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Old August 9 2012, 04:47 AM   #103
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Re: Futurama Season 7 Discussion Thread

"Free Will Hunting" was perhaps the best episode of the season so far. As usual, it plays fast and loose with Bender's nature, abilities, and history; after all, didn't Bender overcome his programming and gain free will when he was electrocuted in the pilot episode? It also embraces Small-Universe Syndrome more than ever by making Farnsworth the programmer of all robots, although I suppose there's some precedent for that in earlier Mom episodes. But it's in service to a story with a nice philosophical angle to it, a solid SF-type plot using the show's robot character as a vehicle for talking allegorically about questions of human nature.

And really, it's not like the episode ever actually confirmed that Bender lacked free will. If anything, it did the opposite; despite what everyone said about him lacking free will, he was clearly making decisions throughout even when he believed he couldn't. And the nature of Farnsworth's device, the impossibility of knowing whether it was turned on or off, was something of a symbol for the question of free will in general.

Nice to see the "Robot Homeworld" again too. We haven't seen it since "Fear of a Bot Planet" way back in season one. A lot of the material was just rehashed gags -- Silence! But there was enough new stuff to make it interesting.
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 11/16/14 including annotations for "The Caress of a Butterfly's Wing" and overview for DTI: The Collectors

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