Bender becomes a hero and maybe an arsonist.
Zapp Brannigan (Billy West) causes a collapse at a helium mine in the core of the Sun. Fry, Leela, and Bender (West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio) are sent into the Sun while wearing a protective coating made by the Professor (West). Bender saves a miner while trying to get out of it and then ends up saving the rest after he discovers the media covering the rescue. He is hailed as a hero and given a medal. A fire breaks out at the ceremony and Bender puts it out with Fry and Leela, leading them to take over as New New York’s fire department. The team manages to do good work as a fire brigade, but they start to notice that Bender is present at the site of every fire… before it starts. They question whether Bender is setting the fires just to put them out and be a hero, and they soon seem to be proven right. The team kicks Bender out for his arson. However, as he tries to leave, a strange blue flame comes out of his body and starts to talk to him (Maurice LaMarche).
It turns out that the flame is a prisoner from the Sun who hid inside Bender and plans to ignite the Earth. Bender accidentally suggests that the flame, dubbed “Flamo,” could go to the Earth’s core by the lava pit in the basement and only stops him by taking the creature in his compartment to the middle of the arctic ocean where nothing burns. Back home, Fry discovers that Bender’s medals had been burned and realizes that Bender might be innocent. However, when Bender tries to explain the flame creature, Fry doesn’t believe him. Flamo secretly hitches a ride back to Planet Express secretly. It then sets the building on fire and Bender goes to rescue Fry, who now believes that Bender set the building on fire. Flamo gets to the lava pit and dives in, but Bender goes in after it and stops the fire. The “mystic aldermen of the sun” arrive and arrest Flamo, saying Bender is the greatest hero in Earth history. Fry sees this and realizes the truth, but Bender says they can’t admit it or Bender might get blamed for the fire. So Fry says he accidentally burned the building and Bender pretends to have been gone.
This is another episode that I often overlook when thinking about Futurama, but it’s actually pretty fun. It’s not profound or anything, it’s just a fun little excuse to give Bender a little character development and show the Planet Express crew as firefighters. I suspect that this episode might have started with someone drawing Nibbler as a Dalmatian and then deciding to write a plot in order to make it canon, but I have no basis to believe this (I’m not paying for the DVD to watch the commentary). Honestly, I think the world is nicer if that’s what happened, so I’m gonna stick with this.
Bender being a hero is a fun idea, particularly since, in a rare moment for Bender, he actually seems to do some of it out of the goodness of his… programming? Yes, he likes the medals, but he also risks his life and future in order to take Flamo to the middle of the Arctic Ocean, seemingly for no gain other than keeping the world, and Fry, safe. Despite Bender being essentially a low-grade criminal for most of the series, this kind of stands out but somehow doesn’t feel out-of-character. It also ends on a legitimately sweet moment.
Overall, I do enjoy this episode. It’s just fun and sometimes that’s what you need.
This one’s a three-fer.
3) “Count Bankula”
Yes, there’s a vampire bank and no, it’s not a blood bank, or at least not exclusively. Why wouldn’t vampires run a night bank? It’s a brilliant way to cash in on a market and they live forever.
2) Camptown Ladies
When the miners are in the middle of the Helium, their voices naturally start to go higher and they are asked to sing Camptown Ladies. It’s hilarious.
1) Fry is naked
When the fire starts, Fry throws down a rope made of his clothes that burns. He then says “Someone save me! I made a rope from my clothes, but then this fire started.” I think it’s one of the funniest gags, that Fry was apparently making a rope from his clothes for no reason.
See you next week, meatbags.
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