The Boondocks

Season 1 Episode 9

Return of the King

Aired Sunday 11:30 PM Jan 15, 2006 on Adult Swim

Episode Fan Reviews (28)

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out of 10
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  • This is an episode that deals with a what-if situation. Instead of dying, Dr. Martin Luther King falls into a 32 year coma. He wakes to find that his dream has not yet been full-filled.

    This is my favorite episode of "The Boondocks". It's one of those episodes that I believe everyone needs to see. This provides a powerful message about what would Dr. Martin Luther King think of the African-American community today.

    Although this episodes uses the "N" word, just like many of the other episodes, this time it adds to meaningfullness of MLK's speech. The world has fallen off the path from what MLK envisioned.

    The voice actor who played MLK did a very nice job in capturing his character and speech. He sounds almost exactly like the real MLK before his death.

    If only people could take a cartoon's message seriousyl. I give two thumbs-up to Aaron McGruder for creating this episode.
  • In a hypothetical turn of events, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. results in an extended coma. He awakens to find a world dramatically different from the one he departed.

    Before I saw this episode, I thought it would be controversial due to its shock value. How dare McGruder poke fun at a black leader who has been almost deified by Americans the country over? I was so ready to be offended by this episode I watched it on Friday Night Fix. And learned I was wrong.

    Dr. King was handled with the utmost tact and delicacy in this episode. None of the jokes were directed toward him, rather, they were aimed at the world in which he found himself. McGruder forces us to ask ourselves several questions: if King were alive today, how would he react to our new lifestyles (particularly those of black Americans)? Would he feel the sacrifices of those who fought for civil rights are appreciated? Are we, this new generation, living up to his expectations? In the end we get McGruder's answers: King feels out of place and under-appreciated (he couldn't even get into his own meeting, which was turned into a party); he neither felt that the sacrifices were appreciated nor did he feel the new generation lived up to his standards (his 'truth' speech). Just like A Date With The Health Inspector, this episode becomes McGruder's vehicle for social commentary and, more importantly, a battle cry for black Americans. (The end of this episode: too cool)

    So while I only laughed out loud a few times (during the dinner scene and when Huey threw the chair and pummeled the pundit, which struck me as rather Riley of him; Uncle Ruckus throwing bricks), I must say I enjoyed this far more than I would have had it been all laughs.
  • Return of the King is about Martin Luther King Jr. waking up after a 30 year coma. His ideals are known as terrorists-sympathy. So Huey tries to help MLK get his word back out to help the black people realize who they are again.

    An awesome, funny, well written, and truthful episode. I really liked this episode for its hilarity about if MLK was alive today he would be consider a terrorist-sympathizer. Where his ideals are shut-down by his fellow black man. The entire time MLK is alive Uncle Ruckus is trying to fling bricks at him. Even back then Ruckus try to throw a brick at him at one of his eariler speeches back in the Civil Rights movement era. All-in-all in this was a good episode. Now the show has been nominated by NAACP Image Award. Go vote at .
  • Newsflash! The Boondocks is controversial!

    Martin Luther King Day. The one time of the year, aside from Black History Month, where white people are actually supposed to think about black people. Although, most I know only look forward to the day off. Perhaps, in its own way, this episode of Boondocks can change that.

    Personally, I love this episode, because it reminds me of why I started reading the comic strip. It is a good mix of humor and of Aaron's fresh and honest view of life in America. Of course, not everyone will agree with Aaron's overt opinions, which is the lovely thing about free speech. Either way, it is bound to stir some thought.

    The scenario for this entire episode is dreamed up by Huey, giving the show free reign to explore an alternate reality where Martin Luther King does not die. It is an interesting look at the degradation of modern day culture.

    Perhaps my only complaint is how this problem is shown as specifically black, when, of course, it involves all of America. After all, according to that definition of Nigger, practically everyone in America is one.

    Maybe this episode will get people to think about the current condition of the world. Well, like Huey says, it's fun to dream.
  • A hilarious conveyance of Huey's ideal world, in which MLK is alive in our time and is disgusted by what he sees. A true classic.

    What I'm not sure some people understand about this episode is that it was based in Huey's imagination. I know I don't need to point out the obvious, which is that MLK was actually killed 40 years ago rather than put into a coma only to awaken in recent years. But it is important to note that this is Huey's ideal reality, not necessarily that world as it would be if King actually came back to life.

    That being said, Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my favorite characters ever to grace the series. His interactions with the other characters was priceless, and so were his takes on the modern world of iPods and boneless rib sandwiches. I wish he could come back again, but I guess that's what makes this a one-of-a-kind episode.

