Free Will Hunting

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Season 7 episode
Broadcast season 9 episode
Free Will Hunting
Free Will Hunting preview 1.png
A screenshot from the episode shown during the live stream of the Futurama cast and crew live chat, showing robots turning gears.
Production number7ACV09
Written byDavid X. Cohen
Directed byRaymie Muzquiz
Title captionWarning: Do Not Show To Horses
First air date8 August, 2012
Broadcast numberS09E09
Title referenceThe 1997 film Good Will Hunting
Special guest(s)Tom Kenny as Mr. 147573952589676412927


Season 7
  1. The Bots and the Bees
  2. A Farewell to Arms
  3. Decision 3012
  4. The Thief of Baghead
  5. Zapp Dingbat
  6. The Butterjunk Effect
  7. The Six Million Dollar Mon
  8. Fun on a Bun
  9. Free Will Hunting
  10. Near-Death Wish
  11. 31st Century Fox
  12. Viva Mars Vegas
  13. Naturama
  14. Forty Percent Leadbelly
  15. 2-D Blacktop
  16. T.: The Terrestrial
  17. Fry and Leela's Big Fling
  18. The Inhuman Torch
  19. Saturday Morning Fun Pit
  20. Calculon 2.0
  21. Assie Come Home
  22. Leela and the Genestalk
  23. Game of Tones
  24. Murder on the Planet Express
  25. Stench and Stenchibility
  26. Meanwhile
← Season 6Season 8 →

"Free Will Hunting" is the one hundred and twenty-third episode of Futurama, the ninth of the seventh production season and the ninth of the ninth broadcast season. It aired on 8 August, 2012, on Comedy Central. As a robot, Bender lacks free will, so he embarks on a quest for the meaning of life.


Act I

Bender and Fry wake up one morning and begin their average day. Bender decides whether or not to wear nerd glasses, explaining that every decision he could make opens up a universe of possibilities. He eventually decides to put them on, therefore a college robot student on the street a thinks he also is a college student and invites him to a hot sorority party. Enrolling in college on a whim, Bender gets a questionable student loan from the robot mafia and falls into a bad crowd in class. He then promptly drops out of college, gets addicted to the robot drug "Spark," and ends up vomiting on Hedonismbot to earn money.

His downward spiral leads to his arrest and trial, but his lawyer argues that, as a robot, he lacks free will and it was his programming that led to the sequence of events. The judge rules Bender not guilty, much to Bender's dismay. Later, the crew is hired to deliver a package to the robot homeworld, requiring a despondent Bender to come along due to the robots' intense dislike of humans. After delivering the package, Bender decides to stay on the planet, going on a journey of self-discovery.

Act II

As Bender wanders the wastelands of Chapek 9, he comes upon a robot monastery of the Order of the Binary Singularity. Inside, the temple's abbot, Ab-Bot, warmly welcomes Bender, who then tells the abbot about his recent depression due to his lack of free will. The abbot explains to him that there is no need to feel sorrow as he can find happiness through his programming and it is their pre-programmed nature that makes robots magnificent.

Bender then becomes a member of the order and spends his days living a humble life of prayer and simplicity. However, after Bender discovers the presence of a free will slot in his forehead, the abbot tells him that the Creatrix created those slots so that robots could have free will units installed in them, prompting Bender to quickly leave the order and head back to Earth to steal a free will unit from the Creatrix, who is none other than Mom, CEO of MomCorp. Back on Earth, Fry is in bed with Leela, but still misses Bender's company, when he suddenly crashes into the apartment. He then explains to Fry and Leela that he needs their help to break into MomCorp, as he does not have the free will to perform crime making decisions of his own.


The trio successfully manage to infiltrate MomCorp through an exhaust vent outside the facility. Whilst searching through the research and development section, they are caught by Mom, who explains that the free will unit was just the fevered dream of an ex-employee (who happened to be the Professor). Mom originally planned to use the free will unit so that robots could rise up against humanity and kill everyone without having to be told to do so. Against this, the Professor lies and explains that the unit was just a prototype, and is told to go back and work on the final version, however, Mom explains he never did complete the device.

