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Episode Recap: Raging Bender

Bender’s popularity soars when he becomes a successful pro-wrestler, but when he is instructed to lose a fight, Leela steps into help him defeat an opponent trained by her old master. 


When Hermes returns from his trip to the Ganjoid System, he walks and talks in a robotic manner with a small, blob-like creature attached to his head. The crew realizes that Hermes is under mind control, courtesy a brain slug. They decide to itch him and go to the movies, where they take in a screening of All My Circuits: The Movie. At one point during the movie, the picture freezes and audience members are allowed to choose whatever plot twist they find most surprising.

As the film continues, Bender grows increasingly irritated when a tall robot sits in front of him, blocking his view of the screen. Bender begins absent-mindedly kicking the tall robot’s seat, prompting the robot to voice his growing displeasure. Bender not only continues kicking the seat, he begins tossing popcorn at the tall robot’s head. The tall robot stands up and challenges Bender to a fight transforming into a larger, fearsome-looking robot in the process.

During the battle, the tall robot steps in Bender’s oily popcorn, causing him to slip and fall over, knocking himself unconscious. When everyone realizes that the tall robot is actually The Masked Unit, a famous wrestler, the Commissioner of Ultimate Robot Fighting steps forward and announces his intention to induct Bender into the Ultimate Robot Fighting League. Leela encourages Bender not to pass up the opportunity of becoming a robot fighter.

She tells him a story about growing up in the orphanarium, and how her only outlet for pent-up frustrations was learning Arcturan Kung Fu. Leela excelled at the sport, but her teacher, Master Fnog, nonetheless chose two of Leela’s weaker classmates to participate in the Junior Championships. Master Fnog told Leela this was because "no girl has the will of a warrior." Leela lost her only opportunity of becoming a champion, and now, Leela doesn’t want Bender to repeat the same mistake. Bender sees wisdom in her words…and vows not to become a loser like her.

In his first match in the ring, Bender takes on Clearcutter, a lumberjack-type robot armed with a chainsaw and axe. At first, Bender takes a violent pummeling. But he eventually manages to slam his opponent onto the mat, causing him to explode in a shower of robot limbs and sparks. Bender is declared the winner, but later, the Commissioner informs him that the fights are rigged, and because he was the most popular, he was allowed to win.

Despite this, Bender continues fighting, t king on a variety of robotic comers, including the Billionairebot, The Foreigner and The Chain Smoker. Bender is allowed to win time and again. But eventually, Bender is called into the Commissioners office, where he is informed of his fading popularity. The Commissioner instructs Bender to lose the upcoming fight…in the guise of The Gender Bender, a new persona that requires the robot to wear a pink costume and tutu.

Later, Bender describes his dilemma to the staff. At first, Leela refuses to aid Bender’s cause. But when she realizes that Master Fnog is training Bender’s opponent, The Destructor, she has a change of heart. The big fight gets underway, with the heads of Rich Little, doing a Howard Cosell imitation, and George Foreman providing ringside commentary. Bender, dressed as The Gender Bender, deviates from the script when he rips off his wig and tutu. But when he begins his assault on The Destructor, his blows have no effect. The Destructor flattens Bender with his fist, then slams his head repeatedly into the ground.

As the pummeling continues, Leela realizes that Fnog is controlling Destructor via a virtual-reality hookup from beneath the ring. Leela unleashes her fury on Fnog, and as her former master reacts to the assault, so too does Destructor, who mimics Fnog’s every move (due to the virtual reality hookup). Suddenly, Leela yanks Fnog’s arm downward to the floor…causing Destructor to imitate the move. The robot’s monstrous fist crashes through the floor of the ring and smashes Fnog in the head. When Fnog collapses, so too does Destructor…who lands on top of Bender, crushing him. The referee declares Destructor the winner.

Later, the Commissioner presents Bender with a ten percent off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond.