|Navigation in production order
|Season 6 episode
Broadcast season 7 episode
|Made you look!
|First air date
|22 July, 2010
"Lethal Inspection" is the ninety-fourth episode of Futurama, the sixth of the sixth production season and the sixth of the seventh broadcast season. It aired on 22 July, 2010, on Comedy Central. Bender discovers that he was built without a backup unit and can, like his human friends, therefore die. Together with Hermes, he seeks out the inspector who originally approved him, despite knowing his flaw.
Act I: "Sith? What the Hoth?"
The episode opens with the Planet Express crew participating in a re-enactment of the Sithal War; Fry and company are dressed as Union soldiers, while their opponents are nerds dressed as Sith from Star Wars. During the course of the battle, Bender is "killed" and melodramatically acts out his death scene, laughing off the entire affair. Fry points out that Bender would be much less amused if he were actually dead, but Bender counters that as a robot, he is functionally immortal; his computerized brain is backed up on a daily basis, and if his physical body is ever destroyed, his mind can simply be downloaded into a new one (which might explain his sometimes nonchalant view on death). Based on a cost-per-casualty analysis of the conflict, Hermes awards victory to the Sith, and the two sides congratulate each other on a "good war".
Back at Planet Express headquarters, the weary and bruised crewmembers recuperate from the injuries they sustained during the re-enactment. This only causes Bender to continue to gloat about his supposed physical superiority, as he claims to be of perfect construction, and has a quality assurance slip from the day he was built (which simply reads "Approved by #5") to prove it. As he retrieves a wheelchair for Professor Farnsworth, however, Bender unexpectedly springs an oil leak. An inspection by the Professor reveals that Bender is not only a defective robot, but suffers from a fatal construction flaw; he was built without a backup unit, meaning that if he dies, his death will be permanent.
Act II: "Dying sucks butt! How do you living beings cope with mortality?"
Bender has difficulty coping with his new-found mortality, and cannot understand why the human who inspected him would have vetted him as being of sound construction when he clearly isn't, blaming the bureaucratic nature of the inspection process itself. This prompts Hermes to escort Bender to his office at the Central Bureaucracy, so they can track down Inspector Five and determine why he certified Bender as a quality robot despite his inherent defect. In his absence, he appoints Leela as a deputy bureaucrat so she can handle all of Planet Express's incoming paperwork until he returns. Bender attempts to log on to the computer in Hermes's cubicle, but Hermes says that only the bureaucrat assigned to that particular computer can access the system. This proves moot, however, as the Bureaucracy's records of Inspector Five have been deleted. Bender and Hermes search the file archives for a hard copy, but this too is inexplicably missing.
Crushed by the apparent hopelessness of the situation, Bender enters what Hermes assumes is a suicide booth, only to be told it is actually a phone booth (Hermes, who is surprised to learn that "phones come in booths now", promptly discards his much more compact cell phone). Bender calls Mom at the Friendly Robot Company for tech support, informing her that he is a defective robot, but she retaliates with a missile strike that narrowly misses Bender. Hermes informs Bender that Mom cannot afford to have a defective product loose on the streets, and will kill Bender in order to protect her reputation. Fleeing the pursuit of Mom's Killbots, the two of them hop a train (the Transcontinental Underground Railroad) and instantly find themselves at the Mexican border, near Tijuana. Bender, who was constructed in Tijuana, believes that Inspector Five may still be living there.
Act III: "Help! I'm gonna die! That's the opposite of what I want!"
After showing their documents to a Mexican Border Patrolman, the pair cross the border into Tijuana, only to find that the local Friendly Robot Company facility where Bender was built has been shuttered for years. They discover a discarded employee directory in the garbage, which provides a street address for Inspector Five; this leads them to an old, dilapidated house that has long been abandoned. Hermes advises Bender to give up the search, as there is no trace of Inspector Five, and it is clear that the house has not been lived in for some time. Bender sinks to the floor, overwhelmed by the crushing burden of mortality, believing that he, being Bender, should naturally be entitled to the same privileges as any other robot, if not more. Hermes consoles his friend, telling Bender that even if he is mortal, he is still unique, and that he will always be Bender; no one else, not even Inspector Five, will ever be. Bender is touched by the sentiment, and promises to add Hermes to his "do-not-kill" list.
