Series Name
Season 6, Episode 12
Living Will
Episode Guide
Dewey's Opera
Tiki Lounge
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. (In a flashback we see his mother asking him whether he wants a petting zoo or a clown for his birthday party. He requests both and then witnesses a snake attacking the clown.) 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.

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 a man 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 but it's crystal clear that Hal let him live because Edelman had a pet bird to take care of.


  • Craig's family is explored, introducing us to his father, Vic Feldspar and and his unnamed mother.
  • 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. It is also the same reason why he has a hard time making decisions.
  • 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.
  • 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. This is implied to be Jellybean.

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