There’s some episodes you can go on and on and on about because there’s a lot of neat character stuff or implications swimming around within them; and then there’s other episodes that have it all on the surface, leaving you little to talk about. This is one of those episodes. Also, my left index finger hurts from playing too much guitar (Those high strings on acoustics really chop you up) and my thumb is all goofy, too: a perfect storm of reasons to keep this short. But even if my left hand weren’t all defingulated, I still wouldn’t have too much to say about this one.
After a more-or-less pointless and not-terribly-funny Sithal War Re-Enactment, Bender discovers that, unlike all other robots, he’s not immortal. If he dies, he dies. If anyone else - say Benzo - dies, he just downloads into a new body a’la the Supermodel Cylons. This requires some significant retconning, since we’ve seen Bender in fear for his life a jillion times, when in fact he really shouldn’t care. Bender himself explains this away by saying “I’m a drama queen.” Also, remember back in the pilot when we first met Bender, and he was trying to kill himself? That doesn’t make much sense in light of this new information. But of course Futurama as a whole never made all that much sense, so let’s just roll with it.
Anyway, so Bender discovers that “Inspector 5,” who approved him on the assembly line years back simply wasn’t doing his job. Bender is furious about this, wanting to know why someone would bring him into the world knowing full well he was gonna’ have to leave it. He and Hermes set out to find Inspector 5 and find out what gives. Then a major beating of said inspector. Then possibly suicide: he hasn’t really decided yet. (“Step into my office, I’ll give you a good Kevorking!”)
This leads to an anemic Paul Linde gag (Seriously, how can Paul Linde not be funny? Just like Richard Nixon, the man is comedy gold!) and a kinda’ boring chase sequence when Hermes and the robot run from Mom’s tech support (They try to kill anything malfunctioning).
Eventually they end up in Tijuana, and cross the border - this, too, requires some retconning since Mexico has always been said to be part of the United States in this series (“America’s Heartland: Mexico!”) when they realize they’ll never find 5, and Hermes rescues Bender. They discuss mortality, Bender reaches a kind of acceptance, and they head home.
In the thrilling denouement* it’s revealed that Hermes was Inspector 5. Back when Baby Bender was rolling off the assembly line, he realized the cybertot was defective, but couldn’t bring himself to kill him, so he passed him anyway. He’s felt guilty about it, and went on this whole fool’s errand to (A) cover his own butt and (B) help Bender come to grips with his newly immortally-challenged lifestyle. This reminded me of how my youngest kid used to like the Bottlecaps song, but has outgrown it, and that made me kind of sad, on top of already being kind of sad because my fingers hurt, which itself was simply added to my underlying sadness arising from my dad retiring tomorrow. So I got all that going for me. Also, it was 102 here today - no, really! - and the AC is out in my car, and I’m just feeling spent. But I digress…which I probably wouldn’t do if the episode was better. But I digress about digressing…
Hermes acts sort of out of character through this whole thing: he allows paperwork to go undone, and seems unconcerned when the office falls apart, he willfully destroyed official files, he circumvents normal protocols and abuses his license, and of course he’s out of the office for several days.
Sadness and finger woes notwithstanding, this episode just wasn’t all that funny. There were no real standout gags. The closest we got was “Gee, I always thought giant cubes were pretty exciting up until now” and “Ok, I liked the part where they screamed.”
Was Fry even in this episode? Maybe in the background, I guess.
Regardless of my Laurie-Bernker related feelings**, the "Baby Bender" ending was genuinely touching.
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS?
Actually, probably, yeah. There’s nothing offensive in here beyond some mild profanity. "Twelve hours of straight limboing! I haven't done that since my wedding night!" is as smarmy as we get.
The episode is not all that funny, mind you, but it’s not all that liberal either. Nor is it really all that funny, but you get what you pay for, which in this case is nothing.
All of which is just my way of saying that I have nothing really to say.
* Denouement is never thrilling. That's a joke, son, yer 'sposed ta' laugh!
** that's a bit confusing. I should mention that the final song wasn't a Laurie Berkner song, but the Bottlecaps song my kids no longer like was.