Promoted as "Mystery With A Twistery", this special first aired November 11, 2010.
SpongeBob goes into the freezer to find that the Krusty Krab has run out of Krabby Patties. He and Mr. Krabs try to make more, but they can't remember the recipe. Plankton then makes another attempt to steal the secret formula, prompting Mr. Krabs to send the formula to a safety deposit box on the other side of the ocean. When the formula is sent away, Krabs and SpongeBob realize they forgot to look at the Krabby Patty recipe! Krabs gives SpongeBob the key to the vault in which the recipe is hidden, and he and Patrick board a train to the bank for the safety deposit box. Sometime during the ride, the key to the box disappears and SquarePants and Patrick Star must find the thief. Plankton boards the train in another attempt to steal the formula. Patrick searches him, but finds him clean. The duo stops the train to find the suspect responsible for stealing the key. A nanny and her baby were searched, only to find a jewel that was stolen by triplets. The next suspect, the train conductor (who SpongeBob thinks is a butler), was revealed to be a thief named Oran J. Roughy who stole $75,000 worth of ham sandwiches. Spongebob cries hopelessly but soon finds Patrick had the key; he took it while he cleaned SpongeBob's shorts in an off-screen incident. They go back into the train and go on their way to the bank. Eventually, Plankton bats them out of a window and takes the key. The best friends must chase the train. SpongeBob morphs himself into a hang glider and he and Patrick fly back onto the train to pursue Plankton. Once they return, SpongeBob and Patrick chase him. But, Plankton disconnects the cars of the train, leaving SpongeBob and Patrick in the front car. SpongeBob and Patrick try to stop the train but Patrick stupidly breaks the brake (of the train) causing the train to go out of control. He makes several weird, futile attempts to stop the train, one of which is to put a object on the tracks. This only caused the train to flip and move forward while some of the wheels were off the track. The two manage to bring all wheels back in place when they stopped in front of a retirement home. Then, Patrick stupidly breaks the throttle, which he thought said "BRAKE". Meanwhile,Plankton arrives at the bank to steal the formula but he's caught by Krabs (who expected SpongeBob to fail). Plankton tries to escape with the formula, but the train crashes into the bank and stops Plankton before he could leave. Plankton fails again, and Krabs has to pay back the damage to the bank with his bank account. 75 years later, an elderly SpongeBob finishes telling the story of the "Great Train Caper" to his grandson. However, his grandson only cares about playing his video game.
This episode contains examples of: (YMMV tropes)
- Answer Cut: Patrick randomly asks the train conductor if he's a werewolf. Suddenly a random fish turns into one.
- Big "NO!": Mr. Krabs after realizing that there is exactly enough in his bank account to pay off the damage that the train did after it smashed through the bank.
- The Butler Did It: SpongeBob accuses the train servant (who he thinks is a butler) for this reason. He didn't do it, though he did turn out to be a wanted crook.
- Call-Back: After being hit by the bus, Plankton says "Oh, now they're on time.". This might be referencing "One Coarse Meal", in which he tried to commit suicide by being run over by a bus.
- Clueless Mystery: The key was taken by Patrick in a Noodle Incident.
- Department of Redundancy Department: When Patrick sets up a lemonade stand in an attempt to stop the train, he advertises it as "Ice cold, tasty, refreshing, and also ice-cold.".
- Didn't Think This Through: After being fed up with Plankton's theft attempts, Mr. Krabs' decides to send the Krabby Patty formula to the other side of the ocean. Unfortunately, he and SpongeBob forgot to look at it when they needed to make more krabby patties.
- Fun with Acronyms: When Spongebob and Mr.Krabs are debating whether to add land salt or sea salt in the patties. Mr.Krabs brings up the acronym SCABS for Salt Comes After Barnicle Shavings. Then he brings up the acronym LESIONS, but we never know what it means. Spongebob asks about PUSTUAL, then Mr.Krabs says "Heavens no! That's disgusting..."
- Flash Forward: The ending shows SpongeBob as an old man telling the events of the episode to his grandson, 75 years in the future.
- Halfway Plot Switch: After the mystery is cleared up, the rest of the episode is about SpongeBob and Patrick chasing, and then trying to stop, the train.
- Head Desk: Mr. Krabs' reaction when he realized that they forgot to look at the formula before they sent it to Far-Out-Ville.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever made Patrick wash SpongeBob's shorts.
- Red Herring: All of the suspects. Although two (well, four) of them are wanted criminals, none of them stole the key.
- Title Confusion: Sometimes people get this episode mixed up with the normal episode "Patty Caper".
- Wasn't That Fun?: SpongeBob and Patrick's reaction after the out-of-control train goes through "The Twisted Tressels".
- Working Title: The episode was originally called "Krabby Patty No More".