Futurama season 7 episode 9 review: Free Will Hunting
Bender goes on an emotional journey in this week's Futurama. Here's Cameron's review of a not-brilliant episode...
This review contains spoilers.
7.9 Free Will Hunting
Yup, you read correctly. Free Will Hunting sees everyone's favourite bending unit, Bender, embark on a journey of self discovery; including a startling revelation about every decision the rambunctious robot has ever made.
But how did this unwelcome intrusion of emotions enter into the fray? After the deliberate misdirection of a college story in the opening few minutes (evoking, briefly, 1999's Mars University), the automaton drops out only to partake in some nefarious activities to fund a drug habit and subsequent arrest. This leads to an amusing court scene where his defence, a welcome return for the Hyper-Chicken, argues that, as a robot, he was preprogrammed to commit the crime.
Although this means the shiny metal assed-one is free, Bender takes stock and finds his lack of free will disturbing - he'd rather be acting obnoxiously through his own drive to, not because his circuits have preordained it.
Coincidentally, Planet Express is required to deliver a package (that's what they do, in case you've forgotten) to the robot home world, Chapek 9. Cue Bender's desire not to return to Earth and him wandering amongst his fellow kind.
It has to be said, there are some visually arresting moments during the sections in which Bender considers his place in the universe (up until this point, he always thought he was the universe). The beer-drinking machine stumbles upon a robot monastery and the temple's head guy, the Ab-bot, where he seems to find the solution to his woes.
But this is another piece of misdirection leading to a showdown back in New New York with Mom and the search for a free will unit - finally ending up back at Planet Express and a certain Professor.
There's a lot going here, as you can tell, and there are a number of moments that feel like a retread of previous episodes - the college fun, the court scenes, the robot home world, Bender dallying with religion and the Mom/Farnsworth relationship have all been covered in the past (and to a much better degree). Too many situations and not enough comedy for this sitcom.
It's a disappointing episode for sure. Whilst not bad, there's certainly not much in the way of hilarity which, for a Bender-centric story, is a real surprise. Free Will Hunting had so much potential but let story override the laughs. A very un-Benderish trait.
Read Cameron's review of last week's episode, Fun On A Bun, here.
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