6.16 Ghost In The Machines
Plenty of Futurama episodes in the past have dealt with the idea of a main character ‘dying’, but this week’s instalment of the sci-fi animation deals with the death of the one person who can’t really die, Bender.
Even though we witnessed thousands of mini-Benders biting the proverbial big one last week, the genuine article meets his end at the hands of an angry ex, a heartbroken Suicide Booth. Cue gag where his remains are delivered to Planet Express by DeadEx. Not wanting to go quietly, in true Bender style, his ‘soul’ continues to live on.
After meeting with the Robot Devil (making a delicious return), everyone’s favourite bending unit is convinced to return to Earth and haunt his old buddy Fry as revenge (earlier in the episode, he saved a human instead of a robot). Yup, it’s another deal with the devil! Quickly the shiny assed metal one realises he can inhabit any electrical device, and scares Fry through a succession of household objects.
Countering his attacks, Fry seeks help from more returning automatons, the Gypsy (first seen in the tremendous episode from 2000, The Honking) and the always gigglesome Preacherbot (also giving way to a neat nod to The Exorcist). Failing to help, he sets off to the Amish Homeworld planet for a simpler life (where there are scarily few Witness gags, sadly).
How it ends, I’ll save for your own enjoyment, but it’s a satisfying resolution featuring the first appearance of the Robot God, who is not dissimilar to a certain Apple-esque machine from Wall*E. Benders tête-à-tête with his ‘maker’ is typical Bender fare, with only one possible winner.
Even though there’s a huge amount of familiarity in Ghost In The Machines, it’s the lightness and constant barrage of laughs that will keep you hooked: The Mayor’s celebration of Fry’s heroics leads him to state, “This Saturday will be known as Fryday!”; the knowing acknowledgement of the Robot Devil’s annoying inclination to burst into a tune, with Bender’s demand of “Any answer but a song!” (I quite like his songs, if truth be told), and a rather wonderfully unexpected chuckle at the expense of Ghostbusters.
Season six continues with another very solid, entertaining episode, if ever so well trod and slightly routine for Futurama. Whilst never truly breaking the ‘have to pause and watch that again because I missed a bit because I was laughing so much’ barrier, but firmly remaining in the hugely watchable and smirktacular category.