- "You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!"
"The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" is the Season 5 finale of Futurama and was the final episode broadcasted on the Fox Network. It aired originally on August 10, 2003. The episode coincidentally became the last episode aired on Adult Swim on December 31, 2007, when the series' contract with the network expired. It was originally intended to be the final episode produced for the series. It was written by Ken Keeler, who was nominated for an Emmy in 2004 for Outstanding Music and Lyrics.
Struggling to play the Holophonor because of his hands, Philip J. Fry I is convinced to make a deal with Beelzebot to swap hands with an automaton, thinking that he will get hands that would play the instrument better. After the Robot Devil himself is selected, they swap hands and Fry enjoys success as his new and superior hands can play perfectly. Bitter with Fry's hands, the Robot Devil comes up with tactics to have him regain his hands back during Fry's career as a professional Holophonor, after Fry composes an opera for Leela.
After a disappointing holophonor recital, Fry enlists the help of the Robot Devil to improve his holophonor skills through hand transplants. After randomly determining the robot “donor” by spinning a wheel (which contains all of the robots featured in the series), Fry's hands are switched for those of the Robot Devil himself. Fry then becomes a skilled holophonor player, performing at Hovercar-negie Hall, he attempts to win the heart of Leela through an opera commissioned by Hedonismbot.
The Robot Devil, who is unhappy with the trade because Fry's hands are "always touching [him] in places", decides he must win his own hands back. He gives Bender a stadium air horn, so that he can annoy people. When Bender uses the air horn on Leela, she becomes deaf. Robot Devil then taunts Bender, because Bender traded away his "Shiny Metal Ass" for the air horn, so now Robot Devil can't bite it. Afraid Fry would stop composing the opera, if he knew she couldn't hear, she attends the opera, pretending to still be able to hear the performance. Fry's opera, Leela: Orphan of the Stars, opens in the Metropolitan House of Opera. During the intermission, the Robot Devil offers Leela robotic ears in exchange for her hand. Leela, who is thrilled she will hear the end of Fry's opera, agrees.
The Robot Devil interrupts the opera when Fry portrays him as an idiot. He demands that Fry return his hands. When Fry refuses, the Robot Devil says that he will take Leela's hand... in marriage. A dramatic opera is sung until Fry trades the Robot Devil's hands back for his own.
With his own hands, Fry can no longer play the holophonor well and the remainder of the opera is terrible. Everyone in the audience leaves, except for Leela, who asks that he continue playing, as she wanted to “hear how it ends.” The finale of Fry's opera shows a very crudely-animated Fry and Leela kissing, then walking into the distance hand-in-hand.
Fry and LeelaEdit
Fry practices the holophonor in the hopes of making Leela like him. Never having indicated musical inclination before (except briefly in Parasites Lost), he says that he hears great music in his head. Leela, never having indicated musical appreciation before (except briefly in Parasites Lost), tells the story of Sean, a loser whom she loved primarily because of his musical talent. The stage is set for an exploration of the relationship between Fry and Leela.
When he first receives the Robot Devil's hands, Fry exclaims, "At last, I'll have the power to make Leela love me!" While it's clear where Fry stands, Leela is harder to read. While attending a large performance by Fry, Leela sheds tears, but we don't know which kind of love they might indicate. She and Fry have become close friends over the years, but she has only briefly shown flickers of interest in him. When Fry announces that he will make his opera about her, she plays very coy, pretending to be surprised.
Everything changes when Leela hears Fry's music, when she shows that she is the same woman who dated Sean: she immediately falls for Fry and gushes about his enormous creativity. In his opera, Fry describes Leela as "the woman that I idolize." The opera itself is a glorious example of this sentiment, but for now, it's the best Fry can do and for now, it seems to be enough for Leela. After all the other opera patrons abandon the theater, Leela asks Fry to show her the ending, even if necessarily performed by his human hands.The improvised finale showing the cartoon images Fry and Leela sharing a kiss and walking into distance could be seen as Fry's proper way of confessing his genuine romantic feelings to Leela.
It seems that Fry and Leela might be at the threshold of a new phase in their relationship.
Injury, Torture, DismembermentEdit
- The mother of the talented holophonor player at Fry's recital reports hitting the child "fairly hard".
- Fry is attacked by an angry recital audience, who throw wadded up sheet music at him. Later, while performing his magnum opus, he is similarly attacked by patrons at the opera house.
- Fry and Bender visit the Robot Devil in Robot Hell, where countless dead robots are being tortured.
- Fry and the Robot Devil trade hands, and ultimately trade back.
- The Robot Devil's hands, although attached to Fry's wrists, attempt to strangle Fry.
- Using his new hands, Fry disassembles Bender, juggles his individual parts for a moment and reassembles him.
- The female aristocrat in Fry's practice tune is knocked off-screen by a Donkey-Kong-style barrel.
- In exchange for having a boat horn affixed to his face, Bender gives the Robot Devil his "crotch plate" (which Bender refers to as "my ass" in Roswell That Ends Well).
- Leela is temporarily deafened by Bender's new boat horn.
- The Robot Devil removes Calculon's ears and attaches them to Leela.
- The Robot Devil kicks an actor off the stage into the orchestra pit.
- After Fry shoves the Robot Devil away from Leela, the Robot Preacher is knocked off the stage and can be heard crashing into things off-screen.
- Before exiting the auditorium, the Robot Devil picks up the head of Richard Nixon and brings it with him back to Robot Hell, presumably to be tortured.
Bender seems to have taken an interest in literature. He chides the Robot Devil three times about his misuse of the word irony. First, the fact that the wheel chose the Robot Devil is, as Bender says, "coincidence", not irony. Second, the fact that Leela's deafness defeats the purpose of Fry having the Robot Devil's hands is, as Bender says, "just mean", not irony. Third, the Robot Devil reveals that when he asked for Leela's hand, he meant her hand in marriage. Bender points out that this is irony as defined in the dictionary.
When Bender attempts to blast the Robot Devil with his boat horn, he finds himself out of aerosol. The Robot Devil mocks Bender, saying, "Also ironic." This is unfortunate coincidence, not irony, but Bender doesn't mention it.
- Fry's holophonor opera features actors portraying the Orphanarium headmaster, Beelzebot, Bender, Fry and Leela.
- Midway through Fry's opera, he stops playing his instrument—shutting down the simulation—and the actual characters continue the opera simultaneously with "real life".