Reese Joins the Army: Part 2 is the 22nd episode of Season 5 and the 107th episode overall of Malcolm in the Middle. It aired on May 23, 2004.


Reese injects the violence that he and his brothers used to have for each other into his work for the army, making him one of the best soldiers in the army. Meanwhile, Hal is testifying before court, being blamed for some extreme crimes that his CIA group has caused. Lois is also sinking deeper into insanity and makes a bunch of paper pigs instead of saving Hal.


In the pre-credit sequence we get a summary of the previous episode.

Hal is in front of the public library, pretending to be from the bomb squad, defusing the device in his backpack, which is really a transmitter for his electronic ankle bracelet. An officer from the real bomb squad shows up, but Hal confuses him with technical mumbo jumbo. Suddenly, he shouts that the bomb is about to explode. He counts down to one, when all the police officers avert their eyes. Nothing happens and when the officers open their eyes, they see that Hal has run away.

Lois is still suffering from a nervous breakdown, making pigs from empty soap bottles. Francis and Piama plead with her to stop with her madness and help Hal out because it's not doing them any good. However, she continues to worry them by giving in to her insanity more.

Meanwhile, at the army camp, the instructor boasts to his colleagues about Reese's blind obedience. Perhaps his team can win the next battle simulation.

In court, an impressive number of people testify against Hal, all of them doing this to avoid prison time for themselves. Hal believes his luck has changed when Gordon Walker gives his testimony. This is the mystery man who promised to help Hal the other day at the library. But Walker also points the finger at Hal. (He later explains that he isn't dying after all, and so he doesn't want to go to prison.)

At the battle simulation, Reese and the red team perform remarkably; Reese even stops a truck by jumping in front of it. Unfortunately he breaks his walkie talkie that way, and bereft of instructions, he doesn't know what to do next. He gets caught by the blue team.

In court, the prosecutor lists all the evidence against Hal, and the dates on which he did the illegal acts. Depressed by his bleak future, Hal gives the boys some life lessons that evening. (He even teaches Dewey how to shave.) He admits to Malcolm that it is ironic that he got in trouble with a job he never really liked. He hated it so much that he never even went to work on Fridays and skipped out to go on his own activities which he really enjoyed. Francis is really worried about his mother's mental state that he has a heart to heart talk with Malcolm about the situation. He proposes to have her declared mentally incompetent by having him forge their father's signature on a legal document he received at the state's government. Francis mentions that when Hal goes to jail, Lois would be declared mentally unfit and likely sent to an assisted living facility, Malcolm would be emancipated and Dewey and Jamie will be in safe hand with him and Piama. While happy at first at the prospects of finally getting his own life away from his family, it proves to be a failure. Malcolm reminds Francis the only one who can forge Hal's signature for such a document is the missing Reese and that he can only forge Lois' signature. When Francis tries to remind him how to build a rebellious streak, Malcolm recalls his conversation with Hal. It isn't long until he quickly figures out a way to save Hal from going to jail and having Lois return to normal, his confession to not working on Fridays could break the Prosecution's case over him.

Reese gets interrogated by the blue team. He answers every question with "Ask the sergeant", but after a while, he finds that rather annoying. He realizes following orders doesn't always work and he switches his brain back on. He decides his problem can be solved in much the same way he handles Lois. He holds his breath until he faints. The men from the blue team bring him to the cage where Reese's colleagues are kept. The colleagues revealed they're in prison, but Reese disagrees and begins to untie himself. He explains that they're not in prison, but grounded. He suggests that they should just do what any grounded teenager might try. When one of the colleagues reminds Reese of their predicament again, he has untied himself and mentions that he never brothers who tied him up on trash day or an overbearing mother who reigns punishment wherever she goes. One guy eats dirt until he starts to vomit. This distracts the guards and Reese can overpower them.

Hal gives his testimony in court. He explains that his genius son, Malcolm pointed out that all the dates of the illegal activities were Fridays. He can prove that he was absent those days by showing tickets and photographs of all his Friday trips and excursions. With the prosecution's case broken, the jury clears him of the charges, but it's still far from over. Lois has recovered from her trauma, but can't get over the fact that Hal lied to her all that time about his working on Fridays. So she berates him for lying to her all those times.

The sergeant of the red team meets his counterpart of the blue team to surrender, but both men are surprised by the arrival of two tanks that rip the tent apart. It's Reese and his men, and so the red team won after all.

Everything is back to normal at Malcolm's house, apart from the fact that both Lois and Hal are out of a job, that they are $20,000 in debt and that they have no idea where Reese is. But then a letter from him arrives. Lois is upset to learn that he has joined the Army and is further upset with Malcolm's behavior. In Reese's letter, he explains that he's ok, has graduated first in his at the army training post. For this he will get some reward.

In the final scene we see Reese in an army plane, on his way to Afghanistan.


  • 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 StarsEdit


  • Emy Coligado as Piama
  • Steve Rankin as Sgt. Hendrick


  • Paul Gleeson as Mystery Man/FBI Agent Gordon Walker
  • Jan Deveraux as Hal's former co-worker 1
  • Noel Conlon as Hal's former co-worker 2
  • PJ O'Connor as Hal's former co-worker 3
  • Michael Chieffo as Dennis
  • Michael Milohan as Sgt. McManus
  • Judith Moreland as Prosecutor


  • Kenneth Mars, (the actor who plays Otto Mannkusser), provides the voice of the Narrator during the "Previously on Malcolm in the Middle" segment for this episode.
  • The instrumental that plays over the part one recap is a cover of the iconic riff to the 1973 Heavy Metal song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple; the song that plays during the war games scene is Spiderbait's cover of the folk song "Black Betty"
  • This episode, along with Christmas Trees was submitted for an Emmy, but it was not nominated.
  • The document that Francis procures for Malcolm to forge Hal's signature is implied to be custody papers concerning the welfare of Dewey and Jamie. Meaning if Hal winds up in jail, Lois will be declare mentally incompetent and likely be sent to an assisted living facility, Malcolm will finally be emancipated, while Francis and Piama will take custody of Dewey and Jamie.
  • The trips that Hal goes on every time he missed work on Fridays to disprove the prosecutions case are: Barvaria Land, Go-Karts, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Sea World and a few others.