Futurama season 7 episode 9 review: Free Will Hunting

Review Cameron K McEwan 13 Aug 2012 - 06:59

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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I felt that the retreading of previous plots were more like call backs to previous episodes, and building on the history of a universe that we have seen before. We have had episodes introducing the robot planet, Mom and the Professor's employment history, the robot legal system, and now we can have a plot that uses these things rather than explaining them.

Also this episode was chock full of the kind of puns in signs that Futurama does best. They were pretty much all robot based, but watch the episode again with your finger on the pause button and you will definitely see things you missed the first time round.

I thought it was a good (above average) episode. Of course considering how strong this season has been, it was just OK. The movies and season 6 were a bit dissapointment for me, but this season has been really really great.

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