Rate & Review: "Gone Boy" (XABF02)

How would you rate this episode?

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Dr. J. Loren Pryor

Junior Camper
Aug 6, 2017
St. Louis, Missouri
I didn't get to finish the episode because stupid Fox let football override my cartoons. Stupid football, first taking over the news and distracting everyone from actual important events that could actually effect someone and now overriding my Simpsons. Sigh...

Anyway, everyone is saying that Bob is cured. I think Bob could come back. They have had this done before. Bob always comeback. Even after he has grown accustomed to Bart's face.

Brad Lascelle

A Fixture in Online Simpsons Fandom Since '93
Mar 9, 2008
Kitchener, ON
I think it goes without saying that unless Al Jean is doing an active media junket to sell a change as being permanent that it's capable of being retconned at any time.


Jul 7, 2017
This episode was really excellent. Without a doubt, the best of Sideshow Bob in the post-classical era, dethroning by a wide difference whatever he was on the throne until then (I never had a clear choice until I saw this episode).

The plot is so simple that it is surprising that it was not made 20 years ago: Bart is lost. Milhouse finds it, although he does not tell anyone the truth. Bob intimidates Milhouse. Milhouse takes Bob to where his enemy is ... And boom! we have a meeting between Bob and Bart in a place where there is no way out. Fantastic idea and quite simple.

I really loved Bart's personality to face this situation. After eight episodes this season (which had eight episodes premiered) in which at least one joke was made about how stupid and unsuccessful Bart can be, in this we can see his most pleasant side and the one that best represents him. First of all, he is an innocent child who likes to make jokes, and not a criminal without any future. That's why he is trapped and decides to make a joke to Moe instead of asking for help. Second, because it shows great intelligence to survive isolated, and to repair the phone that had broken. And third, he has humanity to forgive someone who tried to kill him ten times or even more.

I also liked the realism in the reactions of those closest to Bart, taking into account that many episodes the writers have removed realism to the relations between the members of the Simpson family, and a serious problem in which someone entered was a reason for Laughter or disinterest for the rest. That was, for me, the great key to the success of Halloween of Horror and this episode. The family union In this case, Marge does not overcome the possible death of her son, and is aggressive and depressed for this reason. Lisa finds herself in a situation similar to that of her mother, and only gets refuge in Milhouse. Homer and Grampa go through a whole forest to find Bart (yes, again they treat Abe as a person and not as the point of insensitive and cruel jokes).

Another aspect that should be highlighted in this episode is humor. I laughed out loud despite the tense situation proposed by the plot. And that is a common aspect of several of the most classic episodes in the series: make the spectator cry in laughter in episodes where horror, suspense or sadness predominates (Treehouse of Horror V, The Springfield Files or Mother Simpson, to cite examples). At least I, I put myself in the place of the characters, and I noticed the sadness of Marge and Lisa, the desperation of Homer and his father, or I kept waiting for the situation that would have to face Bart, but in turn, not I could stop laughing, for scenes like the phone prank, Wiggum asking Marge to describe her son's "skeleton", the search through Santa's Little Herper, or the O'Neill appearances, which were all very funny , among many others.

There's not much to say about Sideshow Bob. He is a fantastic character who, in this case, is treated in an unbeatable way: he is a person who went crazy but still has a human side. Not to mention who plays his voice. Kelsey is, without a doubt, the best guest star The Simpsons have ever had. It's great how Bob's thoughts have been treated, and with all due respect to Al Jean, I would have dared to say that this episode had Selman as a showrunner, because he has his style. I hope that good Jean is learning from his co-worker.

The last thing I want to highlight is, again, the scene in which Bob and Bart embrace. It's really hilarious (Bart asking Milhouse if he has a knife stuck in his back, and Bon asking him if he does not have a "kick me" note), but it's also emotional (because it means an advance in Bob's personality), it has a great teaching (forgive) and also great significance for the fans of the series, because, at least I always dreamed of seeing that hug.

The only thing I regret about Gone Boy is that he made me feel that I overvalued most of the episodes this season. But this, without a doubt, deserves an irrefutable...



