'Futurama' Season 9, Episode 9 Recap - 'Free Will Hunting'
Opening Credits Gag: "Warning: Do Not Show to Horses." That one made me legitimately chuckle.
The Highlights: It's a Bender episode, which means it will fall into one of two categories: the petty types (Robot Fighting League, the Iron Chef one) or the lofty types (Godfellas, one of my personal favorites).
It's pretty clear from the start that this is the latter, as Bender starts the episode by explaining to Fry that yes, it does matter whether or not he chooses to wear his nerd glasses, because every decision creates a new universe and whatnot. I got excited for a minute thinking that this would be an episode about that very quantum concept, but instead it's about robot free will. Almost as good.
The rest of Bender's day prove his point about the cause and effect nature of decisions: because of his decision to wear his nerd glasses, he ends up getting invited to a sorority party, enrolling in college, becoming indebted to the Robot Mafia, joining a gang, getting hooked on something analogous to drugs, getting beat up twice, and getting arrested for it all.
It is in court where Bender learns of his lack of free will. The southern chicken lawyer actually does his job for once and gets Bender off the hook, proving that he isn't guilty because he lacks the free will to be responsible for his actions. Obviously this infuriates Bender, who wants to be recognized for his awesome crimes.
So Bender begins a soul-searching journey (he hates those!) that starts on the Robot Homeworld (we're back!) and lands him in a monastery where he finds peace over his lack of free will... until he finds out that every MomCo robot has a free will slot for a free will unit.
That leads, naturally, to a heist at MomCo, where Bender learns that the free will unit was invented by the Professor, only to be hidden away from Mom so she wouldn't use it to let robots overthrow humans for profit. Bender gets his chip only after finding that Farnsworth made him unable to pick up the chip, and unable to harm him. Once he gets the chip, the first thing he does is shoot the Professor.
Bender is guilty, Bender is happy, the end.
The Heartstrings: Practically none here, but it's a Bender episode, so that's not all that surprising really.
It's sort of a shame that this episode didn't go further with this theme. "Futurama" has a way of folding narratives back in on themselves that can be really fun... just think of any of the time-travel episodes or the episode with all of the universes in boxes. This could have been similarly trippy if the episode explored the real implications of Bender's lack of free will: namely, that everything he has ever done in every episode up to this point has been pre-programmed into him. That's a pretty wild idea, but sadly only Amy touches on it here before being told to shut up.
Without that, this was still a pretty good episode with a solid rate of quality jokes. Bender can be tiresome at times, but he was entertaining throughout here.
Notes & Quotes:
- "I mean over here. Sorry, I forgot where I was."
- Dean Suspendington. Ha.
- "We have a rival gang? I HATE THEM.
- "Simply vomit on me ever so gently while I humiliate a pheasant." Best Hedonism Bot quote ever?
- "Still, to have your own pool!"
- "Ahh, nerve gas."
- "Goodbye, sweet meatbags. Sweetbags."
- "How does one join this monk outfit?" "Just put on this monk outfit."
- I want a swiveling surprise chair.