    The best part in the whole shebang was the part with the Tucker Carlson-esque pundit who told MLK off for not immediately saying how much he loves America. In other shows, the irony of the "fair and balanced" talk might simply slide by. In The Boondocks, Huey nails him with a chair and socks him in the mouth.

    This is why I watch the Boondocks. I hope to see many more chairs fly in the face of the Tucker Carlsons and Bill O'Reillys of the world, and lots more episodes just like this. Bravo, McGruder.
  • Best episode ever.

    Now this is why I watch the series. A hilarious spoof of what Bill Cosby thinks in a liberal way. Using MLK as a satire for american overzealous patriotism that has tainted our country. Brilliant. I thought the episode was funny. It had a serious message mixed with Boondocks comedy.

    The best part in the whole episode was the part with the Tucker Carlson-esque pundit who told MLK off for not immediately saying how much he loves America. In other shows, the irony of the "fair and balanced" talk might simply slide by. In The Boondocks, Huey nails him with a chair and socks him in the mouth.

    This is why I watch the Boondocks. I hope to see many more chairs fly in the face of the Tucker Carlsons and Bill O'Reillys of the world, and lots more episodes just like this. Bravo, McGruder.
  • Not funny, preachy, and stupid.

    There are 3 forms of entertainment:
    1) Action
    2) Comedy
    3) Plot
    There was no violence, and it wasn't funny, so the whole show rested on the brilliant plot idea of having MLK wake up out of a coma in time to insult America and black people in general.

    I understand that the creator has an agenda, but if he can't entertain me while shoveling the manure, I'm going to stop watching the show.

    And as for the agenda, it's nice of him to pretend like he's advocating the cause of black people by constantly insulting what he percieves as their one single unified culture. But not as nice as shoveling words into a dead man's mouth (ironically, the running gag of the show is how MLK's image is being used to advocate commercial products he never would have sold out for).

    And as for the world agenda of the episode, it's another dig at the Iraq war. But unlike the anal rape episode, where the Iraqi-run grocery-shootout was laden with allusions in a semicomplex metaphor, here the argument is simple: MLK = G-d = Christian nonviolence, ergo any form of armed self resistance is evil. I like to hit people who believe in pacifism, but that's just me.

    Obviously I'm a Republican, but I consider myself open-minded. I watch The Daily Show, I have friends who disagree with me (actually, everyone disagrees with me), but I only listen to people who can make their arguments intelligently. This episode was like being beaten over the head by a stupid person, except more boring.

    Keep your stupid opinions, but don\\\'t share them unless you can make them entertaining.
  • The most unique and quite simply the best episode of the series to date.

    If you were to watch one episode of "the Boondocks," this would be it. This is the most original storyline with respect to others using bits and pieces of the comic strip this show is based on. "Return of the King" is not only groundbreaking in straying from the normal stories given before, but it recreates history through one event and one man. The comedy of the series is still found in this episode, like the grandfather prank calling Rosa Parks b/c of what "really happened" that fateful day on that infamous bus. It's interesting to see the writers' perspective on modern day African-American culture, but it is also quite refreshing to ask "What if MLK didn't really die?" The 9/11 response of MLK was uncanny, but it is what you would expect from MLK had it not even been animated. I can't praise this episode enough. Must-see for any fan or even the intrigued.
  • A brilliantly written episode. One of the finest half-hours of television I have ever seen. It\'s too bad this little slider bar doesn\'t go to eleven.

    McGruder really nailed this one. This was a very well written episode contrasting the world and views of 60s era African American civil rights activists with those of the modern day. Despite being considered a national hero in reality, in Huey’s dream world Martin Luther King is called a traitor for applying his belief in nonviolence to the war on terror. I took this as insinuation that our society does not truly consider the beliefs of those who are held as heroes, and does not apply those beliefs to the current day. The themes in this episode were incredibly poignant observations that I do not think people often consider. This episode was easily one of the best half-hours of television I have ever seen. To critics who complain it was not funny, I would reply that The Boondocks is more than a comedy show; it is also an analysis and critique of our society. While McGruder usually makes his points with comedy, I believe that this episode should be an exception, given that it aired before Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday honoring one of the most significant proponents of African American rights. My only complaint about this episode is that it likely cannot be topped. If all of America took McGruder’s thoughts to heart, we would be living today in a better world than yesterday.
  • why watch?

