Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)
- "Mr. Burns was admitted to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was then transferred to a better hospital where his condition was upgraded to 'alive'."
- ―Kent Brockman
| "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)"
| Episode Information
"Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)" is the first episode of season 7 of The Simpsons and the one-hundred and twenty-ninth episode overall. It originally aired on September 17, 1995. The episode was written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein and directed by Wes Archer. It guest stars Tito Puente as himself.
- "Smithers is convinced he was the one who pulled the trigger while drunk, so he confesses to a priest who turns out to be Police Chief Clancy Wiggum, and he is arrested, then released when he recalls more. The Simpsons car is searched and the police find a gun covered with fingerprints, so Homer is made the prime suspect. He escapes from the prison van, and advances on Burns, who wakes up in the hospital and finally reveals the culprit's identity."
Waylon Smithers, Jr. wakes up in his apartment and hears someone taking a shower in his bathroom. When Smithers opens the shower door, he finds Mr. Burns, alive. After Smithers decides the events of the previous night were a dream, Burns announces the year is 1965 and he and Smithers are undercover detectives on the hotrod circuit. Smithers wakes up again to find his detective work was a dream, his apartment is still a wreck, and his mouth still tastes like an ashtray (which is quickly revealed he was eating cigarette butts).
Kent Brockman reports on Mr. Burns assault. He was pronounced dead until transferred to a better hospital where doctors "upgraded" his condition to alive. After Brockman speaks to Chief Wiggum, it is revealed two witnesses are already being questioned: Maggie and Santa's Little Helper, as they were both in the area when Burns was shot. Naturally, neither of them talk.
At the Simpson residence, Lisa says everyone in Springfield had a reason for shooting Mr. Burns, even themselves. Everyone starts arguing amongst themselves about who did it, when Marge announces there is already a prime suspect: Waylon Smithers, Jr. Smithers is already starting to wonder if he himself shot down Mr. Burns in a drunken rage. When he finds a recently fired gun in his jacket, he remembers after he left the town meeting, he ran into some old man on the way home, and shot him. Smithers bursts into tears, crying, "What have I done?"
Moe, Barney, Lenny and Carl arrive at Homer's house and ask if he wants to come help pull down Burns' sun blocker. With the help of Snake, Otto, Groundskeeper Willie and the Bumblebee Man, they snap the machine in half. The sun blocker crashes into Shelbyville, much to everyone's delight. Smithers, meanwhile, is driven mad by guilt and goes to the Cathedral of the Downtown to confess his sins. When he finishes, Chief Wiggum (who was in the confessional instead of a priest) emerges and takes Smithers in for questioning. Both the police and the press interrogate Smithers. At a press conference, Smithers cracks a Madonna gag to Kent Brockman. Krusty, who is watching the TV at the time, claims it was his joke, but Sideshow Mel says Krusty stole it from an episode of the comedy TV show Pardon My Zinger. Mel remembers Smithers once said he never missed an episode of that show, which airs on Comedy Central at 3pm, the very time Burns was shot. Mel heads for the station to point this out and Smithers recalls he left the town meeting early to get home in time, and the old man he ran into on the way was Jasper. The police and Smithers head for the newly repaired retirement home to check on Jasper and discover Smithers did shoot him, but in the wooden leg.
With the prime suspect cleared, the police continue to investigate the matter. Lisa decides to help by making a chart of all of the other major suspects. However, she forgets about Tito Puente, and when she tells the police (when Wiggum points out he's a suspect) he did vow revenge, the police go to check him out. However, the kind of revenge Tito has in mind is an insulting, albeit catchy, tune; Tito is cleared. Skinner is next on the list, but the police clear him when he tells the police he did go to the town meeting to ambush Burns, but he was in the lavatory applying his camouflage make-up at the time of the shooting. Superintendent Chalmers can vouch for Skinner's whereabouts as he entered the lavatory at the time of the assault too, just as Skinner realized he had taken his mother's make-up kit instead of his camo make-up (Skinner is quick to point out anything else Chalmers tells the police "is a filthy lie!").
