|Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)||
For the first part of this episode, see Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One).
- “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)" is the first episode of Season 7.
Smithers is convinced that he was the one who pulled the trigger while drunk, so he confesses to a priest who turns out to be Chief Wiggum, and he is arrested, but later released when he recalls more. The Simpson car is searched and the police find a gun covered with fingerprints, so Homer becomes the prime suspect. Is Homer going to jail?
In a dream, Smithers wakes up in his trashed apartment to hear someone taking a shower in his bathroom. When Smithers opens the shower door, he finds Mr. Burns washing himself. After Smithers proclaims the events of the previous night were a dream, Burns announces that the year is 1965 and that he and Smithers are undercover detectives on the Hotrod circuit, in some imaginary T.V. series called "Speedway Squad". Whilst driving round the race course, Mr. Burns pulls out a shotgun and shoots three times. Smithers wakes up in his trashed apartment and coughs up cigarette butts as he has been eating them.
Kent Brockman reports on Mr. Burns' shooting. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, until being transferred to a better hospital where doctors "upgraded" his condition to alive. Chief Wiggum gives a brief summary about the shooting and reveals that Maggie and Santa's Little Helper are in police custody for questioning due to them being witnesses to the shooting.
Whilst in question, Maggie and Santa's Little Helper are unable to cooperate with any inquires or questions due to them being unable to speak.
At the Simpson residence, Lisa says that everyone in Springfield had a reason for shooting Mr. Burns, even themselves. Everyone starts arguing among themselves about who did it, when Marge announces that there is already a prime suspect: Smithers.
Smithers begins to wonder the streets alone wondering if he shot Mr. Burns in a drunken attack. Just as Smithers begins to have doubts, he finds a recently fired gun in his jacket pocket and starts to have a flashback. In the flashback, Smithers is walking home and runs into a mysterious figure outside where pulls out the gun and shoots him in the leg, believing he shot Mr. Burns. Smithers breaks down, crying "Mr. Burns, what have I done!" An Autoland Muffler Sales advertisement mascot then wondered up and making sure no one is watching, shoved leaflets into Smither's pockets before moving on.
Moe, Barney, Lenny and Carl arrive at Homer's house and ask if he wants to come and help pull down Burns’ sun blocker. With the help of Snake, Otto, Groundskeeper Willie and Bumblebee Man, they snap the machine in half. The sun blocker crashes into Shelbyville, much to everyone's delight.
Been drove crazy by guilt, Smithers goes to church to confess his sins. Thinking that he is talking to Reverend Lovejoy, Smithers confesses that he shot Mr. Burns. Chief Wiggum bursts into the confession box and takes Smithers to the police station for questioning, whilst being held at gunpoint.
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 mentions that Krusty plagiarized it from an episode of "Pardon My Zinger". Mel remembers at the town meeting that Smithers said that he never missed an episode of that show, which airs on Comedy Central. While contemplating this, he realizes something: Mr. Burns had been shot between 3:00 and 3:30 pm, and the show airs at 3:00 pm so if Smithers had seen the episode, he wouldn't have been able to have also been the one to shoot Burns.
Mel heads for the station with Krusty to point this out and Smithers realizes that he had seen the entire episode and recalls that he left the town meeting early to get home in time, and that the old man he ran into on the way was Jasper. Smithers hangs his head in sorrow when he realizes that instead of shooting a crooked old man who betrayed or crushed everyone he ever came across, he shot an innocent one walking down the street. But Chief Wiggum then realizes that if Smithers did in fact shoot Jasper, why did nobody report it.
The police and Smithers head for the newly repaired retirement castle to check on Jasper and discover that Smithers did shoot him, but luckily the leg he shot was his wooden prosthetic one.
With the prime suspect cleared, the police continue to investigate the matter. Lisa chooses to help by making a chart of all the other major suspects. However, she forgets about Tito Puente, and when she tells the police (when Wiggum points out he is a suspect) that he did vow revenge, the police go to check him out.
Tito's plan for revenge is a jazz song. After listening to the song, Tito is cleared of shooting Mr. Burns.