    From the New York Times:

    The Rev. Al Sharpton called for an apology yesterday from the cartoonist Aaron McGruder and Cartoon Network for an episode about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. broadcast last week on ''The Boondocks,'' depicting the civil rights leader using the word **** The episode, ''The Return of the King,'' had its premiere on Jan. 15, the day before the holiday honoring King. The episode's premise was that after being shot in 1968, King awakens from a coma around 2000 and is frustrated by some black behavior, including sexually explicit hip-hop videos. ''Cartoon Network must apologize and also commit to pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures,'' Mr. Sharpton said in an e-mail news release. ''We are totally offended by the continuous use of the 'N' word in McGruder's show. While I can appreciate Mr. McGruder and his achievements, this particular episode is over the line. If we don't receive an apology, we will picket the corporate headquarters.'' In an e-mail statement, a network spokesman said: ''This episode in no way was meant to offend or 'desecrate' the name of Dr. King. We think Aaron McGruder came up with a thought-provoking way of not only showing Dr. King's bravery but also of reminding us of what he stood and fought for, and why even today it is important for all of us to remember that and to continue to take action.''
  • I Didnt Like This Episode At All

    I hated this episode. This is the worst episode Ive seen in this season so far. No dissrespect to Martin Luther King, but this was a very bad storyline. I hated the way they had Martin King talk in this episode. took very long and got very annoying. I dont know if they were trying to make the way that he talked funny, but it wasnt at all.
  • Yeah, this episode pushed a lot of racial buttons, and it wasn't nearly as funny as most other episodes. But this episode contains quite possibly the deepest message shown in the series.

    Oh, the infamous 'Return of the King' episode. It caused quite a stur in the black community with Martin Luther King Jr. dropping the N-bomb. Like many things with this series, people tend to focus more on the contreversal scene shown instead of the message behind it. Quite frankly, this is the most powerful episode of season 1.

    The main aspect of this episode is how would Martin Luther feel if he was alive today. To see how the black community is because of all the work he, and the other activist did. And well, he was up for a rude awakening. Martin Luther drops the n-bomb out of dissapointment of the black community. All his hardwork went to make a better life for them could be considered a waste, since they continue to potray themselves in stereotypes.

    Like always, the characters are potrayed well. Huey does everything in his power to make Martin Luther's rep good again. We get another splendid flash back of Robert's past, (Rosa Parks getting all credit for not moving off her seat when it was Robert's idea.) And Uncle Ruckus stays true to his nature.

    In the end, this episode really does make you think. Would this really be Martin Luther's reaction to the black community if he was still alive today? Who knows, but this episode really does paint a good picture.

  • A excellent esipode about dr. martin luther king now the speech was excellent i'll give you that the story was excellent even the whole entire esipode was funny but i could be funny and education with the n-word i'm talking use the n-word in the s

    After he awakes from his 32-year coma and embrass himself on tv about loving the iraqans even thought they destory the world trade center in september 11,2001,aka 9/11 dr. king is outcast to the white and the black and is up to huey to encourage dr. king never give up and i got to get him some down about that dr king did'nt give up on us for a reason he sacrfice his own life in 1968 for us to live and stay together now i know the speech with the n-word went a little to for but it is a great esipode
  • This episode takes a critical look at today\'s African-American society through the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr.

    It\'s episodes like this that compel me to introduce \"The Boondocks\" to all the young Black boys and girls I know; we as a Black community can truly benefit from the messages that this show delivers.

    With astounding bluntness and poignancy, McGruder shows the Black community what we have allowed ourselves to become, slamming home the point that we have done nothing but regress in our societal standing, despite all of the hardship our forefathers went through in order so that we may have equal rights today.

    In my opinion, though the episode did garner a fair bit of controversy, McGruder did what was absolutely essential. My only hope is that this episode is watched by all, and similar to the Brothers and Sisters in the show, we get angry and actually do something about it.

    One Love.
  • Aaron McGruder is a Genious, Give him his props

    Aaron McGruderand and his (go there) attitude is what makes the boondocks and sets it apart from the rest espescially this episode he not only goes the distance but you fell it, you feel it espescially in this episode because of what he is trying to convey about how we (Black people) some of us anyway dont respect ourselves tis episode is a personal favorite. I hope Aaron rides to the wheels fall off
  • The king comes back and sees the world he once loved turn into a rap infested heck hole.

