So we come across the first episode of Futurama‘s sixth season that I could not find much enjoyment in, The Late Philip J. Fry. I actually like it less than my least favorite episode, Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love. The episode follows Bender, Fry, and Professor Farnsworth while they travel through time in a time machine that only goes forward. Like we don’t know what’s going to happen. While I’m one to try to avoid spoilers, I just can’t do it this week, so be aware: Spoilers ahead.
One minute in, I decided Bender was awesome. This was the last moment of enjoyment I’d have until the end of the episode. Bender brings a ladybot home and keeps Fry up all night. Because of this, Fry is late to work the next day, where it turns out he’s simultaneously late for Leela’s birthday lunch. Everyone is mad at Fry for being late. Fry swears he’ll make it up to Leela by taking her out to dinner that night, even though Hedonismbot is having a bachelor party since he’s marrying a house. Wait, until a few weeks ago, robots couldn’t marry humans, but they can marry HOUSES?! At this point, I decided this episode was painful, and the plot device hadn’t even been revealed yet. But we did see Useless Cubert, who serves zero purpose in the episode, even when they do decide to use him.
Fry buys Leela a card for her birthday, and right as he’s about to leave, Professor Farnsworth said that since he was late, he has to test his forward only time machine with him. Why no one suggested they send, I don’t know, something else in the future to test it, I’ll never know. Of course, there wouldn’t be an episode if that happened. I also don’t know why Bender needed to be there, except Bender is awesome and we already had one episode this season that was Fry/Farnsworth heavy. Fry starts to record his message for Leela, but then Professor Farnsworth does exactly what we expect of him and messes up. The card flies out of the window. This is actually worth mentioning. They end up in the year 10,000.
Meanwhile, in the year 3010, Leela is waiting for Fry to show up to her birthday dinner. When he doesn’t show up, she goes back to Planet Express to see where he is. Cubert decides he, Bender, and the Professor must have gone to Hedonbot’s party. There’s a news clip that there was an explosion at Hedonismbot’s party, and the only survivor is Hedonismbot. Leela is angry and sad, as Hermes points out, “[Fry] would have wanted it that way.” Hermes was also useless this episode. I really missed my one-liners.
Stuff not worth mentioning is still going on in the year 10,000. I’ll get back to them in a moment. In the year 3030, we learn that Leela has taken over Planet Express, and it’s successful. She’s fired Zoidberg, and I say that’s 99% of the problem Planet Express has right there. Does he even need to be employed full time? He can’t be on call or something? However, Leela’s not happy and she looks at a picture of her and Fry, and at the same time notices that Cubert looks just like Fry. I had all kinds of problems with this. The first one being yuck. The second problem I had is that Cubert is Farnsworth’s clone, and we’ve seen younger Farnsworth a few times – he looked nothing like Fry. This, in my book, is a fail.
Anyway, back in the year 10,000, they decide to keep going forward in time until they find a backwards time machine. There’s a nice catchy song during the montage. They end up in a clichéd future where robots have taken over and are killing all humans. Bender loves it and wants to stay, but the two humans who seem to like being alive, go further into the future. The future they arrive in is full of women, with almost no men, and they do have a forward time machine. Bender being Bender decides that the plot can’t be resolved that easily because there’s still ten minutes left in the episode – and also upset over not getting to stay in the killbot time – takes them to the year 1 Billion, where everything on Earth is dead. Fry sadly takes a walk and notices the remains of the place he was supposed to take Leela for dinner for her birthday and enters, sadly proclaiming that he’s sorry that he’s a billion years late. He gasps as he notices something in the ground.
In the year 3050, Leela is much older. She and Cubert got divorced, and Hermes the head on a stick doesn’t know why they ever got married anyway. Then, we see the shadow of the forwards time machine as Fry’s card flies out and conks Leela on the head. Yay, convenience! Leela picks it up and finds out it was Fry. She learns what really happened to him and feels guilty that she’s been mad at him for something that wasn’t his fault. She goes back to to the restaurant where they were supposed to meet and leaves him a message. No, it wasn’t how to get back home, it was much sweeter – though her time with Fry was short, it was the best time of her life. This part, my heart melted and I started to open up to the episode.
Unfortunately, there was only 3 minutes left. Professor Farnsworth, Fry, and Bender decide to drink a six pack and watch the universe end. Upon the universe ending, it started again – I read a book where that exact same thing happened as a kid, so I expected it. However, they arrived a little early but avoided their own time paradox by killing their duplicates. This lead to the best line in the episode, which was insanely dark yet hilarious. After Leela comments that she was surprised that Fry showed up on time because he’s always late, Fry says, “That was old Fry. He’s dead now.” And he said it with a straight face. It was the best moment of the entire episode. It’s a shame that it was at the end.
Overall, I thought that The Late Philip J. Fry was painful and predictable. I normally love Freela episodes but this one was just not up to par. It’s kind of my new least favorite episode of Futurama ever.