Grappling with Local Oaf
Jul 31, 2003
My favourite Sideshow Bob episode in a long time. I like that they've seemingly retconned out his wife and child. Aside from the nerdy timeline nitpick with him having a toddler while Maggie hasn't aged a day, they didn't add anything to his character, amounting to excess baggage. His realisation and turning over a new leaf were a bit sloppy, but hey, I'm sure he'll be back before the show finally ends.

I thought the humour was pretty good throughout. Some good one liners, nothing really forced or dragged out beyond having a strong comedic punch. Grampa and Homer's search for Bart produced some funny moments, from being led back to the house to Grampa not having a gun. I was expecting Milhouse to be caught out in his lie, but I guess getting captured by Bob was basically his comeuppance on that front. It was also probably Bart's best characterisation so far this season, and it was great to see another prank call gag.

I'll go with []4/5[/b] in the poll, but it's probably closer to a 4.5/5 for me. I don't feel it's good enough to round up to 5/5, but nevertheless, I really liked this one.


Dec 6, 2004
This was... basically alright? A bit low on big laughs (although the fate of the missile was the most I've laughed all season), but a good story, well-told. Looked beautiful, as well - the best direction the show has seen in many a year. B


Skeletor rising
Feb 8, 2009
Omaha, Nebraska
My favorite episode of the season so far. Kelsey Grammar was great as always as Bob, I enjoyed the various interactions between him and the therapist. Milhouse being a "nice guy" towards Lisa was a shitty move but something I felt was in-character for him, and I also enjoyed Homer and Grandpa being genuinely concerned about Bart, and SLH leading them back to Bart's room was a great gag. A lot of these types of episodes have to rely on contrivances, but Bart fucking up the phone by prank calling Moe's first was at least a believeable contrivance. Bob's heel-turn was a bit underdeveloped, but I at least got what they were going for and this was honestly my favorite of the post-"Brother from Another Series" Bob episodes. B+


Feb 26, 2018
Marseille, France
There is not much to add with respect to the previous posts, but I also want to leave my position unstressed. I don't want to be exaggerated, but only Cape Feare does a better job in the episode category of Sideshow Bob. This episode is amazing; fascinating in all aspects. Excellent characterizations of all the characters, especially Milhouse, Bob, Marge and Lisa. An intriguing plot with a lot of suspense about itself. Effective humor in most cases. Excellent direction, a very good script, a nice performance of all the invited stars, and beautiful parodies to Dial 'M' for Murder. John Frink's progress as a writer is impressive.



Chant my name! Ultraman Z!
Mar 16, 2016
Out of all the characters who have appeared on the show, and all of the debates over how they've been handled throughout the years, I can say with very little doubt that one of the one of the characters who have been treated the worst is Sideshow Bob. After the classic era it's become obvious the writers have no idea what to do with him anymore. After having only one appearance in the Scully era, the writers went completely overboard in the Jean era, as each new Sideshow Bob episode has some strange gimmick added to it ,like Bob having made a family in Italy, or having his family try to kill Bart, or stealing a guys face, or gaining super powers. As a result, each new Bob episode is pretty much an easy candidate for worst episode of their season. After his last canon appearance showed him gaining super powers and escaping from the police, I was convinced the writers had no idea what to do with him anymore, but yet, here we are. So how will they handle Bob's appearance this time? Let's take a look. Since the episode airing in December, we get a Christmas themed opening. It's cute, but goes on for too long. Also the Grand Pumpkin from one of the THOH episodes cameos for some reason, and Frosty the Snowman talks but doesn't move his mouth. The couch gag has the Simpsons turning into popcorn that is put around the tree. OK.