Skinner is next on the list, but the police clear him when he tells the police that he did go to the town meeting to ambush Burns, but he was in the bathroom applying his camouflage makeup at the time of the shooting. Superintendent Chalmers can vouch for Skinner's whereabouts as he entered the bathroom at the time of the assault too, just as Skinner realized he had taken his mother's makeup kit instead of his cameo make-up (Skinner is quick to point out anything else Chalmers tells the police "is a filthy lie!"). Moe is then Interrogated via Polygraph, which proves that he didn't shoot Mr. Burns either.
Willie is taken to the police station for questioning but hold him at gunpoint as the police aren't satisfied with his answers to the inquires. Willie reveals he has arthritis in his fingers which he got from playing "Space Invaders" in 1977. This makes it impossible to pull a trigger on a gun.
Marge discovers Grampa's gun box has been dug up in the back yard but the gun has gone missing and immediately questions Grampa with whom is denying any acknowledge of the gun since she took it of him. When Marge leaves the room, Grampa strokes the gun and says he missed it. Grampa quickly hides the gun up his shirt when Marge reenters the room.
Chief Wiggum prepares to have some coffee but realizes there is none left, so he drinks warm cream and falls asleep. In a dream, Wiggum is on a curtain-closed stage eating doughnuts. Lisa walks on stage. She is taking backwards and is holding a card on fire. Lisa tells Chief Wiggum to look on Burns' clothing on the night he got shot for clues. However, Wiggum doesn't understand her, causing her to bluntly (and in a normal tone rather than talking backwards) yell at him to look for DNA evidence in Burns' suit. Around this time, Eddie suggested that they trace DNA within the suit Mr. Burns was wearing, with Wiggum then asking Eddie whether he had the backwards talking dream as well, to his confusion.
At the hospital, Wiggum looks up and down Burns' suit until he comes across an eyelash. A DNA test is ordered were the eyelash belongs to a member of the Simpson family. Burn's regains conciseness in hospital and shouts "Homer Simpson."
The police raid the Simpson home for clues. Wiggum reveals that Simpson DNA was found on Burns' clothing and that Burns mentioned Homer was the one responsible. A gun is found under the seat of Homer's car, which Homer claims does not belong to him, although his fingerprints are detected all over it. The bullets loaded in the weapon match the bullet that was took out of Burns. Homer is accused of murder by Clancy Wiggum.
After Homer is led into the police wagon, Wiggum and the cops stop at Krusty Burger. Due to the trucks height, they are unable to enter the drive-thru. Wiggum chooses to drive up the curb, which succeeds until Wiggum takes the food. The imbalance of the police officer's weight causes the truck to tip, busting the back doors open in the process. Homer seizes this chance and he escapes from the truck, heading for the hospital and finding out he's innocent.
At the station, Smithers makes a live TV appeal. As Burns wants justice, Smithers offers a $50,000 reward for Homer, either dead or alive.
A police bulletin reports that 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 that her father wouldn't hurt a fly. On entering the ward, everyone finds Homer shaking Mr. Burns vigorously, telling him to stop telling everyone that 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 that he never shot him. Burns laughs, stating that Homer doesn't have the cranial capacity nor the right amount of fingers to use a gun. Looking round the room, Burns identifies the culprit as Maggie.
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, so 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 that he had absentmindedly handled the gun, which explained why his fingerprints were all over it despite his claiming that he never even saw the gun before in his life, let alone using it to shoot Mr. Burns. Burns had tried to wrestle the candy away from Maggie (literally trying to take candy from a baby), which was proving difficult. Eventually, the gun he was armed within his shirt had fell out and landed in Marge's car, causing Maggie to pull the trigger. The gun and the lollipop had fallen under the 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. Burns demands that Maggie will be arrested, despite Marge's protests that the whole ordeal was an accident. Wiggum says that no jury in the world will convict a baby—except maybe Texas. Marge also adds that the shooting must have been an accident, but a final focus on Maggie shows her sucking her pacifier in a way resembling gunshots, indicating that she shot Burns intentionally.
Allegedly to keep the ending from being leaked from animators and writers, there were actually several different conclusions created. Most were nothing more than brief 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, with the consequence being Smithers' five percent pay cut (despite the fact that Smithers had already been fired by that point and thus shouldn't even be paid anyways). 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.
One ending considered in the episode's early stages was for Barney Gumble to have been the culprit, due to the loss of his drinking hole. He would then have been sent to prison. This is because the writers couldn't think of anything else to do with him at the time. This is referenced indirectly, as Barney is the only suspect who is not questioned by Wiggum and does not provide an alibi.
