When Lois forces the boys into community service to build character, they choose to help out at a church, where they quickly go from trading their own stuff to stealing merchandise and creating a black market.
Meanwhile, Francis finally reaches his destination in Alaska only to learn that his new job isn't the easy money-making opportunity he thought.
Lois forces the boys into community service to build character, she gives them a choice: Helping a local church to give to the needy or go to a Senior Citizen's home. Reese tries to choose to help old people at a Senior Citizen home, but Malcolm talks him out of it mentioning how cranky they are with their demands. They choose to help out at a church, where they quickly go from trading their own stuff to stealing merchandise and creating a black market.
Meanwhile, Francis finally reaches his destination in Alaska only to learn that his new job isn't the easy money-making opportunity he thought, but rather a living hell. It turns out that his new boss, Lavernia, rules the logging job with an iron fist with a debt book and broken Eric's spirit.
When Hal discovers the boys' black market business, he is furious and reprimands them for it. They attempts to make the trip back to the church to return the stuff they had taken and apologize. However, when his car breaks down and the others ponder what to do, Malcolm wisely reminds Hal that the street is the same route that Lois uses to get home from Lucky Aide and she gets off in less than 10 minutes. Hal tries to bribe locals to help him and the boys take back the stuff to the church. When the police arrive and arrest him for theft and solicitation, Hal and the boys have an epiphany about their own actions.
Meanwhile, Francis convinces Eric to take a stand against Lavernia by reminding him of how Spangler reigned hell on them back at Marlin. They sneak into her locked snack shop to find her debt book and plans to steal it. That way when the book is exposed to the loggers and on national TV., Lavernia's business will be ruined and she'll likely face legal problems along with her arrest. However, Francis accidentally locks them inside after removing the piece of duct tape from the door's latch bolt used to keep the door unlocked. At the end of the episode where he and Eric spend the rest of their evening in the snack shop enjoying all of the food and beer.
After being released from police station, Hal calls Lois from the bus station to inform her that he and the boys will likely be going away for a while (obviously skipping town). She convinces him to come home and they'll discuss their actions. When Hal and the boys come home expecting Lois to be enraged for the arrest, she instead surprises them by donating their stuff to charity. In the final scene, Dewey is praying to God when Reese allegedly claims that he is hiding chocolate from them and force him to hand it over.
- 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
- Eric Nenniger as Eric
- Brenda Wehle as Lavernia
- Sandy Ward as Pete
- Craig Lamar Traylor as Stevie
- Evan Matthew Cohen as Lloyd
- Kyle Sullivan as Dabney
- Bette Ray as Mrs. Potts
- Richard Goss as Dave
- Terry Woodberry as Bill
- Marsha Kramer as Toni
- Randy Thompson as Cop
- [Upon realizing the boys stole an air tank.]
- Hal: You stole air?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU BOYS?! Do you ever stop and think about the consequences of anything you do. Do you realize the shame you could bring upon our entire family. Do you?!
- First appearance of Lavernia.
- Malcolm taps upon his religious beliefs in this episode, saying that "All he knows about God is that he's an all-knowing, all-powerful being. Kind of like mom, but invisible." His beliefs would soon change, as he would then classify himself as a "hopeful agnostic" in the episode Malcolm Dates a Family.
- Malcolm claims that stealing money and items from the church is possibly the worst thing he, Reese and Dewey have ever done, however the series finale reveals that the "Nuclear Option" was the worst thing they ever did (tricking Lois into thinking she had breast cancer in order for her to ignore their horrible report cards). Thus this episode contains the second worst offense ever committed by the Wilkerson brothers.
- Francis learns that the logging dream job he thought he was going to have turned out to be a nightmare due to having a malevolent boss in Lavernia and her debt book.
- In Hal Coaches, Piama learns about that said book including how the latter treated Francis and is angered by this. She paid Lavernia back by kidnapping her pet parakeet and demanding better treatment of him or else Piama will kill the parakeet herself. Piama was the only one whom Lavernia couldn't stand up against fearing what would happen to her pet if she tried to call the former's bluff.