The police questioned Willie next but he claimed it was impossible for him to fire a gun as he had crippling arthritis in his index fingers from playing Space Invaders in 1977. The police eliminated Moe as a suspect with the help of a lie detector, though Moe is utterly humiliated in the process.
At the Simpson house, Marge discovers Grandpa's gun, which she buried in the backyard, is missing and asks Grandpa where it is. After he complains people blame him for everything, Marge leaves. Grandpa removes the gun itself from his sweater, stroking it and telling it he had missed it badly.
At the station, Wiggum prepares to pour some coffee, but after finding he is out of coffee, he drinks some warm cream. He begins to dream, during which time Lisa tells him to check Burns' suit for more clues. While checking the suit, he finds an eyelash and tests it for DNA. Wiggum finds the eyelash matches Simpson DNA. At the same time, Burns wakes up from his coma and cries, "Homer Simpson!"
The police raid the Simpson home for more information. A gun is found under the seat of Homer's car. Homer claims he has never seen the gun before in his life, but his fingerprints are all over it. When Wiggum discovers the bullets in the gun match the one they took out of Mr. Burns, he arrests Homer for attempted murder. Later, Wiggum and the cops stop at Krusty Burger. Due to the trucks height, they are unable to enter the drive-thru. Wiggum decides to drive up the curb, which succeeds until Wiggum takes the food, the imbalance of weight causes the truck to tip, damaging the back doors in the process. Homer seizes this chance and he escapes from the police, heading for the hospital.
At the station, Waylon Smithers, Jr. offers a $50,000 reward for Homer's capture, dead or alive. Lisa returns to the scene of the crime and, with the help of an intelligent pigeon, learns the identity of Burns' true assailant. At the hospital, Dr. Nick discovers some startling information as well. When Mr. Burns shouted "Homer Simpson!" he wasn't giving the name of his gunman, it was because "Homer Simpson" was all he could say. The doctor leaves, and Homer himself, who had successfully infiltrated the hospital and reached Burns' ward, prepares to silence Burns for telling everybody Homer shot him.
A police bulletin reports Homer has been spotted at the hospital. Lisa, the police, and the rest of Springfield race to the hospital. Lisa gets there first, protesting to everybody her father wouldn't hurt a fly. On entering the ward, everyone finds Homer shaking Mr. Burns vigorously, telling him to stop telling everyone Homer shot him. As Homer continues to shake him, Burns finds his voice and asks, "Smithers, who is this beast that's shaking me?" Homer yells at the top of his lungs,"D'oh!" snatches a gun from Wiggum and shouts at Burns to tell everyone he never shot him. Mr. Burns laughs, stating Homer doesn't have the cranial capacity nor the right amount of fingers to use a gun. And with that, Burns reveals his assailant to be Maggie Simpson.
Burns begins telling his story from the point where he left the town meeting. With the success of his sun-blocker, he had felt like celebrating. He walked into the parking lot to find Maggie, alone, in the Simpson car. She appeared to be smiling. He asked what she was so happy about, and she held up a lollipop. Homer pulls that very same sucker out of his shirt pocket; he had picked it up off the car floor when he was searching for an ice cream cone he had dropped. It was also there he had absent-mindedly handled the gun, which explained why his fingerprints were all over it. Burns had tried to wrestle the candy away from Maggie, which was proving difficult. Eventually, his gun fell out of its holster into Maggie's hand and she fired it at him, although you can barely see her pull the trigger. The gun and lollipop fell out of her hands underneath the car seat.
Mr. Burns, losing strength, tried to find aid, but finding only a useless Jimbo, he gave up and collapsed on the sundial, where he used his last ounce of strength to suck out his gold fillings and swallowed them so as to keep paramedics from stealing them. Mr. Burns demands Maggie be arrested, despite Marge's protests the whole ordeal was an accident. Wiggum says no jury in the world will convict a baby—except maybe Texas. Marge also adds the shooting must have been an accident, but a final focus on Maggie's eyes suggests otherwise.
