In the season premiere of Futurama, Bender discovers fatherhood and Amy discovers the planet’s about to undergo Armageddon.
“The Bots and the Bees” opens up the hour-long season premier, and during the course of the episode a major life change occurs for Bender when he has a one-night stand with Planet Express’ new soda machine.After she gives birth to their son, Ben, Bender finds himself facing up to the rewards and pitfalls of single fatherhood: a status jeopardized by the impermanence of the boys’ mother in their lives and the boys’
A delightful segment, “The Bots and the Bees” features strong supporting work from Wanda Sykes and a touching and well-written main plot.Bender’s taken a few brief stabs at fatherhood before, but this is the first time we’ve ever seen him be so emotionally open, so vulnerable – it’s a real treat.Ben is also a great one-off character, and there were funny moments afoot for each character, as well – everything fromLeela advocating for Bender’s single fatherhood to Fry nearly drinking his newborn son.Especially notable is the opening montage of the entire crew responding to the Professor’s spotlight-driven call to arms. It manages to be funny and make you care intensely about Bender’s well-being all at the same time.
“A Farewell to Arms,” meanwhile, focuses in on Fry and Leela’s relationship, which grows somewhat strained when Fry’s every attempt at showing Leela chivalry result in disaster….And by Amy’s discovery that the end of the world is nigh.This episode is frankly wonderful, combining excellent action, the best use of the Fry/Leela relationship in a very long time, an incredibly good use of the extended cast, lots of jabs at the Mayan calendar and its doomsday prophecies, and an involving, tense and engrossing plot.The very best development stems from the show’s use of Amy, who drives the plot forward with an intellectual turn we haven’t seen from the character since season one. It’s remarkable from top to bottom – and the fact that the told an epic and action-packed story in a half hour isn’t surprising, it’s that this episode puts the four full-length movies they made to shame when it comes to character development, emotional impact, and general enjoyability.This is one of the best episodes of the series.
Both episodes capture that combination of humor and heart the show used to do so well during its original run, and which was occasionally lacking in their uneven.Season seven of Futurama is, in short, off to the best start they’ve had since debuting season four’s “Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch”.
THE BOTS AND THE BEES: A
A FAREWELL TO ARMS: A+