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Episode Recap: Less Than Hero

When Fry and Leela discover a mysterious cream that gives them unusual powers, they form a Superhero team along with Bender. 


Leela phones her mutant parents to tell them she’s getting a special permit that will allow them to visit her on the surface. After the call, the Professor asks Fry, Leela and Bender to assemble a supercollider that was just delivered by Pi-kea. After assembling the complex device, Fry and Leela find that their entire bodies ache from the effort, so Dr. Zoidberg offers them a tube of miracle cream he bought from a traveling salesman, which they apply to their aching muscles. Later, Fry and Leela are attacked by a mugger on the street, and discover that they are now impervious to weapons. Back at Planet Express, they examine the tube of miracle cream, and find a warning on the label that reads “May cause superpowers in humans.” They test out their new powers, and realize that they have both super strength and super speed. The two decide to become superheroes, and when Bender asks to join in on the action, Fry and Leela agree.

When an alien attempts to rob an antique store, a disguised Leela, Fry and Bender quickly imprison the alien, and announce their superhero personas. Dressed in bellbottoms and platforms, Fry proclaims himself “Captain Yesterday,” while Leela, who’s wearing a sexy leotard, identifies herself as “Clobberella.” Bender, who’s only disguise is a crown, calls himself “SuperKing.” The alien encounter is followed by a montage of other heroic deeds. After thwarting yet another crime, Fry almost reveals his real identity to a flirtatious woman, until Leela stops him.She reminds him that their loved ones could be in terrible danger should anyone learn their true identities. Later, the crime-fighting trio is summoned by the Mayor, who received a tip that the priceless Quantum Gemerald would be stolen from the museum the following morning at 9 a.m. by the “Zookeeper,” a villain who commits crimes aided by trained animals. Assuming the Zookeeper can be stopped within an hour, Leela tells her parents to meet her at the museum at 10 a.m. However, the Zookeeper arrives late, and by the time he’s captured, Leela’s parents have already left.

Although Leela tells her parents she was unavoidably detained, they think she didn’t show because she’s ashamed of having mutant parents. Unable to convince them otherwise, Leela admits to being “Clobberella.” She begs them not to reveal her identity to anyone, but Leela’s father later shares the story with two mutant friends. In no time, the secret spreads through the mutant world and beyond. Later, Fry and Leela receive a call from Zookeeper, who not only knows their true identities, but also has captured Leela’s parents. He threatens to kill them unless the Superheroes steal the Gemerald for him. Reluctantly, they agree. While preparing for the heist, Fry and Leela discover that the tube of superpower cream is empty. Despite their lack of powers, Leela, Fry and Bender go to the museum, hoping the guards will not discover they’re powerless. Luckily, the three successfully make off with the gem. Upon receiving the gem, the Zookeeper releases Leela's parents, who apologize for revealing her identity. In return, Leela takes the blame for telling them her secret in the first place, and reiterates that she could never be ashamed of them. With apologies accepted all around, Leela and her parents share a touching embrace.