Futurama's surly robot, Bender, is mostly known for not giving much of a damn about anything, and for being actively antagonistic towards anything good. In this episode, for once, we see him stand up for what matters to him. With a little help from the criminal court system.
"Free Will Hunting" crams in so many events that at first I thought it might be one of those "Anthology of Interest" episodes, with three quickie stories packed into one episode. Within the first third of the show, Bender chooses to put on nerd glasses, gets invited to a sorority party, borrows money from the robot mafia to get into college, falls in with a gang and drops out of college, prostitutes himself for drugs, has his earnings stolen by the robot mafia, goes into the hospital, gets out, and mugs some girls scouts. That's just to get us to the main dilemma of the episode. Bender philosophically opines, "Life is about decisions. Make the wrong one and you'll end up face down in a pool of your own blood and urine."
Zoidberg helps us see the bright side with, "Still! To have your own pool!"
When Bender goes to court for mugging the scouts, he's horrified when his lawyer argues that, as a robot, he's an automaton that doesn't have any free will, and so can't be considered guilty of anything. Wanting to make decisions of his own, Bender goes on a journey of discovery that takes him all over the Robot Home World, worshiping the Whole eBook at the Church of the Binary Singularity, and finally back home to Earth to look for the legendary free will chip that some scientist of Mom's (you'll never guess who), invented.
This was a decent episode, but the pace was so breakneck that it couldn't build up to anything really huge. I would have thought it was meant to be a tour of Bender's whole life and experience — except Flexo wasn't there. Those of you who saw Fear of a Bot Planet will enjoy reuniting with the Robot Elders, who still have their desperate need for silence(!). Mom's always a blast, but still — it's not a stand-out episode.
That is, it's not a stand-out except in one area. An alert reader sent in the above screen cap. The robot gang that Bender gets involved with is known as the Ink Jets. The tattoo artist that they go to has a tattoo of a screw on his chest. Under that screw? The letters NOSd3 (Epson). When it comes to crappy printer ink cartridges: Never forgive, never forget.