Jules and Verne's sibling rivalry gets far, far out of control, with Jules convincing Verne he's adopted and not a real member of the family. Verne becomes convinced that Benjamin Franklin is his real father and runs away to find him, inadvertently erasing all electricity from modern Hill Valley by interfering with Franklin's famous kite-flying experiment. Now it's up to Doc, Marty, and Einstein to find Verne and bring him home, while restoring the proper timeline.
This episode involves examples of the following tropes:
- Adoption Diss: The episode has this kickstart the plot. Jules, who doesn't get along well with his younger brother, tells Verne that given that he doesn't resemble Doc, Clara, or Jules (especially in personality), it's clear he's adopted. This is a case in which the insulting remark isn't true Verne is Doc and Clara's biological son but the idea obsesses him to the point that he runs away to look for his real father. Of course, Doc and Clara are very displeased with their eldest son. This may also count as Values Dissonance, given that the episode was aired in the 1990s; a hero implying there's something wrong with being adopted might go over much worse today than perhaps it did then.
- Adult Fear: Verne winds up hanging from the clock tower in Independence Hall during the climax and Doc positively freaks out. It worsens when he thinks Verne actually fell from the clock tower and dragged some materials down on top of him.
- Bear Hug: Doc gives Marty a very energetic hug that lifts him completely off the ground after he comes up with the idea that lets the family know where/when Verne went.
- Been There, Shaped History: The crack in the Liberty Bell was created when Doc ran into it while chasing Verne.
- Big Blackout: As the Browns are trying to figure out where Verne went, the electricity goes out, and Marty later confirms everything electrical in Hill Valley has stopped working. Doc ultimately realizes this demonstrates that Verne altered the time stream; because he interrupted Franklin during his famous kite-flying experiment, humankind never learned about or harnessed electricity.
- Enhance Button: Marty uses one to swivel and enlarge the picture, in order to take a peek at the time circuits inside the DeLorean in Verne's video message and figure out where/when Verne has run away to.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: The Browns and Marty discover Verne's video message that he's running away and Jules confesses that he was responsible, given that he told Verne he was adopted. Clara tells him sternly, "Jules Erastothenes Brown, I'm ashamed of you."
- Hey, You!: When Verne thinks he's adopted, he leaves a note to Doc and Clara saying he's off to find his real father (who he thinks is Benjamin Franklin), addressing them as "Mr. and Mrs. Brown".
- Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: When Doc goes frantic after thinking he fell from the top of Independence Hall, Verne realizes that "he really cares" and tries to get his attention. Doc responds, "Not now, Vernie, I'm looking for Vernie!...Vernie!"
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Marty comes over to find out if Doc caused the blackout and watches Verne's tape with the Browns. After it's finished, he asks what caused Verne to think he was adopted, while Jules, the cause of the problem, is standing right next to him.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Verne interrupts Benjamin Franklin's electricity experiment, causing Doc and Marty to have to simulate a storm in order to get Franklin to do it.