I finally got around to your latest episode, and I wanted to say I enjoyed it, although I hesitated because I don't have answers to *any* of your questions! I feel like a kid who hasn't done his homework. Ah well.
Still, I do have a few, almost entirely all minor, notes.
First, just to note, the traditional age at which Christ was crucified was 33, not 32 (or 31.8, as the story's math implies), so I'm afraid that doesn't work. (I always think about it in terms of the Thomas Kinsella poem, "Mirror in February": Now plainly in the mirror of my soul/I read that I have looked my last on youth/ And little more; for they are not made whole/That reach the age of Christ.")
Second, one little detail you didn't note was the (I think we would say today) sexual assault on Eyebem when he's in the plane to his assignment: "a human girl with inquisitive fingers came and strapped me to my couch, giving herself a lesson on how our anatomy differs from theirs." Interesting in thinking about what the story has to say about dehumanization, robot humanization, and the like.
Third, when you spoke of humans living always in cities and never venturing outside, particularly in the context of robots, I personally thought of Asimov's The Caves of Steel. Worth noting, perhaps, since you say this is the story where Wolfe goes beyond the Asimovian robot (I personally think he was already there in HORARS).
Fourth, one small ironic note: recently, decades after Wolfe wrote his story, Kivalina, Alaska, (a largely Native American town) has been in the news as a town that *might* have to be abandoned due to global warming — they tried to sue Exxon over the issue, and plans have been drawn up. I don't know what Wolfe had in mind when he spoke of the "abandoned city of Kivalina", but this has turned out to be prophetic in a rather horrific way.
Fifth and finally, I think the one aspect you slightly underplay in Eyebem is the character of Mark. Why, for instance, is he given that name, that name that robots and humans share? The easy answer is to ask if he's possibly actually a robot, but I think that is clearly wrong. Rather: I think it's not his name, and he gives it to try to make the other robots feel comfortable, as Eyebem suggests ("to put us at our ease"). What I think this points to is how Mark is always trying to be kind to the robots — he worries about them after he's gone, the name he gives, his response to Eyebem's anger at the end. Whereas Eyebem, while having moments of feeling sorry for Mark, also has a huge amount of anger towards him. This is how I took the "eyes burning" comment, by the by — as Eyebem projecting his own anger onto Mark, and imagining (he can't actually see it!) Mark as angry. When actually, as even Eyebem at times admits, he has done everything he can for him. (There, I guess I weighed in on *one* of your questions after all.) I'm not sure where to go with this, but in this story Mark ends up being more humane that Eyebem, in contrast to the human robots that Wolfe tends to create.
Thanks for the episode, as always.