The episode opens up with prisoners picking up trash. Kevin Michael Richardson voices one of them and starts leading the rest into a song. I think he's playing the criminal who tried to convert Burns into Christianity in the HD episode where Burns goes to jail. If it is him, what an odd character to bring back. Right from the start we see Bob also picking up trash, and I already have issues with this. In his last canon appearance, Bob jumped off a dam and escaped, with it being implied the rest of the cast thought he was dead. Now he's back in jail with no explanation, and no longer has his super powers. Usually the Sideshow Bob episodes have great continuity, so it's absence here is really shocking; even last ep, while having some continuity problems, still remembered the episode where Bob switched his face. Granted, the last Bob episode was awful so I can understand ignoring it, but still, it would have been nice to have some explanation for how he ended up back in prison and where his powers went. Anyway, the prisoners finish cleaning up but Homer knocks down the trash by accident while driving by in a rented SUV for a trip, and there's a long joke where Homer tries to get everyone to do wacky crap because it's a rental. We never find out what trip they were on as they return the van back to the rental store, but Homer gets angry because they checked out the van with a half full tank but the tank is three fourth's full so Homer wants to waste a quarter and...you know it doesn't really make sense. The point is Homer drives off like a mad man with Bart still in the car, as everyone else go off already. After some wacky nonsense, Bart goes into the woods to take a piss and finds a hatch. Bart jumps on it and falls through it. Homer looks for Bart but can't find him. So Homer goes back to tell Marge's he lost their son but starts out with a wacky joke first. I've mentioned this before, but if everyone's first reaction to anything is to make a joke, it feels like there's no stakes or any hint of seriousness behind the plot.

Everyone is searching the area for where Bart vanished but they can't find him and Marge almost beats up Wiggum for implying Bart is dead. There's a joke that involves one of the characters using the Wilheim scream, a joke that was already done two episodes ago...weird. Meanwhile Bart finds himself in an atomic bunker, which even includes a missile. Back with the others, they can't find Bart, and the prison guard tells his prisoners they have to look for Bart too. This scene is very weird...first Bob sees a photo of Bart and pretends not to know him, then the guard points out his "Die Bart Die' tattoo, and then Bob monologues about he will find Bart and then kill him. Then why did he pretend not to know who Bart was? Just for a joke?

Bart watches some live-action footage of JFK giving a speech....always weird to see live-action footage in the Simpsons. Bart decides to escape from the bunker but the handles are so old they break down and collapse, seemingly trapping Bart in the bunker. Now that I think about it, why are the handles so difficult to reach anyway? What if a scientist needed to do some last minute checkups and then wanted out? Were they just going to leave him their? Bart starts using cardboard and other crap to make replicas of his family in a cute scene (Nancy Cartwright also does a Marge impersonation that sounds pretty good here until he finds a working phone, but rather then call for help he prank calls Moe. See, this is what I mean about the writers putting jokes ahead of serious moments. Why would Bart waste his one shot at escaping trying to prank Moe? After showing us that he wants to leave and he misses his family, why would he waste his time doing this? And like clockwork, the telephone wire catches on fire and he can't make anymore calls. Meanwhile Milhouse is looking for Bart with Nelson helping...for some reason (it's implied he wants Bart's lunch money). Nelson gives up and Milhouse decides to keep looking by himself. Incidentally, Milhouse sounds completely awful in this scene, like his actress was either sick or losing her voice at the wrong moment. And then there's some shitty joke about Nelson wanting to be Milhouse's friend because he's lonely. Milhouse finds Bart in two seconds flat but he breaks his phone throwing it to Bart so he goes to call for help...why didn't Milhouse just call for help right there? Meanwhile back at the Simpsons house, the Simpsons watch on TV as Kent Brockman reports that their calling off the search for Bart and presuming him dead. Marge starts crying and when Milhouse comes into the house (he's putting on a new pair of glasses after dropping it in his last scene), Lisa hugs him out of grief. Milhouse monologues to himself in order to spell out to the audience that he was going to reveal where Bart is but will now pretend he's dead in order for Lisa to give him attention out of grief. This scene is pretty bad for two reasons. First, there was no need for Milhouse to explain why he was coming to the Simpsons house, They could have cut the scene where he explains about Bart and just had him lie instead of assuming the audience forget what they just saw 30 seconds again. Second, this makes MIlhouse look like a complete asshole for leaving Bart to rot away in a nuclear bunker just so Lisa can give him attention. Maybe if they had Bart act like an ungrateful asshole it could have worked but ironically, the one time where it would have made sense for Bart to be a dick, it doesn't happen.

