AVClub: Here we are, at the end of season three, with a pair of episodes which don’t inspire much analysis—crap, I’ve already done my “these don’t inspire much analysis” routine, haven’t I? I need to start working on new material. Someone might actually read one of these write-ups someday.
Still, while I prefer “30% Iron Chef” to “The Route Of All Evil” by a comfortable margin, neither of them are classics, and both fall victim to that familiar problem that plagued the show off and on throughout its run: a story premise that just isn’t interesting enough on its own to be worth an entire half hour. Bender’s journey from shitty cook to shitty cook who cheats (more or less) to humiliate his former hero on national television is fine for what it is, but there’s no real tension or investment in any of it. The climax of the episode plays out as a goof on Iron Chef, which is amusing but not particularly gripping for non-fans (I’ll confess, I knew about that show when it was on, but never really got into it), and the ending is never in doubt.