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Episode Recap: The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz

Leela fights to save the lives of penguins after the Planet Express ship is involved in an oil spill on Pluto. 


The Professor informs the crew that he is assigning them a very controversial mission: Hauling an orbiting super-tanker filled with dark-matter oil to a refinery. When Leela raises the possibility of a leak, especially since the ship must pass close to a penguin preserve on Pluto, the Professor assures her the tanker has six thousand hulls and is leak-proof. But Leela abandons her post as captain and joins up with protestors opposed to the super-tanker. The Professor appoints Bender captain; Fry his first mate; and Dr. Zoidberg as delivery boy. Later, Leela and the protestors listen as Free Waterfall, the leader of the movement, outlines the formation of a circle that will block the tanker’s progress. But when the Planet Express ship easily slips through the ring, with tanker in tow, Free Waterfall admits he forgot that spaceships can move in three dimensions. The protestors regroup at their headquarters on Pluto. Meanwhile, Fry tires of Bender’s attitude and accuses him of treasuring his position as captain more than their friendship. Bender neglects to consume alcohol needed for his circuitry to function properly. As a result, he grows woozy and the tanker crashes into Pluto, spilling its cargo of dark matter oil. Leela, the protestors and the penguins are engulfed by a tidal wave of dark matter. Bender is arrested and thrown in jail. His attorney, the Hyper-Chicken, cuts a deal with the district attorney’s office and gets Bender five hours of community service cleaning up the mess he created. Disgruntled at being forced to perform manual labor, Bender slips into a tuxedo and blends in with the penguins, giving his guards the slip. When Bender fails to return with the group of protestors, Leela grows concerned about his safety. Fry assumes command of the Planet Express ship and decides to fly off in search of Bender…even though he disappeared only a short distance away. Meanwhile, Bender is drawn along into icy water by the penguins, who have mistaken him for one of their own. A killer whale thrashes Bender about and flings him into the air. He crashes to the ground and short circuits. When his operating system reboots, Bender sees the penguins…and his start-up sequence resets itself for them. Soon after, Bender is happily waddling off with his feathered friends. Back at Penguins Unlimited headquarters, Free Waterfall announces that the dark matter has made the penguins ultra-fertile, and now, their population is exploding. He fears mass starvation will soon result. In order to prevent this, Free Waterfall declares the opening of hunting season…and the protestors take up arms, much to Leela’s horror. When Leela sees the pathetic faces of the penguins, who are now all squished together, she grabs a gun and joins the protestors. She levels her weapon and squeezes the trigger…only to hit Bender. When Bender’s system reboots, he sees Leela and resets for human mode. Suddenly, the hunters appear on the horizon, but Bender leads the penguins away. The birds launch their own attack, causing the hunters to drop their guns and run away. But the penguins gang up on Free Waterfall, pecking him to pieces. Bender, no longer wearing his tuxedo, attempts to take command, but the birds no longer see him as one of their own. They chase after Bender and Leela. When the pair hit a slope, Bender climbs atop Leela and rides her like a toboggan. They come to rest on an ice peninsula, where Bender stomps his feet, causing the ice to break away. But the penguins swim through the water and hop atop the ice floe. The Planet Express ship suddenly appears. But when it lands, it tips the ice floe to one side. The penguins slip downhill, toward the mouth of an awaiting killer whale. Leela looks on the bright side…remarking how it will reduce the bird population.