|Season 02, Episode 22|
|Air date||April 29, 2001|
Malcolm vs. Reese
Mini-Bike is the 22nd episode of season 2 and the 38th episode overall on Malcolm in the Middle. It was directed by Ken Kwapis and written both by Michael Glouberman & Andrew Orenstein. The episode aired on April 29th, 2001a
Craig drives the family insane while living with them. The boys buy a used mini-bike and fix it up, only to have Lois confiscate it. By the time that Malcolm and Dewey were able to get her to change her mind, Reese takes the bike out for a forbidden ride and crashes it, breaking his leg(proving her original stance against having a mini-bike true).
Malcolm thinks fast and tricks Craig into believing he had run over his leg. Even though Lois eventually finds out about Reese riding the bike against her admonition, she lets the boys get away with it because they helped get Craig out of the house. Hal visits Francis at Marlin Academy's father/son day and is disappointed when he learns that Francis apparently has not changed. Hal is later proud when he sees that Francis is the only cadet who stands up to Commandant Spangler.
The show starts in the morning with the family waiting in line to use the bathroom. Craig is in there preparing for the day, while singing show tunes. After leaving a colossal mess, Craig and Jellybean venture out to start the day, and Lois reminds everyone, including herself, to have patience; they burned the man's house down.
Hal prepares to leave for father/son weekend at Francis' military academy. As Hal and Lois are expressing how much they will be missing each other, Craig pops his head in, reemphasizing how small the house is, and how much Craig is really in the way. As Hal leaves Craig jokingly promises not to burn down Hal's house while he is away, the way that Hal burnt down his. After Hal is out of the room, Craig tries to lay down the ground rules for Lois about anything funny happening while Hal is away. Mistakenly thinking that Lois had any feelings for him, of any kind, at any time.
On the way to school, the boys walk past a garbage truck, where the man was just about to throw out an old dirty mini-bike. Dewey is first to spot this treasure, and calls it out to his brothers. In turn, all the boys flash to a fantasy about this new turn of events. The boys purchase the bike from the garbage man, and hide it in the garage. As the boys work together to fix it up and clean the bike, they bond with each other. Perhaps the best the three of them had gotten along in the whole series. It's not until they near completion and talk about who gets to ride the bike when all hell breaks loose. The boys, fighting near frenzy level, get the bike running, when Lois enters the garage. She takes the key, and lays down the law, "It's nobody's. What's wrong with you kids? You're not allowed to have a motorcycle." And the debates begin. Malcolm tries to tell Lois is not a motorcycle as she chains the bike up, but she doesn't listen. She says "Two words. Motor, wheels, motorcycle."
Meanwhile, Francis' military academy is giving out awards for even the most pedestrian of tasks. Most of the cadets have a lap full of them. Hal realizes just how poorly Francis is doing after he had not received one award. He seeks some answers from Commandant Spangler about his lack of achievement. Spangler spelled it out very clearly to Hal that Francis does not care about learning at all. The only thing he cares about is disrupting authority with his insurrection because he's seen kids like him before. In the rec area, a cadet and his father asked how Francis got the cow on the roof of the academy's gymnasium. As he begins talking about it, Hal while looking at the yearbook with all the clubs and after having a talk with Spangler, confronts him about his behavior. It's clear that he's very disappointed in Francis for his lack of change. Despite his and Lois' attempts to try to get him to grow up, he still feels like he doesn't care about anyone else, but himself. Francis tries to defend himself, but Hal refuses to hear about it and feels like he has to give up on him.
The boys try getting Lois to reverse her decision on the mini-bike through clever debates, bribery, tantrums and even negotiating a middle ground. All are met with a resounding 'No'. Now that the bike had been taken away, the boys once again reunite as a team, in search of a way to get their bike back. Finally Malcolm and Dewey make progress on their argument by explaining how it is safer than riding a horse; which Lois had done as a child. When they go into their room to celebrate the good news with Reese, he admits that he took the bike out already and crashed it. He admits that Lois is right about mini-bikes being dangerous and shows his brothers his badly fractured leg. The boys try their best at hiding Reese's badly broken leg, but are furious with him because if Lois finds out about the forbidden ride they're going to get punished further. Malcolm knows they will have to get him to the hospital. Finally a plan unfolds: he talks Craig into driving him across town for ice cream. As they are backing out of the driveway, the car runs over a rock, they quickly switch the rock for Reese, and they have their explanation for the broken leg. To ensure a believable scream, Dewey punches the already broken leg, and Reese screams like turkey in November. Adding to the success of the plan, Craig feels so guilty that he decides to pack up his stuff and move out of the house.
As the father/son weekend winds down, all the fathers are saying goodbye to their kids, except Hal, whose giving Francis the cold shoulder. One boy's shirt becomes untucked as he was hugging his dad. Commandant Spangler enters the room just in time to see the uniform messy. As he starts to discipline the boy, Francis defends the cadet by telling Spangler off that his shirt came untucked while hugging his father and that the punishment was unnecessary. The kid runs as Hal tries to get Francis to back down, however Spangler stops him and tells Hal that he's glad he saw this. He points out that this is the exact kind of behavior he has to put up with Francis. He always under-minds authority everyday with his disruptive insurrection and rebellious nature. When Spangler punished Cadet Dooley for an untucked pillow case violation by making him run 600 laps around the academy, Francis rallies his fellow cadets and organizes a sit-in strike against the commandant. When he had shut down the electricity for the 5th floor for contraband boom box violations, he always hijacks a generator for them and tells Hal that Francis lives to cause chaos with his insurrection. He adamantly tells Spangler that the cadet was hugging his father and refuses to back down. Even in front of Hal, he points out that Francis still defies him at every moment he gets. When Hal asks Spangler that every time this happens, his son always challenges him. He confirms it and that Francis doesn't care if he has to be punished and then tells Francis that he'll deal with him later and leaves. Francis tries to apologize, but Hal gives him a big hug, having seen first-hand how unreasonable Spangler can be and proud that he's the only one willing to stand up for the others against him regardless of the consequences.
At the house, Lois tells the boys that she found the busted up mini-bike in the backyard and knows that Reese rode the bike against her wishes. At that moment, Craig appears with Jelly Bean about to move out, professing his apologies and shame. Since the boys got him at the cat out of the house, Lois decides to let this one slide.
Hal bids Francis farewell as he continues digging a hole for a possible next prank against Spangler.
- Craig Feldspar leaves the house in this episode.