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Throw Grampa from the Dane
Flanders' Ladder
Bart's Not Dead

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

Synopsis

After getting struck by lightning, Bart receives visits from poltergeists, who want closure only he can provide.

Full Story

Bart draws Lisa's attention by talking about the "Hardest Test in the World", which is really a prank. After tricking Lisa, 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 years earlier ("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 spirit 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 treehouse, when Milhouse comes in and asks if Bart is into Jesus now. Maude comes in and explains how that treehouse looks like the first apartment that she and Ned lived in. Afterwards, Bart draws her away by using Homer's socks. Milhouse suggests he go to see his counselor, Dr. Samuel Elkins.

When he sees Dr. Elkins, Bart discovers Dr. Elkins' dead corpse 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 proceeds to thank 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 is 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.

The ending montage is a parody of the last episode of the HBO series, Six Feet Under. Waylon Smithers, Jr. dies at the age of 50 after seeing that Mr. Burns is in love with a woman, killing himself. Homer dies at the age of 59 after being shot by police after leaving the food bank with a sandwich. Clancy Wiggum shortly afterwards chokes to death on that sandwich, dying at the age of 62. Marge, being remarried to Ned, dies at the age of 84 dying peacefully after taking a drink out of her glass of tea. Seymour Skinner dies at the age of 119 dies when Bart launches fireworks into the air saying "Skinner Sucks", dying of a heart attack. His dead corpse riding in the wheelchair ultimately runs over Bart, who dies at the age of 80. Lisa proceeds to meditate when she realizes that it was all a waste of time, collapsing and dying at the age of 98. Ralph Wiggum, at the age of 120, dies after his son poisoned his drink, and his son becomes the new king. Maggie is revealed to never pass on, becoming a constellation.

Reception

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 mischaracterization 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.

Videos

Citations

Season 28 Season 29 Episodes 29
The SerfsonsSpringfield SplendorWhistler's FatherTreehouse of Horror XXVIIIGrampy Can Ya Hear MeThe Old Blue Mayor She Ain't What She Used to BeSingin' in the LaneMr. Lisa's OpusGone BoyHaw-Haw LandFrink Gets TestyHomer Is Where the Art Isn't3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a MarriageFears of a ClownNo Good Read Goes UnpunishedKing LeerLisa Gets the BluesForgive and RegretLeft BehindThrow Grampa from the DaneFlanders' Ladder