Allegedly to keep the ending from being leaked from animators and writers, there were actually several different conclusions created. Most were nothing more than footage of various characters shooting Burns, but there was also a full-length conclusion animated in which Smithers shot Burns and explained his doing so at Burns' bedside after Homer's wild chase. This footage was seen in "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular". This was done to prevent the public from sussing out the real killer. As Troy McClure states in "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" the alternate ending wouldn't have made sense because for Smithers to have done it, all of the Simpson's DNA evidence would have to be ignored, which would be "downright nutty", a reference to O.J. Simpson and his acquittal after the jury ignored the DNA evidence.
As revealed in the DVD commentaries for the episode, a number of subtle clues, and a few red herrings, were planted in Part 1 for viewers who wanted to unravel the mystery. For example, after Mr. Burns says "You all talk big, but who here has the guts to stop me?", the camera pans across the entire crowd. All of the people look at Burns, then at each other, as if hoping someone else will do the deed — all except one. The only person in the whole crowd who keeps her eyes fixed squarely on Burns is Maggie!
Also, when Burns was viewing the oil pump, he said, "Oh pish posh, it'll be like taking candy from a baby." Burns was trying to take candy from Maggie when he got shot. Burns' "Oh, it's you" when he sees his assailant shows he knew the person who shot him.
It was suggested the assailant was not Skinner, as he had a silencer on his gun, but the shot that wounded Burns could be heard clearly. Moe also had a shot gun which would have done much more damage to Burns, indicating someone else shot him (although one of the "alternate endings" features Apu firing multiple shots at Mr. Burns with a submachine gun at point-blank range, with Mr. Burns receiving only a single gunshot wound). Also, it is worth noticing Sideshow Mel couldn't have shot Mr. Burns - when everyone is threatening him (Mr. Burns), Sideshow Mel is wielding a knife, and a gunshot was heard at the time of the incident. Jimbo and Marge also have an alibi, for as Mr. Burns staggers towards the sundial at the end of Part 1, he passes both of them.
Smithers states he never misses a program on Comedy Central that airs at 3pm on weekdays called Pardon My Zinger. Burns was shot at 3pm at Friday. Therefore, this proves Smithers was not the gunman as also suspected by Sideshow Mel as well as going home drunk and shooting Jasper's artificial knee. Smithers also turns in the opposite direction to Burns after the town meeting. When Burns collapsed at the sundial, he does not have his gun with him, indicating that was what he is shot with.
Viewers were invited to participate in a contest to guess who shot Mr. Burns. The winner would be animated on an episode of the show. No one, however, was ever animated on the show.
This was because, as the DVD audio commentary for the episodes reveals, no one officially guessed the right answer. Due to contest regulations, a winner had to be selected out of a random sample of entries. Since the winner did not have the right answer, the commentary reports that the individual was paid a cash prize in lieu of being animated.
The creators and writers added on the commentary that they were aware of one person who posted the correct answer to the Simpsons newsgroup online after the night of the broadcast. They were forbidden from contacting the person while the contest was underway, but after it ended they wanted to contact the individual. The answer came from a person using a college internet account, and after the summer the person's address was no longer valid and they were unable to track the person down. They issued an invitation on the DVDs for this person to reveal him or herself.
In December 2013, writer Josh Weinstein posted a couple of pictures of rough notes for the episode to Twitter. These notes were for scenes that never made it to the final script. The first of the cut scenes was to include a dream sequence of Smithers and Mr. Burns as they took on criminals, one of which was played by Leonard Nimoy. Smithers then wakes up and realizes it was all a dream and that he hadn't actually become a hideous drunken wreck, only to then realize that he had. The second scene has the police barging into Smithers' apartment. When Smithers asks for a warrant, Wiggum shows him the warranty for his fridge before telling him that the real warrant is downstairs and he can't be bothered to go and get it. A third cut scene revealed that Smithers walked past Alice Glick before going into a church, overcome with guilt on thinking that he had shot Mr. Burns.
|Who Shot Mr. Burns? (part 1 • part 2) • The Great Phatsby (part 1 • part 2) • Warrin' Priests (part 1 • part 2)|