    Out of all the Boondocks episodes, this is my all time favorite. It shows the change of a once great nation become pure garbage because nobody understands the means of truely being Free anymore. And because of that we are given a look on what would happen if the great Dr. King comes back, if that bullet he took didn't kill him but only made him unconscious, to give his own opinion on the change of the U.S. But sadly Martin Luther accidentally sad things about 9/11 that gave him very bad press. I give major praise to Aaron Mcgruder for making this episode, even if this episode has the N word up to wazoo it adds more to the Dr.'s message. I highly, HIGHLY recommended everyone to see this episode.
  • Honestly, I just think they ran out of ideas.

    Is anyone with me when I say "they ran outta ideas for this one"? I mean, it's pretty obvious that things have changed since MLK's dream, but wouldn't it be just sad if they treat King like that when he came back. they really should've saved this one for a bonus episode on the DVD.
  • How many cartoons win Peabody Awards? This one did, and with good reason.

    I hate to gush, but I say, with no hyperbole, that this is one of the finest half-hours of television I have ever watched.

    It's a sad tale of a movement that has lost its way, of a culture that has, at worst, given into self-destructive behavior that ignores the struggles of previous generations, and, at best, is ineffective and simply doesn't know what to do anymore after the death of its leader.

    It also recalls the harsh but oft-glossed-over truths of Dr. King's final years: treated by the media as a pariah, as no longer relevant because of his opposition to the Vietnam War.

    It's a moving, thoughtful story that transplants a hero into a world he no longer understands. It's tragic, it's heartbreaking, but ultimately it's hopeful and uplifting.

    Kevin Michael Richardson is phenomenal as the voice of Dr. King. He does a wonderful job of capturing the Reverend's distinctive voice. For one brief half-hour, it's as if the King really has returned.
  • great episode

    It never really explained how MLK came from being shot to being in a coma, I had always thought that Boondocks takes place in our world in are universe not there own. But that aside the episode is pretty good. I think his speech to the black people at the end was supposed to be funny but it actually to me seemed like it had a lot of meaning to it. this is an episode almost made for uncle Ruckus With The Leader of the Black Revolutinary vs The (BP) who hates (BP
    0 butruckus didnt really do as much as i thought he would
  • This "what if" episode takes a stab of how Reverend Dr. Martin Luther Jr. would react if instead of being murdered he would've fallen into a coma after being shot and recovering in 2005 to see the current state of affairs for Black people in the US.

    One of my favorite episodes of the series. As a retired last wave freedom fighter the premise hit home. I often have wondered what would the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior think of the current status of Black people.

    Granted, this is a fictional episode however it does reference and depict actual hisotric events, the recreation of Rosa Parks' refusal to sit at the back of the bus is erroneous, besides including Robert Freeman it makes it appear as if it was a planned refucal where in reality it was not. Rosa Parks was on the crowded bus returning home form her day job as a maid and was very tired so when the only available seat was in the "white section", she sat down and then refused to get up and move to the back of the bus. Another mistake is the anachronism of having the bus driver use the bus radio to call in Parks refusal, there were no radios in any of the Montgomery buses in 1955.

    Despite the goofs, I enjoyed the show as I believe the reaction of Dr. King would be very close to how it was portrayed in this episode, it is no doubt a stimulating food for thought episode that also retains its entertainment value.
  • An amazing show that the writers diserve a medal for writing.

    This episode says alot from the creators. It says what he thinks about the mainstream black public and what martin luther king would think of it. I am not going to say I agree with it but I think some of it is true. Its a nice thought to have MLK walking around with us still but its not true. I cant help but think of what he would think of mainstream black people. The speech he gives people at the black ralley is hilarious. "I did not get my ass beaten for all those years for this!" That is one of the best speeches from the whole show.
  • I Cant Really complain that much about this episode it was actually pretty good

    It never really explained how MLK came from being shot to being in a coma, I had always thought that Boondocks takes place in our world in are universe not there own. But that aside the episode is pretty good. I think his speech to the black people at the end was supposed to be funny but it actually to me seemed like it had a lot of meaning to it. this is an episode almost made for uncle Ruckus With The Leader of the Black Revolutinary vs The (BP) who hates (BP
    0 butruckus didnt really do as much as i thought he would
  • What would happen if Martin Luther King was in a coma, instead of being assasinated? Plus, my thoughts on Al Sharpton's remarks.

    This episode was like one of those sci-fi pictures. Someone from the past is frozen for a period of time, only to wake up several years later and is appalled at what he sees. Just like Martin Luther King. He fought to see that all African-American were given a better life, only to see after 4 decades, his fellow brothers and sisters were making a mockery of what he stood for, forcing him to go to major extremes. Along the way, this episode has some funny scenes, like Uncle Ruckus throwing bricks at Mr. King (and missing---badly). I knew Ruckus didn't like blacks, but man, I never thought he'd be crazy enough to oppose Martin Luther King. That made my day.