Just as the two prepare to leave, the house is attacked by Mom's Killbots after her cameras spotted Hermes and Bender investigating the old factory. Hermes says he will break into the Central Bureaucracy's database from Inspector Five's computer and list Bender as being destroyed, which will cause the robots to break off their attack. Bender warns Hermes that the Bureaucracy computers are hack-proof, but is convinced to leave when the enforcers rake the house with gunfire. The plan succeeds: Hermes changes Bender's status to "TERMINATED", which makes the robots stand down (although they destroy themselves anyway, as they are prone to open fire indiscriminately at any mention of weapons or gunfire). The house collapses in flames, but Hermes is able to limbo out of the rubble to safety.
Hermes and Bender return to New New York to find Planet Express in disarray; Leela, unable to cope with the torrent of paperwork she cannot understand, has simply been jamming incoming forms behind the office plants while waiting for Hermes to get back. Hermes quickly remedies the situation by throwing most of the paperwork into the furnace. The crew inquires as to whether Bender managed to find Inspector Five. He replies that he did not, but the experience has made him decide to live his life to its decadent fullest. Everyone leaves to celebrate except for Hermes, who stays behind and removes a folder from his coat, adding it to the furnace. The cover of the folder burns away to reveal Inspector Five's true identity: a much younger Hermes Conrad.
Flashbacks reveal that Hermes worked as an inspector at the Tijuana manufacturing plant; when Bender came off the line, Hermes found the production defect, but faced with the choice to scrap the infant robot for his flaw, Hermes chose instead to certify Bender and give him a chance at life. Hermes resigned from the Friendly Robot Company shortly afterward and left his house in Tijuana, where it remained abandoned. During their visit to the Central Bureaucracy, Hermes covered his tracks by deleting his own records and stealing his own file while Bender was distracted; he did not have to hack into the computer at the house because it was his to begin with. The final shot of the episode is of a smiling Hermes nodding toward the burning file, proud of his choice to save Bender.
The episode was in an early stage called Inspector #5, and the title was copyrighted by Fox before being changed to Lethal Inspection.
In its original American broadcast, "Lethal Inspection" was viewed by an estimated 1.920 million people, down about 300 000 viewers since "The Duh-Vinci Code". When naming the most enjoyed episodes of broadcast season 7 in a June, 2011 interview, David X. Cohen listed "Lethal Inspection" alongside "The Late Philip J. Fry" as some of the fans' favorite episodes. He said it "had a touching ending, which people didn’t see coming".
- Though we've seen the effects of Zoidberg's ink defense before this is the first time Zoidberg has done it while in frame allowing us to see him shoot ink.
- The song that is played at the end of the episode is "Little Bird, Little Bird" by Elizabeth Mitchell.
- This episode was originally going to be called "Inspector #5".
- As Bender and Hermes are in the Central Bureaucracy, Hermes says he maintains a cubicle there in numbered 729. 729 has many connotations in mathematics, the most notable being "9 cubed".
- When they enter the room, there is a cube, composed of 9 squares per side.
- 729 is also the total number of individual cubicles on the big cube (although not all cubicles are reachable if it follows the rules of a Rubik's Cube).
- Hermes' cubicle could have been moved to the proper position and orientation in half as many moves. The use of a less efficient method is extremely uncharacteristic for the Central Bureaucracy (assuming no other cubicles were of importance).
- The Central Bureaucracy is characterized by using forms for everything, and being a large waste of time. Hermes desires efficiency, but not the others. Another example of this would be the "Master In Pile" which could be organized by time of arrival, instead of just being a large pile.
- The Alienese letter Leela receives reads "Need extra cash? Melt down your old, unwanted humans, we pay top dollar".
- Bender's costume during the war re-enactment may be a reference to General George Pickett of the American Civil War. Pickett, famous for this disastrous Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg, was a Confederate general and known to be a bit of a dandy.
- "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" (2ACV11)
- "Parasites Lost" (3ACV02)
- "Bendless Love" (3ACV06)
- Bender's Big Score
- Bender's Game
- "The Duh-Vinci Code" (6ACV05)
- Scruffy's quote, "The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long," is originally from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and was also used in Blade Runner.
- The Sith Overlords are a reference to the Sith, the main antagonists of the Star Wars movies.
- One of the Sith Overlords immitates Darth Vader's mechanical breathing.
- Hermes and Bender pass a Beholder, a many-eyed creature from Dungeons & Dragons lore, making his second appearance inside the Central Bureaucracy.
- Bender says "He's got some splainin' to do," this is a reference to a famous misquote from "I Love Lucy", although Ricky Ricardo never actually said the catchphrase on the show.
- The center square bureaucrat is a caricature of Paul Lynde who was a fixture on the 1960s-70s game show Hollywood Squares; this is why the red "X" appears on his desk (to signify that a contestant had "captured" that square in a giant game of tic-tac-toe).
