- "So long, earth! Thanks for the air and whatnot."
The Late Philip J. Fry is the 7th episode of the 6th season of Futurama and premiered on July 29th, 2010.
Short Plot Summary
Professor Farnsworth invents a time machine that can only travel forward in time, but not back again, hopefully to avoid creating confusing and disgusting paradoxes. This causes Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth to be stuck in the future when the Professor accidentally turns the lever way too far.
Detailed Plot Summary
Bender keeps Fry up all night, therefore Fry oversleeps and arrives at Planet Express – around the time he is supposed to meet Leela at Elzar's Fine Cuisine for her birthday lunch. When he finally arrives, Leela has already eaten both of their meals, she then leaves Fry the bill and storms out.
Fry tries to make it up to her and tells her he will meet her for dinner at the Cavern on the Green – although this means he will miss Hedonismbot's "Girls Gone Wildest" bachelor party. Just as Fry wants to leave (on time) to meet Leela, the Professor makes him try his new one-way time machine. Fry has gotten Leela a record-a-message card and says he'll just have to film it in the machine. They are supposed to go one minute into the future but the professor slips and they go 6,990 years instead, during which Fry's card flies out the machine's window. Later that night (in the year 3010) everyone at Hedionismbot's party but him dies due to an atomic powered hooker bot meltdown. Leela, having been stood up again, thinks Bender, the Professor and Fry were at the party. She is "sad.. but still angry... is it possible to be both?"
The involuntary time-travelers try to go forward in time until they reach an era where humanity has developed a backwards time-machine. Meanwhile, in 3030, Leela misses Fry and hits on Cubert for his (perceived) similarity to Fry. Meanwhile Fry, Bender and the Professor, after visiting several eras in Earth's future, involving several parodies of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, ostrich-riding knights in 252525, a dystopian New New York, an era of humanity enslaved by giraffes in 1,000,000½, then come to a future where robots enslave/destroy humanity in 10000000 and of course Bender immediately likes it. Fry and Hubert, however, are not impressed by the mountain of skulls (nor by the gorgeous view over the blood lake) and push the machine forward to 50000000 a future where there are beautiful women, the few males are in high demand (even the dumb and old ones) and backwards time-travel has been developed. Bender, still angry at Fry and Hubert, activates the time-machine again to get even.
40 years after Fry's 'death' in 3050, Planet Express has developed into a big and successful company. Leela has found that Cubert is not really like Fry at all and has divorced him after an he had affair with Cyborg-Amy. Suddenly, Fry's birthday card appears out of thin air as the time machine shoots through time, revealing that that was when it flew out the window. Leela learns that she was angry at Fry for no reason and that while he is alive somewhere in the future (with Hubert and Bender), they won't meet again.
She goes to the Cavern on the Green and leaves a message for Fry by shooting holes in the ceiling. The water dripping from the holes will form stalagmites, making the message visible and Leela hopes that perhaps at some point in the future Fry will see her message. Meanwhile, in the year 1,000,000,000, all life on Earth has become extinct. Fry finds Leela's message and seems content with his life. He suggests to skip even further forward in time and watch the end of the universe, Hubert and Bender agree.
After all the stars explode and the last proton decays, the group gets bored. Surprisingly a new big bang occurs and a new, identical universe is created. They watch the creation of the Sun, Earth and Moon, evolution, dinosaurs, "history" (Hubert also takes the opportunity to vaporize Adolf Hitler) and finally arrive back at the time they left. The Professor slips again, however, so they have to "bring her 'round again." So they take a second trip through time (this time Bender takes the controls, causing Hubert to miss Hitler) and on their second approach on the destination time they accidentally crush their alternative selves. Fry rushes off and makes it in time to the Cavern on The Green. As the two stand on a bridge, with Bender burying their time-paradox duplicates underneath, Fry apologizes to Leela for losing her card. She tells him that it is okay, because what she will always remember is their time together.
Time Travel Metaphysics
After ending the lives of Bender, Fry and Professor Farnsworth from the final universe they travel to, Professor Farnsworth mentions that they have inadvertently settled a time travel paradox. This is because the original trio skipped over one universe. Just as the trio from the original universe (Uni 1) skipped one universe on their journey forward through time, the Fry, Bender and Professor Farnsworth from the skipped universe (Uni 2) will also skip one universe (Uni 3/the Universe the original trio landed in and crushed their counterparts) to land in a potential fourth universe (Uni 4) in which they should crush their Uni 4 counterparts, ending the time travel paradox.
