Futurama gets its snap and its heart backS

After a couple of lackluster episodes starting off its final season, Futurama hits its stride. "T: The Terrestrial" features great lines, but more importantly, great tributes to classic science fiction.

Remember "The Problem with Popplers," that classic episode in season two when the Planet Express crew accidentally eat the babies of the Omicronians? It's fitting that this episode features the lone surviving little Poppler as a child, because the episode has the spirit of the best of season two. Little Jrrr and his father, Lrrr, start yet another war of the worlds between Earth and Omicron Persei 8. The Planet Express crew has to run an errand to Omicron Persei 8 to get the professor's Good News herbal supplement (Hermes is on board once he realizes what the herb is), and Bender abandons Fry on the planet. Jrrr finds Fry, and their storyline is the E.T. tribute that the title of the episode promises.

Futurama gets its snap and its heart backS

The other half of the story is the guilt-stricken Bender trying to convince everyone at Planet Express that Fry is still around. He does this using repeated creative editing of Fry's answering machine message. That sounds like a pitiful joke, but it's done so well that it brings in the laughs. In fact, every part of this episode is quotable. From Leela's deadpan invitation to go to the "adults only pancake house," to redirects like Jrrr telling Lrrr that he was playing foosball and Lrrr replying, "I thought I told you to kill those Foos," to the ever-classic Nixon jokes, as when Nixon is threatened by Lrrr and shouts, "Brannigan! Get in here and surrender before I get my expletives deleted!" Hell, even Zoidberg gets a good one in. When Hermes is assigning teammates to everyone in the Omicron herb scavenging party, and realizes that he's stuck partnering with Zoidberg, Zoidberg looks at him levelly and chuckles, "Screwed again, my friend." It's a great delivery.

But the real heart of every Futurama episode is its love of the science fiction that inspired it, and "T: The Terrestrial" shines when it comes to that. From throw-away sight gags to gross-out humor (Jrrr lures Fry out of the shed with Feces Pieces), to flying bikes powered by love (that loveless aliens struggle to keep afloat), the tribute is right on. The spirit of parody is also right on, with the absent parent not coming in the end to do the right thing by the kid, but fanatically insisting that being a good parent means forcing a child to murder their beloved pet. It's a great half-hour.

Now. We have Lrrr, and Jrrr, and a doctor named Drrr. What do you think the most popular girl's name is on Omicron Persei 8? I'm guessing it's Fleurrr. Their favorite band is Blurrr. Their favorite movie is Ben Hurrr. Feel free to continue in the comments.