This one is shown in the opening credits to be a Christmas episode, but there doesn’t seem to be much of Christmas on display in the actual episode so much as it has a lot of snow.
And Valerie Harper has one line as a nurse.
We begin this episode with a prison detail cleaning litter up along the side of a wooded road. There’s Sideshow Bob, a few other inmates, and a guy who looks like Mr. Burns’ old cellmate. He has some lines, and I only bring him up because not that long ago that article of all articles got something like 100 hits in a 24 hour period. I have no idea why. It just happened. Why that episode of all episodes?
Never mind. Homer runs over the neatly piled-up trash since he had a rental car that, he feels, he can mistreat as he sees fit. That includes returning it as he’s told there’s a quarter tank more gas in it than when he took it out, and that won’t do, so he’s off to burn a quarter tank before he has to return the car. Bart comes along, but then he has to use the bathroom. Homer says to do it in the rental, but that’s too much for Bart, so he heads off into the woods. While there he finds a manhole cover labeled “Do not jump,” and since it’s Bart, he jumps. And it collapses and he finds himself in a largely forgotten missile silo. Yes, there’s a nuke in there. And Bart’s stuck. He does find a wind-up telephone that he first uses to crank call Moe because priorities, man.
Bart’s disappearance leads to a massive manhunt, such that even the prisoners are called back to look That includes Kelsey Grammer’s Sideshow Bob, who spent his therapy session wondering how much he really does want to kill Bart. He does still have that tattoo.
As it is, Milhouse finds Bart. Milhouse never gave up because it’s too hard for him to find new friends. He drops his phone into Bart and it shatters. He does the same with his glasses, but he has extra pairs. He then goes off to tell Marge and Homer that Bart’s alive, but he gets distracted because everyone else is saying Bart must be dead by then and as such, a distraught Lisa just wants to hug Milhouse and he opts to not reveal the truth just yet.
Bob doesn’t believe that, seeing as how he got loose and was hiding in the Simpsons’ bushes. He forces Milhouse to show Bob where Bart is.
And then Bart uses that phone thing to finally call Marge just before the phone disintegrates. Because priorities, man. Marge and Lisa go off by snowmobile to look one way while Homer has Grampa pull him by sled in the other. Homer and Grampa have more luck when they find tracks from a fellow with large feet, which Homer reckons could only come from Sideshow Bob or Shaquille O’Neal. Ah, but Shaq is a guest star, and he walks by saying he was going the other way. Homer asks for his help, but Shaq says he isn’t Superman. Homer asks Shaq about Shaq’s Superman tattoo. Shaq freaks out that Homer knows so much and flies away.
So, who finds Bart? Sideshow Bob does because Milhouse already knew. Bob has Bart and Milhouse tied to the missile and is planning to launch them somewhere, Homer and Grampa looking on, when Bob realizes he maybe doesn’t want to kill Bart and lets the boys go.
The missile launches anyway and lands in a modern art display. No one notices it’s a weapon when it doesn’t explode.
So, is Bob cured? He seems to think so.
Then we cut forward many years to see Bob is among the weirdos who live in a stretch of lighthouses. He hasn’t given up on killing Bart. Now he just writes it in the sand outside his home on the beach where the tide erases it everyday.
I’d say he’s not cured.