It’s important to remember that when this episode was first being written, the staff at Futurama wasn’t entirely sure if they were getting another season. For all they knew, this would be the end of the series (not counting next week’s non-canonical season finale). Because of that, I don’t think it’s a coincidence “Overclockwise” parallels “The Devil’s Hands are Idle Playthings,” the 2004 season finale they set up to have a good amount of closure, but just enough room to continue if they were renewed. It would either be a great end to the season or a great end to the show. In 2004, Futurama was cancelled. In 2011, the show goes on to another season. As if it needs to be said … this is a very, very good thing.
I’ll start with the most mind-blowing part of the episode … the omniscient Bender scenes. Holy god, the animators did an amazing job with these scenes. This maybe the first time I’ve ever said this, but Bender is gorgeous in this episode. The picture in this review actually came from a screenshot I took from a clip on Comedy Central’s website. It looks like it was painted! I’m very tempted to buy this set on BluRay so I can watch this episode over and over in HD.
I’ll get to the more heart-melting parts of the episode in a bit, but how wonderful was Bender saving his friends? He selflessly sacrificed god-like intellectual perfection to set Fry up to secure his relationship with the mutant woman he loves. In the context of the episode (Bender going beyond his regular greedy schemes to create whole universes), it actually works for him.
Bender’s trick to save the Professor and Cubert was awesome … I only figured out the twist right before it was revealed. Futurama is neck-and-neck with Doctor Who for cleverest twists and turns. Speaking of Doctor Who, did anyone else think the robotic jellyfish from “Overclockwise” seemed reminiscent of the antibodies from DW‘s mid-season premiere this week aptly named “Let’s Kill Hitler“? Since Futurama is written farther in advance compared to live action shows, I’m sure it was a coincidence, but a pretty interesting one considering how many Doctor Who references there have been in this season.
This might have been a more touching episode overall, but there was a whole lot of funny packed into it as well. Zoidberg getting hurt is funny, but Zoidberg eating is also funny. Having Zoidberg get hit with ceiling fans throughout the episode and then having him suck on a whole turkey … comedy gold, folks. We got to see Bender’s shiny metal ass up close (that reflection was crazy), Randy showed up to bring a smile to my face and Mom called her sons “bastards.” Love it! I also liked that one of the main mutant women from the show was in the jury … the universe seems to be coming more progressive, considering it was only this season that mutants began their civil rights movement. Oh, and I caught the majority of the funny book titles Bender throws around. They’re at the bottom of the quotes list … you’re welcome.
I complained a few weeks ago that the Leela and Fry relationship has been pretty uneven without much explanation this season, which is why I like that this week Leela actually brings up the chaos and uncertainty in their relationship. Fry was the best version of himself in this episode — still incredibly stupid, but utterly devoted to loving Leela.
Easily my favorite part of the episode is that very last scene, when a now non-omniscient Bender hands the pair the story of the rest of their lives together. Sure, we don’t find out what happens, but then again, that’s what the rest of the series is for. For now, we know they have some laughs and some tears. Fry does something slap worthy, but so does Leela soon enough. And there are tough times, sad times and there is a moment as Fry and Leela are reading the report when they question whether it is worth it. Then Bender turns the page. Is it worth it in the end? The look on their faces says it all.
That would have been one hell of a way to end a series. I’m immensely grateful it isn’t. Let’s spend next week’s zany official season finale celebrating the stories yet to tell.
All the best quotes:
Soon to be a hit television show. — Titlecard
War of World War II 3 — Fry’s video game
“My circuitry’s twelve years out of date. I can’t keep up with today’s high speed, top of the line kids!” — Bender
“You can’t even keep up with me, and I’m some sort of stone-age throwback!” — Fry
“I don’t know. I guess I’m just feeling uneasy about us being so on-again off again.” — Leela
“Maybe it’s none of my business, but if it were up to me, we’d be on all the time. And I mean all the time.” — Fry
“Look, don’t you ever wonder about the future?” — Leela
“Well sure, but you’re always in it … also, sometimes Terminators.” — Fry
“Woo, I’m smart! I know how to spell ‘aardvark!'” –Bender
“What is it, you colicky bastards?!” — Mom
“Oh god, I clicked without reading!” — Farnsworth
“And I slightly modified a thing that I own!” — Cubert
“We’re monsters!” — Farnsworth
“I miss the old, illiterate Bender.” — Fry
“Going out of business forever! Again!” — sign on the Planet Express building
“All existence is just a chess game, and I can see 50 moves ahead. Human emotion no longer concerns me.”– Bender
“But… but Randy said–” — Fry
“RANDY?! HAVE YOU BEEN HANGING OUT WITH RANDY?!” — Bender
“Bender doesn’t care about us anymore.” — Fry
“Someone used to care about me? Hooray! — Zoidberg
“I was born in prison, and I’ll die in prison.” — Farnsworth
Ventriloquism for Dummies
Guinness Book of Parallel World Records
Some of the Digits of Pi
Genome of the Flatworm: Vol. 12
How to Kick a Mockingbird
All the Presidents’ Heads
Calculon on Calculon
Connecticut Tax Law
How I Conquered your Planet
The Complete Simpson Episode Guide — Bender’s genius-speed reading list