Futurama: S02E13: Bender Gets Made
I gotta tell ya, I loves me some Bender, but this episode leaves me unsatisfied. It has dead-on Godfather inferences and the story is well-told. I can’t shake the feeling, however, that there was too much story stuffed into too little time. By no means is it a bad episode. But I’m not a writer, as you’ve no doubt figured out if you’ve read any of my reviews, and I can’t pinpoint the problem or make any better suggestions. So I leave it to you to be the judge, you may think I’m full of it, you won’t be the first (nor the last, I’m sure).
Bender, Fry and Leela attend a taping of Elzar’s cooking show. Bender is so excited that he generally makes a nuisance of himself. When he challenges Elzar to knock it up another notch, he snaps a picture at an inopportune moment causing the spray from the spice weasel to blind Leela. She’s rushed to the hospital and her doctor has her wear an eye patch for a week to rest her irritated cornea. Elzar comes in to express his concern and invite her and all of her friends to eat at his restaurant that evening. Since Leela has no friends, she invites the staff of Planet Express. Elzar makes them all specialized meals but serves a $1200 bill with dessert. They were expecting a freebie and can’t pay, so he has them arrested. Bender volunteers to work part-time for Elzar to erase their debt. You can bet that hanging out with his culinary hero has more to do with Bender’s offer than altruism. Elzar agrees, much to everyone’s relief and Bender’s glee.
Bender announces he’s off to work at Elzar’s. He winds up cleaning toilets and grease traps, unsatisfied because he thought his job would deal with cooking. one afternoon, the robot mafia comes in and Bender makes sure to kiss ass as best he can. When Bender tries to skim a little off the top of the Donbot’s change, he recognizes Bender’s larcenous soul and recruits him on the spot. Bender’s first task is to make a drop without becoming entangled with the cops. He’s spotted, but with some quick thinking and the help of a shill, he gets the job done. The Donbot walks out of the shadows to give Bender his official seal of approval. Bender must attend at meeting at the secret headquarters to start planning a heist the next night. The first order of business is to give him a nickname, Blotto. The Donbot, Clamps, Joey Mousepad and Bender/Blotto (the only members of the robot mafia) get down to real business, planning to steal a shipment of Zuban cigars in transit. Bender’s most important assignment is to secure an alibi.
He takes care of that immediately by setting up a tape recorder on a loop in the crew quarters on the ship, then sneaks off to join the gang. Fry falls for the dupe and tells Leela that Bender is sick and will stay in his bunk. He and Leela get ready to take off on their next mission. Leela, unwilling to ask for help, tries to fly blind, making a few minor mistakes. Later, in the Donbot’s ship, he shows the gang the ship they’re about to hijack, the Planet Express ship. Bender’s in a panic, trying to come up with a way to stay out of the fracas. They try to get the Planet Express ship to give up, but Fry takes the wheel while simultaneously manning the laser cannon since Leela tries to steer with Nibbler’s food dish. Fry does a damn good job of maneuvering, considering he’s supposed to be a dumbass, until Leela realizes her error and retakes control. She turns around and pilots the ship straight into the mafia’s clutches.
The Donbot, Clamps and Joey come aboard and blindfold Fry and Leela. Bender/Blotto brings up the rear, disguising his voice to cut the chances of being discovered. He’s given the task of tying up the prisoners and accidently removes Leela’s blindfold. She gets a blurry visual of her captor before being re-blindfolded. The others read the crew list and discover that there’s supposed to be another robot on board. To cover, Bender offers to go find the “other” robot and take care of him. He enters his quarters and pretends to beat himself senseless. They clear out the cargo and plan to torch the ship. once again, Bender volunteers to stay behind and take care of the dirty work. He sneaks back to the bridge and pretends to wake up from his beating. Fry and Leela work their way free and go home.
Back at the office, it’s time to remove Leela’s patch. She opens her eye and declares she sees their captor from the ship. Bender is sweating bullets, but it’s only the Professor that raised her hackles. Bender answers a knock at the door to find his little shill on the other side. Bender thinks the mafia has sent him to take care of loose ends, but he’s only there to deliver Bender’s cut from the heist. He sends word back to the Donbot with the little beggarbot that he quits organized crime; regular crime is good enough for him. He settles in, guilt-free, to enjoy his ill-gotten gain.
Believe me when I say this episode rates 6.8 out of 10, or I’ll give you the clamps!
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone