Time Keeps on Slipping
At a picnic, Fry tries unsuccessfully to romance Leela.Suddenly a spaceship appears from the Harlem Globetrotter homeworld. The leader, “Bubblegum” Tate,challenges Earth to a basketball game to defend their honor. The Professor offers up a team of mutant Atomic Supermen. Later, the Professor admits that the supermen are still boys, but he can accelerate their growth using “chronitons”–time particles from the Tempus Nebula. On the trip to the nebula, Fry again tries to woo Leela, who just makes fun of him. The crew collects the chronitons, and the Professor successfully grows his superboys into supermen. At the game, the mutant Supermen take the lead by halftime,but as the second half begins, a sudden burst of light leaves everyone in a different position. Time has jumped forward, but no one can remember what happened during the jump. The game continues, but time jumps forward again leaving only 2:08 on the clock with the Supermen leading by 35 points. The Professor realizes that the chronitons are tearing apart time and space. When one of the Supermen is injured, Fry takes his place to impress Leela, but another time jump results in the Globetrotters winning the game. Leela is furious with Fry for having blown the game. Meanwhile, Tate offers to help the Professor, admitting that he’s the famous physicist, Bubblegum Tate. They figure out the jumps are growing exponentially, which will shortly cause the very end of existence. Much later, the Professor and Tate discover that if they move stars to an empty side of the universe, the displaced gravity might divert the chronitons. All they need is a gravity pump, which, after another time jump, is ready for launch. The gang takes off into space and moves the stars, which appears to stop the jumps. Fry attempts to celebrate with Leela, but when she rebuffs him, he takes control of the ship to show off his ability to use the gravity pump. Another jump occurs, leaving Fry and Leela in front of a preacher who pronounces them man and wife. An ecstatic Fry plants a big kiss on a confused and furious Leela. As the Professor and Tate lament their failure, Leela accuses Fry of tricking her into marriage. Fry has no idea how he was able to win Leela over, and after another jump, they find themselves in court getting a divorce. Fry tries to convince Leela that they must have had good times together, but Leela remains unswayed. Later, the Professor and Tate come up with a plan to implode the nebula, creating a black hole that will stop chronitons from escaping. They attach a doomsday device to the ship, and head off into space. After deploying the device, the crew turns the ship back to earth. From the window, Fry sees the message “I love you, Leela,” spelled out in beautiful stars, and realizes that he used the gravity pump to create a message that won Leela’s heart. Suddenly the doomsday device detonates, creating a black hole that successfully sucks the chronitons, along with Fry’s message, into its void. A distraught Fry asks Leela if she saw the message, but she has no idea what he’s talking about. Brokenhearted, Fry watches the black hole, and a possible future with Leela, recede in the distance as the ship continues its journey back to Earth.