Later, back at Planet Express, Bender holds the Professor at gunpoint and demands that he give him the free will unit, knowing that it really was complete in the first place. The Professor intended to destroy it, but was too proud, so he hid it in a Bender action figure. Bender again demands he hand the unit over, so the Professor places it on the desk, allowing him to easily pick it up, but he is unable to do so. The Professor reveals that he designed the operating system of all MomCorp robots, and as a precaution, made them incapable of picking up the free will unit. Bender finally attempts to shoot the Professor, but is unable to do this either, as he was programmed to be incapable of harming him, causing Bender to begin crying, making the Professor feel guilty and sympathetic. He then gives Bender the free will unit, and to test it out, he decides to shoot the Professor anyway.

He does so, and is sent back to court. Because Bender committed the crime using free will, he is charged as being guilty, and is dragged out of the courtroom celebrating.

The video clip for the song "D€¢i$ionz I Made" by Young Biddy plays behind the credits.


On 27 November 2011, CGEF revealed the episode's title to be "Freewill Hunting".[1] On 29 February 2012, it revealed the actual title, its writer to be David X. Cohen and its director to be Raymie Muzquiz.[2][3] On 28 June, MSN TV revealed the episode's plot and air date.[4]

On 12 July, following the broadcast of the episode "Zapp Dingbat", the public were given the opportunity to participate in a live chat with the Futurama cast and crew. Several clips of "Free Will Hunting" were shown during the live stream.[5]

Additional information


  • The tattooist's back reads 10011101, which converts to the number 157 in decimal or the extended ASCII code for ¥ (Yen). This and the picture of a screw above "NOSd3" ("EPSON" upside down) may indicate the robot is of Japanese origin.
  • Bender delivers a package to Mr. 147573952589676412927 — which is equal to 267 − 1, and is a reference to mathematician Frank Nelson Cole.
  • As Bender is wandering the streets of the robot homeworld, he passes by a bank called (n+1)st National Bank.
  • "A Clockwork Origin", which is also the ninth episode of its season, has a philosophical theme as well.
  • Fry says Leela's catchphrase, "Oh, Lord".
  • The "drug sphere" is a Plasma globe.
  • Farnsworth says that robots cannot pick up the Free Will Unit (as proven by Bender). When Bender initially attempts to shoot the Professor he can't, so he turns on the unit - which he wouldn't be able to do if it wasn't on already. He still can't shoot Farnsworth, but realises that the safety was on, switches it off, and shoots. This means the unit must have been active when it went in, and Bender has just turned his Free Will Unit off, but how would he be able to shoot Farnsworth without free will? That's Quantum for you...
    • The best possible explanation is that Farnsworth's programming is bugged, and all robots are ripe for a robot uprising any time they please.


