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Flanders' Ladder
Bart's Not Dead

"Flanders' Ladder" is the twenty-first episode of Season 29 and the season finale.


After getting struck by lightning, Bart receives visits from ghosts, who want closure only he can provide.[1]

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Bart draws Lisa's attention by talking about the "Hardest Test in the World", which is really a prank. After Lisa gets tangled in Bart's underwear, he posts the humiliating photos of her on Instagram. Lisa seeks revenge on Bart.

After the internet goes down in the Simpson house, Homer pulls the VCR out and he and Marge reminisce on classic TV shows they watched when they were younger ("The Tracey Ullman Show" was mentioned to be taped by Homer).

When the VCR breaks, the family observes Ned Flanders' internet working, so Homer and Bart go to steal Flanders' router to take for themselves. Bart, trying to retrieve the router, is struck by lightning while Homer is distracted by trying to refresh Google.

The family goes to the hospital, where Bart is in a deep coma. Marge and Homer leave Bart's room, and Lisa is there to see him. At first, she feels terrible for what happened to him, but she takes the opportunity to get back at him for humiliating her.

While in his coma, Bart thinks that he is back to normal, but then he is visited by the ghost of Maude Flanders. Marge and Homer come in and ask if Lisa wants to come with them to get a snack. Lisa turns the offer down and says that she wants to stay with Bart all night long. Later, when Lisa sees that his picture of her being humiliated got millions of likes, she says that she will add the "worst object" to Bart's dream, Milhouse Van Houten.

Meanwhile, back in Bart's coma, he sets up some crosses in his tree-house, when Milhouse comes in and asks if Bart is into Jesus now. Maude comes in and explains how that tree-house looks like the first apartment that she and Ned lived in although that doesn't work. Soon afterwards, Bart draws her away by using Homer's socks. Milhouse suggests he go to see his doctor, Dr. Samuel Elkins.

Bart sees Dr. Elkins, whose dead corpse he discovers behind the couch. Dr. Elkins claims that he took his own life with rat poison five minutes before Bart came in. Afterwards, Bart realizes that he has the ability to see the dead. He looks out the window to all of the dead Snowballs, Hyman Krustofsky, Bleeding Gums Murphy, and Maude. Dr. Samuel Elkins proceeds to ask one last wish from Bart, to get revenge on Dr. Morton. Bart is visited by all sorts of ghosts in Dr. Morton's office.

Bart then proceeds to fulfill last wishes for some ghosts, like outwit Johnny Tightlips and Fat Tony. Meanwhile, Dr. Hibbert tells Lisa that fooling with someone's brain while they are in a coma could possibly scar them mentally or even kill them.

Lisa then regrets her decision, Homer comes in claiming that he is dead after walking nine blocks for a Krusty Burger. It then proceeds back to the coma that Bart is in when Maude tells Bart that she wants revenge on his father for causing her death. Homer then meets the same fate as she did, being shot by T-shirt cannons, but this time, he was shot by T-shirt cannons by Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney. Maude then thanks Bart for fulfilling her revenge.

Bart then proceeds to say that he is glad that he has helped all of the ghosts, when Homer's ghosts that he hasn't done one more. Bart then says that Homer's ghost should stay down there with him so he could fulfill Homer's last wishes. The sparkling light of Heaven shines down on Homer, that it is his time to go, when Lisa tells Bart to stay with her outside of the coma, Bart tells Homer that he has to stay with them. Saying that Marge would remarry, someone else would be raising them, and that someone else would be riding his lawnmower. Homer is content with all this until Bart shoots the light of heaven with a T-shirt cannon. Bart almost dies outside of his coma.

The family are all celebrating Bart's revival when he wonders how this isn't all a dream, when Milhouse says it is because he isn't wearing the sweater. Bart tells Lisa how everyone in the future is going to pass after all this.

Ssi 5.PNG The contents of this article or section are considered to be non-canon and therefore may not have actually happened/existed.

The ending montage is a parody of the last episode of the HBO series, Six Feet Under. In 2019, Waylon Smithers, Jr. commits suicide at the age of 50 after learning Mr. Burns falls in love with woman. In 2038, Homer dies at the age of 59 after being shot by police after leaving a building with a sandwich, mistaken for a gun. Clancy Wiggum takes the sandwich and eats it, but dies at 62 after choking to death on it. In 2066, Marge, being remarried to Ned, dies at the age of 84 peacefully after taking a drink out of a glass of tea (Ned later hangs her portrait on his wall of the many pictures of his dead wives). In 2088, a 119-year-old wheelchair-bound Seymour Skinner suffers a fatal heart attack when Bart launched fireworks (reading “SKINNER SUCKS”) into the air. Skinner's corpse runs over an 80-year-old Bart, which kills him. In 2108, Lisa, now working at a Buddhist monastery, proceeds to meditate when she realizes that it was all a waste of time, collapsing and dying at the age of 98. In 2130, a 120-year-old Ralph Wiggum, now a king of an unknown location for an unknown amount of time at this point, dies after his descendant poisoned his drink, and his descendant becomes the new king. Maggie is revealed to have never pass on, becoming a constellation, or becoming powerful enough to have her own moving constellation.


Dennis Perkins of The A.V Club gave this episode a C-, stating, "’Flanders’ Ladder’ is a piddling mess of an episode, peppered with a laugh or two, that never commits either to going for real emotional resonance, or comically undercutting it. So it just bobs along, occasionally landing on a funny idea but built on a disastrous foundation of mis-characterization and glibness. So when the ending comes, only the least discriminating would feel its montage of character deaths as anything but a cheap gambit to close out a truly disappointing episode (and season) with unmerited weight.

"Flanders' Ladder" scored a 0.8 rating with a 3 share and was watched by 2.10 million people, making it Fox's highest rated show of the evening.

Naturally, a ghostly version of Shary Bobbins from Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious made audiences think that this episode of The Simpsons was a way to promote the release of "Mary Poppins Returns" in theaters, later that year.


Season 28 Season 29 Episodes Season 30
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