• Futurama recap: ‘Decision 3012’ pits Richard Nixon’s head against Sen. Travers

    When we last left the Planet Express crew, they were grappling with a global apocalypse. Luckily in the end, Earth spun safely on, as the planet Mars floated off into oblivion. This week, the people of Earth are set with the task of choosing their president for the next four years. Up until now, Richard Nixon’s head has served as president, along with the headless Spiro Agnew. Nixon and Agnew are in the race yet again for the 3012 election, buttering voters up with free beer and promising to stop illegal space aliens from taking Earthlings’ jobs; they’re also promising to cut taxes for the rich and use the poor as a cheap source of teeth for aquarium gravel.

    Nixon’s supply of free beer is enough to earn him Bender’s vote– seeing as he’s a convicted felon and all (Nixon passed a law allowing felons to vote, so long as they vote for him). The rest of the Planet Express crew is on board too, minus Leela. Nixon’s competitors are a crowded field of desperate panderers who promise to somehow lower taxes while simultaneously lowering the deficit. They’re also anti-environment. Leela shows up to the headquarters (formerly One Hour Hot Dog) of the only truly promising candidate – Senator Travers (above). Leela throws her support behind Travers, promising that he just needs to get his ideas out to the public via social media. Afterall, his debate video received more hits than “most waterskiing squirrels.” Travers shitcans his former PR guy (the same PR guy as One Hour Hot Dog) and brings Leela aboard his campaign.

    Travers gets a decent bump in the polls, thanks to an endorsement from the Hypnotoad. Things looks promising for Senator Travers, and he’s on to his next debate. Unfortunately, Bender decides to get active, and teams up with Nixon to defeat Travers. That’s quite a ruthless power-duo. Bender promises to help Nixon win with “filthy lies, dirty tricks and good old Quaker thuggery.” Nixon and Bender set out to get some dirt on their competitor. Unfortunately, all that Bender is able to dig up is a Nobel Prize and a straight-A transcript from Harvard Law School. Bender sets up surveillance outside of a sleezy strip club to try to catch Travers in an undesirable act, but only captures footage of himself going in and out of the club 13 times in one night (a record!).

    Bender finds an ally in Hedonism Bot who does his best to find dirt on Travers, but he reports that the politician is totally clean. The closest thing Bender has to something negative to report is that Senator Travers’ middle name is Zaxxar, an alien-sounding name. Nixon runs with it and decides to put Travers on the defensive by spreading rumors that he’s an alien, and demanding that he produce an “Earth certificate.”

    Bender and Nixon put their plan into action – at a rally, as Travers presents a foolproof plan to end world hunger, Bender puts Travers on the spot and demands an Earth Certificate. A reporter from Fox Quote-Unquote News joins the dogpile on Travers. Later, back at headquarters, Travers urges Leela not to look for his Earth Certificate. A brick smashes through Travers’ favorite window. Outside, Bender leads a revolt. Bender, backed by a backwoods robotic septic tank, Hattie McDoogal, Petunia and a crowd of others, protest the potential election of a potential foreigner.

    Leela decides to make a trip to Kenya, where Travers claims to have been born, to track down his Earth Certificate. She’s joined by Fry, as well as Bender, who wants to put his difference in political opinion aside for his love of participating in break-ins. The three break into a hospital and thumb through their medical records, where Leela finds Travers’ file. But indeed, there is no Earth Certificate. Just then, Travers shows up, and spills the truth – Travers is from Earth, but he’s actually from the future. The year 3038, to be specific. Travers was sent back in time to prevent the havoc that Nixon will wreak on Earth. In the future, Nixon builds an alien-proof fence to keep non-Earthlings off the planet.

    But without aliens to do menial jobs (harvesting crops, teaching math and curing disease) the economy collapses, and the world is left in starvation and chaos. Nixon’s solution? He kills off the entire working class and harvests them into “Soylent Majority.” Robots are left to do menial labor, until finally the robot population revolts against humanity. And their leader is none other than Bender Bending Rodriguez. As it turns out, Bender wasn’t just talking tough all these years when he promised to kill all humans. The few remaining humans took to hiding, and eventually discovered a Xeroxed copy of an ancient time code, the very same time code Bender used to plunder history’s riches in “Bender’s Big Score.” And so, the human survivors handed over their last remaining suit and tie to Travers and sent him back to 3012 with the task of defeating Richard Nixon. Mere seconds after Travers was sent back in time, Bender shows up to destroy the rest of the human survivors– a previously unseen event from Bender’s travels through time that, again, popped up in “Bender’s Big Score.” It’s, frankly, a  genius continuation of the story. Time travel makes things pretty messy in Science Fiction, but the Futurama crew always gets it right.

    Although future-Travers has no Earth Certificate, we’re only a few hours away from the present times’ Senator Travers actual birth. Travers’ live birth is broadcast on network television, in order to prove that Travers was indeed born on Earth. And with that, Travers wins! Earth has its new President. A charismatic, well-educated and passionate Senator with the potential to solve the problems that Nixon and his VP couldn’t. But wait! Since Nixon wasn’t elected, the robot uprising never occurred and Travers was never sent back from the future. Senator Travers disappears right before the eyes of everyone on Earth. It’s, as Bender explains, politics 101. Earth is stuck with Nixon for, at least, another four years.

    Lucas Gardner

    Lucas Gardner is a writer native to Rochester, NY. He nows lives in New York City. He has a Twitter and a blog.

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