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Episode Recap: War is the H-Word

Fry and Bender face off against an army of aliens on a far-off planet after they join the army to qualify for military discounts. 


While shopping at a convenience store, Fry and Bender notice a military serviceman receiving a special discount. Angered, the pair decide to join the Army—but only long enough to use the special discount. Unfortunately, shortly after they enlist at a recruitment center, war is declared. Fry, Bender and hundreds of other military personnel head for the spaceport, where the gigantic starship Nimbus is docked. Before they board, Leela states that she would love to serve her country, but is prevented from doing so because she is female. Later, inside the starship’s cargo bay, Commander-In-Chief Richard Nixon’s head and Zapp Branigan address the troops. It is explained that an unknown enemy invaded a desolate planet without strategic value. But simply because the aliens invaded, Earth decides it must retaliate. Later, as the journey gets underway, Zapp finds himself attracted to an athletic soldier named Lee Lemon. Unbeknownst to him, Lemon is actually Leela in disguise. Eventually, the starship reaches its destination, and soldiers are dropped onto the surface. Suddenly, a tremendous wave of beach ball-sized spherical creatures advances. When the alien spheres reach the troops, they bounce on them with great fury. Terrified, Fry points his laser gun at the ground and fires, producing a hole large enough for him to hide in. Shortly thereafter, Bender throws himself on top of a bomb, taking the brunt of the explosion. The robot is rushed to a MASH camp, where Fry observes surgeons operating on Zapp and the other wounded. Labeling Fry a coward, Zapp assigns him the most humiliating job there is: Being Kif’s assistant. Zapp then turns his attention to Bender, whom he labels a brave soldier. Nixon tells Zapp that Bender still has one last mission in him before he’s melted down and made into a statue of himself. Later, Zapp and Nixon inform Bender that he has been assigned to negotiate with the aliens’ mysterious leaders, the brain balls. He will be accompanied by Earth’s top peace negotiator, Henry Kissinger’s head. Later, however, Leela and Fry learn that Nixon had surgeons implant a bomb inside Bender. Leela, still disguised as Lee, approaches Zapp about the scheme to blow up the alien spheres. Zapp tells her that that bomb is voice-activated and will detonate when Bender unwittingly utters the word he uses most frequently: “ass.” Once the word is spoken, the entire planet will disintegrate. Leela and Fry commandeer a helicopter with the intention of saving their mechanical friend. Zapp attempts to intercede, but Leela overpowers him with martial arts moves. She then removes her disguise. Zapp is overjoyed. Later, Fry parachutes out of the helicopter. When he lands on the ground, the balls attack. Fry manages to force one of the spheres between his knees and bounces toward the aliens’ spherical headquarters. Once he arrives, Fry stops Bender from uttering the detonation word. Bender uses his ability to blow up the planet to quickly put an end to the conflict. The balls give in to Earth’s demands. It then becomes apparent that the spheres are indigenous to the planet and are not invaders. Nonetheless, Bender orders them off to leave. The creatures bounce themselves into outer space. Later, Bender learns that his colleagues were unable to remove the bomb from his interior. Instead, they reprogrammed it to detonate when a different, unspecified word is uttered.