Futurama: S02E10: A Clone Of My Own
There are some truly inspired animation moments in this episode. Fast-paced and action packed, much of the action is based on the Star Wars trilogy (4-6). This episode was originally envisioned as a first season episode, but I’m glad they waited. I don’t think it would have made as much sense earlier in the series.
The Professor receives notice that he has been brought up on disciplinary charges and must stand before his peers at Mars University. He and the staff jet off immediately. He begins his defense by going on the offensive. He starts by airing all of the members dirty linens, but they surprise him with a sesquicentennial birthday party. Bender acts as emcee of the roast/celebration as person after person comes up on stage to talk about the Professor’s life and accomplishments. The whole thing leaves the Professor decidedly depressed.
Back home, he feels his life is over. He has so much left to do and so little time. At Leela’s mention of the Professor’s remaining ten years, Fry argues that he could have more. They explain that when someone reaches 160, the Sunset Squads’ robots come to take you away, no one knows where. The Professor comes to the conclusion that he must name a successor and retreats into seclusion to ponder his choices. In the next few days, the staff bickers about who is the most likely and/or most deserving of the title. The Professor finally appears and names his clone, QBert, as his successor. He pulls aside a curtain to reveal an adolescent boy on life support in a large, water-filled tube.
Twelve years before, he scraped some cells off his back and made a clone of himself, forgotten temporarily. He drains the tube and QBert awakens. He wastes no time in making himself a nuisance to the staff. He belittles their work, intellect (justifiably in some cases) and physical attributes. His condescending attitude also spills over into the Professor’s demesne. He doesn’t appreciate or believe in the principles behind the Professor’s inventions, branding most of them as impossible, despite the Professor’s assurances that anything is possible if you can dream it. The Professor takes them all out to Elzar’s for a celebratory dinner in QBert’s honor. Unfortunately, QBert reveals his own plans for the future, and they don’t include continuing the Professor’s works, leaving the Professor devastated.
He records a farewell holographic message, revealing that he’s already 160 and has called the Sunset Squad to take him away. As he finishes, a hover-hearse glides up to his window and a grim reaperbot escorts him to his fate. When the staff views his message the following day, they are understandably upset. Fry wants to retrieve the Professor, however, the location of the senior detention center is unknown. Leela attempts to use the smell-o-scope to pick up the Professor’s scent, with QBert’s protestations of impossibility ringing in her ears. She picks up the scent and has Fry continue to track it on the ship as she pilots Fry, herself, Bender and QBert toward the source.
They finally come upon a massive man-made asteroid that Leela identifies as the Near Death Star. Now how would she know that if the location were secret? They come up with a plan to pass Fry off as the Professor, who has escaped, while they mimic the guards. They think that the other robots will lead them right to the Professor’s location. QBert brings up the point that they will need DNA to support their claim. Bender extracts a rather large sample from QBert with much satisfaction. They pass QBert off as a hump and carry on with their plan. It works like a charm and soon they are on their way to the Professor’s location.
They find the Professor on life support in a morgue-like storage drawer. Trying to extract him carefully to avoid shock, a patrol discovers them and they must rip the Professor free unceremoniously. They flee in through the facility at high speed and barely escape, garnering QBert a head injury in the process. As they’re about to take off, the laser canons manage to damage their engines. The Professor is the only one who knows how to fix them but they’re unable to bring him to consciousness. QBert comes to, however, and finally understands the motivations behind the Professor’s inventions/ideas. He fixes the engines and they speed home to safety.
The Professor recovers quickly once back in his own environment. At their urging, he tells them he was in a dreamworld in which he was in a nursing home in Florida. They all find this most disturbing. He thanks them for coming to his rescue and bonds with QBert, who vows to be just like the Professor (for better or worse).
I give this one a passable 5.5 out of 10.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone