FUTURAMA 6.17 ‘Law and Oracle’

Fry becomes a successful police officer until a disturbing prediction about Bender sends him reeling.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Law and Oracle"

Writer: Josh Weinstein

Director: Stephen Sandoval

"Futurama" was back in form in this week's episode, that happened to spoof everything from "Police Academy" to "Avatar."

Fry (Billy West) becomes disillusioned with his delivery boy job at Planet Express after falling for the same prank every week for the last ten years and because even Fry realizes that he has no hope of advancement. So, he pulls down his company shorts and promptly enrolls in the New New York police force and promptly becomes a fast rising star in the department.

Now, there was probably no way that I wasn't going to love any episode that made so many "Tron" references. But "Law & Oracle" was funny throughout the entire show in a way that the last few episodes of "Futurama" just haven't delivered. The smaller gags like the zombie Scruffy and Smitty the cop kissing both Amy and Zoidberg were almost all comedic gold. More importantly, this episode was firmly about Fry even when he wasn't on screen. For example, we learn that the Professor's infamous greeting "Good news, everyone!" was done solely for Fry's benefit and that Leela (Katey Sagal) and Bender (John DiMaggio) hate each other when Fry isn't there with them.

Fry's story was actually split up into different film parodies. In the "Police Academy" section, Fry even met a robot that could master sounds like Michael Winslow. Fry then crushed his spirit by pointing out that it wasn't impressive if it wasn't coming from a human. As a cop, Fry received a new partner named URL, the robot police officer who has been making cameo appearances since the beginning of the series. I never realized until now that John DiMaggio was also providing URL's voice. We've been conditioned to expect most of the robot humor from Bender, but URL really carried the show this week with his '80s cop vibe and his open affair with the female police chief.

The highlight of the episode was the aforementioned "Tron" sequence which started off with a hilarious science joke about the speed of light and ended with a riff on Schrödinger's cat . Bender and Leela's trip to Pandora was also amusing for the mock 3-D sequences that left Leela barely able to see while Bender pushed objects at the audience like so many cheep 3-D films.

When the episode starting going towards its "Minority Report" parody, it lost some of the momentum that had built up in the first half of the show. Basically, Fry was promoted to the future crimes division, where an oracle robot named Pickles predicted that Fry would fatally shoot Bender during an upcoming heist for the Maltese Liquor. An alternate future in which Fry refuses to shoot Bender led to a scenario in which Bender accidentally poisoned the Planet Express crew by sharing the liquor with them.

The buildup to the climax was still funny, but it felt like the first half had the bulk of the truly memorable jokes. Of course, Pickles' predictions turned out to be false for some rather obvious reasons. Though I did love Fry's admission that he rechecked the predictions "for anything that I missed due to incompetence" as well as the prediction proof glass used in the final reveal.

This episode may not have been as well written as some of the classic episodes of "Futurama," but it was a solid half hour of comedy that kept me laughing. Sometimes, that's all I need.

Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.