I'm so happy I didn't have to wait long to see this episode after I was done with Into the Wild Green Yonder.
With the show coming out of retirement, this episode is definitely a classic. OK maybe not Roswell That Ends Well, The Luck of the Fryish or The Late Philip J. Fry type of classic, but surely one that steered the series into a new direction while maintaining course. More on that oxymoron later.
Immediately from the start of the episode, we see the quasi-maniacal, doomsday device loving Doctor Farnsworth working on something
that surely piqued the interest of viewers. And then we're shown what happened to the PE crew after impact on Earth. Thanks to the assumed advances in stem-cell research, the crew returns from the "primordial soup" relatively intact. All except Leela - which I knew from the start would bother me the entire
The distraught Fry attempts to bring back Leela by "downloading" her thoughts and memory into a robot he purchased, which even took Leela's shape as a human. But ultimately I felt "empty" inside. I know that is pretty vague, but watching "robot Leela's" reaction to her comatose Leela just freaked me out. We saw Fry get Leela "back", but what we're seeing as the viewer just isn't so. And now imagine for a second that you were "robot Leela", intact
with her old thoughts and memories, looking at her corpse. We all knew that it was a farce, and it was tough to watch Fry having to cope with that. At the end of the day, Robot Leela was an abomination - a counterfeit Leela that shouldn't exist. But it feels
just like her... shouldn't that be enough? Can't Fry have his cake AND eat it too? I honestly don't know how I would approach that predicament if that were ever my life.
Thankfully as the episode develops, we learn more about what happened after the PE crew crashed into the Earth. Leela's body was actually saved by Fry, as he successfully sacrificed his own to try and save her. A distraught Leela, learning that Fry was utterly destroyed, sought out and purchased a Robot Fry and, again, downloaded his memory into the robot mainframe. We, the viewers, now see how the love story-arc theme between Fry and Leela will develop.
It's evident that Fry and Leela could not bear to live without each other, and the writers worked to implement this "change of heart" to the series into Rebirth. With the rest of the crew returned, and Fry reborn, we the viewers see which direction the writers will take us. It is now clear that there will indeed be a budding relationship, with its highs and lows, between Fry and Leela. This is a stark contrast to Futurama's prior life on Fox - where we saw Leela consistently reject Fry, even telling him that they'll be "friends" at best. It seems that the end of Into the Wild Green Yonder changed of all this.
The show is back with the same old crew (maintaining course) but now with a developed and profound relationship between Leela and our protagonist Fry (new direction). As a sucker for a love story, this is truly a welcomed change to quite possibly one of the best-animated shows ever to grace the airwaves.