    As for Al Sharpton, what is his problem? The fact that Mr. King said the "n" word? The fact that Mr. King was being mocked? Or maybe, just maybe, Martin Luther King was saying the one thing people hate to hear today: the truth.

    Where was he when shows like the Simpsons, King of The Hill, South Park and Family Guy were poking fun at races, Christianity, homosexuality and let's not forget about, the Lord and our Savior. Nowhere. He had nothing to say about them, but wants the creator of Boondocks to apologise for using the "n" word too much? He's just as racist as Uncle Ruckus.

    Martin Luther King was not being made fun of, period. Also, in his speech, everything he was talking about was the truth. Like BET's constant use of "hoe" in their music videos and without a doubt the worst African American movie in the world, Soul Plane.

    Anyways, that's my two cents. 9/10. May have been 10 if the ending was better. And as for Al Sharpton, wake up and smell the coffee.
  • Important episode.

    Martin Luther King made a very important speech in this episode. He did'nt like what black culture had became, it was'nt what it was when he left. The episode was about MLK coming out of a coma after 3 decades. He is suddenly put in a modern era, the 21st century, in a post "September 11 world." Funny scene where MLK is on a talk show, and the host asks if he loves America and keeps pressuring him, Huey throws a chair at the host and knocks him down, MLK explains to Huey that that was against what he was teaching. MLK's "turn the other cheek" philosophy got him into series trouble, the country started to think of him as a terrorist
    sympathizer. In my opinion, this episode was important. Listen to it.
  • I loved seeing Heuy's take on what it would take to change hip hop culture into a revolution.

    I love this show. It is really funny, yet almost always has a message. This one, being all a made up story, was able to go furher than most do (which is surprising since every episode seems to push pretty far as it is).

    Huey has said in almost every episode that he is....vexed by "his people", so this is him creating a story that pushes "his people" out of their complacency and back fighting for their rights and trying to better themselves.

    I really liked the path that he came up with for Dr. King. Everyone is excited to see him because he was so imporant to history, only to scorn the very same ideas he held in the past because of 9/11. He becomes hated. He withdrals from the spotlight for the most part, and actually sees how people act today, and is disgusted. So, he gives a new speech, not one about equality, but rather one that stresses personal responsibilty and pride, right before he moves to Canada.
  • I only wish more people watched this episode.

    One of the best moments on TV in history. Everyone should watch this episode and take its messages to heart. It is a very well thought out comment on todays society and our current political atmosphere.

    It also shows the counterproductive attitude of the gangsta and materialistic attitudes that are sweeping across this nation.

    It is a shame this show will never be able to air in prime time slots on any of the major channels on TV due to its rating.
  • I expected more from this episode.

    I expected more form this episode. It wasnt as funny as i thought it would be. The only funny parts were maybe how Uncle Ruckus always is tryin to throw some bricks at Martin Luther King Jr. and when Grandad smacked Rily around for sayin that Martin Luther King Jr. should clear the table because he had gotten a free meal. And also I don't know why the house was fixed because in the last episode their house is ruined and they have a cool car. But the car is still cool from the last episode. I think they should have spent more time on this episode.
  • Despite the comedy not being up to par, the resurrection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the present was treated with admirable sincerity and honesty.

    Moralizing on television is often viewed as unnecessary and extraneous to what is considered the true purpose of a show: to entertain. And it's an understandable criticism for this particular Boondocks episode; while there were some hilarious jokes (MLK bemoaning his unapproved, commercialized image, Grandad's protests being ignored for those of Rosa Parks', Huey lunging at the Fox commentator with a chair), the hysterical, straight-forward humor wasn't as abundant as in previous episodes.

    Which is fine. Consistency is hard to accomplish even on the best shows. But that's not to say that the merits of a show like the Boondocks rest only on its ability to make us laugh with controversial jokes. It shouldn't, as a matter of fact. This is satire, which means that there's necessarily a message or meaning involved. And though bringing Martin Luther King Jr. back to life and having him smeared as a terrorist-lover is bound to spark some controversy (as many Boondocks episodes do), the plot is used in an effective, respectful, "this is the sad truth" kind of way to show how Dr. King's dream is now taken for granted. I'm not black, but I found this point incredibly relevant to myself, and I think most people in this country today. Though the typical Boondocks style brought the necessary levity to the subject, the sincere respect for Dr. King's struggle is what counted most in this episode.