Series Name
Season 05, Episode 21
Reese Joins the Army Part 1
Air date May 16, 2004
Episode Guide
Victor's Other Family
Reese Joins the Army: Part 2
Reese Joins the Army: Part 1 is the 21st episode of Season 5 and the 106th episode overall of Malcolm in the Middle.


Reese's new girlfriend breaks up with him for Malcolm and so Reese joins the army out of devastation. Hal's company takes a nosedive and two corrupt FBI agents want him to make false accusations against an employer.


Reese's new girlfriend Beth is about as dumb as he is. Malcolm initially dislikes her but they soon get to like each other too much and Beth breaks up with Reese. Devastated, Reese runs away and joins the army under the false surname "Jetson."

Hal's company goes under à la Enron, and two corrupted FBI officers want him to falsely testify against an employer. He refuses, but they have him arrested when the employer provides false testimony against Hal. His only hope comes in a form of an FBI informant whom he meets at the library. He claims that he falsified evidence against Hal in order to have him arrested and save the employer. However when he learned he was dying from an unknown cancer, the agent decided he has to do the right thing and expose the truth about his employer's lies.

Lois stresses-out when she must work overtime at Lucky Aide to make ends meet; eventually her snappy demeanor and mounting mental instability get her fired. Instead of being mad, she pretends nothing is wrong and takes a cold shower with her clothes on. Meanwhile, Dewey enters a piano contest and is angry when no one notices... even when he leaves town for it and wins (mainly due to both Francis and Piama dealing with both disciplining Malcolm for his selfishness and Lois' mental instability).


  • Reese's real last name isn't revealed in this episode, but he joins the army under the false last name of "Jetson".
  • Dewey wins a trophy for the national music competition, though no one in the family pays attention to him at all. This may have been unintentional mainly due to Lois' stress over Hal's arrest and Francis disciplining Malcolm.
  • Second time Malcolm and Reese have the same love interest, whose name is "Beth". The first time was when they were in a fight over Beth from the episode "Bowling".
  • Second time Lois gets fired from the Lucky Aide. The first time was in (Lois VS Evil) when Mr. Pinter fired her out of spite.


  • When Reese is being questioned by his Drill Sergeant, he looks at his bed. The US is face up. This part of the blanket should only occur when a US soldier dies and the unit has not moved their belongings from the Barracks.