Originally posted by Xanfor:
1BDI, you were saying?...
...I was saying how I completely mistranslated your use of the word "rant" three pages ago.
But I did promise my own rant, so here goes. Before I do, I want to say that I know this is a popular episode and that I know I'm coming in with a rather unpopular opinion about it. I'm not trying to convert anyone with this ramble, and I sincerely doubt I would even if that were my intention; I'm just trying to explain myself.
(Also, this reached two pages in MS Word, so... turn away if you don't want to waste a small portion of your life on this.)
"Leela's Homeworld" is, IMO
, a brilliant idea that was simply executed in a less-than-brilliant manner. That I had been waiting for an episode like this, a proper "Leela's origins" episode, to air for years
probably didn't help matters; I'm sure my expectations were raised much higher than they should have been because of this.
Anyway, the first act was actually pretty good: it was nice to see the orphanarium again, and I thought using Leela as an example of how a parentless life doesn't immediately condemn you to a living hell was a nice contrast to the "failures" we saw in "The Cyberhouse Rules." I thought the kids pretending to be Leela and seeing her as a hero of sorts was adorable. Even better was seeing her break down later that night, a scene that not only reinstated just how desperate she was to find her family, but also helped reinforce some bonds between her and Fry (always a good thing in my book
And then Leela said that line
and the camera made [/i]that pan[/i] and everything just started going to pot.
I'm sorry, but the huge revelation in the third act was severely dampened for me by the final seconds of the first act. When Leela talks about her parents "looking down" on her, and the camera pans to the sky... and then immediately drops to the sewer below to reveal Morris and Munda, I cringe. Every time. DXC said on the commentary that the revelation was intentional, but I'm still not sure I understand the logic of allowing the audience to know of Leela's secret before Leela herself knows: because of it, I found Leela's suspicious through much of the second and third acts a lot less interesting and a lot
less intense. Why bother working myself up over her concerns if I already knew the answer she was looking for? It just seemed like a really bad move in general.
Some could argue that the audience had to know about Leela's parents beforehand so they could understand the significance of killing them when she threatened to at the end of act 3, but that information was established (reinforced, in this case) anyway during the flashback scene that occured immediately prior to that incident. All the other times that we saw Leela's parents, they were cloaked or hidden away, as though we the audience were not meant to see them for who they really were. Their actions hinted at their true identity, of course, but that's all they really did: hinted
. At no point did I feel that knowing who they were at the beginning of the episode contributed to the story; if anything, it took away from the experience. Because of this, I fail to understand why that first establishing peak of Leela's identity in act 1 was even necessary.
That was my biggest grudge against the episode, but there were other smaller things that bugged me. Why were the mutants so suddenly keen on taking down the trio when 1) Only Bender had been doing the dumping and 2) a few years back, they were revered has heros for getting rid of El Chupanibre? I could have forgiven the former if they'd bothered to explain the latter, but it seemed like they had entirely forgotten about Fry, Leela, and Bender's first trip to the sewers.
Also, why did Leela risk becoming mutated just to see who the cloaked pair were
? At that point, it wasnít even established that she
suspected them to know about her past, let alone that they were related to them, so why did she risk everything just to confront a pair of strangers who happened to know her name? It seemed rather OOC for the normally level-headed and rational Leela, and I felt that jumping scene was simply thrown in to close off the second act on a dramatic note, which IMO was just not a good enough excuse to justify it. Why didnít she just find another sewer grate and sneak into the town and back to the mysterious house that raised so many questions?
Furthermore, she walks out of the water completely unharmedÖ and the mutants who just banished her
do nothing. Yes, she beats a guard down who tries to stop her, but I was under the impression that he was simply protecting Morris and Munda. Why didnít anyone step up and try to send her back to the surface?
Shockingly, there were
some parts I enjoyed.
I thought the flashback of Leelaís birth and subsequent abandonment were very well done, and the montage at the end was very sweet. Fry was great in this episode.
I'll admit, I probably would have forgiven much of this if this episode hadn't been so important to the series. But as something that held so much weight, that tells such a critical chapter of the story, I felt it fell short in many respects.