Back with the prisoners, the prison guard informs everyone the search is over and Bart is probably dead, much to the joy of everyone except Sideshow Bob, who tries to kill himself with a rake. Back at jail, Bob goes into therapy who tells him that now that Bart is gone he is free. He frees Bob from his restraints because he's an idiot and tries to get him to cut Bart out of a photo (why would he have Bart's photo?), but Bob goes insane and thinks the photo is taunting him that Bart is alive and Bob starts moving around like a puppet on springs. Bob produces some scissors and stabs his therapist before running off and escaping from prison very easily. Back at the bunker, Bart manages to fix the phone and give a call to Marge letting him know he's alive but the phone immediately breaks again before he can give his location. Meanwhile Milhouse is leaving the Simpsons house after manipulating Lisa into giving him more hugs. As he walks off, Sideshow Bob comes out of the bush and Milhouse instantly gives up where Bart is. Also for some reason, he thought Milhouse was Bart when he saw the back of him...? Milhouse refuses to say where Bart is so Bob sings some light oprea and Milhouse gives up. The next day, a completely awful sounding Marge borrows a ski from Ned. For some reason, Marge and Lisa go on the ski and Homer makes his dad pull him on a weird looking sled. Meanwhile Bart starts listening to some Alvin and the Chipmunks records in the bunker. Bob and Milhouse arrive at the bunker and Bob pushes Milhouse down after Milhouse points out that there is no way to get out of the hatch...so why does Bob jump in with Milhouse too then? But anyway, considering Milhouse emotionally manipulated Lisa and was smiling about it afterwards, I feel no sympathy for him this episode, so anything Bob does to him is justified.

Bart is eating some snacks in the bunker when Milhouse and Bob come out of their hiding spot and Bob screaming about how the 12th time is the charm. But why didn't Bart hear them landing into the bunker? He also somehow knows about the missile and ties both Bart and Milhouse to it, but when he tries to launch he's dumb enough not to know that you need to put in two keys to launch a missile. Even Bart makes fun of him for not knowing that. Meanwhile Homer has Santa's Little Helper track Bart through scene but he's totally useless. Homer and Abe continue to wander around while ignoring the hatch. Bob tries to reach far enough to put both keys in at the same time and actually succeeds and Marge and Lisa are still roaming the woods. This is the last we see of Marge and Lisa by the way. Bart asks why Bob wants to kill him and Bob doesn't remember anymore and instead just says it's because of a pun on the missiles name. I guess Bob has forgotten about how Bart was responsible for putting him into jail a few times plus, his family ruining his happiness in Italy? Then we get a bizarre scene where Homer's find footprints and thinks their either Bob's or Shaq's, and the real Shaq shows up lost, only to fly away in fear because Homer knows about his Superman Tattoo. Bob starts talking to a hallucination of his therapist and after a weirdly animated scene of Bob imaging killing Bart, he calls his therapist who gives him some advice, and then another weirdly animated scene of Bob imaging killing a nurse. Bob ends up freeing Bart and Milhouse but the missile still launches. Bob realizes he doesn't want to kill Bart anymore and hugs him while Homer and Abe watches. The missile lands in some art show and some snooty people watch it before the animation changes and it shows them exploding. So...did the art people actually die here? Six months pass and Bob is back at therapy. For the fourth act, many years pass and in the future Squeaky Voiced Teen (who I guess doesn't age anymore?) gives an older Bob whose living in a lighthouse by himself his mail. Old Man Bob here has a creepy design with the strange mixing of his regular hair and white hair color. Also it turns out Bob writes "Die Bart Die" regularly on the beach. Bob mutters about his life was ruined by revenge and the teen tells him to buy a mailbox so he doesn't have to talk to him anymore, and that is the end.

