Note: Before I begin today I want to make readers aware that I am now adding a rating system to these reviews. At first I wanted the written review to stand alone, but upon consideration I have decided that for purposes of keeping track of which episodes I liked and which I loved I will rate them. The rating system is: Bad, which means I did not like the episode much, Good, which means that enjoyed but did not really love it, Great being a particularly good episode and Classic, a rating to be given only to select truly unforgettable episodes. Yes, realize that three of these are good ratings, but I am reviewing show that I love so I do like most of the episodes. If I start reviewing shows I do not particularly care for than I will add more bad ratings.
Fear of a Bot Planet
The fifth episode is a Bender centric romp similar to Leela’s in the previous episode, but unfortunately without the hilariousness of Zapp Brannigan. Not that this episode is bad, just run of the mill good for Futurama. It is also an episode with tons of characters that just sort of flit trough the plot. Other than the three protagonists, no character really has much to do in this episode. This is not really a complaint, just an observation.
The episode starts with the crew at a Blurnsball, a jazzed up version of baseball, game where Bender laments the lack of robot players, accusing the others of what amounts to racism. Hermes calls the crew back for a mission. There Bender continues his ranting while they prepare for a delivery to killer robots. Bender tries to get out of work, but is forced into going. Bender has to go alone because the robots would kill the others, so in his absence Fry and Leela prepare a robot holiday party for him. Bender id captured so Fry and Leela dress as robots to go rescue him only to find him leading the human hunt. After a chase Bender accidentally captures Fry and Leela. They are condemned for being human, but before their sentence can be carried out the robot elders try to force Bender to kill them. The crew escapes the elders and the planet while delivering the lug nuts that they were originally supposed to, making the robots realize that humans were never a threat.
The plot is a fun little story, but the real beauty of this episode is all the jokes. The robot propaganda movie is great, the unreliable computer judge is funny and Benders absolutely selfish motivations for almost all of his actions is always good. The best bit is the robot elders. They are a cabal of masterminds who keep the whole planet fearing humans while not really knowing that much about them. Their whole ‘Silence” bit is downright hilarious. This is the quintessential Futurama episode. A far-reaching Sci-Fi story that is funny and interesting outside the humor. It is not the best episode, but is indicative of the general quality of Futurama.