To further explain the paradox, take note that due to the events in Uni 1 in which Leela goes on to build up Planet Express into a major corporation and later leaving a message for Fry to find at some point in the future, It can be safely assumed that no version of Fry, Bender, or Professor Farnsworth landed in Uni 1 from a previous universe. This means Uni 1 is the beginning of the time travel paradox. This also means that no version of Fry, Bender and Professor Farnsworth should arrive in Uni 2 since the original trio from Uni 1 do not stop until Uni 3. Therefore, Uni 2 Leela should commit the same actions as Uni 1 Leela, and Uni 2 Fry will also find the same message that Uni 1 Fry found.
If the trio from Uni 1 were to arrive just after the trio from Uni 3 departed, due to normal continuation of Uni 3 with the Uni 1 trio taking the Uni 3 trio's place, then Uni 3 Leela would not follow the actions that would lead to her leaving the message for Uni 3 Fry to find, potentially altering the course of the Uni 3 trio's journey and disrupting the established pattern. Possibilities are infinite and could disrupt the temporal flux of the SpaceTime Continuum to the point that all Universes are destroyed.
Since the trio from Uni 1 crushed to death and assumed the lives of the trio from Uni 3 after skipping over Uni 2, it can be assumed that the trio from Uni 2 will crush to death and assume the lives of the trio of Uni 4, settling the paradox as no forward travels will come from Uni 3 or Uni 4. This means that, assuming the universe continues to replicate, the cycle will start over with Uni 5 being the beginning of the next paradox block, repeating all events of Uni 1 to uni 4 within the time block of Uni 5 to Uni 8. This four universe block pattern could continue indefinitely. This repeating cycle is possible because while all matter in each universe eventually decays completely before the next universe is born into existence, time and space continue to exist through all universes indefinitely. Fun fact, this means that every universe is five feet lower than the previous, as Universe 3 was found to be ten feet lower than Fry, Bender and Huberts universe of origin (Uni 1).
It can be theorized that the reason the universe repeats itself during the trio's voyage is, in fact, their continued existence following their universe's collapse, even as a time-traveling anomaly, meaning their very presence affects the new universe's formation, namely in repeating the universal timeline resulting in their creation, life and circumstances leading to their flight (Hereby explaining why the universe is an exact duplicate). In this case, it would also mean that the cycle would not repeat past Universe 4.
Another possibility is that in Uni 2, due to the Uni 1 Hubert killing Uni 2 Hitler, the expected future was altered in such a way that the Uni 2 trio simply continue to exist, do not travel into the next universe, or may not even exist, necessitating that Uni 1 Hubert try to shoot Hitler on the second go around into Uni 3. This is because a trio from Uni 2 will not feel the inclination to take out Hitler because someone else already had. This means that if a trio from Uni 2 does exist and travels into the future universes, then it can be assumed that if they land in Uni 4, They would be landing in a universe in which Hitler lived, different from there universe of origin (Uni 2) in which Hitler was killed by the Hubert from Uni 1, creating a new paradox..
Their presence may also be the actual motivation for the formation of the universe. One thesis for the universe's end involves it settling into a "dark era", or losing all heat, hereby all energy and dying, but travelling through time in any direction requires near-infinite amounts of energy and if the machine's energy was discharged to the dead universe, it could very well have facilitated a second big bang (Being a source of incredibly dense energy). Still, this is pure conjecture.
While also conjecture, the fact the universe repeats itself could also explain how Nibblonian civilization existed 17 years before the Big Bang.
This episode makes Fry even more of an anomaly in time and space than he has ever been before. He was his own grandfather in the universe he was born, gifting him with a lack of a Delta Brain Wave and making his existence cyclical and now the current Fry is living in a universe that he was not even born into, making him as a time traveler no longer subject to alterations in the time stream anywhere in the current universe. Additionally, Bender and Hubert are also not subject to alterations in the time stream.
Fry & Leela
- Leela consents to two dates with Fry in this episode, and - on the occasions when he is late, Leela is visibly disappointed.
- In the universe in which Fry does not make his dinner-date with Leela, and she assumes that he died in the explosion at Hedonism Bot's bachelor's party, Leela is greatly upset by his 'death'.
- In that same universe, she marries Cubert, due to his resemblance to Fry.
- In that same universe, she misses Fry throughout her life. When she realises that Fry has gone to the future, she sends him a message, speaking of how special she found their time together.
- When faced with a future filled with beautiful women, Fry's first thought is obtaining a backwards time-machine so that he might return to Leela. Although, he does not oppose the idea of sleeping with said beautiful women.
- Throughout the episode Fry is the most determined, out of himself, the Professor, and Bender, to return to his own time, and hence Leela.