|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 (Originally meant to be an episode for Season 6).
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, Krusty, Skinner, Groundskeeper Willie and Bumblebee Man, they snap the machine in half. The sun blocker crashes into Shelbyville, much to everyone's delight.
Guilt ridden, Smithers goes to church to confess his sins. Thinking that he is talking to a priest, 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, who 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. This causes him to realize that since Mr. Burns had been shot between 3:00 and 3:30 pm, and the show airs at 3:00 pm, then if Smithers had seen the episode, he wouldn't have been able to have also been Burns' shooter.
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, the incident should have been reported.
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, and Jasper never reported it because he had simply forgotten about it due to his senility.
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 an insulting jazz song. After listening to the song, Tito is cleared of shooting Mr. Burns.
Skinner is next on the list. Although his interrogation is much less spirited, the police are able to clear. Skinner admits that he did plan 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, just as Skinner realized he had taken his mother's makeup kit instead of his cameo make-up. Skinner also points that out anything else Chalmers tells the police "is a filthy lie!".
Willie is then brought to the police station for questioning. There he reveals that he has arthritis in his index fingers, which he got from playing "Space Invaders" in 1977 (though he didn't seem to understand it was a video game). This makes it impossible to pull a trigger on a gun.
Moe is then interrogated via polygraph, which proves that he didn't shoot Mr. Burns either. Unfortunately for the local bar tender, he still ends up embarrassing himself when the polygraph detects his lies about his plans for the evening. Lou and Eddie simply watch on amused, until Moe has confessed and humiliated himself.
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.
With the investigation at a dead end, Chief Wiggum prepares to have some coffee but realizes there is none left. He drinks some warm cream instead 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. The Chief of Police then finally catches a break when he comes across an eyelash. Taking it to a lab Wiggum, with a little bit of bribery is able to get an instant result. A DNA test reveals that the eyelash belongs to a member the Simpson family. Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Burns finally regains consciousness and the first words out of his mouth are "Homer Simpson." Eddie and Lou immediately assume that Burns is identifying his attacker and rush off to tell Wiggum. However, a subsequent check up from Dr Nick revealed that this was in fact all that Burns could say.
Unaware of this, the police raid the Simpson home for clues. The family are all shocked when Wiggum reveals that Simpson DNA was found on Burns' clothing and that Burns mentioned Homer was the one responsible. As Bart tries to push his father out the door, Lou and Eddie come in. The former is carrying a gun, which he found under the seat of Homer's car. Homer insists that the gun isn't his nor has he ever seen it before. To his horror however, his fingerprints are detected all over it. Chief Wiggum then carries out a ballistic comparison and finds that the bullets loaded in the weapon match the one taken out of Burns. With that Homer Simpson is officially arrested for attempted murder by Clancy Wiggum.
A chained Homer is put into the back of a police wagon, but Wiggum and the cops decide to stop off at Krusty Burger before heading to the station. However, due to the trucks height they are unable to enter the drive-thru. To lazy to get out, Wiggum chooses to drive up the curb, which succeeds until he leans out to retrieve the food. The imbalance of the police officer's weight causes the truck to tip, busting the back doors open in the process. At that moment, Jasper pulls up and thinking that the cops are trying park illegally, rams the police wagon.
Seizing his chance, Homer escapes. He eventually manages to make it the hospital. There he confronts Burn's assuring him that he "won't be telling anyone else Homer Simpson shot you!" Later at the police station, Wiggum names Homer as the prime suspect. A moment later, Smithers makes a live TV appeal. Saying that he is certain that Mr Burns would want justice, he offers a $50,000 reward for Homer's capture, dead or alive.
Back at the Simpsons residence, Marge and Lisa are worried Homer's situation. Marge thinks that the police have a very strong case, but Lisa insists that the evidence is not as strong as it appears. She points out that Chief Wiggum said they had Simpson DNA, not Homer's specifically. Also, just because the gun was found under the drivers seat, with his fingerprints on it, doesn't mean Homer handled it. Lisa thinks back to an earlier occasion sometime after Burns was shot. Homer was driving with two ice cream cones; when he inevitably dropped one of them, he reached blindly under the wheel, but the only thing he found was a green lollipop.
Going back to town hall, Lisa starts searching for something that can clear her father's name. With a bit of help from a passing pigeon, she suddenly remembers seeing Burns staggering after he was shot and how he collapsed upon the sun dial. With a gasp of horror, Lisa is then able to figure out who Burn's shooter really is!
Lou is nearby and a police bulletin reports that Homer has been spotted at the hospital. Lisa, the police and the rest of Springfield race to the hospital (the latter desperate to claim the bounty). Lisa manages to get there first and following a short race through the hospital bars the entrance to Burn's room. Screaming loudly, she tells everybody that her father is innocent and wouldn't hurt a fly. Upon entering the ward however, everybody finds Homer shaking Mr. Burns vigorously by the scruff, telling him to stop telling everyone that Homer shot him. As Homer continues to shake him, Burns finally finds his voice and asks "What is the meaning of this? Smithers, who is this beast that's shaking me?"
Hearing this, Homer, (who does not realise Burns just effectively exonerated him), screams "D'oh!" at the top of his voice. He snatches a gun out of the unsuspecting Wiggum's hand and levels it at Monty, prompting the other cops to train their weapons on him. Ignoring them, Homer orders Burns to tell everyone that he never shot him.
Laughing at the mere prospect, Burns states that Homer doesn't have the cranial capacity nor the right amount of fingers to use a gun. With Homer now officially cleared, Burns proceeds to identify the real perpetrator. Looking round the room, Burns spots his attacker, screams in horror and then identifies his true assailant: Maggie.
With this, Mr Burns explains what happened after 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. Seeing that she was smiling, he asked what she was so happy about, at which point she held up a lollipop. Homer then pulls a lollipop out of his shirt pocket; it was the one he had picked up off the car floor earlier when he searching for his ice cream cone he had dropped. Upon seeing it, Maggie reaches out in an attempt to grab it, proving it to be the same lollipop as before.
Continuing with his story, Burns reveals that he decided to fulfill his earlier desire from Part 1. He tried to wrestle the candy away from Maggie (literally trying to take candy from a baby), which due to his own physical weakness proved to be much more difficult than anticipated. As they struggled for the candy, Burn's own gun slipped from its holster. When he finally wrenched the sweet away, it fell out into Maggie's hands, causing it to discharge. The gun and the lollipop had then fallen under the seat, where the latter remained until Lou recovered it. Homer would inadvertently leave his fingerprints on the gun while searching under the seat for the ice cream cone. Losing strength, Mr. Burns, tried to find aid, but finding only a useless Jimbo, he gave up and collapsed on the sundial, where Lisa notes he used his last ounce of strength to stretch his arms to point to W and S where, from his point of view, read M and S, Maggie's initials. Burns corrects her; he'd acutally used the last of his strength to suck out his gold fillings and swallow them so as to keep paramedics from stealing them, and the postion of his arms was purely conincidental.
Burns story brings the case to a close, but Monty still wants justice. Unwilling to accept Marge's apology on her baby daughters behalf, he demands that Maggie be arrested. Wiggum refuses, stating that no jury in the world will convict a baby — except maybe Texas. As everybody else files out, Marge insists that the shooting must have been an accident.
However, a final focus shows Maggie looking around the room cautiously. When she is certain that nobody is looking, Maggie moves her pacifier in a manner resembling gunshots, suggesting that she may have 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, and 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.