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Episode 407: Changing Nature

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Dinosaurs
Air Date July 20, 1994
Written by Kirk R. Thatcher
Director Tom Trbovich
Changing nature 1

The Sinclairs await the return of the Bunch Beetles.

Changing nature 2
Changing nature 3

The DNN studio is overtaken by cider poppies.

Changing nature 4

WESAYSO executives are blinded to impending doom by their greed.

Changing nature 5

In the show's final episode, Earl causes the extinction of the Dinosaur species, when at the prodding of Richfield and the WESAYSO Corporation, he poisons all plant life. In an effort to bring the plants back, he blocks the sun from the planet, sending global temperatures below freezing. Earl realizes that his mistake was to put too much faith in progress and not have enough respect for nature.

Story

It's May 14, the day when the bunch beetles return to Pangaea to migrate, and also eat all of the cider poppies that have been growing. But for some reason, they don't show up when expected. Ethyl mentions that they have never been late like this before. Four days later, the cider poppies are growing like crazy, into the inside of the Sinclair household. A bunch beetle, Stan, finally shows up. He tells the Sinclairs that he was traveling with other bunch beetles, but then halfway to the swamp, he remembered that he left the sink running, and is now lost. Earl tells him that he's supposed to eat the cider poppies, but Stan doesn't have time to eat because he has to go to the swamp, find a female, mate, and reproduce (he'll be dead in two weeks). They realize that it's the baby bunch beetles who eat the cider poppies, and also learn that Stan can't find the swamp.

Charlene takes Stan to the swamp, and they are shocked to discover that WESAYSO tore it down in order to pave way for a wax fruit factory. A factory worker sees Stan and is about to spray him, but Charlene stops him in defense of the bunch beetle. The worker then informs her that all of the bugs that got near the factory have been sprayed.

As Earl and Fran cut down plants in the living room, they watch Charlene and Stan on the news. Charlene informs the news that Stan is the last bunch beetle because WESAYSO tore down the swamp and endangered the species just to build a wax fruit factory, making progress just for the sake of progress. When Earl realizes that Charlene is being interviewed from in the kitchen, he defends WESAYSO and also supports progress, saying that he can deal with any sacrifice as long as there is new technology. B.P. Richfield watches the program, and gets a call from his boss, knowing that this report could cause trouble for the company. After seeing Earl defend progress, Richfield gets the idea to start a task force, and find somebody dumb enough to volunteer to be in charge (i.e. take troubles away from the company).

Earl and Roy are interviewed about the task force, explaining that they plan on poisoning the cider poppies. Earl's family begs him to consider a safer alternative, but he refuses. Helicopters fly all over the world, spraying poison on the poppies. The next day, it is reported that the process worked too well: not only are the poppies gone, but so are all forms of plant life on earth, which means that there is no food. Earl and Roy ask Richfield for a plan to bring back the plants. Richfield initially hasn't thought of anything, but then realizes that it needs to rain in order for the plants to grow back, and rain comes from clouds. Richfield figures that clouds always come whenever volcanoes erupt, so he plans on throwing a bunch of bombs into volcanoes so that there will be a lot of clouds. Since the last plan had backfired, Earl suggests that they think twice about it, but Richfield convinces Earl that this is no time to lose faith in progress.

Bombs are thrown into the volcanoes, but instead of raining, it snows instead. Earl figures that when the sun comes up, the snow will melt and there will be plenty of water. However, Howard Handupme reports that the clouds are so thick that scientists have predicted it will take tens of thousands of years before the sun will melt away the snow. Earl calls Richfield, who doesn't see this as a problem. Because of the sudden "cold snap", people are buying a lot of WESAYSO logs, heaters, blankets and hot cocoa mixes. Earl points out that the world might come to an end, but Richfield misses the point. His only problem is figuring out what to do with all of the money he has made.

Earl apologizes to Stan for the extinction of his species, and apologizes to his family for bringing the world to an end. Earl says that his problem was putting too much faith in progress and having not enough respect for nature, taking it for granted because it is always there. He tells the Baby that he didn't take very good care of the world, but Baby is reassured that no matter what happens, they will always be a family.

In the final scene, anchorman Howard Handupme signs off, for the final time. The ending credits roll with the scenes of snow falling in to the Sinclair home.

Guest Stars

Notes

  • This episode is the show's series finale. It was the last show produced and the last one filmed. However, ABC ended up cutting the show's run short (due to falling ratings). Seven remaining episodes which were produced (and which would have come before this episode) did not air. However, ABC aired this episode in order to properly end the show's run - by killing off all the dinosaurs.
  • