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Victor's Other Family is the twentieth episode of Season 5 and the 105th episode overall of Malcolm in the Middle.


Lois learns that her father, Victor, had been cheating on her mother before she was even born, which was taken to the point where he had even started a second family with her. She receives a phone call from her half-sister, inviting them over to meet them for the first time. However, Ida ruins the festivities by returning to the house and demanding Victor's pension. When Lois learns that she lied to her all her life and he's not her father, she abandons Ida's case and leaves for California with her sons. Dewey dreads racing with Hal due to previous disappointments he and Lois caused him over the years.


Francis visits the stall at the Grotto Ranch to confront an amorous horse named Thunder who has been sharing a stall with Betsy the Cow and having an intimate relationship. He tells them that while he has no problems with them being together in one stall, both Thunder and Betsy need to take in account how Otto, the ranchers and the guests would feel if they saw the two in one stall. Francis orders Thunder back in his own stall much to Betsy's dismay.

Lois has just found out that she has a half-sister named Roberta and tells Hal about it. She brings Reese, Jamie and Malcolm with her to meet their aunt and cousins in Manitoba. As they are packing, Lois is annoyed when she gets a call from Ida who is furious over her loss in her lawsuit against Sylvia. Despite evidence she has shown to prove that Victor had been married to her, the judge ruled against Ida. On top of it, she is given a restraining order. Not wanting Ida to visit the family and ruin their trip, Lois uses Malcolm's lie about wanting her to come over to celebrate Jamie's birthday with the neighbourhood kids. She quickly refuses, pointing out that she has an appointment to get her back waxed.

Meanwhile, Hal discovers that Dewey's school is having a father-son race day in the upcoming weeks, though is confused to why Dewey threw the notice for it out. Dewey reveals that he wanted to spare Hal agreeing to do it and than missing it on purpose (as he always does). He also wanted to spare himself from the grief of Hal coming up with lame excuses afterwards to why he missed it and even this applies to Lois as well. Dewey then says that even though he expects it, it still disappointing to him. An arrogant Hal laughs this off, claiming he is not that bad (despite missing an award ceremony for Dewey the previous week) and claims that he will be at that race.

In Manitoba, Lois meets Roberta at her home and asks for her mother. Her step-mother, Sylvia, comes in the living room mentioning the guests shouldn't have come until later because she was finishing up with the cookies and her hair is a mess. She sees Lois and compliments her that she looks exactly like Victor and gives her a warm welcome. Despite some nervous moments between them, they're getting along great. While going through photos, Sylvia notices pictures of Lois and Susan looking sad. She and Roberta are sympathetic to Lois and convinced that Ida had not raised them properly. Sylvia mentions that Victor wasn't perfect and was often times very grumpy after a hard day from work. However, she helps him calm down and he'll get back to his normal loving father mode. Malcolm notices Lois is feeling overwhelmed and for the first time, he shows empathy for her. He asks her if she's all right because he notices she's overwhelmed. Lois is taken by surprise by Malcolm's empathy and tells him that she's fine. The feeling of familiar love from Sylvia and Roberta is new to her because of the abuse she went through with her unhappy childhood. Malcolm begins to see a different side to Lois and why she's the person she is today. He starts to feel terrible because of how he's treated her over the years. Lois thinks it's going to be nice, quality time with Sylvia and her family. Malcolm then asks Lois if she's heard any birds or crickets for the last two minutes, which Lois notices as strange and replies that everything has been quiet for so long. He and Lois turns around and scream in terror to see a furious Ida right in front of the door, screaming JUDAS!

Ida yells at Lois for lying to her and knew of the trip because she's been able to spot lies coming out of her since she was little. Lois orders Malcolm to lock the door at once. Before he could do anything, Ida busts in as Roberta tells Sylvia and Jerome to lock themselves in the pantry and call the police. When she enters Sylvia's house demanding the money, Lois demands that Ida leave at once because the police are on their way to arrest her for violating the restraining order. She refuses and even argues that the stuff that the other family got were stolen from her (including an old couch from her trip to Paris). Ida points out that Victor made them live like dogs in order for Sylvia and her family to live like royalty. She tries to remind Lois about Victor's terrible treatment over them. Before she could argue that Susan was treated much better by him, Sylvia calls out to her (Ida). She reminds Ida that that despite having the cops coming over to the house, she is armed with a knitting needle to defend herself. She calls Sylvia's bluff, reminding her that she knows about Victor's previous job as a lawyer working for Paragon Brush from 1960 to 1964. Under Manitoba law as common-law wife, she is entitled to the pension. Sylvia denies this, admitting that she and her family never knew about his job or any pension that he has. She also admits that the family only recently found out about Victor's affair with Ida and the children he has with her. She is confident that once the truth is out, it will continue to haunt Sylvia's family for the rest of their lives. The annoyed Lois diffuses the situation by mentioning to Ida that they discuss this later in her apartment when they're alone. She also tells Ida off that unless she wants to have her wig remove to expose both her tick scars and her bald head, she will quietly leave this house. Enraged and begrudgingly, Ida agrees to leave but not before telling Sylvia that she will be back for revenge.

