Last Scenes of Every ‘Futurama’ ‘Finale,’ Ranked
A new season of Futurama is dropping next year, which means we’re getting at least one more series finale to be added to the inevitable Futurama: All the Finales 10-disc Blu-ray set. So while we wait for that (and the rest of the new season), let’s travel back/forward to the 31st century and rank all the Futurama finales that exist so far...
‘Overclockwise’ (2011) — Fry and Leela’s Ultimate Fate
In Futurama’s third finale, Bender is overclocked and becomes almost as smart as Bradley Cooper in that movie where Bradley Cooper is super smart. Now that he’s using 100 percent of his CPU, Bender can accurately predict the future via the magic of math. He reverts to his normal self by the end, but before being de-smarted, he writes down his predictions for the future of Fry and Leela’s relationship (since the episode’s B-plot was about the two not being sure if that future even existed).
Fry and Leela silently reading Bender’s note and reacting through smiles and tears (and slaps) is a touching moment, but that doesn’t change the fact that, for a series finale, this is kind of a cop-out. Another point against this episode is that, although it was designed to serve as a finale, it wasn’t even the final episode of the season. Any emotional impact of potentially saying goodbye to these characters forever was somewhat undercut by the fact that they were doing a wacky anime parody the following week.
‘Into the Wild Green Yonder’ (2009) — Everyone Gets Sucked Into a Wormhole
Remember when Futurama died (for the first time) and came back in the form of movies? The last of these direct-to-DVD films was Into the Wild Green Yonder, which ends with the Planet Express gang being chased into a wormhole with no way of knowing “if they’ll ever return” because the creators didn’t know if that would happen either, and wanted to give everyone a nice send-off. They also made sure to include almost every minor character in the series in a massive group shot that’s probably giving some animators in Korea wrist problems to this day.
This proved to be a short-lived finale since the series landed at Comedy Central less than a year later. Also, the first new episode reset Fry and Leela’s relationship by killing them, bringing them back as robots, then bringing them back for real. Still, judged on its own merits, the wormhole idea is a nice enough ending; at least they left the characters’ fate open-ended instead of cruelly declaring, “Fry and his friends never returned home.”
‘Meanwhile’ (2013) — Fry and Leela Are Stuck in a Moment
The fourth and, for the moment, final finale finds Fry and Leela accidentally freezing time for everyone in the universe except themselves. Deciding to make the most out of their situation, they get married and spend decades traveling the world and growing old together. Professor Farnsworth then crashes their loooong honeymoon to fix the device that paused time and prevent the entire ordeal from happening, presumably annulling Fry and Leela’s marriage. Though we’re not sure if a marriage conducted by a frozen Space Pope was valid in the first place.
This is the first finale in this list that actually feels like something the entire episode, maybe even series, had been building up to, as opposed to something that was tacked on at the last minute. It’s also a superior version of the idea for the “Overclockwise” finale: This time, we can finally see what Fry and Leela are getting so emotional about. It should be noted, though, that this season technically got another send-off a year later when the Simpsons/Futurama crossover aired as “one more chance to see those characters,” but we’re not counting that one as a finale. (The comic did it better anyway.)
‘The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings’ (2003) — Fry Plays the Holophonor
When Fry switches hands with the Robot Devil, he uses them to master an instrument called the holophonor, which is basically a flute that gives you acid trips. Fry composes a beautiful audiovisual tour de force in an attempt to impress Leela, but halfway through the opening night, he ends up giving his new hands back to the Robot Devil to stop him from forcing Leela to marry him. The audience storms out upon seeing and hearing the inept way Fry plays the holophonor with his own hands, but Leela stays behind because she “wants to hear how it ends.” What follows is the most romantic middle school kid-level animation imaginable.
The very first Futurama finale is also the very best, but this is more than a good finale; it’s just good television, and a reminder that Futurama can pack a real emotional punch when it wants to. Every episode that ends without a punchline has to be among the most emotionally devastating minutes of television ever created, and people will surely study them until the actual year 3000. Or not. Ehh, whatever.
Thumbnail: 20th Television