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Futurama has the surprising ability to not only prove how funny it is, but also make you feel something on an emotional level. The best example being the season four episode, Jurassic Bark. Lethal Inspection, aims to be a comical episode with a story and a lot of heart, and it succeeds brilliantly.
Once again, this week we have a rather odd paring for Futurama. I cannot think of a single episode besides this one that pairs Bender and Hermes. This may lead you to be weary of putting two characters with very limited interactions together, but it just works so well. The conversations and narrative never seem forced and the two develop surprisingly good chemistry is a short amount of time. The show uses information about the characters which we have gleamed in the past to great effect, proving that above all else the writers know their audience and we are rewarded for being fans. We all know that Hermes was an Olympic level limbo’er, that Bender's full name is Bender Bending Rodriguez, and that Hermes is a level thirty-six bureaucrat. Instead of taking time to explain these characterizations, they just assume that you know. This assumption leads to a story that feels natural, by Futurama standards and a natural growth of their characters.
The crux of the episode falls on Bender's belief that he is basically immortal, which is based on his ability to download into another robot body in the even of his death. We are quickly shown that this is not the case and Bender, finding himself mortal and capable of death, becomes a fearful character. This does lead one to question why Bender would ever be scared of a given situation, but the episode addresses this plot hole in a rather comical way. Without spoiling anything, Lethal Inspection shows us parts of the future that we either have not seen in a long time, or which have never seen at all. How long has it been since we have been inside the bureaucrat headquarters? The episode is constantly changing scenes and keeps the story moving along and remains fresh and interesting. The last minute of the episode is the part that will really tug on your heart strings.
The jokes and one liners in this episode are also on point. Zoidberg has a couple here that will make you laugh and, if you are anything like me, you will be left wanting more Zoidberg. The way that Hermes and Bender play off each other is great and more than once, I literally laughed out loud at the absurdity and cleverness of the episode. While a majority of the time is spent on the narrative and interactions between Hermes and Bender, a few periphery characters are given some time to get in a joke or two. My favorite of the episode being the shooting robots from the movie, Bender’s Game, I never thought I would see them again but I sure am glad I did.
This is by far the best episode of the new season and an almost perfect addition to Futurama.