As revealed in the DVD commentaries for the episode, a number of subtle clues were planted in Part One for viewers who wanted to unravel the mystery - but there were also a few red herrings that might put people off the track.
Burns' "Oh, it's you" when he sees his assailant tells us that he has previously met and recognized the person who shot him. For those noting how much was made of the fact that Burns fell on the sundial, and that he laid his hands on "W" and "S" on the sundial, there must additionally have been something about them that he could relate to 'W' and 'S' - or even 'M' and 'S'. Of course others could argue that the sundial 'clue' is meaningless.
For example Jimbo Jones is present in the town square, and as everybody looks around suspiciously, he looks nervous. He too has a motive - Burns steals his clothes to impersonate him, and we never did see what would have happened to Jimbo in the meantime. And Burns did recognize his attacker, right?
Apu asks "Where's a gun-toting lowlife when you need one" and Snake Jailbird, known as such for the Snake tattoo clear on his arm, shows up right there with a suitable revolver, apologizing for not showing up in time to do the job, due to being on the toilet.
Otto MaNN agreed with Sideshow Mel about killing Mr Burns. He never did get his Double Guitar. He was also one of the last people to leave the Town Hall when he noticed that Agnes Skinner was still there, left behind by her son, Seymour. He was also one of the first people to come to the sundial. During Kent Brockman's news report in Part 2, Otto Mann is the only person seen smiling when Mr. Burns is being loaded into the back of the ambulance.
Grandpa's gun was a Smith & Wesson. Only Marge Simpson should have known where it was buried and we see that it has been dug up. It's never explained who did so, as the solution explains this was not the gun used, although it's implied from his declaration of how he missed the gun while stroking it that it had been Abraham Simpson who dug it up. There's Groundskeeper William MacDougal who is Scottish, who lost his job and his dream of a crystal slop bucket. When Burns receives chocolate from Homer, he talks about the family and says about Santa's Little Helper, "Oh there's that Simpson mutt." There's Waylon Smithers. When Mr. Burns was talking with Skinner in his office there was a diploma in the background that said "W. Seymour Skinner." Moe's liquor license reads Moe Szyslak, his last name being revealed. There's also Maggie Simpson, as Lisa points out in the end.
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 the people look at Burns and then at each other, as if hoping that 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! 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.
The type of weapon also matters. Burns clearly receives a single gunshot wound and even the title states "Who SHOT Mr Burns?" Seymour Skinner's gun had a silencer and the gunshot is heard clearly. Moe possessed a shotgun and one alternate ending showed Apu with a Uzi, but Burns received a shot from a revolver. Groundskeeper Willie and Sideshow Mel have an axe and a knife respectively.
Jimbo, Marge, Otto, Agnes, amd Krusty also have an alibi, for Mr Burns staggers past Jimbo and Marge after he is shot in the town square, while Otto and Agnes are still in the Town Hall mere seconds before he is shot, now too far away to catch up with him. Smithers states that he never misses a program on Comedy Central that airs at 3:00pm on weekdays called Pardon My Zinger. Burns was shot at 3:00 pm at Friday. Therefore, this proves that 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 heads in the opposite direction to Burns after the town meeting. Meanwhile Krusty is the only person who has absolutely no idea about what is going on and lacks a motive, having been vacationing in Reno while Burns was spreading misery around the town.
As Wiggum pulls at Burns' face, Barney Gumble is not present in the crowd. However a moment later he silently appears at the back of the crowd and you can see him clearly when Marge says that everybody in town is a suspect and they glance around. This makes him the last person to get there, begging the question of where he was. However Burns has never met him, whereas he clearly recognized his attacker. Additionally Barney's well-known status as a binge drinker and alcoholic, having now been kept from drinking for several hours would mean that in theory he should be too hung-over at this point to confront Burns.
However, shortly before Burns collapses on the sundial, his holster is seen with no gun inside. The majority of suspects at the town meeting had guns, and so wouldn't need to use Burns' gun. Others had weapons, but these weapons wouldn't leave a single gunshot wound. So logically whoever shot Mr Burns was somebody who didn't already have a weapon of their own... somebody he'd met before... somebody he knew the name of... and from the sounds of their encounter, somebody he didn't feel threatened by...
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.