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Recap / Futurama S 6 E 7: The Late Philip J. Fry

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Little did he know, he would be a lot longer than one minute late.

"Happy birthday Leela! Sorry I'm gonna be one minute late, 'cause we're testing the professor's dumb time machine... But, you know, happy birthday and all, and, I love you."

If you don't watch it, someone else will

Fry is sidetracked from his date with Leela when Professor Farnsworth ropes him and Bender into testing his new invention, a Time Machine that only goes forward. However, an accident causes the machine to go much farther ahead than a single minute. Will Fry EVER make in time for his date?

This episode won Futurama its second Emmy® for Outstanding Animated Program.


  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Apparently, in the future, machines will turn against the human race.
  • An Aesop: Future Leela's story carries the message that throwing yourself into work as a means of dealing with emotional problems is a bad idea. While throwing herself into work after Fry, Bender, and the Professor vanished caused Planet Express to become hugely successful, she has little in the way of a personal life or relationships beyond a divorced ex-husband (Cubert, who cares more about alimony than her, plus it's implied she only married him in the first place because of his resemblance to Fry) and even refers to herself as being Married to the Job, along with a life-long resentment toward Fry for something neither of them had any control over.
  • Anti-Nihilist: The concept is mercilessly mocked. When Fry ponders of meaning of existence after seeing the universe end, Farnsworth disdainfully mutters "some hogwash about the human spirit."
  • Apocalypse How: Many versions of this trope, with a new society emerging from the ashes of the last one anytime Fry, Bender and the Professor land further away into the future, capping it off with the year 1 Billion, when all life is extinct and the Earth is a barren wasteland.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The destruction of Earth, followed by the end of the entire universe.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Adolf Hitler gets a single line in this episode. In German, it translates to "Behold my mustache!"
    • One of the books thrown by Bender to the fire is an AL 1 version of Backwards Time Travel Made Easy.
  • Brain in a Jar: Hermes takes it further by being a head in a jar on a pogo stick.
  • Brick Joke: In "The Cryonic Woman", a defrostee at the Applied Cryogenics building mentioned his theory that all of history is a cycle, so if you go far enough you'll eventually loop back into the past. Although a thousand years won't be enough, he is right.
  • Bullet Hole Spelling: After realizing that Fry abandoned her because he was dragged into a forward-only time-travel experiment, Leela goes to the abandoned Cavern on the Green restaurant and shoots holes into the ceiling with her laser pistol; the water leaking out of the holes drop onto the ground, gradually forming stalagmites that form a message for Fry that he reads a billion years later on a dying Earth.
  • Butt-Monkey: Zoidberg, as usual. This time, an elderly Zoidberg approaches Leela about Planet Express' financials, only for Leela to tell him to scram; he doesn't work there anymore.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Fry was recording a card for Leela explaining why he's late that falls out of the Time Machine during transit. About 50 years after his disappearance, it finally appears before Leela, alone and bitter over her loss.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Fry, Farnsworth and Bender discover that the universe restarts itself once it ends, so they manage to return to their era shortly before they left. However, this universe is 10 feet lower than theirs, and they land on their duplicate selves, killing them and allowing the originals to take their place, Downplaying this trope.
  • Colony Drop: The first time around, the trio witness a comet crashing into Earth and creating the Moon.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cool Old Guy: The Professor kills Hitler, probably the coolest thing he's ever done.
  • Crapsack World: The Earth steadily becomes more crappy during the time travel montage:
    • By the year 10000, New New York is in rubble and men with spears live amongst the wreckage. Going off what the Prof. and co. find, there were also at least five separate nuclear wars a la Planet of the Apes somewhere along the line. A few thousand years later, it's a new ice age.
    • By 252525, humanity has seemingly regressed to the Middle Ages or even further back, with the only technology being described as "a rusty sword for practicing proctology"; by 1000000 1/2, humankind is at the same level of technology, though they've now been reduced to the slaves of intelligent giraffes.
    • The year Ten Million probably takes the cake, being a Terminator style wasteland of endless human slaughter by machines. Bender, however, loved this place.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Man, the future is a total craphole, and everyone in it is a crap-faced sack of crap!"
  • Dirty Old Woman: Future!Amy uses Cubert as a boytoy, taking him to Atlantic City for unspecified purposes. No mention of Kif.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Nostalgic for Fry, Leela pursues, married and divorces his Identical Grandson('s clone) Cubert. The Leela from the remade universe via Eternal Recurrence can also be seen as this to Fry.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "The Late Philip J. Fry": Leela deals with Fry's "death", and Fry is very, very, very late.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The universe is always cyclical. Whenever the universe's very last proton decays, a second Big Bang occurs and re-creates the universe as it was (though minor changes may occur.)
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When the universe recreates itself after it ends, Farnsworth realizes that they can get back home by still going forward in time.
  • Evolutionary Stasis: Humans in the year 10 Million and 50 Million look the same as today. Doubly odd since this was averted in the year 5 Million, loosely based on The Time Machine, where humanity has diverged into diminutive purple beings and big apelike brutes.
  • Exact Words: "That was the old Fry. He's dead now."
  • Feudal Future: Twice. The year 252525 and then the year 1 Million and a half both have mankind living in castles, the second time with the giraffes as their rulers, and the castles rebuilt accordingly.
  • Flirtatious Smack on the Ass: An aged Cubert is shown to be in a relationship with Amy Wong's head on a fembot's body, who slaps him on the butt.
  • Flooded Future World: In 351,120, the Earth is covered by water and roamed by ferocious sea monsters.
  • Foreshadowing: The maitre'd at Cavern on the Green explains how the stalactites and stalagmites were made from dripping water over millions of years. Leela sends a message to Fry by using her laser pistol to cause water to drip in a legible pattern.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Fry loses the birthday card the first time the machine sets off, the old Leela from the year 3050 is slightly visible. It serves as a very subtle instance of foreshadowing.
    • The three books thrown out by Bender to the fire are The History of the Human Race, Backwards Time Travel Made Easy (written in AL1), and a first-generation Amazon Kindle.
  • Gallows Humor:
    • Plenty of it in the episode, but the topper is Fry apologizing to a long-gone Leela that he's only a billion years late for their date at the Cavern.
    • Second is the third universe's Fry, Farnsworth and Bender being crushed by the time machine, with the episode concluding that Fry reassuring "That Fry is dead now" to Leela as Bender buries the corpses.
  • Gender Rarity Value: Earth in the year 50 Million is populated by gorgeous young women. They offer to fix the boys' time machine so they can get back to the right time period...AFTER they have a fertility banquet to honor their visitors since men are very rare in their society, so "even very old and stupid males are prized". Bender, being the odd one out, cuts their visit short.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Having passed through the previous universe and working their way through the new one, Farnsworth decides to pay a stop in 1930s Germany and cap Hitler with a laser gun. This appears to have no measurable affect on their future a 1000 years later from what little we see, but we never learn the ramifications because Farnsworth trips and overshoots their landing. This trope then gets Double Subverted when on repeat 2, he's too lazy to stop and tries to shoot Hitler from the window, but misses and hits Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
  • Identical Grandson: An adult Cubert resembles Fry enough for Leela to fall for him (briefly).
  • Jerkass: Bender begins the episode having incredibly loud sex with a promiscuous lady-bot, yelling as such to Fry's face, then occasionally taking breaks to play music right next to Fry's bed, for no real reason. He also takes the opportunity to kill the first animal ever to step foot on land, again for no reason. Perhaps his single worst act in the entire series is when he spitefully activates the time machine after they arrive in the year 50 Million, which has everything the Fry and Farnsworth could possibly want or need, justifying it as no different from them skipping past the robot genocide in the year 10 million; if he wanted to go back there, he could have just used the backwards time machine - he just wanted to hurt them for choosing to not be killed by other Jerkass robots. (In fact, in the year 1,000,000,000, he chuckles when the Professor notes all life is extinct.)
  • Lady Land: Earth in the year 50 Million is populated by gorgeous young women.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Just as Bender's mocking the human on an ostrich, he gets a sword up the ass.
  • Lonely at the Top: Leela turned Planet Express into a lucrative company...but she has no one to share it with, and its implied her bitterness toward Fry prevented her from forming any meaningful relationships.
  • Luring in Prey: In 351120 AD, Farnsworth, Bender, and Fry come across a merman who is in fact the lure of a giant shrimp-like sea monster.
  • Married to the Job: Leela describes herself this way after her marriage to Cubert ends.
  • May–December Romance: Leela eventually marries and divorces Cubert. She only marries because he reminds her of Fry.
  • Monumental Damage Resistance: Played for laughs. Not only does the Statue of the Liberty still stand in the future... alongside it there are also the version from the Apes, the birds, the cows and the slugs.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The end of all existence, as serious a moment as the show's ever had, complete with haunting choral soundtrack. Then Fry asks what he, the Professor and Bender are supposed to do now, and Bender rejects the idea of talking.
