after falling on it's back. Malcolm used his one free pass when he accidentally burned his and Hal's hair from a chemistry experiment gone wrong.
Stevie receives some good news: he's accepted by the Norvet Bio-Medical Institute as a research subject. Reese puts a damper on his mood by loudly complaining about Stevie's presence. Malcolm tries to diffuse the situation by trying to get Reese to be more sensible in letting them study. Steve has his way with Reese again, given the boys history. The two boys seem to start a fight, but Reese has to hold back. This inability to go after the physically challenged Stevie irritates him even more. He snaps and announces an official fight, next Friday after school.
Lois tries to get Jamie to talk by telling him her modern life and her high school years, but his only words are spoken similar to Francis' own ("Shut up").
Dewey gets hooked on cigarette and has a hard time quitting. Hal sees Dewey smoking a cigarette again and comes up with an idea to get the boy to quit. He will give up drinking coffee if Dewey stops smoking. This turns out to be more of a challenge than the two anticipated. Hal tries to get a sniff of coffee wherever he can and Dewey chews gum endlessly. At night Dewey sneaks out of the house to smoke a cigarette. He catches Hal brewing coffee and he admits they both have a problem. Dewey mentions it's very degrading because on the way home from school, he almost pulled a cigarette butt from the gutters. Hal admits he had to French kiss Lois each time just to get a taste of coffee and he is still optimistic that they can beat their addictions. He tells Dewey that they need to do some activities just to keep their minds off their cravings. They start playing catch just to get their minds off their addictions, annoying Lois who tells them to go back to bed.
When the time comes for Reese and Stevie to fight, Abe calls Malcolm and warns him that Stevie's on his way to the Wilkerson house to fight Reese. He rushes in to try to warn his brother, only to find him in an unused trash can filled with ice water. Reese is going to make this fight fair by making his legs limp in ice water and stabbing them with an ice pick. Malcolm tries to talk some sense into him explaining he doesn't have to do this. Reese accuses him of abandoning his own brother claiming that Malcolm has the brains and talent to do whatever he wanted. He knows he'll go on to better things with Stevie, while the family is left behind. Malcolm points out how selfish Reese is in his wrongful accusations. He mentions that no matter how much he wants to escape his family and their problems, Malcolm knows he can't. The tender brother moment is interrupted when Stevie appears. It turns out he has just done the opposite, and steals a robot exoskeleton from a college project he is into, beating Reese up badly.
In the kitchen, Dewey finally quits smoking and Hal beats his addiction to coffee. As he congratulates both himself and Dewey for beating their addiction, he goes outside. Hal decides to smoke again by taking out a carton of fresh cigarette packs from the lamp post in the backyard. After he is caught, Dewey takes up drinking coffee in revenge for breaking his promise. Unfortunately in the middle of the antagonism battle between the two, Lois catches Hal smoking cigarettes in front of her and yells at him for the deed. He tries to lie his way out of trouble by claiming he was doing this out of stress because he caught Dewey drinking coffee. Hal tries to get rid of the cigarette evidence, hoping that she would ignore it and be angry at their younger son. However much to his dismay, Lois ignores it and keeps her anger at him. She mentions that she doesn't believe Dewey's drinking coffee is punishable enough for her to merit a grounding from it and he did nothing wrong. Lois tells Hal off the punishment she inflict will be on him because she caught him breaking his promise by smoking in the house again and keeping a hidden stash of cigarettes instead of using the money to fix their defective AC.
In the end, Malcolm is doing homework in the kitchen. He explains that Stevie got kicked out from the Norvet Institute's project for using unauthorized equipment and pending possible lawsuits against the Kenarbans. Malcolm mentions that Reese will be fine after a few months. Until then, he is on bed rest and can't leave for school. This implies that Lois had grounded Reese again for picking a fight with Stevie. Malcolm also explains that because Lois is very enraged at Hal for breaking his promise and began smoking cigarettes in the house again, she has ignored punishing Dewey for drinking coffee. As his punishment for smoking, she orders him to find all of his hidden leftover cigarette stashes and get rid of them. Malcolm watches on as a disheartened Hal appears in the kitchen, walks over to the vent and opens it, allowing the cigarettes to fall into the empty trash bin. Once they are all in the bin, he closes it and leaves. According to Malcolm, if Lois finds any leftover cigarettes in the house, she'll make Hal eat them in the morning. Thus, he is pretty motivated in getting rid of the stashes. Malcolm mentions that he, Dewey and Jamie are the only boys who weren't punished by Lois. He finishes with bringing a new bedpan for the incapacitated Reese.
- 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
- Cody Estes as young Malcolm(uncredited)
- Dillon John as young Reese(uncredited)
- [Hal just found out that Dewey is smoking.]
- Dewey: Now, don't blame yourself
- Hal: Dewey, you're smoking! Do you have any idea what a dangerous and disgusting addiction that is?! It took me years to quit. Do you want to end up breathing through a hole on your neck? Do you think that's cool?
- Dewey: You can breath through a hole on your neck.
- Hal: What do you think your mother's going to say about it?!
- Dewey: You can't tell mom. She'll kill me.
- Hal: Well, you should've thought about it earlier. Where would you even get cigarettes anyway?
- Dewey: There's like 20 cartons hidden in your shop back.
- Hal: Oh my God. That I my stash form 10 years ago. Lois will kill me. All right, Dewey. Under the circumstances, I am giving you: Your One Free Pass.
- Dewey: Free Pass.
- Hal: That right. I gave your brothers their one free pass one time that I didn't tell your mother about something they did.
- [Flashback from the boys' one free pass Hal as given them. The first is Francis for sneaking out from the house to go to a strip club and handcuffing himself on the dance pole in an attempt to make the stripper give back his dollar.]
