Futurama: S02E06: The Lesser Of Two Evils
Another classic theme is explored in this episode: the evil twin. Very nice animation in a very sci-fi episode. The only complaint I have, aside from the usual nitpicking, is the ending. It’s like they didn’t have any more story and just tacked on Leela’s beauty pageant win. I liked the episode as whole, that part just didn’t fit. As someone who used to watch the Price Is Right with my grandma when I was little, I loved Bob Barker’s appearance. What can I say?
A 9-foot tall millipede w/blurred features is resisting arrest. His wife bursts into the room in curlers with a screaming baby in each arm (that’s a lot of babies when you’re a millipede), being bleeped all the while. Her husband finally acquiesces to the officers’ demands and is handcuffed and led to the squad car. As he’s about to be put in, he breaks free and hides in a pile of leaves. No, you’re not watching an episode of Cops, just enjoying Cop Dept. with Bender, Fry and Leela. A commercial for Past-O-Rama interrupts the action. It advertises a way for the harried masses to decompress in the historically rich world of the 20th century. Fry isn’t interested, but Bender and Leela prod him to be their guide.
After wandering through several historically inaccurate settings and re-enactments, Fry leads them through the New York of his day, providing true, but not strictly correct commentary. When they happen upon a car display, Fry is eager to show them how it operates. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to drive that well, which I find interesting since they follow Bender around in an old VW van later . . . but I digress. He drives through the wall of the building, unleashing terror and trauma on the masses. They eventually hit something, coming to an air-bag cushioned stop. They get out and find . . . they’ve hit a replica of Bender! Insert suspenseful music here.
They rush the robot to the Professor, who fixes him up and introduces him as Flexo. Flexo has one distinguishing characteristic from Bender, a goatee. You know what that means. If there’s facial hair (or alloy) on an exact copy of someone, according to sci-fi lore, he must be an evil twin. At least that’s the theory Fry subscribes to, suggested by his immediate distrust of Flexo. Bender and Flexo bond instantly, of course. They take Fry on a trip through the seamy underside of robot existence, leaving him battered and bruised for the experience. This only makes him hate Flexo more. He tells the staff of his suspicions, but they dismiss him for being jealous.
The Professor calls them all into his bedroom so he can show them something. Sounds ominous. They all pile onto his bed and he lowers the side curtains.
Professor: “Feast your eyes on this!”
Leela: “It’s beautiful!”
Amy: “And huge!”
Fry: “Can I touch it?”
What?! Turns out it’s just an extremely rare and extremely expensive atom of jumbonium. The crew must deliver it to Teva Nine for use in the Miss Universe pageant winner’s crown. The Professor feels the need to hire extra security and looks to Flexo to fill the void.
Fry isn’t pleased with the Professor’s choice and is even less pleased when Leela assigns Flexo an eight-hour watch shift besides Bender’s and his own. Flexo comes on after Bender and Fry shows up to keep an eye on him. The eight hours go by without incident and Fry settles in for his shift, promptly falling asleep. The ship lands and Fry jerks awake to find an empty safe. He raises the alarm but only Bender and Leela appear. He accuses Flexo and a search of the ship fails to find any evidence of either Flexo or the atom.
They head to the pageant to break the news to the emcee, Bob Barker’s head. The man may not advocate cruelty to animals, but he has no problem threatening to skin them if they do not recover the atom. As they discuss how boned they are, they see Flexo run by the doorway. They give chase and Bender tackles Flexo. They roll around the set, wrecking up the place. Unable to tell the two of them apart, Leela shoots down a decorative mobile of the solar system. The bouncing planets succeed in breaking up the fight. They also unlatch Bender’s chest cavity, revealing the atom. Flexo witnessed the theft and was running to tell Bob Barker when they caught up to him.
Fry isn’t too surprised by Bender’s evil nature, but he’s concerned that the can’t tell the difference betweenn good and evil. Like most thoughts, that slips out of his head pretty quickly. Bob Barker has Flexo taken away, mistaking him for Bender. They put the atom in its rightful place atop Miss Universe’s tiara and the pageant continues. Zapp Brannigan has the task of announcing the winner. He spies Leela while grappling with the seal, and says her name aloud. She’s mistakenly given the crown, shocked and not a little pleased. He corrects the mistake and she’s shoved off to the side. She and Bender both look wistfully at the stage dreaming of what might have been.
The rating closest without going over is 7.34 out of 10.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006, 2007 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone