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AATAFOVS / The Future Is Now

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Season 2, Episode 2. Preceded by London Falling, followed by Can of Doomy Doomness.

The episode begins with Avatar lying unconscious outside of a Dark Story Gate. He climbs to his feet and looks around — seemingly alone on a deserted street. Discarded newspapers flit along on the wind; searchlights scour the blackened and polluted skies, and a sinister voice on some unseen loudspeaker makes promises of dire punishment for breaking curfew. In the distance, patrols of various foul creatures — infernal demons, cyborg pirates, and ninja velociraptors — sweep the streets.


The sinister voice on the loudspeaker finishes speaking. Still trying to get his bearings, Avatar shakes his head and wonders how he got there. All he remembers is falling asleep in his bunk after the hectic events of the previous episode.

None of his companions are in sight. A little groggy, he stumbles forward — straight into a patrol, who seems as confused by his presence as he is by theirs. He grabs a screwdriver from his pocket and engages them in battle. Just when things are looking bleak — there are far too many to fight, and they seem to actually be aiming this time, coming close to hitting Avatar at least twice — out of the shadows stumbles what appears to be an elderly hobo. Angered by the interruption, the patrol forgets Avatar and starts to kick and berate the hobo. The hobo falls to the ground and gets up glaring.


Hobo: (growls) Wrong move, assholes.

The Hobo throws off his rags and, using a pair of monstrous handguns, disposes of the patrol in a blur of violent choreography and slow-motion Bullet Time. White splashes explode into the air in lethal bursts, while bullet-clips fall to the ground in the shape of crosses. A loud techno track plays throughout the entire fight scene.

Amazed by his good fortune, Avatar steps forward to thank the strange man, but can't see his features, thanks to the omnipresent darkness. The man’s extraordinarily stylish (and extraordinarily expensive) sunglasses cover his face. The sunglasses don’t seem particularly suited for that time of night, but he continues to wear them anyways.

Avatar: Thanks for the save. Where are we?
Avatar: That's twenty years from now! And the capital didn't look like this!
Strange Man: What are you talking about?
Avatar: I'm not from around here! I came here through a Story Gate.

The Strange Man looks astounded by this. Suddenly, he steps into the light... revealing the features of Nerdly! He doesn’t look quite the same, though — he seems to have forsworn any shaving past a five-o-clock shadow, and he has several shallow, clean scars across his face. Most striking, though, is his slouching, defeated posture, and the heavy, careworn look on his face.

Avatar: Nerdly?
Nerdly: Avatar! You're alive too!
Avatar: What do you mean, alive too? Am I not supposed to be? And if it's 2025, shouldn't you look older?

Avatar asks where the other Vamp Benders were. Nerdly's face turns dark, but he doesn't say anything.

Just at that moment another patrol calls out, and the two heroes have to move. They quickly race for a nearby abandoned factory — the street seems crowded with them — and head quickly for the roof as the patrol searches the ground floors. The two heroes stop on the roof for a breather, and Nerdly points out the vast fortress floating in the sky — the Citadel of Evil has been expanded and made airborne, and vast beam cannons, unholy mixtures of magic and machine, mounted beneath it for bombardment purposes. He says the Council of Evil live inside the fortress.

Avatar: What happened to this place?
Nerdly, bitterly: Without you, Avatar, we couldn't beat them! They reached into the veil beyond... and opened the gate to angst!

Avatar frowns. Nerdly explains that when Avatar disappeared, it allowed the Dark Council to capture and enslave Professor Udite. By exploiting Udite's genius, the Dark Council pierced the veil of the Meta-Verse. In the unending dark beyond time, they discovered terrifying beings known only as the Executives — cosmic menaces rumored to have corrupted and destroyed entire realities with but a thought.

By bargaining with these Executives, the Dark Council could reshape the Meta-Verse to their own darker proclivities. The reshaping of reality also devastated the Benders — Nerdly acquired neuroses from an abusive childhood, Cleo caught AIDS, Sue became a steroid addict and suffered a vast overdose, and Solo finally drank himself into an early grave, all in a manner of weeks. Even Fluffykins became rabid and had to be put down, leaving Nerdly alone to fight the Dark Council.

Without the Benders united to defend them, the world has suffered under the Dark Council's iron heel for two decades. Nerdly was forced to adapt to survive, and now is one of a few rag-tag survivors who desperately battle the Dark Council without hope of victory.

Nerdly turns to Avatar and demands to know where he was when the Benders need him. A tense scene follows — Avatar insists he doesn't know. Nerdly is angry and dubious, refusing to forgive Avatar. Their quarrel is interrupted by the sounds of another patrol, and the two reunited Benders are forced to flee.

The scene cuts to a shot of the now-airborne Dark Citadel, as an Alexei Sayle-esque DJ broadcasts to the entire globe.

DJ: Citizens, rejoice. Your lords and masters stand on high, playing track 1.

Suddenly, the song "Spice Up Your Life" booms across the world's sole remaining broadcast channel, as the camera cuts to a 60's-style disco hall within the Citadel, where a number of evil overlords dance to the music. As the song begins to fade, the camera pans to a laboratory elsewhere in the citadel, as Doctor Myro taps away at a computer terminal fitted to a incubation chamber for some manner of larval creature.

The scene changes to the inside of yet another crumbling building, as Nerdly introduces Avatar to the members of his group. Among them are suitably buffed-up, badass-looking versions of the Guppy Poop Troupe — Randy now wielding a mighty blade, Zakk significantly more muscular, missing an eye and dressed in ripped clothing, and a dour-looking, soulpatch-sporting Slash. Frankenstein's Monster limps into the assembly feebly but determinedly, carrying in his single remaining arm a wheelchair that can barely support the massive life-support system that keeps his creator clinging to life.

Nerdly explains that while his soldiers don't want to leave their own time just yet, they could use resupplying and safe haven for their families and friends who can’t fight. A technobabble-laden plan is made to duplicate the Story Gate from here, and take the weak and wounded back to Avatar’s own time.

En route to a suitable location, conveniently located on the same rooftop as where Nerdly and Avatar spoke, the small band of Resistance fighters are suddenly surprised by a full-scale patrol. The group's members are no match for the hardened evil warriors, and the situation turns grim. Amidst the battle, Avatar and Nerdly race for the rooftop, where they can set up the Story Gate and make an orderly withdrawal.

As they reach the roof, Avatar works frantically to create the Story Gate. Even as he finishes, the doors to the roof burst open and a man in a long black coat and hood that leaves his face shadowed strides onto the rooftop.

Avatar: What are you doing here? Who are you?!
Strange Man: My name is Roland, Master of the Ragged Blade, in service to the glorious TVTW! My thanks for opening your Story Gate — this false world has led us right to your friends!

As Avatar blinks at the horrible realization, Future Nerdly steps forward to protect Avatar, producing his guns, further confusing our hero. Roland laughs and turns to the remaining Resistance soldiers, and commands the "Unknown Troopers" to reveal their true natures. Instantly, several of the Resistance soldiers produce and don darker uniforms from nowhere — diverse, but sinister and undeniably cool — and turn upon their fellows. Within moments the entire rooftop is awash in violence. Amidst the stylish carnage, Nerdly looks back to Avatar.

Future Nerdly: Avatar, just go! I'll hold him off!
Avatar: Are you crazy? What about you? Nobody ever lives after saying that!
Roland: What about Gandalf? He lived.
Avatar: Well, sorta—
Future Nerdly: Avatar, this isn't the way it's supposed to be! There's no way home for me! Go back to your own time! Don't let it turn out this way!!
Roland, looking at his watch: Oh, stop chewing the scenery and fight already!
Future Nerdly: If I'm going to battle you, I get my big sendoff.
Roland: Oh, fine. Sheesh. Drama queen.
Future Nerdly: Don't forget me, Avatar! (Back to Roland) Ok, I'm done. Let's go.

Tears streak Avatar’s face as he continues to rapidly work on the Story Gate. Future Nerdly and Roland face off, the camera aspect ratio switching to look as far apart as possible as the unusually large moon conveniently pierces the clouds and a fierce wind strikes up. The blood on the roof tiles turns silver.

Roland extends his hand and creates a zweihander from scrap metal, broken glass, and leather strewn about the roof. Future Nerdly levels his guns, and as Avatar opens the Story Gate, the battle is on, a blistering series of blows and shots of unbearable ferocity. Nearby windows shatter for no good reason. Bullets are blocked, reflected, and narrowly sliced in two; strokes are dodged and parried and narrowly evaded.

Still Avatar wavers indecisively, and at last, as Future Nerdly appears to have the advantage, he almost runs back to help him. But just then the tables are turned by the appearance of additional shadowy figures, and Roland, with desperate effort, strikes Future Nerdly to the ground. One of his guns goes skittering to Avatar’s feet, and his sunglasses fall to the ground and crack.

Avatar screams in denial, but then picks up the gun and hesitates, clearly eager to avenge Future Nerdly. Roland scoffs at that, and asks if Avatar is so eager to die for an illusion. Avatar shakes his head, tosses the screwdriver at Roland — beaning him unceremoniously in the head — and rapidly clicks the "close" button on his Story Gate controls. As the portal begins to slide shut, he leaps through the closing gap.

Roland swears and climbs to his feet, and the camera pans to Future Nerdly, gasping for his last breaths.

Future Nerdly raises his remaining gun to Roland’s forehead and pulls the trigger — it goes click. He gives the pistol a look that says "I've never had to reload you before; why now?" and goes still in death* as the clouds close over the moon again.

One of the dark figures — a fellow dressed in creatively-assembled denim — calls out to Roland, calling him "Hot Topic." He asks if Roland is finished here, ignoring the annoyed look he gets, and then, with an "Ooh, shiny!" expression, picks up one of Future Nerdly's guns and strokes it like a kitten.

Scrounge: Come to papa, my pretty one! I shall call you Rook!
Air Of Mystery: Damn it, Scrounge, do you have to name everything you dig up?
Scrounge: Ignore the cranky Air Of Mystery, Rook. He doesn't know it, but he's just grumpy because he doesn't have a cool new gun.

Air of Mystery rolls his eyes, then looks awkwardly at his watch.

Roland: So this isn't really the future, is it?
Air of Mystery: You know, honestly, I don't even remember anymore. With all this plotting, it's kinda hard to keep things straight.
Roland: *groans* I didn't think so. Well... er, Avatar saw what we wanted him to, so that counts, right? Yay team?
Scrounge: Yeah! Evil laugh time! I love that stuff.

The dark figures all begin to laugh menacingly in sequence, but Roland bends down to close Future Nerdly’s eyes. That completed, he puts his sword away.

Roland: So, uh, pizza?
Scrounge: Hell yes, Hot Topic.

The final shot of the episode centers in on Future Nerdly’s broken sunglasses, then expands slowly, eventually becoming a wide-pan view of the bloodied rooftop and the still bodies.**

— roll credits —

Fan Reactions:

  • This shot of Future Nerdly’s last moments was heavily circulated by the network and in previews for the episode; many viewers drew the conclusion that the real Nerdly was going to die. Fans of the character were so concerned the show’s website was down for several hours.
    • Future Nerdly has proven to be unusually and unexpectedly popular in the fandom, and many fans have various elaborate theories as to how he could have either survived or may appear in future episodes. Viewers also debate rabidly over whether or not this future was real, an illusion created by TVTW, or some mixture of both. The producers and writers have not commented one way or the other.
      • This episode reportedly required a long and complicated explanation outside the actual episode, which has only been seen by the producers. Fans were told it featured Matrix-dolphins. Rumors keep bubbling up that this explanation will eventually get to the public, but it always seems to fall through somehow.
      • Following the broadcast of this episode, the song "Spice Up Your Life" saw a sudden rise in popularity, much to the delight of the Spice Girls, culminating in an endless stream of fan videos on Youtube where the song is played to a montage of clips depicting evil overlords from various points in the series.

Note: This episode appears to be in a mysterious state of quantum flux, as just as everyone figures out what's going on, it changes. Several highly-esteemed Harvard professors have formulated a Grand Unified Theory around it, further proving that they desperately need girlfriends. Others have speculated that the characters were in fact in Purgatory, but they say every character from every show is in Purgatory, so they can be ignored.


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