Malcolm in the Middle

Season 4 Episode 5

Forwards Backwards

Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Dec 01, 2002 on FOX
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Episode Summary

Forwards Backwards
Malcolm and Reese take turns getting revenge on each other, each time upping the anti. Dewey is worried about a school play. Hal is over his head when he tries to buy a comic for Malcolm's birthday, and goes to Craig for help. Francis squares off with an "evil" cow.moreless

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Matt Hannigan

Matt Hannigan

Fake Dad

Guest Star

Bonnie Burroughs

Bonnie Burroughs

Fake Mom

Guest Star

Kevin Dunagin

Kevin Dunagin

Male Guest

Guest Star

Craig Lamar Traylor

Craig Lamar Traylor


Recurring Role

David Anthony Higgins

David Anthony Higgins


Recurring Role

Kenneth Mars

Kenneth Mars


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Craig enters the comic store, one of the clerks says he's a level 45 Dungeon Master. This is a reference from the extremely popular role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. A level 45 Dungeon Master would be what is referred to as an epic level, which is anything over 20 levels. It takes years of role play to achieve that position, clearly establishing Craig as a fellow 'nerd' with more than enough expertise to pick out the dud comics the clerk tries to sell Hal.

    • It is unlikely that Malcolm would have been able to glue Reese's arm to his forehead without Reese knowing it.

    • In an unexpected twist opposite from "Water Park," Malcolm is the one who starts the entire fight in this episode.

    • The supposed "Amazing Spider-Man #14" that is featured is actually a copy of "Amazing Spider-Man #351". Craig calls it a 1993 reprint of #14, yet #351 is actually from 1991!

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Lois: Malcolm, do you remember what you did for your birthday last year?
      Malcolm: Nothing. I was grounded then, too.
      Lois (to Reese) And what about your birthday?
      Reese: You grounded me after I smashed Malcolm's face into the cake.
      Lois: And your birthday before that?
      Malcolm: Pretty much this.
      Reese: (to Malcolm) Wait. When did you push me off the pony?

    • Hal: Craig, I can't thank you enough. That was so fantastic! You were so heroic.
      Craig: I like to think we all have a little bit of Aquaman right here.
      (Craig points to his heart)
      Hal: Well, I must say you really know you're stuff. I'm impressed.
      Craig: Well, you know... if you're interested there is a convention next Saturday.
      Hal: I have a life Craig.

    • Hal: All right, two scoops, fudge ripple. Now are we going to the comic book sore?
      Craig: (imitating Yoda) Patience, Luke. You are reckless.
      Hal: We've gone to he beach, we've gone to the movies. I won you an animal at the church bazaar. We've gone out for coffee, lunch, Slushees, pie.
      Craig: I can't negotiate unless I'm firing on all cylinders.
      Hal: Just how many cylinders do you have?

    • Malcolm: I'm sick of you always having an edge just because you're an idiot and I'm smart and understand about consequences.

    • Francis: Enough is enough. We're not running away from a cow.
      Otto: We're not?
      Francis: No, we're not. From now on, we're lactose intolerant.

    • Malcolm: He'll stop, I know he'll stop... maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

    • Malcolm: What's the worst that could happen?

  • NOTES (2)


    • Aquaman

      When Hal is thanking Craig in the car, Craig says "I like to think we all have a little bit of Aquaman right here." Aquaman is a character from the DC universe. He is an Atlantean noble possessing enhanced strength from being in the deep water pressure, as well as the ability to communicate with all sea life. He was also a founding member of the popular Justice League title, also a property of DC comics.

    • Star Wars

      When Hal gets into the car and asks Craig if they are going to the comic shop yet, Craig says "Patience Luke, you are reckless." It is a line from the Star Wars movies, and he even says it in a Yoda voice. Yoda was the Jedi Master who trained Luke Skywalker on Dagobah.

    • The nerd clerk in the comic shop says "I have the conn" when Hal asks him if he works there. This is a naval command used to acknowledge that someone else is taking command of the vessel. However, it was made vastly popular, particularly among the sci-fi minded community, because it was oft used on various Star Trek series.

    • Craig: I will help you, but one day - and that day may never come - I will ask you to perform a service for me.

      A clear parody of a similar scene in The Godfather. Craig is sitting in a darkened room, much like Marlon Brando was as Don Corleone.

    • Speed Racer: Reference
      In the scene where Malcolm and Reese are about to collide with go-carts, Reese is singing the Speed Racer theme song. Speed Racer was a show in 1966 in which the main character Speed would race in his Mach 5 racer.