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The Absolute Worst Thing Leela Did On Futurama

Who doesn't love a flawed heroine? Nice to know we'll still have a couple kicking around in the 31st century.

Over seven seasons and two decades of content, Futurama essentially pioneered the high-concept science-fiction comedy featuring complex, deeply flawed characters who feel all too familiar from our own time (a formula that Rick and Morty lifts and turns up to 11). The best sci-fi isn't about the future; rather, it uses the narrative tool of extrapolation to illuminate some aspect of our condition today. And no planetary delivery crew tells us more about our timeless issues and human failings than the ragtag gang of misfits manning the bridge of Planet Express Ship. Take the team's fearless, depth-perception challenged pilot Turanga Leela, for example.

Leela's cyclopean head contains multitudes, and more than a few of those multitudes are of the darker variety. Aside from playing games with Fry's (Billy West) poor 21st century heart, she's been responsible for many acts of questionable integrity. Leela's transgressions range from ethically dubious to exhibiting outright moral turpitude, but they're always executed with a grain of self-awareness and (usually) remorse. She's a mutant after all, not a sociopath. Don't be prejudiced. That said, what's the absolute worst thing Leela has ever done?

Leela's brief struggle with substance addiction led her to abuse her boyfriend

It's hard to hold Leela entirely accountable for her behavior while she was all hopped up on "Nectar," an addictive nutritional supplement, but even in cases of substance abuse, there has to be some degree of personal responsibility. 

On the Futurama season 7 episode "The Butterjunk Effect," Planet Express' purple-haired captain gives into the allure of performance-enhancing drugs. On a mission to return stolen rocks to the Moon, the crew attends their first Butterfly Derby, a brutal bloodsport event wherein women adorned with flying wingsuits battle it out to the almost-death. Leela and Amy (Lauren Tom) are enamored with the concept, and when the announcer asks for amateur volunteers to fly into the ring, they both step forward and are promptly trounced. Despite their failure, the women are invited to continue their participation in the league. That's when things get hairy. Leela and Amy witness some of the other butterfly combatants purchasing an illicit substance in the locker room after the game. Intrigued by the potential performance-enhancing benefits of Nectar, they both jump on board.

The effects are almost instantaneous: both women bulk up and see an immediate improvement in their derby game. They go off on a long winning streak, but the drug has some unpleasant side-effects. Leela's 'roid rage causes her to abuse her boyfriend Fry, both physically and emotionally. And that's not even the reason Leela finally quits the juice. While her treatment of Fry is deplorable, she doesn't decide to drop the Nectar cold turkey until she realizes its effects make her susceptible to butterfly pheromones. Unwilling to leave herself in the thrall of any chemical aphrodisiac, she and Amy both decide it would be best to go au naturel. You'd think abusing your boyfriend would be enough of an incentive, but guess not. 

As bad as this behavior sounds, it still wasn't Leela's absolute worst moment.

She used Professor Farnsworth's body to test her relationship

During the Freaky Friday-esque body-swapping extravaganza that was the season 6 episode "The Prisoner of Benda," Leela becomes concerned that Fry only loves her for her body. In order to stress-test these insecurities, she body-swaps with Professor Farnsworth (also voiced by Billy West) and attempts to seduce her boyfriend.

Setting aside the highly questionable ethics of doing anything of this nature while inhabiting another person's body, let's keep in mind that the Professor is actually Fry's great-great-great-great nephew. Or something. The in-series laws may never have contemplated this kind of trans-generational coupling, but still — super yuck. This leads to a disturbing cycle of one-upmanship that ends with Fry inside the crustacean body of Dr. Zoidberg (West) on a date with Professor-body Leela. Let's just say that Leela ultimately gets to set her mind at ease.

This one was much worse since Leela was in her normal, sober state of mind the entire time and even acted with quite a bit of premeditation. But even given the disgustingness of this episode, there's one more of Leela's dirty deeds that really takes the cake.

She caused Dr. Zoidberg to be captured and vivisected

You should never kick a guy when he's down, and Dr. Zoidberg is just about always down. It's kind of his thing. The Planet Express Ship's resident dope is the epitome of a sad sack. That's why Leela's brazen disregard for his health and safety during this season 3 jaunt back in time is such a no-no.

On the Futurama episode "Roswell that Ends Well," a dust-up between Planet Express' microwave and the "gravitons and graviolis" from a nearby supernova send the crew tumbling back in time to cause the infamous Roswell crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Then — while Fry's getting busy with his grandmother (thus becoming his own grandfather) — Leela's mismanagement of the situation causes Bender (John DiMaggio) to be apprehended by 20th century authorities. And what do 20th century authorities do when confronted with a crabby extraterrestrial? Capture and vivisect, of course! Dr. Zoidberg's literally lying on the dissection table when he ultimately escapes, so who knows what kind of torture he endured while the rest of the team was out gallivanting around the 1940s. 

Leela makes up for this failure by storming to the rescue alongside Fry, but in the process of escaping back to the future, they lose another member of their team: Bender. The captain's job is first and foremost to keep her crew safe, and in this instance, Leela completely failed.

So there you have it — the absolute worst of the worst of Leela's behavior on Futurama. She's certainly one cyclops you don't want to cross.