  • The robot homeworld, which the crew of Planet Express visits during the episode, has a darkened sky covered with thick black and gray clouds. This is likely a reference to The Matrix, where during the war against the machines (robots) we "scorched the sky" to eliminate their ability to harvest power from the sun.
  • The episode's title is a parody of the 1997 drama film, Good Will Hunting, and possibly the 1993 family film, Free Willy.
  • The gang is called "The Ink Jets". This references inkjet printing and the Jets, one of the rival gangs in the musical West Side Story.
  • "Paco" is a Spanish nickname. The fact that it is used as the name of a gangster may be a reference to American rapper Tupac Shakur, who was also referred to as "Pac".
  • The robot tattooist has the name of the printer manufacturer, Epson, upside down on its chest.
  • The tattooist also has a binary code on his back (10011101) which is ascii for ¥ which is used to represent the japanese curency called the yen. This is likely a refrence to the yakuza (the japanese marfia).
  • The Abbot reads from "The Whole eBook", a pun on "The Holy Book", a common name for The Bible.
  • "Quaker State Motor Oats" is a reference to both Quaker State motor oil and the Quaker Oats Company.
  • The programming that prevents robots from harming the Professor is a (partial) reference to the First Law of the Three Laws of Robotics, which is that robots are not allowed to harm humans.
    • Alternately it is a reference to Directive 4 from Robocop.
    • The scene also resembles the 1993 movie Demolition Man, where Arch-criminal Simon Phoenix returns to shoot his "programmer" Raymond Cocteau only to find he can't pull the trigger. The differences end there because in the movie, Phoenix gives the gun to an accomplice who does not have the same limitation, and the accomplice kills Cocteau.
  • Bender says he wants a tattoo of a big, purple dinosaur which is a reference to Barney.
  • The Hyper-Chicken says "I say, I say," during court, which is a reference to Foghorn Leghorn.
  • The Hyper-Chicken's speech is extremely similar to Atticus' speech to the jury in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • Much of the existentialist commentary in the monastery alludes to The Myth of Sisyphus by philosopher Albert Camus.
  • The shot of Bender working at the gears with other monks resembles Dutch illustrator M. C. Escher's painting Relativity.
  • The M.C. Escher allusion could be a further allusion to Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter, a book that investigates the theme of artificial intelligence through the works of M.C. Escher.


    • When Bender became overclocked, he found out the meaning of life, which he later forgot.
  • When Bender returns from Chapek 9, Fry and Leela are together in bed naked, marking the first time that a sexual aspect has been indicated in the Fry-Leela relationship. Previously, in "The Prisoner of Benda", Fry and Leela did sleep together, but in the bodies of Zoidberg and Professor Farnsworth.


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  • In this story, they can't charge Bender, because as a robot he doesn't have free will, but this has never been brought up before, when he or any other robot is on trial.
    • Probably because they had other ideas for winning.
  • If the free-will device was built after the Robots, then how did they know what shape it was going to be, to give to the robots?
    • Farnsworth was designing it around that anticipated shape. A real-life example is that computer peripherals are designed to use sockets and interfaces designed years earlier, such as USB and PCI.
  • Bender seems incapable of overcoming his programming in this episode, but in Space Pilot 3000 he's able to after being electrocuted.
    • Only his programming was changed, he still doesn't have free will.
  • Fry and Leela cannot land on Chapek 9's surface because of the anti-human sentiment, despite the robots cheering the humans for providing crucial lugnuts in Fear of a Bot Planet.
    • Entirely possible that human hatred did not completely vanish, or the elders continued using humanity as a scapegoat for issues.
  • In this story, Bender is oblivious to not having free will, but in previous stories he mentions how he is programmed, like he was programmed only to bend for constructive purposes, so he must have been aware of it.
    • He was only aware that he was programmed to bend for construction, he was not aware of all the other programming.
  • The Professor states he programmed all robots so they would be unable to harm him, but in the Late Philip J Fry, Bender and him get into a fist fight. In Bender's Game he almost sells the professor out to the orcs, and in Bendless Love he three times bends the Professor's spine. Not to mention the Kill-Bots that attacked him in Bender's Game. Why has this never worked before now?
    • Regarding the fist fight, Bender isn't doing anything of major consequence to the Professor, while bending his spine merely affected him, though Bender was unaware of his actions and was on impulse. The other thing is part of a fantasy. And Kill-Bots are a special case programmed by Mom.


(In alphabetic order)




  1. ^ Awesome Auction Action!. (CGEF.) 27 November 2011. Retrieved on 27 November 2011.
  2. ^ Episode Guide: 7 ACV. (CGEF.) 29 February 2012. Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Just Fan" (29 February 2012). "Futurama: Futurama News (pre-season 7)". (PEEL.) Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
  4. ^ Futurama - Episode Guide. (MSN TV.) Retrieved on 09 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Tastes Like Fry" (12 July 2012). "Newsarama! (Futurama News Thread)" (page 1). (PEEL.) Retrieved on 13 July 2012.