Synopsis of Emancipation

Francis is packing up to leave school and Commandant Spangler comes by to say goodbye. Francis is surprised when Spangler presents him with a sword that generally only graduates receive. Spangler just wants to express his thanks to Francis for renewing his love for the military school by being so annoying and stupid all the time. Francis manages to cut off Spangler's one good hand with the razor-sharp sword.

Francis comes home to see his family before going to Alaska to make his fortune. Even the woman he hitch-hiked a ride from can tell that he hasn't thought out this Alaska plan very well. Francis's father greets him by chasing him down the street and wrestling him out of the tree he tries to escape into. Hal and Francis get their aggressions out and calm down, and Hal brings Francis home. Lois completely ignores Francis and won't let him into the house, but she takes out her anger on her other three sons. Francis sneaks in at night, and even his brothers are mad at him for making Lois so unhappy. Francis tries everything to get his mother's attention, including giving her a flat tire at the supermarket, but she continues to completely ignore him. Finally, as Francis is getting ready to depart for Alaska and his cab is waiting, Hal sits Lois down and insists that she talk to her eldest son. She finally goes outside to talk to Francis, but all they do is yell at each other as usual.

On the first day of school, Malcolm and the Krelboynes meet their new teacher, Lionel Herkabe, who was a Krelboyne himself. The Krelboynes are psyched to finally have a teacher they don't have to talk down to, but it turns out that Herkabe is a bitter, burnt-out, divorced ex-millionaire, who starts his first day by putting down the Krelboynes for trying to kiss his ass and then giving them a test. He gives them all As on the test, but finds ways to judge subtle gradations in the As, and puts these gradations on a chart in front of the class. Malcolm is #1 in the class and the rest of his classmates are ranked in order after him. The Krelboynes are horrified at the ranking system, but it succeeds in making them super-competitive with each other. Malcolm tries to lead a revolt against the new teacher, and hatches a plan with the other Krelboynes to all purposely fail their next test. Malcolm is the only one who goes through with the plan, rocketing himself to the lowest rank on the chart. Herkabe laughs at Malcolm for trying to buck the system. Malcolm takes another approach and starts working extra hard, not only getting himself back to the rank of #1 but driving his fellow classmates completely insane with lack of sleep and too much brain activity. Malcolm finally drives the smart kids over the edge by challenging them to count to one-million in prime numbers, and one by one the Krelboynes go crazy, strip off their clothes, and go running outside to roll in mud and scream that they are stupid. Malcolm laughs at a horrified Herkabe, and says he may not be able to buck the system, but he sure can destroy it.

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