Murder on the Planet Express offered us a unique serving within the Futurama-verse. There was plenty of science fiction with good horror elements while staying faithful to the feel and formula familiar to Futurama fans. The visuals, audio, and voice acting were all well-done and added to the suspense and tension. It was nice to see Futurama take on a creepy and suspenseful tone, rather than a goofy tone over an eerie backdrop.
On top of that, there were really no issues to be had here. This episode had good pacing; Act 1 was a bit slow, but once the action got rolling in Act 2, it was non-stop fun-fun. There were no plotholes. While some of the plot twists were a little predictable, there were plenty of other twists that were genuinely surprising -- especially when you were trying to guess what would happen next and you turned out to be wrong!Plot
This episode was truly engaging. It kept me interested the whole way through and managed to surprise me on several occasions. I especially loved the adventurous feel of the pairs' exploits. Bender's gyroscope melting was a unique twist that was both a factor and product of the characters' natural interactions. I also like that Zoidy's ink finally gets used as a plot device rather than a mere joke!
The ending was pretty dark and it was expertly pulled off. I thought throughout Acts 1 and 2 that the deaths would be either fake or reversable, as in almost all of the other deaths we have seen in this series. It is, perhaps strangely, refreshing to see that Dan McMasters' death was real, permanent, canon, true, irreversable, etc. How many semi-important characters (ones that have at least played a role in a story arc) have been killed off? Billy West and Dan McMasters?
But most importantly, it managed to keep the crew alive (even Jackie Jr.!) without any use of deus ex machina.Funny
This episode was funny pretty consistently throughout the episode. There were a couple of jokes that didn't really work for me, but nearly all of them were spot on. The Professor repeating the Professor Monster's speech in Act 3 was quite humorous. Fry stretching out into Bender was creepy and weird and gross. I especially appreciate how Dan McMasters was overly confident and upbeat. His characterizations both satirized real-life motivational professionals and led to his downfall and demise.
All in all, the humor was fresh and consistent, with very few missteps.
My favorite line from this episode: I've always had ears.
/ No, you haven't.
/ Alright, fine, you got me. I can't keep track of every detail!
All of the characters were in-character and appropriately used. This episode even pitted characters against each other in duos. I think it would have been more interesting to see the characters feuding and paired off in other combinations, however. We see Fry and Bender interact constantly. We see Leela and Amy insulting each other often. Hermes' hatred towards Zoidberg has been explored since early in Season 1. I really enjoyed the Friender, Lamy, and Hermberg interactions and the jokes they offered, but I think this may have been a missed opportunity to further develop lesser-seen character interactions.Classic
Despite trekking new territory and tropes, Murder on the Planet Express seemed pretty classic to me. Granted, the classic episodes would have probably taken a much more light-hearted approach to the story, but the characters all seemed true to themselves and true to their original era roots.
Leela beating up the monster was a good showing of classic, fearless, excessively violent Leela. Fry and Bender being incapable of testing each other for authenticity was a nice touch and spoke to their foolishness while also exhibiting the closeness of their friendship. I personally especially enjoyed Scruffy in this episode. He was hilariously down on himself in his quips regarding the insect he killed. He was also especially mysterious, having hired an apprentice with no explanation or plausible necessity. I am very happy to see him once again unable to recognize or name someone on the Planet Express crew.Visuals
The horror setting gave this episode a new light to explore visually. The Futurama crew and the folks at Rough Draft Korea again excelled in Murder on the Planet Express, which is especially noteable because this episode was inherently different and limiting based on its concept -- the bulk of the episode was in outer space and in the Planet Express ship.
Highlights of the visuals in this episode were both artistic and technological in nature. I really enjoyed seeing the 3D-rendered stars at the start of Act 2 as the Planet Express ship is flying through space and Dan McMasters is starting his schpeal. I also loved seeing new parts of the interior of the ship. (I wonder how big the ship would actually have to be to include everything we've seen in it since 1ACV01...) The art style in the dark basement where Leela and Amy are walking by flashlight was especially inspired.Gripes
There's not much to complain about with this episode, especially considering that a considerable amount of episodes from the new run have suffered from poor pacing, plot holes, apparent shock value humor, and deus ex machina.
As a very minor complaint, I would say that the mystery trope elements were laid on a little thick in the first act. Suspenseful music, half-closed eyes, evil laughs, accusations, misleads, etc., were a bit overused. I also did not particularly enjoy seeing Leela eat Fry's kidney or Amy's jockstrap/thong line. Ew. Gross. They could have cut that line, for all I care. Highlights
Number Nine's overuse of all four appendages was delightful and fun.
The Eye of Providence
poster in Number Nine's Discount Spy Store.
Remote 15" floppy disk. Fuuutuuure
Who said that!?
Alright people... and other things!
Yet still I feel empty inside.
Yep. And yet what did it solve? What did the violence solve?
No wonder my urine smells like a meal!
A Wreck-It Ralph! cameo! Yay! I love this movie, which was directed by Futurama's own Rich Moore.
(Visibly annoyed) I hope you're happy!
Ooor, we could not do that!
The name of the game is Candy Land.
The monster/character keeps a cool, nonchalant expression after obviously "eating" another person.
Friender. Lamy. Hermberg.
You fend off the creature with kicks and farts.
Zoidberg and Monster Zoidberg's exchange. Is it me, maybe?
(Reveal that it's the other one.) Aww...
Friender, Friender, Friender! Friender, Friender, Friender!
(Callback to Bender, Bender, Bender! Bender, Bender, Bender!
I also liked that Fry and Bender spoke (and sang) in perfect synchronicity while donned as Friender.
Bender somersaulting directly to the monster.Overall
Murder on the Planet Express treads new territory and does not disappoint.9/10Addendum.