Well folks, it looks like we’re ending the week by entering into Season Twenty Five! And what a bizarre entry it is! Remember a couple seasons ago when we had an episode that was just a parody of 24? Well, how about we do that again, but with that show Homeland. I’ve never seen Homeland, but from what I can tell it’s absolutely insane, because this episode doesn’t make a whole lot of sense!
The story begins with what I have to assume is a parody of the Homeland opening, while establishing that terrorism is bad, and a thing that’s happening a lot more lately. Especially in and around Springfield for some reason. And, on that ominous note, we learn that Home, Lenny, and Carl are all going to be going to some sort of nuclear power conference in Boise soon. And boy is Homer excited to get away from the family for a bit.
Homer and the guys then get to Boise and begin checking out all the sights of the conference, looking at various booths, not going to any lectures or anything, and getting as much free swag as they can possibly carry. But it’s worth it to have learned absolutely nothing. And that night, after all of the exhausting goofing off, they head to some sort of mixer where they get to mingle with people from different Power Plants that they only see once a year at these conventions.
They pretty quickly run into some buddy of theirs from another Plant, and the four start getting drunk and rowdy. This party then apparently goes on for several days, because we then cut back to Lenny and Carl, returning to Springfield. Marge and the kids meet them at the airport, expecting Homer as well, but they tell Marge something horrible. No one knows where Homer is. He just seemed to vanish from the conference, and he’s still missing.
Marge and the kids are obviously a little frightened about this, and quickly try to get the police involved. They get Chief Wiggum to come over to the house, and are preparing a missing persons report when something odd happens. Homer just comes strolling into the house, acting like nothing is wrong. He’s speaking a little robotically, and has a lot of missing memories, but overall he seems fine. Although he does seem to remember someone abducting him, and then lots of images of nuclear explosions.
But for the most part the family don’t seem to worry about this, and just plan on getting on with their lives, while ignoring the fact that Homer’s starting to act really weird. But, eventually, all of these weird things start to mount, and the family really starts to worry. Because not only is Homer speaking in a flat affect, but he won’t strangle Bart, and he’s repulsed by the idea of eating meat. Which is a lot of red flags for Homer.
Oh, and to make things even weirder, when Homer heads over to Moe’s to complain about his missing memories, he finds that beer repulses him. Although, he also seems to have gotten very good at sex, so Marge really stops caring what’s wrong with Homer. Lisa can’t though. She’s so confused about what happened to Homer, and she begins investigating him, trying to get to the bottom of what happened to him when he was abducted.
And things get even more suspicious when Lisa is at the Kwik-E-Mart one day, and sees Chief Wiggum harassing Apu. Apparently he got intel that there’s a suspected terror attack aimed at Springfield, and decided to shake down the only brown guy he knows. This creeps Lisa out, but do you know what really throws her off? Seeing Homer set up a prayer mat in the garage and begin praying toward what appears to be Mecca. Oh, and he also has detailed plans of the Nuclear Plant.
So yeah, Lisa has become convinced that her father has been made into a Manchurian Candidate for Islamic terrorists. She tries talking to Marge about all of this, but Marge just blows her off. So Lisa has no choice but to call the FBI, where she’s put in contact with a bipolar and paranoid agent named Annie Crawford, who I have to assume is a reference to something on Homeland. Because otherwise she makes absolutely no sense.
Agent Crawford then arrives in Springfield, and just starts blatantly following Homer around, demanding that he tells her what he’s plotting. I don’t know guys, Agent Crawford doesn’t seem too competent. In fact, she does such a bad job that we see Homer begin moving along with whatever plan he’s been ordered to enact. Because he’s prepared some sort of device, and is wheeling it into the Nuclear Plant.
But when Homer gets to some important control center of the Plant we see that Lisa is inside, waiting for him, ready to expose him. Which is when we finally get told the truth about who kidnapped Homer, and what he’s doing in the Plant. Turns out it wasn’t Islamic terrorists, it was hippies. Homer accidentally got in their van, and they began lecturing him about the terrors of nuclear energy and eating animals, and gave him some sort of alcohol detox. Hell, that wasn’t a prayer mat he was on, it was a mat with some sobriety tips.
Oh, and it’s not some sort of bomb meant to destroy the Plant, it’s just a powerful stink bomb which Homer is going to attach to the central AC unit and pump into the Plant, causing everyone to leave and no longer operate the Plant. But as Homer is explaining all of this the police and Agent Crawford show up, ready to stop Homer. And while they’re beating him up Lisa realizes that Homer’s mission is one she can get behind, and she goes ahead with it, turning the device on.
However, nothing happens. Because it turns out that the Plant doesn’t actually have a functioning AC system, so there’s nothing for the stink bomb to work with, and the day is saved. Well, except for Burns. Because Agent Crawford informs him that it’s illegal to operate a Nuclear Plant without a working AC system, so Burns is arrested, and the Plant is temporarily shut down, still letting the hippies win. Oh, and now that his mission is complete, Homer goes back to his normal self.
I don’t know, maybe if I had had even a slight familiarity with Homeland this episode would have worked. As it stands, it’s a baffling little episode, and a very weird choice to start the season off with. Seeing Homer become some sort of domestic terrorist because he was brainwashed by hippies is a pretty crazy idea, but it’s one that I think could have worked. But instead it’s wrapped around this weird intrigue plot where Lisa just keeps jumping to conclusions and assuming everything is leading her to Islamic terrorism. Oh, and I don’t know what’s up with Agent Crawford. She seems to have every mental illness known to man? I assume that that must be some reference to the show, but it just made her a very confusing and bizarre character, that ultimately could have been cut from the plot entirely. Just not a real winner, folks. But hopefully the rest of the season will be fun!
Take Away: Don’t trust hippies?
“Homerland” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Bob Anderson, 2013.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons