"Malcolm in the Middle" Reese Joins the Army: Part 2 (TV Episode 2004) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Hal Wilkerson's trial is underway and the prosecution has a strong case against him. What's even worse is that the agent who was going to save him, testifies against him. It turns out he was using Hal all this time and it looks like he's gong to have the guilty plea. Evenutally, Malcolm realizes that his father skipped work every Friday and convinces him to testify on his behalf. During that time, Lois is sinking further into her insanity and makes paper pigs, instead of trying to defend Hal. Meanwhile, Reese starts using his head in an army simulation and reminds his teammates that they're not in jail, but grounded. He uses his expertise on the times that his brothers did to him over the years and wins against the blue team.

  • Hal's trial continues as the evidence pointing against him grows; Meanwhile, at training camp, Reese and his team are captured by enemies because of Reese.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • 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 piggies 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. 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 recieved at the state's government. That way when Hal goes to jail, Malcolm would be emancipated and Dewey and Jamile will be in safe hand with him and Piama. He reminds Francis the only one who can forge Hal's signature for such a document is the missing Reese.However, it isn't long until Malcom quickly figures out a way to save their father 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 colleauges revealed they're in prison, but Reese disagrees and begins to untie himself. He explains that they're not in prison, but grounded should just do what any grounded teenager might try. 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. Witn 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.

    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 dollars 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, 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.

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