It took me by surprise when I realized that ‘The Mutants Are Revolting’ is the season finale for the current run of ‘Futurama.’ Thirteen episodes are over and done with, so we’ve got a nice long wait until we get to see more.
‘The Mutants are Revolting’ is a good episode that could have been a great movie. This isn’t the first episode that’s felt this way, and it makes me wonder whether a few more ‘Futurama’ movie scripts were written and then doctored into episodes once the show was picked up.
Things start off with Bender throwing a party for the crew’s 100th delivery. Not-so-coincidentally, this is also the show’s 100th episode. It’s always good to start off with a little nonsense, and the party planning delivers on that front. On said delivery, the crew meets Lady Astor, who is charmed by their middle-class quirks, including Fry’s boast that “I can eat a hot dog underwater!”
The episode takes a huge turn from there. The crew gets banished to the underground to live with mutants, since Leela is one and the rest of the folks have been harboring her for the last ten years. We get to see a few cool new mutants, and of course Leela’s dad with that horrible sideways mouth.
There’s a nice little side story about the Land Titanic which is, as Amy puts it, “The biggest and only-est land boat ever constructed.” The whole thing makes no sense, but that’s the glory of it. When Fry explains that many of the passengers “land drowned,” I can’t help but giggle.
In the last ten minutes or so, thing start moving incredibly quickly. Bender has a split-second change of heart, the mutants come to the surface, Fry explains the story of Leela’s ancestors, the mutants are given their rights, it turns out Fry isn’t a mutant after all, and it ends up that the late Mr. Astor is actually named Mister.
The third act of ‘The Mutants Are Revolting’ has at least a half hour’s worth of content crammed into it, and it just feels rushed. I really think the folks in charge of the show need to embrace the two-part episode if they’re going to try to do these huge stories.
Either that, or someone’s got to start cutting the excess. As much as I enjoy hearing a Devo song that isn’t “Whip It,” that takes up a full minute or so that really could have been devoted to something else, like some of the plot from Act Three.
All in all, despite some big problems with its pacing, ‘The Mutants Are Revolting’ is a pretty solid episode that raises some interesting questions for the future. Now that the mutants have been granted equal rights, will we see them on a more regular basis? Is this Fry/Leela thing happening or not? Can Fry really eat a hot dog underwater?
We won’t be finding out any time soon, unfortunately. A holiday themed episode will air in November, and the other half of the 26-episode season won’t air until 2011.
There’s no word yet on whether ‘Futurama’ has been picked up for another season after that, but I’ve got high hopes.