Season 31, Episode 20

After finishing Warrin’ Priests Part 2 I had two thoughts: ‘that felt short/almost abrupt’ and ‘I want more’. Unfortunately, there will be no part three (unless next season? fingers crossed) which is a shame because these two episodes were very good aside from the abrupt way they wrapped up the conflict.

This makes me double down on my musings from Part 1: why don’t The Simpsons do more two-episode arcs? Pushing this one step further, why don’t The Simpsons commit to longer-form storytelling in general, say across an entire season? Lately, this has been their greatest strength. When the show focuses the plot and eschews unnecessary filler they usually have better episodes. Mind you, one-off episodes are still great because it allows the show to go zany which is also a good thing.

Part 2 starts off wonderfully with a Succession style intro (do yourself a favor and go watch that show!). I like how they call back to Bart breaking a chair on Homer’s back. Also, the pony being taken away from Lisa and over to a horse’s dinner table was hilarious. The homage to ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns’ was a nice touch that fit the theme of the intro.

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As for the rest of the episode we pick up pretty much right where we left off. Springfield is so enamored with Bode that church is now full and Homer has to awkwardly rub knees with Kirk. The only one who’s not impressed is Flanders who protests this new wave religion. Bode speaks hard truths to Flanders but he doesn’t listen and finally, Bode delivers the zinger, ‘maybe you should brush up on your scripture.’

Lisa features prominently once again as she too is enamored by the young priest. Lisa is so happy to hear the sermon that she daydreams herself singing in a neat musical number. You then cut to her happily asleep and Homer, meanwhile is happy to learn he shares a special love with his daughter, sleeping in church.

The best part comes not long after this when Flanders challenges Bode to a battle of scripture. The scene is played out like a western with the two exchanging shots from the bible. Ultimately, Bode wins and Flanders is left so exhausted he needs to be dunked with holy water to be revived.

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Reverend Lovejoy is on his mission to reveal the mysterious past of the popular preacher. The episode pokes fun at the modern mega-churches of Michigan. They have educational computerized panels with answers to everything from how to tell a good Samaritan from a bad one, whether it’s OK to be gay and probably even one on how to validate parking during the rapture. We also learn the secret code words to prove ministerial membership: “Church, steeple, doors, people.” The funniest bit here is when Lovejoy speaks with the megachurch pastor who has a penchant for long-winded stories only to reveal that it was all on a USB.

It turns out that Bode’s sin was burning a bible when he was a young pastor. Lovejoy makes his return to Springfield and reveals the truth which angers the congregation. Bode owns up to it but not before Lisa steps in to say that he should have a fair trial. At the ‘impreachment’ (as Kent Brockman so eloquently puts it) the citizens of Springfield vote to remove Bode from the church and banish him from the town. They rationalize this on a whim by saying they’ve booted people out of town for less, like the time they did it to a guy because he wore two different colored socks.

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Bode accepts his fate and leaves but not before Lisa gets him to explain himself. Here we get a great scene between the two where Lisa does what the ‘impreachment’ couldn’t do. Bode provides a decent enough explanation (he was young idealistic trying to make a point strict adherence to scripture) which Lisa finds acceptable but immediately scolds him for not coming clean earlier thereby avoiding all this mess. She notes that Springfield “has a way of rejecting what’s new and different and better” and that the town doesn’t do well with subtext. The scene is capped off with a funny extended bit where Lenny throws a brick through his window and Bode is unsure what to do with it.

Another solid episode but I was left wanting more. When it finished I actually checked the time to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. I even watched the credits all the way through in case there was a post-credits scene: there wasn’t.

Before the end, Bode attends dinner with The Simpsons where he says grace: “Dear God, please don’t let The Simpsons ever end.” I see what you did there!

Only one more episode to go for this season. Make sure to tune in for that and keep it locked on TGON for all your nerd content.