I will say that this is one of the better modern Bob episodes... but that's not saying much. The episodes main problem is that Bob feels pretty shoe-horned into the plot. He just happens to be around when Bart goes missing, and then runs off to go find him. None of the Simpsons ever find out that's out on the loose until the last act. Bob's plan also doesn't make much sense, was he waiting outside of the Simpsons house in the hopes that Bart would maybe show up? I also don't like how the plot suddenly ended up being about Bob wanting to give up trying to kill Bart because he doesn't have any reason to go after him. What about all the times Bart ruined his life, especially in the HD era? The whole ending with Bart and Bob hugging each other had shades of The Great Louse Detective because that episode also ended with Bob admitting he can't kill Bart, and it feels like the exact same problem with that ending. If Bob outright says that he can't kill Bart, then what's the point of Bob chasing Bart then? Just for shits and giggles? It feels like the writers wanted to make this the last Bob episode, but put in the epilogue so they can bring back Bob again because they changed their minds. I also don't like the lack of explanation for how Bob was arrested again and what happened to his super powers. Other weird things was the whole bit about Homer using up his gas, and some characters reacting to Bart's situation by cracking bad jokes. There's also a weird scene of Lisa and Marge riding off into the woods, and you would think that would lead to something, but their last seen still wondering the woods and never appear in the episode again. We never even see Marge finding Bart again on-screen. Also, Milhouse acts like a complete dick in this episode just to get Lisa's sympathy, even gleefully leaving Bart stuck in the bunker just to get Lisa's attention.

Yet I'll admit the episode wasn't as dumb or terrible as other Bob episodes, since the main plot of where Bart is and why no one can find him is pretty decent, as well some actual moments where the characters seem almost human like Marge being worried. Some oft the jokes were pretty decent as well, such as Bob talking to his therapist, as well as some of Wiggum's lines. The story structure was for the most part pretty consistent and made sense, outside of the opening with Homer driving around like a maniac and the ending with Bob deciding not to kill Bart. Overall, the episode isn't very good, but it isn't really bad either, just very component. I was thinking of giving it a 3, but the animation was unusually good this time, so I will give it some bonus points, leaving it with a final score of 3.5/5, one of the better episodes of the seasons in that it wasn't total nonsense, but could have used some improving.


Deep Frier of Shirts
Apr 1, 2016
For the fourth act, many years pass and in the future Squeaky Voiced Teen (who I guess doesn't age anymore?) gives an older Bob whose living in a lighthouse by himself his mail.

At this point, I'm convinced there are clones of this guy. It's somewhat supported by the fact that there's multiple copies of him in one place at once in "Lard of the Dance". Perhaps the clones continue into the future.

Trab Pu Kcip

Is a Legal Eagle
Jun 28, 2020
In a court somewhere
EDIT: Wrong thread.

Anyway, Gone Boy is defiantly one of the stronger episodes of the season, though it's nowhere near as good as Cape Feare, Krusty Gets Busted or Black Widower. This must be so good that no one has yet to vote 1/5!
My rating is 4/5.

Wonderful Duff

Junior Camper
Mar 31, 2021
I think this is the best Sideshow Bob episode in a long time. It isn't great, but any episode where his face doesn't get ripped off is a vast improvement over what we've gotten over the last few years.

I'm not sure I understand the ending. Bob seems to have reformed, but he's still writing "Die Bart Die" on the beach. I wish the episode hadn't had this epilogue.

I'm also not sure what was being parodied when the animation style changed to the silhouettes. It took me out of the episode both times it was used.


Aug 15, 2019
Good and interesting episode. However, I think the staff couldn't handle right the story, and the 2nd part out weaker than 1st (but still good).

Fabulous animation (directed by Rob Oliver, what to said more). There are many funny ("I couldn't pull you, even when you were 8"), cute (Bart plays in the basement with "the family") and emotional moments (there voted that Bart's dead while the next season premiere denied it😁, breaking the Simpsons' hearts🥹).

The inner dilemma(s) of Bob was needed for years, like "why he still wanted to kill Bart?"🤨 - it lost sence and statute of limitations.

plot 19/25
absurdity (the possibility of what is happening and whether I liked it) 22/25
comedy 17/25
originality (level of references and whether I liked them) 22/25

TOTAL 80/100 (strong 4/5, with rounding, or B) GOOD!