- Hal: All right, Francis. This is your one free pass.
- [As he tries to pick the lock, Francis must give back the dollar to the stripper. Another flashback goes on with Hal confronting Reese.]
- Hal: Okay, Reese, but this is your one.
- [Hal is frustrated over seeing a dead donkey on it's back with roller skates on it's hooves. The last flashback reveals Malcolm's chemistry experiment gone wrong and burning both his and Hal's hair off, leaving them bald.]
- Hal: Okay Malcolm, but this is your one.
- Malcolm: Reese, you're insane!
- Reese: Am I? They thought Einstein was crazy. Until he started kicking ass! (falls and Malcolm looks confused)
- Hal: Kids go at their own pace. Heck, 6th grade I had a full beard and I still couldn't tie my shoes properly.
- Dewey: This is so degrading. On the way home from school, I almost pulled a cigarette butt out of the gutter.
- Hal: I french-kissed your mother this morning just to lick the coffee off her teeth.
- Lois: If you don't feel like talking yet, then you don't have to talk. (leaves the room)
- Jamie:[annoyed similar to Francis] Shut up.
- [Lois walks in to see Hal and Dewey antagonizing each other.]
- Dewey:[Drinking Coffee] Mmmm. Rich roasted goodness. Suddenly, I'm in a French café.
- Hal:[smoking a cigarette] Well I'm with two girls in a speedboat sucking down a smooth blend of fine tobaccos. Mmm.
- Lois:[Catches Hal smoking] HAL!
- Hal:[takes out his cigarette] Dewey's drinking coffee.
- [He tries to get rid of the cigarette evidence by tossing it away. However to his dismay, Lois ignores Dewey for the moment. In her opinion, his drinking coffee doesn't equal to the type of punishment that she will inflict on Hal in breaking his promise not to smoke in the house again.]
- Malcolm:[last lines] The Norvet Institute kicked Stevie out for unauthorized use of their equipment and Reese will be okay, but he's not allowed out of bed until he stops seeing four of everything.
- [A disheartened [Hal comes into the kitchen, carrying a trash bin to one of the air conditioner vents where he hides his cigarettes. Opening the vent, the cigarettes all cascade down into the bin. Hal then closes it and leaves.]
- Malcolm: Mom's making dad find the last of his old cigarettes and she's gonna him make eat any she finds in the morning so he's pretty motivated. The amazing thing is I got off Scott free.
- Lois: Malcolm go change Reese's bedpan.
- Malcolm: Hey, he's my brother.
- Hal reveals that he has set up a rule for his sons. Each of the boys get a "One free pass", where if they do something extremely horrible that Lois can't know about, he'll let it slide without a punishment. Each of his sons was given a free pass before. However, Hal is the only one who can decide how each boy will use their one free pass.
- Francis' one free pass was going to a strip club when he was a young child and angered the stripper by handcuffing himself to the pole so she would have to give him back his dollar.
- Reese's one free pass was killing a donkey by putting roller skates on it in his attempt to teach it how to roller skate, causing it to fall upside down.
- Malcolm's one free pass was burning both his own and his father's hair off with his chemistry experiment going wrong.
- In this episode, Dewey's one free pass was getting addicted to smoking thanks to finding Hal's secret stashes of cigarettes over the house
- Reese is shown to be socially obligated against hitting Stevie. However, he was shown to be perfectly fine with punching him multiple times in the episode Dinner Out.
- His social obligation is supported in Bully in which his bullying manual stipulated that because Stevie is in a wheelchair, he is off limits. The mini-bullies violated his manual by tormenting him, which lead to Reese beating them up and restoring order in the school as the head bully.
- This episode reveals that Dewey is addicted to smoking in this episode, making him the third member of the Wilkerson family to be addicted to smoking, with the first two being Hal and Francis.
- This episode also reveals that Hal has an addiction to coffee.
- It is revealed that one of Stevie's problems is motor neuropathy. Motor neuropathy is a nerve disability in which the nerves either cease to fire or fire incorrectly, which results in either no mobility or poor movement control.
- A lot of Lois' backstory is revealed in this episode, as she explains that throughout her childhood, she's always been unhappy with who she was and has always been trying to be better, because her mother has always been forcing her to be someone she's not.
- Jamie says his first word in this episode, which is "Shut up". This is similar to words Francis said to Lois growing up.
- The exoskeleton that Stevie wears is based on actual medical studies that are ongoing. Many different universities and doctors are working on assisted movement exoskeletons with a wide range of medical applications. The US military branches actually have some in test phases, being used on soldiers who were crippled in the line of duty.
- Francis' only appearance in this episode, is a flashback to when he was a little kid. He was portrayed by a different actor and only made a non-speaking cameo.
- Lois told the boys that they were forbidden to use pillowcases for a month. However, in the very next scene, they are using pillowcases. To be fair, Lois was only saying this as a cover up for her crying, so she most likely didn't follow through with it.
- After quitting coffee, Hal took up smoking again by taking out a fresh pack of cigarettes and a lighter hidden in the backyard lamp post, which leads to Dewey drinking coffee in retaliation.
- This episode also reveals why Hal kept his old stashes of cigarettes in the crawlspace leading to the AC vents as a means to keep off smoking.
- However when he started smoking again, Lois busts him for doing so
- Out of the boys, only Dewey, Jamie and Malcolm has not been punished by Lois. Reese has been given a unspecified grounding due to him picking a fight with Stevie.
- Ironically, Malcolm's chemistry experiment going wrong in accidentally both his own and Hal's hair off would eventually be the basis where Walter shaves his own hair off and becomes Heisenberg in Breaking Bad.