After Lois, Reese, Malcolm and Jaime leave for Canada, Hal "accidentally" blinds himself by finding a hidden fire extinguisher and is left with burned corneas for two weeks. Dewey informs Lois of this incident. She tells him that she will deal with Hal when she comes back. After ending his call with Lois, Dewey views this as having been done on purpose so Hal could skip the race though he denies it. However, he knows better due to his personal experience with disappointment and reveals why Lois never told Hal about the fire extinguisher. She knew he'd try anything to get out of going to any class events that Dewey has and hid it underneath the sink's cabinet. He just walks out of the room as Hal feigns remorse for breaking his promise to Dewey. It's clear that he knows better than to believe Hal and his lies.

Malcolm bonds with Jerome who is not only smart, but popular and happier. He helps Malcolm relax and unwind. In turn, he has an epiphany over being a terrible son to Lois and is realizing that he and his brothers are the main cause of her and Hal's unhappiness. Jerome offers Malcolm some good advice in helping thaw the ice between him and Lois. In turn, he realizes how much of a good influence Jerome is to him. Reese tries to bond with his other cousin, Scott, who is dumb like him. However, he scares Scott away with his rowdiness and love for destruction. Especially after Reese proves to very adept with a gun on a hunting trip. He brazenly tells Malcolm all about the hunting trip and of this, annoys the latter. Scott is so traumatized by this outing that he avoids Reese all together. Hence, it proves Malcolm's point about them being barely the same species despite being brothers. Seeing the damage Reese has done, he ends up apologizing to both Jerome and Scott for it.

At Mr. Dietrich's office, Lois learns that Roberta's family had been telling the truth. They had no prior knowledge of the pension since Victor never told them and only learned about his affair with Ida. Mr. Dietrich informs them that the only way Ida could win the case against the family in not only collecting the pension (it's only $43.50 a month, Canadian) and proving that she is Victor's common-law wife, is a paternity DNA test, along with mailing addresses in their names. He mentions that he needs both Lois' and Susan's DNA to see if they match Victor's DNA. As he leaves to set up an appointment, Lois tries to get Ida to be sensible knowing if she goes after this lawsuit, she'll lose money on it. She doesn't care, admitting that Sylvia stolen what was rightfully hers and will go through with the lawsuit because she loves Victor. Lois is still concerned over Ida's behavior and decides to talk to Sylvia, hoping she could avoid a potential lawsuit.

Later on, Lois visits Sylvia, who notices she is gravely concerned and asks her what's wrong. She reluctantly informs Sylvia about the pension and Ida's plans to sue them again. Lois mentions that she tried to stop her mother knowing that she could lose money going after it, but Ida was adamant. Realizing this, Sylvia asks her if there's any way to stop Ida from her lawsuit. Lois tells her there is a way to prevent a possible lawsuit and has picked up a document. She asks Sylvia to sign a legal document that could help her avoid a potential lawsuit and give the money to Ida without a lawsuit. Sylvia refuses and sends her away. Lois begs from the window to change her mind. Sylvia pulls her back in, asking her as to why she is even helping her evil mother in the first place even after the abuse Ida put her through. Lois mentions the only reason Victor was treating her cruelly was because of Ida's awful influence on him. As she is her mother, Lois is hopelessly bounded to her for the rest of her life. In that moment, Sylvia admitted that Victor had talked to her and he had been remorseful in how he's treated Lois because of Ida. She mentions that had he told her about the abuse, they would've rescued her and Susan from that awful mother of theirs. Lois agrees and admits that nothing would have made her happier if Sylvia had done this for her and Susan. She also admits that she wished that Sylvia had been their mother because at least they would've had the advantages of having a loving mother like her in their lives. Lois mentions that she's not asking her to sign over the pension for Ida's sake because they both know she is a terrible person in general. She's asking Sylvia to do this for her so they can save both of their families of the financial hardship in a potential lawsuit that her mother had in mind for them. Lois warns that if she allows the lawsuit to go as planned, Sylvia and her family will lose money against Ida. She knows that her mother wants revenge for the loss of Victor and her stuff. Ida will stop at nothing until she is fully repaid with everyone seeing her as his common-law wife and ruining Sylvia's reputation. While understanding how concerned Lois is for her and their families, Sylvia still refuses and asks her to leave.

Despite his injury, Hal and Dewey end up at the race. A blind man is seen next to them and uses a seeing eye dog as a guide. However when the race starts, Hal grabs the wrong leash and the dog in the opposite direction. Thus leaving Dewey at the starting line and why he wanted to avoid another disappointment. Hours later, with Hal getting exhausted (and oblivious that he is nowhere near the race), he grabs a yellow "do not cross line" bordered around a murder scene and thinking he has completed the race shouts "I DID It!" repeatedly and laughs hysterically as angry police investigators approach him, possibly to arrest him.

