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Episode Recap: A Clockwork Origin

The theory of evolution is put to the test on a planet inhabited by robots. 


Cubert is hanging around Planet Express because he couldn't get into his school: the way was blocked by anti-evolution protesters. Farnsworth is outraged, and goes to the school to argue for evolution. He finds a nemesis in Dr. Banjo, an orangutan who believes that evolution is merely a theory... like gravity, or the shape of the Earth. Instead, he believes in Creaturism: all life was created by a fantastical creature from outer space. If evolution is real, why has nobody found the missing link between humans and apes? The Professor protests that they have, and provides all the links back to Darwinius masillae. Banjo protests that the link between Darwinius masillae and apes has never been found. Farnsworth says that just because they haven't found it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Dr. Banjo, with a triumphant grin, says that things don't exist just because you believe in them: "Thus says the almighty Creature in the sky!"

Farnsworth leads the Planet Express team on an archaeological dig at Olduvai Gorge, birthplace of Ryan Seacrest (and the rest of mankind). Bender thinks he's found a robot fossil, but it's just a bedspring. Farnsworth says that robots didn't evolve, but Bender isn't having it. Finally, Farnsworth finds the missing missing-link ("Home Farnsworth"), and presents to the Museum of Natural History... where the new curator turns out to be Dr. Banjo. He declares that Farnsworth's discovery disproves evolution, and unveils a diorama of Homo Farnsworth frolicking with a dinosaur at the moment of creation. The crowd applauds. Farnsworth doesn't want to live on this planet any more. He has the Planet Express crew take him to a lifeless planetoid in deep space, where he will live as a hermit. The only water source is laden with toxic minerals, but he cleans it up with microscopic nanobots, which he designed to clean up nasty irritants.

What will become of Cubert? He's been safely abandoned with his godfather... Zoidberg. Cubert is none too thrilled about this. He insults Zoidberg relentlessly. Zoidberg is just trying his best to be a good father to the boy. Meanwhile, the Professor checks to make sure the water is now sterile... and finds that the nanobots have gotten more complex. Bender smirks that the robots have evolved all by themselves. Suddenly they get bigger, and begin to swarm out of the pond... trilobots! The trilobots consume the Planet Express ship, destroying it. They're all stranded, and must flee to a cave to avoid being consumed themselves, pushing a boulder across the entrance just in time. The next morning they try to make a dash to get water... and discover that the bots have evolved overnight. There's a whole forest of robotic trees. They are able to get to the water... but are soon beset by robo-dinosaurs.

Cubert apologizes to Zoidberg for treating him so badly. He says he gets bullied a lot, and makes fun of people as a defense mechanism. Suddenly, a bully from his school shows up. Zoidberg says he knows how to handle bullies: just pretend like you're pathetic. "Help, I'm scared! I wet myself!" he cries. The bully laughs and leaves, feeling triumphant. Cubert is impressed, and the two finally begin to bond. Back on the robo-world, Fry is captured by a robo-pterodactyl, but is saved when a solar flare creates a huge electromagnetic pulse that causes a mass extinction of the robo-dinos. Only puny mammal-like robots cowering in caves could survive such a catastrophe... like, say, Bender, who just taught himself to knit. Farnsworth thinks he can construct a primitive spaceship from the hides of the robo-dinos. He does so in just two hours, but it's nighttime and the ship is solar powered. They'll go home in the morning. In the night, however, Leela and Amy are abducted by robo-cavemen. The others awaken to find a world flush with robo-insects, robo-swans, and more. They see the women being carried away. Farnsworth builds a slingshot… which takes twelve hours. It's nighttime... too dark. Tomorrow, they'll go rescue the girls. Morning comes, and they find Leela and Amy just outside the cave. When they woke up, their cave husbands were gone.

Suddenly a robo-human emerges from the woods with a net, and snags Fry. She's shocked that the humans can speak. Her name is Dr. Widnar. She's a naturalist. She'd always theorized that carbon-based life could exist, but never had any proof until now. She takes them to the Museum of Natural Robo-History ("founded 8:15am"), where Dr. Widnar presents the crowd with "the amazing non-mechanical man, Homo Farnsworth." Farnsworth, however, causes a furor when he says he created their ancestors. They believe their world was created in eons, not days. Farnsworth says it was only eons relative to them, and shows them a hologram he took just a couple of days ago of a robot (Bender) frolicking on a robo-dinosaur. Dr. Widnar, depressed, says she doesn't want to live on this planet any more, and blasts off into space. Farnsworth, as a creationist, is arrested for crimes against science and put on trial. Bender represents him... and tells the court they must find him not guilty by reason of insanity. Farnsworth protests that he's not crazy: "I created you all! And I came here in a homemade spaceship and lived in a cave! If you don't believe me," he adds, pointing at Fry, "ask my uncle!" The jury retires to consider their verdict... but in the morning, all the robots have evolved to a higher state of consciousness, and find all physical beings to be yokels: "Now, settle your petty squabbles, and get the hell out."

The crew goes home, and Farnsworth triumphantly presents photos of his experience on the robo-world to Dr. Banjo, who admits that what Farnsworth witnessed may be some form of evolution... evolution set in motion by a wise and all-knowing creator. Farnsworth admits it's possible, however unlikely, that some wise and all-knowing alien monster set evolution in motion here on Earth. Bender adds that maybe the creator was a robot. Farnsworth and Dr. Banjo scoff at him: "Who built this creator robot? Some magical bearded robot in the sky?" Farnsworth is happy: this is a world in which he's finally happy to raise his son. "Good," says Zoidberg, "because I'm sick of him!"