"Brannigan Begin Again"
is the second episode in the second production season of Futurama
. It was originally aired in North America
on November 28
as the sixth episode in the second broadcast season. The episode was written by Lewis Morton
and directed by Jeffrey Lynch
The Planet Express
crew arrives at the new Democratic Order of Planets (D.O.O.P.)
headquarters in orbit around the Neutral Planet, in order to deliver the oversized scissors that will be used for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. After deciding the Neutral Planet is evil and deceptive, Zapp Brannigan
captures and interrogates the crew, thinking that they are assassins. Shortly thereafter, he destroys the entire station by attempting to use the Nimbus
' laser to cut the ribbon from space.
At the former D.O.O.P. headquarters in Weehawken, New Jersey, Brannigan is court-martialed and he and Kif Kroker are stripped of all their titles and dismissed from D.O.O.P. service, the latter being dismissed after Brannigan unjustly declares him the guilty party. Unable to find employment, the pair wander the streets until they finally arrive at the Planet Express building. Leela tries to turn them away, but Professor Farnsworth decides hiring Brannigan would be good for the company's public image.
The augmented crew is sent to deliver pillows to a hotel on Stumbos 4, a high-gravity planet. Despite Leela's order to deliver one at a time, Fry, Bender, and Zapp decide to deliver all the pillows at once, which in the intense gravity causes the hover dolly to collapse. As punishment, Leela orders them to deliver the pillows by hand instead of using the backup dolly, which causes resentment among the crew.
Fry, Bender, and Zapp stage a mutiny against Leela, and lock her in the "laundry brig". Brannigan decides to attack his imagined nemesis, the Neutral Planet, thinking this will make him a hero and get him reinstated as a D.O.O.P. captain. When Fry and Bender discover the plan is a suicide mission, they free Leela and she retakes command. With Fry and Bender's help, they foil Zapp's plan after he jumps ship with Kif.
After returning to Earth, Leela testifies that Brannigan was an amazing hero, and the D.O.O.P. reinstates Zapp and Kif, thus keeping them out of her life for a little while longer, since Kif annoys Leela with his complaints about working under Zapp. Leela also decides to be a bit more lenient with Fry and Bender, but when the Professor overrules this, the three decide to stage a mutiny against him.
The majority of the jury at Brannigan's trial are characters from previous Futurama
episodes. Among the familiar ones are Glurmo from "Fry and the Slurm Factory
", the fat anglerfish-antennae alien from "Hell is Other Robots
", a Neptunian, an Insectoid, a Robot Elder from "Fear of a Bot Planet
", and Fry's Trisolian advisor Gorgak from "My Three Suns
". Fry is shown while at the DOOP headquarters talking to a woman from the planet "Amazonia", saying "what is it like on the planet Amazonia?", later to come up in the episode Amazon Women in the Mood
. Included in the 3-D chess game Bender and Fry play are a Decapodian
, a Horrible Gelatinous Blob
the ruler of Omicron Persei 8, a Trisolian from "My Three Suns" and an Amphibiosan. Towards the end of the episode, when Leela regains control of the ship as it is about to impact the Neutral Planet, she says "I don't want to die at the age of 25" revealing to us her age.
In 2006 IGN.com
ranked this episode as number five in their list of the "Top 25 Futurama
episodes". The episode ranked highly in large part due to the character of Zapp Brannigan, particularly the Midnight Cowboy
parody with Kif and Brannigan as Dustin Hoffman
and Jon Voight
. A review on 411mania
also noted that the return of Brannigan was a highpoint of the episode and gave it an overall rating of 8.0/10 or "very good". In Doug Pratt's DVD
Pratt noted that the episode combined the series' science fiction setting with good character humor.
The title is a play on the Irish folk song Michael Finnigan
, which is also known by its refrain, "Finnigan, begin again." The episode opens with Fry and Bender playing a game of chess similar to that played by Chewbacca
in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
. The sequence where Zapp attempts to make a living as a gigolo
is taken from Midnight Cowboy
, including the film's theme, "Everybody's Talkin'
" by Harry Nilsson