So, let’s get a quick round-up out of the way first: most of the guest stars from Part One, save Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony, return for this episode. We have more from Brian Cox, Chris O’Dowd, Jessica Paré, Cristin Milioti, and especially Timothy Olyphant. And since this two parter is set up as some sort of prestige thing on a Netflix type service…wait, where was I going with that part? Never mind. How does Flanders save Homer from Becker the collector?
He doesn’t, but not for lack of trying. He knows he can’t go to the cops or else Homer will get killed. He needs to get the money back from the orphanage, and that means breaking in and finding it stashed away behind a lock. He can get the key if he lets Barb seduce him, and now she’s dressed up like Maude Flanders. Um, ew.
Ned does it.
Marge, meanwhile, did go to the cops, but Chief Wiggum is so distraught over the loss of Fat Tony that he quits the force, telling Marge to inform Lou that Eddie is now the chief. On her own, Marge can look over the crime scene photos, see the collector is driving the Rich Texan’s car, and look up the Texan’s address. See, Homer is out there, under guard from Seamus and Collette, and those two crazy psychos are having their tenth anniversary (yes, they’re married), but they’re also having a fight because he never takes her anywhere nice or something. Now, if there’s one thing Homer knows how to do, it’s to make a marriage a mess, so his impromptu advice to Seamus causes the two to fight. And I mean really fight. The kitchen catches fire, and Homer can’t get untied while these two fight. The pair only stop when they both draw guns because that, it turns out, is something of a turn on.
But then the romantic bath Seamus set up in an upstairs bathroom comes down through the ceiling and crushes both of them. Homer might have burned if Marge didn’t show up and pull him out. Homer promises to never be selfish again, but this isn’t even the halfway point of the episode, so you know he’s gonna do something selfish. It’s, like, a rule.
Speaking of rules, Flanders is breaking all kinds of rules to get that money to save Homer, all because he wanted to honor his grandad Sheriff Flanders. Small problem: Ned didn’t know how dirty a cop Ned the First was. He was taking bribes from the Szyslak Brothers to look the other way for drug distribution they were doing in conjunction with the Capital City mob. Ol’ Sheriff Ned was into all kinds of stuff. He smoked, snorted, and even licked toads. Nothing good ever comes from licking toads. Then, one cold night, while Sheriff Flanders was out with the Szyslaks at an out-of-the way motel to pay the Capital City guys their share, there was a double cross. Lots of weapons are drawn, some ridiculous (I’m looking at you, dynamite nunchucks guy!), and when Hans Moleman utters a quiet, “Oh shoot!’ at the sight of a broken ice machine, all kinds of weapons go off. The Sheriff hides until it’s over, promising God he will turn over a new leaf it he survives. He does. It looks like everyone else is dead though. Except the most Moe-like of the Szyslaks, and he has the money the collector guy has been looking for. The Sheriff shoots that guy, swipes the money, and stuffs it in a hollow tree so no one can have it. Then the collector comes out of the smoke with an injured eye but otherwise fine. He demands the money at knifepoint. The Sheriff agrees to give it to him, but then he slips on some ice and lands on the knife and dies. A police car arrives and likewise skids on the ice and knocks the tree down a hill. The money is lost, and Bender sighs because he believes in balance and this is going to be his new thing in life.
Cut to the present and Flanders is just glad he can save Homer…only to see Marge drive by with Homer in the passenger seat. Then Barb tosses an American flag like a javelin through the windshield and knocks Flanders aside. His car is on fire, and Homer decides to save him. Then he sees the money and decides to save that instead, but it’s jammed in there real good. Homer gets a bad burn on one arm, but he does get the money out, along with the flag and Flanders all at once and only one of those things intentionally. Barb sees this, calls Flanders a man who tried to have his way with her (her husband Sideshow Mel only gives a half-hearted at best agreement), and cheers Homer for saving the orphanage money and the flag. Everyone thinks Homer is a hero except Marge who saw the whole thing.
Also, Bender calls Flanders to say Ned will die when Bender finds him.
Wow. That’s dark. Can Flanders survive?
Well, we find out later that Homer opened an auto-parts store on Disco Stu Memorial Drive, and Marge is there, but she hates Homer when the two are alone, only really staying for the sake of the kids. Bart, who looks taller, is now a highly decorated Eagle Scout. Lisa, also taller, is popular. Wait, time passed! How old is Maggie? She isn’t in this episode? Bummer!
However, it turns out Homer is doing a good deed by secretly delivering supplies to Ned out in the middle of the woods. He wears a lot of different disguises and drives different cars, and still, somehow, someone followed him: Marge, suspecting the worst. But then she sees Ned and forgives Homer instantly because that’s how this show rolls. But Marge didn’t know to be careful and Bender followed her, leading to Ned fleeing across a frozen lake with the collector in hot pursuit, something that could end in Ned’s death if he didn’t think fast and toss Bender’s ledger onto a section of thin ice, ice that breaks away under Bender’s weight, flipping over several times, and finally killing the man who wanted balance in life but apparently couldn’t keep his on thin ice.
And then everything seems to go back to normal. Ned and his boys go home. Homer and Marge make up. Snake found religion and is preaching in the church. Wiggum eats at the Fat Tony memorial booth at the donut shop. And…my guess is all this will be forgotten next week when Bart and Lisa go back to their original ages and all the dead are back to life without any explanation. But we’ll see.
Was this better than the last two-parter? A lot actually, but that wasn’t all that hard.