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Recap / Futurama S 7 E 26 Meanwhile

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When Leela is almost killed after being launched through the glass dome over Luna Park, the site of the Planet Express crew's first delivery together, Fry is so shaken by the thought of life without her that, after over 13 years of being in an on-again, off-again relationship, he finally decides to propose to her. The next day, Professor Farnsworth shows off his latest invention - the Time Button, which sends the user back in time ten seconds. He has also built a time shelter that renders its occupants immune to the effects of the Button, and when Leela asks about using it repeatedly, he says it has a ten-second charge time.

This gives Fry an idea; he steals the Time Button and, after going to a jeweller's with Bender and using the Time Button to steal dozens of diamonds for the engagement ring, he proposes to Leela. He tells her that if her answer is yes, she should meet him on top of the Vampire State Building at 6:30pm the next day; if she doesn't come, he'll know her answer is no. Anticipating a "yes" answer, Fry plans to use the Time Button to make the sunset last indefinitely, but when his watch reads 7:02 and Leela still hasn't arrived, he jumps off the ledge in despair - only to see Leela approaching the building, as his watch is running over half an hour fast thanks to his use of the Time Button. It doesn't occur to him until just before he hits the ground to use the Time Button to save himself... whereupon he discovers that he's been falling for more than ten seconds and is forced to re-live his fall over and over, with no apparent way out.

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However, the Professor is in the time shelter and has noticed the clocks repeatedly jumping back ten seconds, so he summons Amy, Bender, Hermes, and Zoidberg into the shelter. Bender admits that Fry stole the button, and the quintet carry the shelter to the Vampire State Building. Their arrival startles Fry into dropping the Time Button, causing him to splatter into a puddle of blood and guts. Leela realises she can save him with the Time Button, but in doing so, she inadvertently shreds the Professor across the space-time continuum. After Fry explains himself, Bender has an idea. He runs out of the time shelter, and Amy and Hermes ram Zoidberg into him to deploy his air bag, allowing Fry to land safely. But as he bounces off the air bag, he lands on the Time Button, smashing it and freezing him and Leela in time.

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Fry and Leela decide to make the most of things, going through with their wedding in front of their family and friends (who are now effectively statues) and travelling the Earth together over several decades. Every now and again, they notice a glimmer shooting past them - until, as they return to the Vampire State Building to take in the sunset Fry wanted to make last indefinitely, the glimmer solidifies to reveal the Professor, who explains that he was rotated into an orthogonal time, and has only just now caught up with them. It takes him mere seconds to repair the Time Button, but he re-configures it to send himself, Fry, and Leela back to before he even conceived the Button. Fry and Leela realise this means they have their whole life together to live over again, and they embrace as the Professor hits the Button, sending them back in time.