- He mentions the men's room stall of the TWA terminal as a place to meet people anonymously, a reference to the Larry Craig scandal.
- In Tijuana, a building hosts a board which says "Adobe Photo Shoppe" a parody of Adobe Photoshop. There is also a Tijuana Wal-Mart and a store called "¡Ay! Cantina Turner", a reference to Ike and Tina Turner.
- Hermes' line "Don't fire until you see the greens of their eyes" is based on a line from the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War when, in order to preserve ammunition, Colonel William Prescott told to his troops "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes".
- The Transcontinental Underground Railroad is a mix of the Underground Railroad (not a real railroad but a network of people in pre-civil war America that transported slaves to freedom) and the transcontinental railroad which was created in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln that opened up westward expansion.
- The ineffectiveness of tech support departments at large companies is parodied here as well.
- The concept of Bender downloading into a new body upon death is similar to that of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, Cybermen in Doctor Who as well as that of the characters from the Hugo nominated novel Glasshouse by Charles Stross.
- Bender's comment about Hermes walking away from an explosion without looking back is probably a reference to "Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions".
- The "B" in the Central Bureaucracy's sign is actually the golden arch "M" from McDonald's turned sideways.
- When Bender attempts to pretend to understand what the Mexican Border Patrolman said in Spanish, the patrolman hits Bender on the head with a ukulele. This is a reference to a running gag in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Quick Draw McGraw where Quick Draw, as his alter ego "El Kabong," would do the same. However, the gag does not use the classic "kabong" sound.
- The giant cube from Cubicle Room 729 resembles Rubik's Cube (or is possibly a reference to the sci-fi film "Cube").
- Mom's picture (with flowers in her hair and only one eyebrow) at an outdoor in front of the factory in Tijuana is an allusion to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
- This episode's title is an allusion to the lethal injection execution method, as well as Bender's fear of his own mortality. It may also be a reference to the Lethal Weapon film series.
- When Bender says "Let's get brick-faced!", he's holding a bottle of presumably tequila labeled "José Servo", it's a reference to the José Cuervo brand, as well as Servomechanism, or "servo", for short.
- Bender is also known to defecate bricks, thus aptly swapping terms to "brick-faced" instead of the colloquial "sh!t-faced" to mean getting drunk.
- Dr. Zoidberg offers Bender "a nice Kevorking", a reference to Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his controversial stance on doctor-assisted suicide.
- Inspector Five's house number is 387, which is also the name of a co-processor made by Intel.
- Just after Professor Farnsworth reveals that Bender has no backup unit, he calls Bender, "[...] you mortal coil!" This is in reference to the poetic term, mortal coil.
- Despite the events of "Attack of the Killer App", Bender uses a phone booth rather than his eyePhone and Hermes throws the same cell phone away that he had already thrown away prior to buying an eyePhone.
- Hermes has re-obtained his Grade 36, despite having been Grade 34 in Bender's Big Score.
- Hermes could have been demoted to Grade 36 off screen just as he was promoted off screen prior to Bender's Big Score.
- The cubicles in room 729 all remain upright despite being rotated and shifted.
- In a previous episode wheels shown were obsolete and no one in the future knew about them, but in this episode the Professor owns a wheelchair.
- In the pilot, Bender attempts (presumably final) suicide in a suicide booth, but in this episode it's revealed that he thinks he's immortal.
- Perhaps he thought his back-up body would be assigned to bend girders for a different purpose than suicide booths, or, if its possible, he would choose whether or not he would enter another body.
- The idea that Bender has no way of backing up his personality without a back-up unit doesn't make sense as in the episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" his personality is put on a floppy disk.
- Although it is possible that the backup floppy disk would not work in another Bending Unit. Some of Bender's attributes would always remain with the original body.
- Nobody mentioned a back up unit in "Bendin' in the Wind" when Bender's body was damaged.
- His body was only damaged then, not destroyed.
- It doesn't make sense why Bender would be worried about being remembered after death in "A Pharaoh to Remember" if he knew that he would be backed up upon death.
- The back-up unit was not mentioned in "Rebirth" either, when Bender actually died, so if he had one, it would have been used then.
- It's possible the Professor wanted to see if the machine worked on robots.
- Towards the end of the episode, Hermes and Bender return to Planet Express, wearing scarfs and sombreros. Upon their arrival, they find Planet Express practically destroyed. Hermes then walks up to Leela to offer his help on cleaning up. For a split second, his scarf changes color.
- Hermes's age conflicts here. He was confirmed to be in his fifties in the comic and Bender claims to be four years old. However, Hermes looks like he was in his twenties-thirties in his flashback in this episode.
- Bender's saying that was a few years back, though. Also, the comics are not canon since, if they were, there would be plenty of additional continuity issues in addition to this one. For example, the crew would have already known what would happen to them in the movies before they happened.
- Bender and Hermes have to use their passports to cross the boarder to Mexico, even though it has been strongly suggested that national governments on Earth have been replaced with world government and Mexico has been described as America's heartland.
- It's possible that the current nations of the world have become sovereign states of the larger Earth government in which borders may still exist.
- The above conclusion is very likely when the 3004 Olympic Games is taken into account. Individual countries such as Sweden are still known to exist, and are present at the Earth Olympiad, despite the formation of an unified Earthican government. As another example, Italy and the Robo-Hungarian Empire are both mentioned in this broadcast season. As for why passports are needed, it is possible that certain countries on Earth require identification for law-keeping or records-keeping purposes.
- It's possible that the current nations of the world have become sovereign states of the larger Earth government in which borders may still exist.
- When Fry is complaining about his injured knee after the war re-enactment, he only has marks on the left of his head. When he tastes the oil, they are on the right, then when the camera switches to Bender, they have disappeared. They reappear on the right when the camera pulls out to show Benders leakage.
- At the very end when everyone runs out of the conference room to get "brick-faced", there is a huge amount of space between the everyone's heads and the top of the door frame, but when the camera cuts to Hermes, The Professor's head is right below it as he leaves the room.
- When Hermes and Bender arrive at the room with the physical files, the door opening button is on the left of the door. When the camera zooms in and Hermes presses the button, the button is on the right of the door.
- When Fry is complaining about his scuffed knee, we can see the Planet Express ship in the background. As Bender wheels over the wheelchair, however, it's gone. And it reappears when Zoidberg performs his ink defense.
- At Mexico, two tumbleweeds hit each other head on. This is impossible, since the wind only blows one direction.
- Convergence is a way to force air upwards, which helps forming clouds. It is when two winds blow into each other that a buildup of air is created.
- Also, this is a joke to illustrate how empty and dusty everything is. It is not meant to be taken seriously.
- This episode shows Bender the size of a human infant when he was built. However, "Bendless Love" show that he was built full-sized.
- It's possible that what we saw was a transfer to an adult body. The episode "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" proves this, as Bender goes through several childhood stages when he gets younger.
- However, Bender referred to it as "the day I was built". The revised image of Bender having just been built is simply retconning by the writers, as they wanted Bender to have a childhood form in "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles".
- In FÁBRICA ROBOTICA DE LA MADRE an accent is missing: the correct spelling is ROBÓTICA.
- Fábrica de Robots de Mamá would be a better translation than Fábrica Robótica de la Madre (Mother's Robotic Factory).
- When Bender and Hermes first arrive at Inspector 5's house, the computer on the desk appears and disappears from shot to shot.
Bender: [Exits phone booth.] Well, things are startin' to look up.
Hermes: Look up! [Missile explodes.] Who did you call? Dial-a-bomb?
Bender: Ah shoot.
Killbot: Someone said "shoot!" [gunfire]
Killbot 1: We're gonna get fired.
Killbot 2: Someone said "fire!" [Gunfire kills killbot 1 then killbot 2 is killed by the tunnel.]
Killbot 2: Cease fire. Mom called off the attack, although I don't see how it's her-
Killbot 3: Someone said "howitzer!" [Killbots 1 and 3 start firing on the middle killbot, eventually blowing themselves up.]
Hermes: They have phones in booths now? Finally! I don't have to lug this cell phone around.
Old Man: I'd like to request a death certificate. [Old man dies.]
Bureaucrat: Sorry, that's building C.
Hermes: That's a calculator. I ate it to gain its power.
Bender: Anything less than immortality is a complete waste of time!
Alien Language Sightings
Location: Paper sent to Leela
Translation: NEED EXTRA CASH? MELT DOWN YOUR OLD; UNWANTED HUMANS; WE PAY TOP DOLLAR!
- ^ Cordova, Gonzalo (05 November 2009). "Countdown to Futurama: Civil War Scruffy". Comedy Central Insider. Retrieved on 08 June 2010.
- ^ 
- ^ "'Another favorite was “Lethal Inspection,” which teamed up Bender with Hermes — Bender had this fatal manufacturing defect and Hermes had to help him search through Central Bureaucracy to find out how he developed this defect and takes them to Bender’s birthplace in a factory in Mexico. It had a touching ending, which people didn’t see coming." — Cohen, David X.
Cohen, David X. (16 June 2024). Cohen Spills the Beans on Futurama's New Season. Retrieved on 16 June 2011.