Synopsis of Cynthia's Back

Written by Petch

Talk about setting up an entire episode around a "boob"-related joke from the previous season....

Cynthia, the annoyingly-cheerful Krelboyne classmate whom Malcolm briefly had a crush on last year has been away for a semester in Europe. She returns matured but moody and cynical, with a scraggly Alanis Morrissette hairstyle, baggy and oversized shirts, and a general wet-blanket attitude. During a bitching-laced study session with Malcolm, a stove accident finds her sweater-sleeve on fire. And when she removes the garment, it appears that "what's in her bra" (see episode "Krelboyne Girl" from Season Two) has truly come to fruition, much to her self-consciousness and embarrassment.

Malcolm promises not to blab to anyone the true impetus of her newfound pessimism. But when Reese comes be-bopping in and drives Cynthia away with his usual petty taunts, a sympathetic Malcolm reads him the riot act and accidentally lets slip that she's bashful about her plentiful bosom. Bad move there.

Hal's afternoon has been spent with Dewey at a local sports field, where the lad has been enjoying flying his kite. Although Hal won't elaborate why he won't join his son in the activity, a flashback sequence reveals to the viewer a boyhood kite-flying fiasco which has put Hal off kites for life. Dewey refuses to accept his dad's reluctance and gradually tries to win him over to the sport.

But things get even hairier when they get home. Lois has been paid a little visit by neighborhood lush Karen (introduced earlier this season in the "Book Club" episode). She's sober now and on a twelve-step program, the present step of which requires her to apologize to all acquaintances whom she offended while she was drunk. Hence, she apologizes for French-kissing Hal at the recent New Year's Eve party. Another bad move.

A large totem pole, meanwhile, stands in Francis' cabin at the Alaskan logging camp. It was stolen by his beer-swilling bunkmates as a prank, and although Francis initially disapproves of the theft, a prophetic dream alerts him that this artifact might have the key to his own personal destiny. Surely this piece is ancient and full of mystical power. He gradually becomes obsessed with the totem pole, alienating Eric, Pete and Artie, until a local Native American resident comes to re-claim his carport decoration, carved by himself and his kids one Saturday afternoon. So much for prophecy (and so much for a somewhat tepid Francis subplot this time around).

Reese has plans for Cynthia after Malcolm's unintentional disclosure, and he even manages to woo her with his poor-guy act until Malcolm busts him in her presence. Does Reese even know her name? Of course he doesn't, and his patented stammering lands him a well-deserved ass-kicking by the incensed Cynthia, who doesn't like to be manipulated. Across town, Hal is ready to give up his failed attempts at flying a kite, until Dewey actually tricks him into successfully launching one, exorcising his past demons related to the activity. And once they're back home, Hal remains adamant to Lois that he didn't kiss Karen at the party, nor has he even looked longingly at another woman since committing to his one true love. Lois finds this difficult to buy--even she occasionally glances at other men. Then they realize: Hal loves her more than she loves him. He's comfortable with the balance in the relationship, though.

The pay-off comes when Karen stops by again and is greeted at the door by Hal. This isn't the man she French-kissed at the party, she notes; that was apparently some other neighbor's husband. Nonetheless, she's still sorry that she lived in their house while they were recently on vacation....except Hal and Lois' family weren't recently on vacation. Okay, so that's at least two more apologies the recovering lush will now owe to other households.

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