Futurama "Lethal Inspection" Review

In my book, Bender-centric episodes of "Futurama" are second only to Zapp Brannigan episodes, so I was excited for last night's episode, "Lethal Inspection". Toss in a heaping helping of Hermes, and I'd say the stage was set for one of the best episodes of the new season.

And while the episode didn't always deliver on its promise, it was still pretty good, with an ending that managed to be both sappy and funny at the same time.

The episode started off with a relatively useless "Sith War" reenactment, which was only needed to get Bender into one of his "humans are so fragile and stupid" rants. Still, hearing Scruffy quote "Blade Runner" was hilarious.

Once it actually got into the meat of the episode, it was much better. Bender dealt with mortality in his own Bender-riffic way, calling MomCrop to complain about being made defective, which unleashed the full forces of Mom's death bots on him. And seeing Hermes in what passes for "action" for a bureaucrat was phenomenal. Hermes has already had some of the best lines of the season, and he continued that streak in this episode.

Just like last week with the "Hi Anamatronio" bit, there was a recurring joke that teetered just on the right edge between stupid and funny -- Mom's death bots kept shooting each other when one of them said a gun-related word. The first time it happened, I laughed. The second time, I groaned a little. But the third time brought it right back to funny. Also funny, in kind of a satirical way, was Hermes walking away from the explosion near the end. Bender even calls it out, just in case you didn't get the obvious reference.

As for that ending, well, if by that point in the episode, you hadn't figured out that Hermes WAS Inspector #5, you're a moron. And when the sappy little montage started, I thought it would be just as moronic, but it actually worked. Seeing Baby Bender (don't ask why robots come out as baby robots, it'll just hurt your brain) sucking on a beer bottle and winning over Hermes was the right mix of adorable and amusing.

Before I get to my list of favorite lines from this episode, let me issue a caveat that some of the best stuff in this episode was visual, rather than in one-liner form. Zoidberg's "ink defense" was easily the single best laugh-out-loud moment in the entire 21 minutes. Also, it's subtle, but Bender's legs were broken after the 12 hours of limbo, and he casually tossed them away and pulled out replacements from his chest cavity. I didn't even spot that the first time I watched the episode.

I was also a big fan of the bureaucrat burning the pencil that Bender had sharpened with his ass and the Cubicle Room (which reminded me of the movie "Cube"). At least, I liked the cube more than Bender, whose reaction upon seeing it was "Wow, until now I thought giant cubes were exciting." That line just missed this week's top five. As for the best lines of the episode, here they are, as approved by #5:

Zoidberg: So you wish you were never born maybe?
Bender: Yes! Anything less than immortality is a complete waste of time!
Zoidberg: Then suicide it is. Step into my office. I'll give you a nice Kavorking.

Burocro-scan: Identity confirmed. Also, you have a rectangular mass in your colon.
Hermes: That's a calculator. I ate it to gain its power.

[After they find Inspector 5's file is missing]
Bender: Maybe if I kick the asses of Inspector 2 plus Inspector 3...
Hermes: Addition never solved anything, mon!

Bender: We're in Tijuana. I wanna live a little.
[Mom's robots blow up a wall in the house they're in]
Bender: Help! I'm gonna die! That's the opposite of what I want!

[Bender and Hermes return to a near-destroyed Planet Express, and Hermes sets things right with a "one-hour bureacratizing"]
Leela: You make it look so easy.
Hermes: I've smoked a lot of paperwork in my day!