‘The Six Million Dollar Mon’
The Six Million Dollar Mon tells you everything you need to know about the latest episode of Futurama. It’s essentially a parody, loosely based on the 1970’s television series, The Six Million Dollar Man. In the series, astronaut Steve Austin is severely injured in a crash, and as a result, is rebuilt with bionic implants. The episode also gives you a subtle hint that it will focus on bureaucrat Hermes Conrad, as it makes reference to his Jamaican accent through an ingenious pun.
In this episode, Hermes Conrad conducts performance reviews to determine the worst employee at the company. The most incompetent member of the Planet Express delivery crew will be fired for wasting valuable company time. Ironically, Hermes comes to the conclusion that he is the worst employee because he is spending too much time on performance reviews. Due to his time-wasting, Hermes fires himself, and is replaced by the mark 7G robot (a covert reference to Homer’s sector at the nuclear power plant in The Simpsons).
After eating one of LaBarbara’s exceptionally spicy curried goat dishes, Hermes realises that he is useless as a human being. This idea is only furthered when he encounters the psychotic Roberto, a robot criminal who wants to cut off and eat Hermes’ skin. Hermes and his wife are saved by a robot police officer, so Hermes decides to get an upgrade and become more like a robot. Eventually, Hermes has replaced all of his human body parts with bionic implants, except for his brain. He wants to go further and have a brain transplant – becoming a complete and authentic robot. Little does he know that the robot brain he is about to receive is from the recently electro-magnified robot, Roberto.
This episode can only be described as bizarre, but extremely enjoyable. Futurama is clearly back on form with a smart episode in which everything seems to work really well. The narrative is strong with a smooth flow from scene to scene; the references are relevant and very funny, and unlike last week’s episode, the ending is especially gratifying. It’s also worth noting that the writers are using all of the minor characters within the Planet Express crew to their advantage. Strictly speaking, this is a ‘Hermes’ episode, but focusing on individual members of the company seems to give the episode, and the series, a real breath of fresh air.
It’s not quite the perfect episode, as there are only a few visual jokes and gags, but the narrative structure with its strong and satisfying ending certainly makes up for this. The Six Million Dollar Mon is by far the best episode in the series, and one of the finest episodes of Futurama in the post 20th Century Fox era.