Episode Title: "The Duh-Vinci Code"
Writer: Maiya Williams
Director: Raymie Muzquiz
Previously on "Futurama":
Amy (Lauren Tom) and Bender (John DiMaggio) embarked on a whirlwind robosexual affair that challenged the social conventions of the future. After facing stiff resistance from Amy’s parents, the Professor (Billy West) and the church of robotology, Amy and Bender joined a movement to legalize robosexual marriage.
During a debate prior to the final vote, the Professor revealed that he too was once a robosexual, before heartbreak over the loss of his lover left him bitter at all other robosexuals. The Professor admitted his mistake and threw his support behind Proposition Infinity, helping it pass into law. However, before Bender could marry Amy, he learned that she wanted a monogamous relationship and he broke up with her on the spot.
Seeing his opportunity, her ex-boyfriend Kiff reinvented himself as a "bad boy" and quickly won Amy back.
Fry appears on Morbo’s game show "Who Dares To Be A Millionaire?" and he promptly embarrasses himself by immediately missing an incredibly easy question. Constantly mocked by his friends and co-workers afterwards, the Professor takes Fry aside to show him his greatest possession: Leonardo da Vinci’s beard. Fry promptly destroys it by putting it on and sneezing while wearing it, but in the process he reveals a scroll hidden in the beard that may lead to one of da Vinci’s greatest inventions. Fry offers to help the Professor solve the riddle, but is laughed out of the room and later the building before being hit by a hover bus.
Recovered from his injuries, Fry rejoins the Planet Express crew on a trip to Rome, following the apparent revelation that da Vinci depicted James the Lesser as a robot in "The Last Supper." The crew finds James’ tomb and discovers a primitive robot within named Animitronio, who attempts to thwart their discovery of da Vinci’s lost room of wonders: a series of flying machines that join together to become a spaceship. Fry and the Professor are accidentally trapped on the ship as it takes off into space.
A month later, they land on an alien planet and are greeted by Leonardo da Vinci himself. He admits that he is an alien and welcomes them to Planet Vinci, a world of super-intellectuals. At first the Professor is at home, but soon faces ridicule when his intelligence can’t keep up with the rest of the people on the planet. Fry also learns that Leonardo is considered to be the stupidest man on his planet, where he faces ridicule as well. He laments losing the plans for his greatest invention until Fry reveals that he found the plans hidden in the beard.
Fry and Leonardo use the plans finish Leonardo’s ultimate machine, which turns out to be a doomsday device (that makes ice cream as a by-product). The Professor joins with Leonardo’s bid to destroy the planet, having experienced too much ridicule at the hands of Leonardo’s people. However, Fry is determined to stop them. Using two nails, he attempts to jam the machine, but one of the nails ricochets into his eye, causing him to fall into the machine and jam it from the inside. Leonardo is inadvertently crushed in the aftermath. Having their fill of the planet, Fry and the Professor begin the journey home.
This was an unusual episode that felt very… 2006. It feels like the "Futurama" writers and producers are still playing catch up with pop culture. And it makes me wonder what an episode of "Futurama" inspired by the pop culture of 2010 is going to look like when it shows up in two to four years.
Sure, "Who Dares To Be A Millionaire?" was funny, but it would have been a dated reference back in 2003!
Don’t get me wrong, this was still a funny episode — although not quite the equal of the other episodes this season.
The "Da Vinci Code" references still played well, especially when the Professor actually reads the book and dismisses it as "preposterous [and] hogwash." Dr. Zoidberg’s degree in art history was a brilliant touch. Plus, how many shows get to make jokes about a robotic version of James the Lesser?
Animitronio didn’t quite have the right spark to be a convincing villain, but he’s worth keeping around. One minor thing that I noticed — which was kind of surprising — is that Bender actually helped Leela save Fry and the Professor from being killed by tackling Animitronio. I don’t remember ever seeing him do anything that altruistic before.
Also, it turns out that the Space Pope really is reptilian!
Da Vinci’s home planet was intriguing and could have served up enough fodder for an entire episode by itself. I loved that the Professor had to answer calculus questions in the form of an Opera.
In the end, this is more of an "okay" episode of "Futurama;" which means that it’s still light years ahead of almost every other comedy show on TV.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.