    • The episode ends with Fry and Leela sharing a tender moment together. Then we see that directly underneath them, Bender is burying the corpses of the new reality's Fry, Professor and himself.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The women of the year 50 Million. They are gorgeous and all wear Stripperific outfits.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Fry's video card reappears in 3050, Leela learns what happened and is ashamed for being angry at Fry for something that wasn't his fault.
  • Natural End of Time: After reaching the point Earth is uninhabitable, Fry, Bender and Professor Farnsworth decide to use the forward-only time machine to witness the end of the universe...only for a new Big Bang to occur and history repeats. When they land in the future again, they just go forwards to the end of the universe/Big Bang again.
  • Never My Fault: Bender gets on Fry for being late to work when it was his fault because he kept Fry up all night by making a lot of noise with a hooker though how he himself managed to get there on time isn't revealed. To make it worse, Fry being late was the reason Farnsworth forced him to partake in the time travel experiment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: On the second go-around, the Professor tries killing Hitler, and manages to hit Eleanor Roosevelt by mistake.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the re-creation of the universe, Fry gets another beer, but Bender tells him he's missing the dinosaurs, but Fry confidently states they're not going anywhere. When he gets his beer, the dinosaurs are gone. In the commentary, they admitted there was a debate of whether or not to show the dinosaurs.
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The time machine only goes forward.
  • Progressive Era Montage: Happens when the forward time machine speeds through the history/future of the universe.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Leela ends up marrying an older Cubert because of his resemblance to Fry. It doesn't end well. Despite looking similar and having similar habits, Cubert is nothing like Fry personality-wise so she didn't get the person she loved back.
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: Leela turns the mediocre Planet Express into a massive enterprise after 40 years. A slight subversion in the fact that she was bitter and alone without Fry.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The whole concept of time travelers going ever further into the future in the hope of finding a time-machine to return to their own time and then eventually traveling beyond the destruction of the universe into a universe that is exactly the same is taken straight from Flight to Forever by Poul Anderson.
    • On the year 10000 there's a parody of the climactic final scene of the original Planet of the Apes when Fry discovers the buried Statue of the Liberty.
    Fry: Oh, no! They did it! They blew it up! And then the apes blew up their society, too! How could this happen?! And then the birds took over, and then the cows, and then...I don't that a slug maybe? Noooooooooooo!!!
  • Shown Their Work: Aside from the more comical science-fiction moments, the writers understood the life-cycle of the universe. For example, the Earth is shown as a lifeless wasteland in the year 1 Billion, at which point scientists believe the expansion of the sun will have made life on Earth impossible.
  • Significant Reference Date: When Fry, Bender and the Professor first get into the time machine, the machine's display says it is 10:05PM on July 29, 3010 AD - exactly 1000 years (right down to the minute!) to the scene's original broadcast.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Fry and Leela by two infinities of lifetimes.
  • That Man Is Dead: Used for a quick (if somewhat morbid) joke at the end.
  • Time Travel: The plot of the episode centres around Fry, Bender, and the Professor travelling forward in time then trying to find a way back.
  • To the Future, and Beyond: The episode is built around this.
  • Watch the World Die: Fry, Bender and Prof. Farnsworth watch the universe end in their time machine. And then they watch it begin all over again. And end again. And begin again.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Several examples, actually:
    • After landing in 5 Million AD, the guys are told that although a backwards time machine hasn't been made yet, the Eloi expies would focus on making one, saying it should take five years to be made. So, they jump ahead 5 years... only to discover that the Morlock expies have invaded and slaughtered the population.
    • In 50 Million AD, the time machine lands in a Lady Land where a backwards time machine is present. But Bender, out of spite of being denied staying in 10 Million AD, activates the time machine again.
    • The guys are just about to loop back to 3010... only for Farnsworth to trip, accidentally causing the time machine to hit 10,000 AD again.


Video Example(s):


The End of the Universe.

While stranded in a post-apocalyptic Earth by traveling through time with a forwards only time machine and no way to get back, Fry, Farnsworth, and Bender decide to watch the universe end. It is depicted and treated as a spectacle, with stars exploding while the three sit and drink beer as they watch.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ApocalypseWow

Media sources: