Futurama was back in fine form last night with an episode called ‘Lethal Inspection,’ which puts the spotlight on pencil pushing bureaucrat Conrad Hermes and everyone’s favorite beer swilling robot Bender Bending Rodriguez. The surprising thing is that it actually works.
The episode stars with a parody of both Civil War reenactments and ‘Star Wars’ that manages a few good gags despite a weak premise. The best of the bunch is the naming of the Sith lords, clear parodies of awful and obvious names like Darth Sidious and Darth Plagueis.
The story really begins when Bender finds out that he was made without a backup chip. That means that if he dies, it’s all over. In other words, Bender is mortal, just like the rest of the meat bags. It’s a pretty big problem for someone who thought he was going to live forever.
In true Bender fashion, his final wish is to find Inspector #5, the man responsible for approving a robot without a backup chip, so that he can pummel the crap out of him. Hermes agrees to accompany Bender on his quest of vengeance, and the antics ensue.
The episode is funny all the way through without resorting to too many cheap jokes like the previous episode. ‘The Duh Vinci Code‘ does get a shout out, though, when Bender tells Hermes, “I was in Italy last week!”
There’s plenty to love here, including a really fantastic and unnecessary limbo session. Couldn’t Bender and Hermes have just lain down? Of course. But they limboed for hours, and that’s wonderful.
‘Lethal Inspection’ also does the sweet ending that only a couple of comedies do and even less can get away with. Despite being illogical, and the fact that it conflicts with previous episodes, Bender’s birth is a really nice moment.
The episode has a downright adorable Bender that had better be available in plush form at some point, and it brings in the Elizabeth Mitchell song “Little Bird, Little Bird,” which may be one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard.