The Inhuman Torch
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|Season 7 episode|
Broadcast season 10 episode
|The Inhuman Torch|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Directed by||Frank Marino|
|Title caption||AS SEEN AT THE 1939 WORLD'S FAIR|
|First air date||10 July 2013|
|Title reference||See here|
"The Inhuman Torch" is the one hundred and thirty-second episode of Futurama, the eighteenth of the seventh production season and the fifth of the tenth broadcast season. It aired on 10 July 2013, on Comedy Central. Bender becomes a famous firefighter, but the crew suspects him of arson.
Act I: "Bite my shiny metal axe!"
At a helium mining facility on the sun, Zapp Brannigan causes a cave-in that traps 15 miners inside the sun itself. Fry, Leela, and Bender venture to save the miners. When Bender attempts to abandon Fry and Leela and return to the ship, he inadvertently saves one of the miners. Prompted by Morbo, who is covering the breaking story on location, Bender goes on to rescue all of the remaining victims. He is hailed as the hero of the day, while Fry and Leela are recognized as his minor accomplices. A fire breaks out at their award ceremony, but as Mayor Poopenmeyer explains, the fire department was sold to pay for Bender's medal. Fry, Leela, and Bender put out the fire, although Bender is very showy about it and once again receives most of the credit. Poopenmeyer decrees that the Planet Express crew are now the city's fire department.
Act II: "I've saved the entire world! And no one will ever know."
After some time as successful firefighters, the other crew members notice that Bender was present just before every one of the fires they extinguished. They ask themselves whether Bender might be setting these fires deliberately in order to inspire continued hero-worship. Their suspicions are confirmed when, while on the videophone with Bender, they see a fire break out in the shop just behind him. When he returns to headquarters, they confront him and kick him off the team.
As Bender cleans out his locker, a strange, blue flame erupts from his shoulder. He tries to extinguish it, but the flame moves around as though deliberately dodging his attempts. Finally, the flame takes on the look of a shadowy face and begins to speak to Bender. It says that it is a "being of pure solar energy," a member of a race that inhabits the Sun's photosphere. It explains that billions of years ago, it was imprisoned for treason, but that Bender has unwittingly transported it to Earth. When it announces its plans to ignite the earth and rule over it, Bender realizes that this creature is the source of the fires for which he has been blamed. When Bender accidentally leads it to the sub-basement and the lava pit, it realizes that it can go to Earth's core and transform the earth into a miniature sun. To prevent this, Bender captures the creature within his compartment of mystery and flees to an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean, where there is nothing flammable. He announces to the creature, which he begins to refer to as "Flamo", that they will be here for the next billion years.
Act III: "You are now the greatest hero in Earth's history."
At home, Fry accepts a package that contains Bender's hero medal, badly damaged in the fire at the Vampire Bank where Bender had kept it. Fry realizes that Bender never would have set a fire that would risk harm to this prize, and flies to the Arctic to retrieve and apologize to Bender. But when Bender explains that "it was a psychotic flame creature from the sun who set those fires," Fry decides that he must have been wrong about Bender after all. Fry angrily returns to headquarters alone.
Unbeknownst to Fry and Bender, Flamo has escaped from Bender and attached itself to Fry's pants. At headquarters, it leaves Fry and ignites the Planet Express building itself. The crew are unable to extinguish the fire, as Flamo eludes their hoses. Just as they express relief that no one is left in the doomed building, Fry appears, hanging from the balcony and in need of rescue. Bender had discovered the loss of his captive earlier, and had left the Arctic just in time to arrive at this moment. He arrives such that only Fry knows of his presence, and quietly pulls him to relative safety. Fry refuses to be rescued, but Bender forces the issue. Fleeing with Fry in hand, Bender falls through the weakening floor, ending up in the sub-basement near the lava pit. Fry scolds Bender sharply and walks out on him, just as Flamo arrives and dives into the lava pit. Fry returns to scold Bender further, but Bender dives into the lava to capture Flamo. Before Fry can leave, a strange light draws him back into the room. Two large flame creatures appear, announcing that they are the "mystic aldermen of the sun." They await Bender's return, thank him for his heroism in capturing their escapee, explain that he is "now the greatest hero in Earth's history," and depart with a bound Flamo.
Fry finally understands the truth, and promises to vouch for Bender to the rest of the crew, but Bender explains that it cannot be. They wouldn't believe Fry either. And in fact, if Fry were to tell them that Bender is even present, they'll blame Bender for the fire. The only solution is for Fry to claim that he himself accidentally started the fire while Bender was thousands of miles away.
On 17 January 2012, Futurama writer Eric Rogers revealed that the episode was being written. On 7 February, an image of the episode's production script cover was posted to Twitter, revealing the episode's title. On 11 December, executive producer David X. Cohen revealed the episode's plot in an interview with Crave Online.
- The helium abundance outside the core of the sun is not very different from that of interstellar gas, so helium mining in the sun is probably not practicable.
- Even if the force field of the helium mine could block out the searing plasma, the photons emitted would surely have fried the miners.
- The photosphere of the sun, from which Flamo claims to be from, is in fact one of its coolest parts. Thermonuclear fusion occurs in the core of the sun, at temperatures reaching 106 K; in comparison, the photosphere is merely 6000 K, hardly hot enough for any nuclear burning to happen. Photons produced deep inside the sun diffuse slowly outward until they reach the photosphere; here, the density is low enough for the photons to escape outward directly. When we look at the disk of the sun, it is these photons that are reaching our eyes.
- Fry asks if they picked a new pope. A new pope was elected exactly 17 weeks before this episode aired.
- After Bender saves Hattie, a journalist can be seen holding a camera just like his.
- Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
- The episode's title may be a reference to either the Human Torch or the Inhuman Torch, both members of the fictional superhero team the Fantastic Four. It can also be a reference to the original Human Torch, who was actually a robot.
- The title caption is a reference to Futurama's namesake, the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York world's fair.
- The plot is very similar to an episode of the science-fiction series Sliders called "The Fire Within". In the episode a sentient flame follows the characters, with the intention of burning everything on Earth.
- The alarm tones are identical to the ones used in the television series Emergency!.
- The name "Count Bankula" is a reference to the literary villain Count Dracula.
- Above the door to the meat market, there is a sign that reads "K", in Alienese. This may be a reference to the discount store Kmart.
- Could also be mimicking the "K" symbol on some delicatessens indicating kosher meat practices.
- In Bender's locker, there is an issue of Gorts Illustrated, a reference to the robot Gort and to the media franchise Sports Illustrated.
- Flamo may be a reference to the fire demon Calcifer, from the 1986 fantasy novel Howl's Moving Castle.
- Bender's voice should not be affected by the helium in the doom chamber as he doesn't have vocal cords.
- The sound of his mechanical voice would travel faster through helium, making it sound higher.
- In the scene where Bender walks in after coming back from the meat market, Amy's suspenders are switching from on to off between 2 frames.
- Fry's bed is incorrectly layered (time: 17:08).
- One of Leela's breasts is off-model in one frame.
- Bender should be melted down in the pool of lava in his attempt to capture Flamo as he didn't apply the heat-exclusion spray.
- He's 40% dolomite.
- The fing-longer last appeared in "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences".
- The New New York Times was first seen in "Reincarnation", as the NNY Times.
Professor Farnsworth: We can't have an arsonist in our midst. We can have four idiots and a fat guy, but no arsonists!
Fry: Someone save me! I made a rope from my clothes, but then this fire started.
Location: Meat-market sign
- Mrs. Astor
- Debut: The bank vampire
- Dr. Beeler
- Mrs. Beeler
- Calculon (cameo, 11:33)
- Professor Farnsworth
- Debut: Flamo
- Debut: The helium miners
- The Hypnotoad (heard only)
- Debut: The mystic aldermen of the sun
- Mayor Poopenmeyer
- The pope (mentioned in speech only)
- The queen of Yonkers
- Randy Munchnik
- The Robot Devil
- Ruth and Esther
- Scoop Chang
- Stephanie (cameo, 10:29)
- Zapp Brannigan
- The accusing parlour
- Apartment 00100100
- The Arctic Ocean
- Cairo (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Count Bankula Vampire Bank
- Debut: Farnsworth Lanes
- Debut: The meatery
- The Planet Express attic
- The Planet Express employee lounge
- The Planet Express conference room
- The Planet Express headquarters
- The Planet Express lobby
- The Planet Express sub-basement
- Robot Arms Apartments
- Robot Hell
- Debut: The solar helium mine
- The sun
- ^ Eric Rogers (17 January 2012). Kitchelfilms. (Twitter.) Retrieved on 22 January 2012.
- ^ a b cocoa j (07 February 2012). cocoalikesthis. (Twitter.) Retrieved on 08 February 2012.
- ^ Fred Topel (11 December 2012). David X Cohen on ‘Futurama’ Season 7 And Beyond!. (CraveOnline.) Retrieved on 22 December 2012.
- ^ Jesse David Fox (05 February 2013). Watch a Preview of Futurama’s Seventh Season. (Vulture.com.) Retrieved on 17 August 2013.
- ^ Countdown to Futurama: Solar Helium Mine. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 14 May 2013. Retrieved on 03 July 2013.
- ^ a b c Countdown to Futurama: Fireman Bender, Professor Fire Chief & Fire Dalmatian Nibbler. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 15 May 2013. Retrieved on 03 July 2013.
- ^ Countdown to Futurama: Gold Fry, Bender and Leela. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 16 May 2013. Retrieved on 03 July 2013.
- ^ Countdown to Futurama: Bender Saves Fry. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 17 May 2013. Retrieved on 03 July 2013.
- ^ Comedy Central. Retrieved on 02 July 2013.