Leela (Katey Sagal) finds herself stuck in a series of unsuccessful dates. The latest comes from the show’s cold opening where the date goes well until she sees his vile lizard tongue. Amy and the others take her to The Hip Joint to meet eligible bachelors. Everyone leaves the place with a date except for Leela who leaves alone.
The next day, Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) sends the crew on a tax-deductible mission of charity to the uninhabited planet, Vergon 6. It’s been mined hollow for its dark matter which is an incredibly dense substance valued for its use as starship fuel. However, its imminent collapse will render all of the native animal species on it extinct. Farnsworth orders the crew to recover two of each kind of animal native to the planet for breeding purposes.
Once the crew arrives to the Vergon system, they find the starship Nimbus placed a security cordon around the planet. Leela recognizes the flagship as that of the famed space captain, Zapp Brannigan (Billy West).
Once they dock with the ship, the Planet Express crew meets Zapp and his long-suffering executive officer, Lieutenant Kif Kroker (Maurice LaMarche). While Zapp initially flatters Leela, things go south after he rejects Leela’s request for help in saving the animals on the planet.
The Democratic Order of Planets (D.O.O.P.) has declared Vergon 6 restricted because interfering with undeveloped worlds is forbidden (even though it was a D.O.O.P. mining crew that mined it hollow in the first place). When Leela ignores Zapp’s order to stay away from the planet, Zapp arrests the entire Planet Express crew.
That night, Zapp requests Leela meet him in his chambers. There she rebuffs his attempts to seduce her. After she declares she’d rather be in prison than spend an evening with the Zapper, he breaks down crying. Saying that he’s lonely, he hoped Leela, a fellow captain, would understand what it’s like to be the top commander.
Overcome with pity, Leela has sex with Zapp. The next morning, she’s horrified at what’s she’s done. She tries to sneak away, but Zapp catches her before letting her go—thinking his manly charm will bring her running back to him. He orders the release of her crew before letting them to travel to Vergon 6.
Once on the planet, they begin collecting the animals on their checklist. They take some of them green alligators and long-necked geese; some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees; some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born Farnsworth doesn’t want them to forget his unicorn.
As they continue on, they discover a small black creature with a third eye attached to a stalk on the top of its head. Even though it is not on the list, Leela decides to rescue it as well. She names it Nibbler, and takes it to the cargo hold with the other animals. Unfortunately, when Fry, Leela, and Bender (John DiMaggio) return with the last animal, they discover Nibbler (Frank Welker) devoured all the other animals.
As the planet begins to collapse, the crew tries to fly away. They discover the ship is out of fuel because Bender forgot to fill it up. Leela finally admits that the previous night, she slept with Zapp. So she refuses to ask ask him for any help. She eventually gives in to save her crew.
After Zapp says that he will only help them if they leave Nibbler behind, Leela rejects him again before telling him off. Now, with no hope of rescue, the crew resigns themselves to sudden death. Unexpectedly, Nibbler poops out a small pellet of dark matter that’s enough to fuel the ship’s escape from the self-destructing planet. As Vergon 6 implodes, the crew returns to Earth. We see some of the native animals survive the event—taking refuge on asteroids created from the planet’s death. No word on if Zapp’s self-esteem suffered another blow as well.
Season 1 – Original Air Date: April 13, 1999