Professor Farnsworth announces that Leela's childhood home, Cookieville Minimum-Security Orphanarium, has named her Orphan of the Year. In another announcement, he shows off a machine that makes phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark noses. Unfortunately, the machine produces enormous amounts of toxic waste. Hermes, being a bureaucrat, demands that the Professor dispose of the waste or bribe him, which either way costs $500. Bender agrees to dispose of the waste for "$499 and 100 cents," and he does so by dumping it into the sewer.
At the orphanarium's award ceremony, the headmaster presents us with a flashback of Leela's arrival. We see that she was left with a note written in Alienese and a bracelet. Back at the Planet Express building, Leela is in tears over not having parents. Fry takes her for a walk and she looks up to the stars, wondering which alien world her parents were from. The camera pans back down and we see two one-eyed sewer mutants looking up from a drain.
Meanwhile, Bender has expanded his one-time dumping into a full waste management service. The mutants grow angry with Bender's disposal technique and make a rare surface trip, capturing Bender, Fry, and Leela. The mutants sentence the crew to be lowered into a lake of chemicals, which will turn them into mutants as well. Bender, who was still scared, had no DNA but the mutants said they were going to beat him up later.
Two hooded mutants call out to Leela, then swing the crane around, dropping the crew on the far side of the mutagenic lake. The mutant mob, immune to the effects of the lake, dive in and swim across. Bender, Fry, and Leela, take refuge in a mutant home, where they find a shrine to Leela's life. The mob captures them, but after a whispered word from the hooded mutants, the crew's sentence is commuted to exile. They ride a hot-air balloon to a surface access ladder hanging over the lake. Fry and Bender emerge on the surface but Leela, determined to find out what the hooded mutants know, dives into the chemical lake.
She swims to shore and finds she is unaffected by the chemicals. Fry heads to the orphanarium to try to get some clues as to what's going on and the headmaster gives him the note that was left with Leela. Fry takes the note back to the Professor for analysis. As they read the analysis output, we learn the truth: Leela is actually a mutant, but was born "the least mutated mutant ever". Her parents, realizing she could pass as an alien, decided to leave her at the orphanarium and using Munda's background in exolinguistics, left an Alienese note. They agreed that they would rather die than ever let her find out the "shameful" truth.
Meanwhile, an armed and irrational Leela has pursued the hooded mutants through the sewers, back to the home with the shrine to herself. Leela comes to the irrational conclusion that the mutants murdered her parents, leaving her an orphan. She plans to kill her parents and both are willing to let her rather than reveal the truth. Fry falls through the ceiling at the last second and reveals the truth. He takes off the mutants' hoods revealing two middle-age one-eyed mutants. A tearful reunion ensues and the episode closes with a montage of scenes of Leela's parents watching over their daughter during her life. As a baby, they saved her from falling. As a child, they gave her cookies. As a teenager, they gave her a present for her birthday. As an adult, they covered her with the blanket.
- The note Turanga Munga left on Leela's basket reads, "Your parents love you very much" in Alienese.
- This is the episode where it is revealed that Leela is, in fact, an earthling, a mutant, daughter of sewer mutants, rather than the offspring of an unknown species of alien.
- A mouse is dunked into the sewer's mutagenic water and emerges as a fish-pig-monster thing.
- Leela dives into the mutagenic water and emerges as an octopus-monster, but only apparently, as upon emerging she removes the octopus-monster from her head and is her normal self.
Death, near-death, mutilation
- Baby Leela kicks the headmaster in the face.
- The orphan Albert runs blindly into a wall.
- Bender uses Fry's body to break a window.
- Leg Mutant kicks Fry in the leg.
- Leela incapacitates a nameless three-eyed mutant with a kick to the head.
- Bender dumps garbage on top of Leela.
- With unspecified help from Bender, Fry crashes through the Turangas' ceiling and lands on their floor in a pile of rubble.
Fry and Leela
Leela opens up to Fry when he tries to cheer her up. But she seems to need only a friend. Fry's version of cheering Leela up involves innuendo, but he eventually manages to rise to the occasion and behave as a friend. Leela doesn't seem to have much reaction to the innuendos, because she knows how Fry is but she likes him enough to lightly refuse and still allow him to comfort her.
In the home of Leela's parents, there is a sort of shrine composed of items Leela has flushed down the toilet throughout her life. Fry notices on this shrine a letter from himself to Leela, which he describes as "full of my personal feelings." It's not clear whether these are personal feelings in general, or toward her in particular. Either way, it's clear how she feels about him, in spite of the occasional romantic sparks that have flown in previous episodes.
When Leela returns to the mutants, Fry makes an effort to "save" her, as he is under the impression that she has gone crazy. Fry also prevents Leela from accidentally killing her parents and helps her connect with them.