How The West Was 1010001
|Navigation in production order
|Season 8 episode
Broadcast season 11 episode
|How The West Was 1010001
|Nona di Spargement
|Based On An Actual UFO Sighting
|First air date
|7 August, 2023 
|The 1962 film How the West Was Won, and the atomic number of thallium, 81, in binary.
|A Is for Atom by John Sutherland Productions (1953)
"How The West Was 1010001" is the one hundred and forty-third episode of Futurama, the third of the eighth production season and the third of the eleventh broadcast season. It aired on 7 August, 2023 , on Hulu. It guest-stars Dee Bradley Baker as Rusty the donkey and Frank Welker as the mountain lion.
Act I: "This gives me a desperate idea!"
The Professor announces to the crew that they are bankrupt, because he borrowed money from the Robot Mafia to invest in Bitcoin but can't repay them after the price of Bitcoin crashed. However, Channel √2 News reports that the price of Bitcoin is soaring again. This gives the Professor the idea to go mining the element 81 thallium found out west and sell it to the Bitcoin "miners", because the new mining chips are made from it.
The crew takes the Planet Express ship to go west, before having to land and drive the rest of the way along the Donner trail, due to the atmosphere being ionized by the intensive Bitcoin mining. Fry is enjoying the reading of a series of action books written by Borax Kid, while Hermes struggles to build a father-son connection with Dwight.
Act II: "We'll all need to do Old West stuff to get by."
The crew arrives at the crypto town, Doge City. The Professor explains that all electricity goes to the Bitcoin mining computers, hence the town appears to be an old-fashioned western town.
A lady named Delilah with mood-swing issues runs a local saloon and a brothel in the back, with a Pianola Bot performing for the guests. Leela accepts Delilah's offer to work as a "barmaid and/or prostitute" to earn some cash. Bender buys a donkey, Rusty, at a livestock auction, claiming that he always wanted a racehorse and donkeys are just ugly horses. Roberto is spotted in town, equipped with a gun-knife because he needs something "shootier". This prompts Dwight to think even less of the trip and of Hermes, wishing Roberto to be his dad so he could do some cool stabbing.
In other parts of town, the Professor and Bender visit an all-in-one Bitcoin trader who does thallium assay but also smelting, microchip fabrication, and cryptocurrency mining. Zoidberg takes over the cabinet of the town doctor, Doc Fiesta, who is revealed to be a psychiatrist and is killed by Roberto in an anger outburst.
Back at the saloon, Fry meets with Borax Kid and his sidekick, Mumbles. Moments later, Mumbles is mortally wounded by Roberto in a fight (proclaimed dead by Zoidberg), and Borax Kid invites Fry to be his new sidekick. Being a big fan of Kid's action books and being promised to appear in the next book, Fry accepts the offer with great enthusiasm.
Act III: "The nugget is gone!"
Not packing any shovels with them, the crew starts to find thallium by panning with Bender's ass at a riverside camp. Bender performs a folk song on his donkey, lamenting the loss of his ass, only for the donkey to fall off a treadmill and break its back. Luckily, the new town doctor Zoidberg fixes it using splints.
Dwight has an argument with Hermes over limbo being stupid. He runs away to team up with Roberto, who conceives a plan to rob a stagecoach carrying cryptocurrency credentials, by placing a tied-up Dwight on the road as obstacle. Unfortunately, the plan goes sideways as the stagecoach runs over Dwight without stopping, and consequently breaks his spine.
Fry begins to serve Borax Kid as his sidekick. He grows curious about a private library in Kid's tent. During a walk back to the tent with Leela, they encounter a mountain lion. Kid cowardly retreats back into his tent, while Fry drives the beast away with several gun shots. However, Kid takes all the credit and starts to court with Leela.
Back at the riverside camp, after only yielding a pile of useless gold, Amy manages to find a large nugget of thallium using Bender's ass. Late at night, Roberto arrives to rob the nugget from the hands of Bender. Next day morning, the nugget disappeared along with both robots. Only Bender's donkey is found tied to a tree. The crew frees the donkey and follows it back into town.
Act IV: "I'm calling you out!"
The crew goes into the backroom of the saloon, and discovers a room full of robot heads used for Bitcoin mining. Delilah appears and confesses that she has been abducting robots for their head, but the proceeds are all donated to a local orphanage. She seals the room to trap the crew, and they begin to burrow with Bender's donkey.
Meanwhile, Fry sneaks into Kid's library, and discovers that Kid has been plagiarizing someone else's stories for himself. He confronts Kid and starts a duel standoff. The Pianola Bot and the Bitcoin trader start another standoff in a perpendicular direction. At the same time, Delilah is standing on the skyway above while the trapped crew members emerge from the ground below, and Bender launches a third standoff against Delilah, making it a sixway standoff along all three axes. The gunfight erupts, and Hermes is trapped in the middle. Dwight, with his shattered spine, manages to lead Hermes out in a limbo manner, and reconciles with his father by saying that limbo is not entirely stupid.
The shooting ends. Leela dismisses Borax Kid for his insincerity and reunites with Fry. Delilah returns the thallium nugget to the Professor. The Robot Mafia show up to collect their payment from the Professor, and accept Delilah's invitation to visit her backroom, only to end up being beheaded and used for Bitcoin mining.
The writer of record for this episode is Nona di Spargement.. During the Futurama Fan Panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, 2022, Patric Verrone revealed that the script was actually written by Ken Keeler.
- This is the first episode of the third run that is not a direct sequel to a previous episode.
- 1010001 in binary is 51 in hexadecimal, 81 in decimal, and maps to the letter 'Q' in the ASCII standard.
- During the Futurama Fan Panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, 2022, Patric Verrone revealed that the number 81 itself also has a meaning. This would turn-out to be the atomic number of thallium, the metal that the crew seeks out in this episode.
- The title of this episode is also a reference to the 1962 film How the West Was Won.
- When the Professor was showing the periodic table to the crew, the element indium can be seen to be renamed to "Native Americium", alluding to the Native American name controversy.
- Leela mentions that they usually don't bring oxen with them aboard the Planet Express ship. This could be a nod to Firefly, a space western show where the crew once transported cattle on a spaceship.
- Fry was reading a Borax Kid action book titled The Borax Kid vs the Outlaws of Thermodynamics. A demonic figure named "Maxwell's demon" was seen stealing gold molecules from a bank vault and shooting lead atoms out of a revolver, alluding to the famous thought experiment of the same name, where a molecule-manipulating demon could hypothetically violate the second law of thermodynamics.
- After the Professor talks about the "Old West", Amy and Leela both reply with "Old West, got it!" and a wink. This might be a double entendre, alluding to the fact that the voice actor Billy West is old now after the 10-year gap following the second cancellation.
- The crypto town Doge City is named after a cryptocurrency. The following commerces can be seen in town:
- When the crew was entering the town, a white bird in a cage can be heard making the "meep meep" sound of the Road Runner.
- In the first exterior shot of the saloon, there is a Shiba Inu dog next to Bender: this is the breed of the original Doge, the eponym of Dogecoin and hence also that of the town.
- The stagecoach that Roberto tried to rob bears the marking "Wells Crypto", alluding to the banking company Wells Fargo.
- The original author of the books, Buffalo Bill Cobalt, is named after Buffalo Bill Cody and the chemical element cobalt. All his books appear in the color of cobalt blue.
- On the periodic table, element 117 is Fn for "Farnsium," just as it was in "Near-Death Wish."
- Bender played his guitar, Salmonella, during the folk song.
- Bender's ass plate is seen to have two circular holes and a rectangular hole with a hatch. But in the episode "Assie Come Home" where the plate was used for a lighthouse mirror, it only has two circular holes (the rectangular slot inside of him however, is retained from that episode).
Pianola Bot: Delilah runs a house of ill repute in back.
Fry: "Ill"? You mean a hospital?
Pianola Bot: I mean a cathouse.
Fry: A pet store?
Pianola Bot: A brothel.
Fry: A soup kitchen?!
Pianola Bot: Yeah... A soup kitchen.
Roberto: Out here in the West, I need something shootier. Like this gun-knife I invented-stole! Where's that beer I ordered-didn't order?!
Dwight: I wish Roberto were my dad. He's cooler than a green snake smoking a sugar cane vape.
Hermes: No self-respecting green snake would do that!
Professor: I'd take a shift myself, but I am already in my pajamas.
Leela: I've never been so offended yet slightly flattered!
Donbot: If we ever get outta here, I'm gonna give this brothel a really bad Yelp review.
Alien Language Sightings
- The Bitcoin trader agrees to buy the thallium ore at 100 micro-Bitcoin (100 µ₿), but later he only pays Bender 1.0µ₿.
- Bender says he didn't pack the shovels, but later a shovel can be seen at the riverside camp.
- In the last scene, Bender and Roberto's heads can be seen again inside the backroom, at the exact same location as they were before the rescue.