I know this would never be feasible, but I always wished that the Futurama crew would be able to produce one real series finale and keep it in the can until the show ends for good, then they air it. That way, we would get a true finale with a full sense of closure, as opposed to a series of potential finales with some closure and yet some open-endedness.
As it is, though, I really did enjoy Meanwhile. It had everything I have come to expect from a Futurama finale. Good jokes, great visuals, interesting science fiction, and a bittersweet ending.
Very bittersweet. Good night, Futurama. I will always remember all the joy you brought me.Story
The story in this final finale was solid. I found the episode as a whole to be satisfying and would really only be improved if it were written as a true, definitive finale (which, due to the nature of production of this series, would never happen, anyways).
As a final finale, I find it fitting that we get a glimpse of Fry and Leela's future. Whereas The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings, Into The Wild Green Yonder, and Overclockwise all focused on the present and the characters' desires and anxieties over the future, Meanwhile shows us what the future would be like for Fry and Leela, albeit with an unusual twist.
And we got a very sweet ending. For a bittersweet ending to my favorite show.Plot
Meanwhile presented us with a unique conundrum. Almost every turn in the plot of this episode was engaging and overall entertaining. I don't think there were really any plotholes to be found here, though the ending could have been either set up, developed, or explained a bit better.
Still, the writers did a great job at properly introducing elements that come up later in the episode at appropriate times. Nothing ever felt forced or confusing. Examples here include the time-altering button, the ability to hide from its effects, the consequences of leaving the protective spheres during repeated presses of the time button, and the glimmer.
The glimmer might seem a little bit like deus ex machina, but it's not nearly as bad as it has been in previous episodes, paricularly the mystic aldermen of the sun from The Inhuman Torch. It could have been much worse had they failed to introduce the glimmer earlier on, though it could have been better had they established that the ten dollar bill and the Professor would be sent to another dimension (or whatever) rather than being essentially killed.Funny
This episode was consistently funny. It all respects, Meanwhile was well-written. Throughout the entire episode, I was either smiling out of enjoyment, laughing from the good jokes, or admiring the beautiful shots on the screen.
My favorite line from this episode: You know those dreams where you're falling, and right before you hit the ground you wake up? Those are great.Characters
Bender is a jerk and Fry and Leela are focused on their relationship. This seems like a natural fit for a Futurama finale. (Indeed, these elements have been explored in previous finales.) Fortunately, these elements were well-written and did not seem forced or over-the-top. Compare this to Leela's melodrama and obsessive worrying over her relationship with Fry in Overclockwise and Meanwhile not only feels more natural, but also less whiney or annoying.
On the whole, every character was in-character and well-utilized. Whereas not every character had a memorable moment, it was great to see all of the main crew as well as plenty of faces new and old in New New York. The cameos are obviously appropriate for a series finale, but I was also happy to see some new characters make it into the cut. Ultra Guy was pretty funny -- the superheroes in the 31st century are consistently underwhelming and live relatively dull lives. I particularly loved János, the stereotypical ominous vampire servant at the Vampire State Building.Classic
As a finale, Meanwhile featured plenty of callbacks. We went to Luna Park pretty early. Though Luna Park and Luna Parking look very different from in Episode Two: The Series Has Landed, the abandoned moon buggy was features in an establishing shot. Poor, depressed Craterface's bits were predictable yet still funny. Plus, he blocked the hole in the exterior similar to the Holodeck moon from Kif Gets Knocked Up A Notch. Plenty of other characters and locations from throughout the series were revisited, especially during the frozen montage. We also got a dark yet subtle callback to Fry's previous suicide attempt in the previous finale at Niagara Falls (also when he thought he had to live without Leela).
More subtle, though, were the callbacks to lines from the first episode of each run. Pretty, though.
was uttered in reference to the glimmer as well as by Smitty at the end of Space Pilot 3000. Goodbye, my love.
was said when Fry thought Leela wasn't going to show up, calling back to when he thought Leela was dead in Rebirth.Visuals
Meanwhile was yet again a true display of beauty, and they took full advantage of it with the beautiful eternal sunset and all of the vistas during the frozen montage. This gave the artists a chance to create a series of artistic views. A few very nice action shots were included as well, especially Leela spinning the Globetrotters' basketball and blowing on a snowflake. Everything during the montage was particularly awe-inspriing, and it was made even more serene by scoring it with the first movement of Frédéric Chopin's Étude Op. 10, No. 3
I find it a little disappointing that this final opening did not have classic cartoon on the video billboard to send off this great show.
It would be nice to see a Futurama animatic for the final opening.
As for the actual storyline, I found Leela's fake death to be largely fake compelling. That is, I did not feel for her death or Fry's reaction to it. I think it just was not set up very well. The first time I watched this episode, I wasn't whether or not Leela was supposed to be presumed death. This is a science-fiction cartoon, afterall.
Fry's death was more moving since the plot built up to it and it had a more definitive and emotional resonance. His death (or should I say deaths?) was a bit gory, though.Highlights
• "AVENGE US" ("See You On Some Other Channel" turned out to be true. I guess we should ready up our torches and pitchforks.
• Man, we sure used to try harder back then.
(Lazily throws delivery toward Deliveries slot.)
• "Please Barf With The Wind"
• Your wife is dead.
/ She wasn't my wife!
/ Oh. Then there is no bad news.
• What exactly was Bender busy with while "sleeping" in his room?
• Come iiinnn...
• Uh-huh, good talk, we're done here.
• G. N., E.!
• Friends! I found a ten dollars!
• I guess what I'm saying is, the next time you almost die, I want it to be as my wife!
• At the end of the scene at Elzar's, the clam coughs as Fry walks away.
• Strange things happen when the shadows lengthen...
• Janitor to the 237th floor men's room.
(János whisks away from behind his cape.)
• 6:30. Maybe she's stuck in slow traffic.
(Looks down. No ground traffic, incredibly fast air traffic.)
• Fry getting exhausted and falling asleep during his infinite fall.
• At least I have Leela's comforting scream to look forward to.
• It worked!
/ But you killed the Professor!
/ Yeah, but it worked!
• We can get married in the morning. Except there won't be morning.
/ We can worry about that in the morning.
• "Bronx Zoo: Get A Loada Dese Animals Ova Here"
• Zoidberg being used as a hat rack.
• I tried to fix it once, but then I got mad and hit it some more. I guess it's good we didn't have children.Overall
And that's how the series went out on a high note. Thank you, MG, DXC, & Co.9.5/10What do you say? Want to go around again?I do.