|Ned: "Do you reject Satan, and all his empty promises?"|
One morning, after the kids go to school, Homer takes Marge out to three hours at a bath house, though Marge is initially resistant as the house is a mess and she needs to clean up, but Homer has Grampa look over Maggie and the two are off. At the same time, its learned that Bart has lice from a previous incident when a monkey Milhouse found in a wicker basket was all over Bart. Principal Skinner concludes that if Bart has lice, then Lisa is likely to have it as well. While that doesn't appear to be the case, Lisa has her own share of troubles as her shoes have been stolen beyond her retrieval and also takes a soccer ball to the back of her head. Seeing both Simpson children in disarray, Skinner believes something is up and calls Child Welfare services to investigate the home. There, the social workers find the house in a mess, with Grampa too out of it to do any actual defending. The Simpson children come home, Bart wearing a sack of potatoes and Lisa having bags for shoes. Homer and Marge return from their spa trip to find the social workers taking the children away for gross parental negligence, and takes the three children to a foster home: the Flanders' house right next door.
Homer and Marge try to get their kids back, but learn they have to pass a "family skills" course featuring rather basic parenting and hygiene techniques. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa find themselves unable to adapt to the oddities of the Flanders' home, including "nachos" made with cucumbers and cottage cheese, reading Newsweek instead of nothing, and something known as "Ice Milk". However, Maggie starts taking a shine to her new home, something that starts to concern her older siblings. One night, during a bible-themed game of Bombardment, Ned learns to his horror that the Simpson children were never baptised. Panicked, Ned decides to take matters into his own hands, and baptise the Simpson children himself.
Homer and Marge have passed the course and go to retrieve their kids, but find that the Flanders' have "Gone Baptizin". Homer is quickly able to deduce that they've gone to the Springfield River, and they arrive just in the nick of time. Homer is forced to take a baptismal in place of Bart, gaining a fleeting moment of enlightenment, but the Simpson children are spared. Maggie, though, is reluctant to leave the Flanders', having treated her so well, while the Simpsons seem rather dank in comparison. However, Marge finally arrives, and Maggie is more than happy to be reunited with her mother. The Simpson family is reunited, and they walk off enjoying Bart and Lisa's tales of the Flanders house.
Another great episode, and an interesting peek into the eerie nature of the Flanders home. The plot behind the kids being fostered to their neighbors was a bit far-fetched but it made for some great moments, and the last few minutes where Homer chases down and saves his kids from eternal salvation were superb.
Final Score: 9.5