Futurama: S02E02: Brannigan, Begin Again
Welcome back Zapp! Here he comes again to foul up even the most simple of tasks, all the while trying to get into Leela’s pants. There are some interesting sci-fi moments in ths episode. As mentioned by Hermes, the DOOP, or Democratic Order of Planets, is similar to the Federation from Star Trek. There’s also all of the alien life-forms on the space station, some familiar and some not. Of course, there is the entire space station itself and the scene when part of it breaks off into space. Interesting animation and concept in general.
Fry, Bender and Leela are all in the break room, kicking back and watching the tube. Leela prods Fry and Bender to attention as the Professor and Hermes announce their new mission. The Professor shows them some oversized ceremonial scissors they must deliver to the DOOP’s new headquarters for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The three of them fly to the Neutral Zone and enter the new space station orbiting the Neutral Planet. on board is every type of known alien life-form in the future universe. Fry makes small talk as the DOOP chairwoman makes the usual boring speech about the great new station, fabulous location and blah blah blah. You’ve sat through these kinds of things, you know the spiel.
Zapp and Kif are patrolling the perimeter while Zapp vocalizes his distrust of the Neutrals and their “filthy” neutrality. They spy our intrepid delivery persons strolling in with the scissors. He immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion, the only jumping he does – tee hee, taking them into custody for endangering the assemblage in a Neutral plot.
Zapp has them all on his ship, the Nimbus, for interrogation just as the chairwoman calls for him to cut the ribbon. Kif reminds him of his duty at the ribbon cutting, so Zapp uses the ship’s laser to do it from afar. In the process, he destroys the $400 billion space station, jettisoning the delegates’ pod off into space.
Once the trial begins, (you knew there’d be a trial didn’t you?), things look bleak for Zapp. The jury is made up of the injured delegates involved in the incident, yet he still almost gets off scot free. (The only kind of getting off that can possibly happen to him). Leela can’t let it go and tells the court what he did, speaking as an eye witness. Zapp is stripped of his rank, making sure Kif suffers the same fate. He and Kif wander the streets of the city trying to make a buck and/or find some food. Poor Kif even ends up whoring himself.
At Planet Express, Bender and Fry are goofing off while washing the ship. Leela comes in to crack the whip, uttering one of my favorite lines, “All right, this is the third hose fight I’ve broken up today and the second time using actual hoses.” Zapp rings the bell and begs for a job, not knowing where else to turn. The Professor hires the disgraced captain to distract the public from Planet Express’ dismal safety record. Kif gets a job too, you know he and Zapp are a package deal.
He sends them out immediately on a mission to Stumbos 4, a planet with extremely high gravity. once there, Leela gives Zapp, Fry and Bender strict instructions to deliver pillows to a hotel one at a time, as they weigh 150 lbs. on this planet. They completely disregard her, what a shock, and break the hover dolly. To discipline them, she has them drag the pillows one at a time to the hotel. As part of the continuing theme, they land 40 miles away from their destination. A high gravity rainstorm pops up and while taking shelter, Zapp manages to sway a disgruntled Bender and Fry to his side in a mutiny against Leela.
Back on board, Kif is boring Leela to tears with his stories of Zapp’s demeaning commands. As he celebrates his freedom, the others burst in and announce the mutiny. Insert a disgusted sigh from Kif. They handcuff Leela (for the second time in this episode, hmm) and put her in the laundry room, now functioning as a laundry/brig. She’s hurt by Fry and Bender’s betrayal, explaining that sometimes a captain has to be strict. Fry and Bender have no guilt. They live it up, loafing around in underpants and drinking beer. Zapp comes up with a plan to attack the Neutral Planet to regain his reputation and his rank. Fry and Bender are excited to be part of such a daring plan. He sets course for the Neutral Planet and contacts its leader to tell him the planet is doomed.
When Fry and Bender find out that Zapp plans to leave them on board to die in a fiery collision, they spring Leela and ask her to be captain again. She makes them promise to abide by her rules before agreeing. Zapp and Kif escape the ship in the only spacesuits as Leela tries to reset their course. She discovers that Zapp has disabled the steering and orders Bender and Fry to load all of the dark matter into the left engine. Her plan works. The ship veers, narrowly escaping destruction.
Another trial takes place. Zapp lays down some serious BS about his heroism to try and save his skin. Leela is about to speak up when she hears the Professor express an interest in rehiring Zapp. She swallows her pride and confirms all of Zapp’s statements for the court. He and Kif are re-instated in the DOOP and life returns to normal.
Fry and Bender are back at work scrubbing the ship, making a bit more of an effort. Leela supervises with a little more leniency, even agreeing to some time off. It’s the Professor’s turn to crack the whip, vetoing the vacation. The episode closes with Leela suggesting, what else?, a mutiny.
I’d rate this a 6 out of 10 for general entertainment value.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of ‘The Leela Zone’