Lois reluctantly helps Ida with the case at her apartment, finding evidence of mailing addresses proving Victor was living with them. Lois opens the envelope that contains the DNA test results. When she learns that her DNA does not match Victor's, Lois demands answers from Ida. She soon learn that Ida had an affair with a man named Radu Gogorsky out of spite for Victor in his affair with Sylvia. When she also learns that he wasn't legally married to her mother, Lois' anger is further heightened. Ida attempts to lie claiming doesn't know who Susan's father is. However, Lois doesn't believe her shows Ida the DNA test results which reveals that her sister matches Victor's DNA and blood type. Finally, she confesses that Susan is her only daughter with him. It was Victor's suspicions on Ida's own affair is the real reason why he never accepted Lois as his child. She attempts to change Lois's blood type to a B so she would be able to match his. Disillusioned, Lois willingly told Ida off that she will never forgive her for lying to her and abandons her case. It's with this Lois ultimately understand that how much she looks, at her core, Her mother will Always be a Monster. Thus, she must cut ties with Ida at once and leave for California.

At Sylvia's house, Lois informs Roberta and Sylvia that she's not related to Victor and learned that Ida lied to her the whole time. She also mentions that despite being another man's child, she is legally Victor's child and that Sylvia share Ida's sentiments in hating him. Sylvia agrees to sign the rights to the pension as long as she never mentions her hating Victor again. Lois takes her boys home to California.


  • 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[]


  • Cloris Leachman as Ida

Special Guest Star[]


  • Maura Soden as Roberta
  • Andrew James Allen as Jerome
  • Adam Wylie as Scott
  • Tom Virtue as Mr. Dietrich
  • Megan Hubble as Jerome's Girlfriend


  • Much about the backstory of Lois' family is revealed in this episode. It is revealed that Victor isn't her biological father or even the legal husband of Ida. Her true father was a man named Radu Gogorsky. Susan's true father is still ambiguous, but it's possible that Victor is her father, though even Ida is not sure. Meanwhile, Victor had been cheating on Ida long before Lois was even born, with a woman named Sylvia. In turn when Ida found out, she had an affair with Radu Gogorsky to spite him, that lead to Lois' birth. Victor would always claim to be going on business trips throughout his fatherhood of Lois, when he was really visiting Sylvia. He had even started a biological family with Sylvia, and was the exact opposite of what he was to Lois, being a nice, caring, and idyllic father to them. It is also revealed that Victor was a bad father to Lois and mistreated her throughout her childhood and that he locked her in the closet when she was two and got her drunk when she was eight.
    • It's possible that Ida was lying to Lois about Susan's paternity. She may have read the DNA test results that confirmed that Susan is Victor's daughter.
    • It's also implied that unlike Lois, Victor treated Susan very well and was an idyllic and caring father to her
    • It's unknown how Victor suspected that Lois wasn't his daughter from the beginning. It may have to do with the fact that he suspected Ida had an affair with another man.
  • Although she never reveals what it actually is, Lois reveals that she has five letters in her middle name.
  • It is also revealed that Ida's hair is really a wig.
  • It is even revealed that Lois and the boys are part Ukrainian due to Radu Gogorsky being a Ukrainian name.
  • 2nd and last appearance of Betsy the Cow.
  • This episode is Cloris Leachman and Betty White's first appearance together since the Mary Tyler Moore show. White's character, Sue Ann Nivens, is a snobbish, greedy and judgmental housewife to her rich husband. She often criticizes about Mary being single at 30. Leachman's character, Phyllis Lindstrom, is her landlady. She is a wealthy, sweet, and supportive friend of Mary. She doesn't appreciate Sue Ann's cruel judgment of her and often came to her defense.
    • Ironically, this was the opposite in Malcolm in the Middle. Leachman portrays Ida, a greedy, manipulative, racist and chain-smoking grandmother who finds everything negative in her life. Unlike Phyllis, she hates her family except Reese and Susan. White portrays Sylvia who is similar to Rose(from The Golden Girls): sweet, good nature and supportive.
  • This episode marked the only time that Dewey avoided telling his parents of his upcoming class event to avoid disappointment. This is because previous times he had told them about it, Hal and Lois always has some poor excuse to avoid going there.
    • This is supported in season 7's Morp, when Lois proudly admitted why she and Hal never went to his class events and forgotten about him.
    • The only time that they did regret missing Dewey's class event was back in Forwards Backwards due to them having to deal with Malcolm and Reese's latest misbehavior and grounding them.
  • Francis only appears in the cold open, which also marks the final appearance of the Grotto.
  • Originally after learning about the truth in why Victor never accepted her, Lois orders Ida to drop her case and stop pursuing the money. It's there she admits that Hal was right all along. Lois mentions that she should've cut ties with her awful family a long time ago. That way, Hal and Lois could've spared the boys from a lifetime of having to deal with how horrible their relatives on both parents' sides really are. The only good thing that came from it was meeting Sylvia and Roberta, the family that she should've had instead of a greedy mother, an abusive absentee father and an entitled sister. After turning the evidence over so the police can deal with Ida, Lois returns to Sylvia's home heartbroken and shaken from all of this. She and Roberta comforts Lois through all this. Despite everything that happened, she realizes she has a loving family in them and doesn't tell them the results of her not being related to them. Lois tells Sylvia and Roberta that Ida won't be a problem anymore. That Victor is still her father despite the cruelty he inflicted on her.