Tropes

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Fry wishes that he can make his romantic sunset dinner with Leela last indefinitely.
  • Becoming Part of the Image: Zoidberg gets his head stuck in the portrait of The Scream.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • The tag-line for this episode (which could very well be the final episode ever): "Avenge us!"
    • A literal version of the trope happens in the episode too - namely the giant clam Fry tried to propose with.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Fry falls to his death and is reduced to a gooey puddle of blood and gore on the pavement. And after each instance, time is rewound ten seconds into the past, ensuring he dies messily again...and again...
  • Book-Ends: Way back in the pilot, Fry and Leela both ended up getting frozen while time passes as normal for the rest of the universe. Here, the rest of the universe ends up getting frozen while time passes as normal for Fry and Leela.
  • Butt-Monkey: Zoidberg, as usual. This time it involves a $10 bill he found...
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Fry explains why and how he's falling to his death to Leela, while falling to his own death. It helps that he's brought back in time with Leela when she pushes the button, so he knows where he left off.
  • Disney Death: Leela seems to do this in the beginning. Then Fry, and the Professor later on.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ever save a video game just before a really bad situation?
  • Driven to Suicide: Fry had set up a booked table at the Vampire State Building for him and Leela for 6:30 pm. When it's 7:02 pm and Leela fails to show up for dinner, Fry thinks she already rejected him and decides to throw himself off the building in desperation. It's as he's falling that Fry then sees Leela approaching him and realizes his own wristwatch was in fact faster from using the Professor's Time Button frequently.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the current timeline, Fry and Leela marry and grow old together. Even though all their friends are frozen in time, they enjoy each other's company and travel the world. Leela makes it clear she's happy she chose Fry and saved him. He reciprocates, happily. While they won't remember their marriage after the Professor sets the time button, Fry and Leela are fine with that because it means they'll have the chance to fall in love again.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: While the Reset Button ending could just imply that the events of just this episode are reset, the notion of "Going around again" in context of the last episode could also conceivably be taken as resetting the entire series and starting again from the first episode.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Despite waiting for over half an hour for Leela, he never casually notices the gigantic clock next to the Vampire State Building has the correct time til he's falling to his death.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • You enjoyed the sight of Fry smashing into a bloody mess on the pavement? No? Prepare to see it again about 8 times.
    • On a less gory note, the Professor getting 'paper-shredded' into nothingness. Though he did survive...
  • Good-Times Montage: In the episode's final act, after Fry and Leela's wedding, we are treated to a montage of their married life together in a universe that is otherwise frozen in time, as they visit Niagara Falls, the jungle, the Arctic, the beach (at which they walk across the ocean), and Paris, all set to Fryderyk Chopin's Etude in E major, Op.10, No.3.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Fry endlessly repeats the same ten seconds of his fall, and then after Fry accidentally drops the time button and Leela gets it, the last ten seconds of his own life.
  • Grow Old with Me: With time frozen around them Fry and Leela grow into old age together.
  • Happily Married: Fry and Leela are happy together. At the very end of the episode, they're happy to "go back around".
  • Here We Go Again!: At the very end, the Professor fixes the Time Button, sending himself, Fry and Leela to just before he created the Time Button (which would be back to four minutes into this episode. When Comedy Central aired this for the first time, the episode that came on right after it was "Space Pilot 3000"). Futurama writer Patric M. Verrone initially suggested for the characters to, at the end of the episode, go straight back to December 31, 1999, the day on which "Space Pilot 3000" is set.
  • Hope Spot: Eventually the PE crew manage to figure out a way to save Fry using Bender's airbag. Unfortunately, upon bouncing off, Fry lands on and breaks the time button, causing everything but he and Leela to freeze in time.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Professor Farnsworth warns against the use of the time button for other than scientific purposes. He mostly uses it to tease Zoidberg.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence:
    • This appears to happen to Professor Farnsworth when Leela uses the time button less than ten seconds after he leaves the time shelter, so that the anti-chronitons don't know where he was ten seconds ago and shred him across the time-space continuum "like human cole slaw". (Fortunately, he doesn't die; he just gets rotated into an orthogonal time.)
      Leela: [kneeling by the pool of blood and gore that was Fry until a few seconds earlier] My poor sweet puddle! [gasps] The button! I can still save him! [grabs the button]
      Professor: NO! DON'T! You'll shred me into a zillion piec- [ZAP]
    • Several of Fry's deaths occur while he is in the middle of explaining his situation to Leela.
      Fry: ... and, I didn't wanna go on living without you, so I jumped, and, well- [SPLAT]
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When Fry hits the ground after jumping off the Vampire State Building, he's instantly mulched, save for his hair, eyes and the time button.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Fry realizes he was falling from the Vampire State Building for more than ten seconds and hence there's no possible way out of the situation.
  • Reset Button: The Time Button is a literal example of this trope. Professor Farnsworth uses it to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, setting them all back to before the Time Button was invented, thus resetting the events of this episode (and either leaving open a storyline to use for another movie or series revival or making it so that way viewers can watch the pilot episode immediately after the finale and start the series all over again).
    • To underscore the meaning, Comedy Central aired "Space Pilot 3000" after the series finale. In subsequent airings, since the network forgoes the end credits and jumps to the next episode (with the previous episode's credits in a window below the screen), just after the Professor hits the button, the captain "DECEMBER 31, 1999" pops up making "Meanwhile" and "Space Pilot 3000" seamlessly continuous.
  • Series Finale: For the fourth, and most likely final time.note 
  • Skewed Priorities: When Fry and Leela are frozen in time, Leela decides that her first priority is not trying to think of a way to unfreeze time, but reclaiming a pair of diamond earrings that Amy borrowed from her three years earlier.
  • Smart Ball: Played with. Though Fry often forgets he has the time button with him, his use of it to collect/steal a large number of diamonds for a massive ring and restore Leela's hand is definitely a step up from his normal thought processes. He also remembers to keep the remains of the button, allowing Farnsworth to repair it.
  • Time Stands Still: After Fry breaks the Time Button.
  • Time Travel: Farnsworth invents a red button that sends the presser of it ten seconds into the past. However, it also has a ten second recharge, so one can't simply go backwards in time endlessly. This proves to be a problem for Fry.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fry spends the majority of his precious seconds monologuing and talking to Leela as he jumps from the Vampire State Building instead of pressing the Time Button immediately as soon as he saw Leela, who he assumed didn't come to his date to hear his marriage proposal. This ends up creating a "Groundhog Day" Loop event where he ends up seconds too late to arrive at the moment before he jumped, and instead reappears mid-flight and then continues to nearly fall to his death, and eventually does fall to his death, as he accidentally drops the Time Button, over and over. Of course, this is Played for Laughs.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Fry presents Leela's engagement ring inside a giant clam. The clam then bites her hand off. Good thing Fry had the Time Button handy.

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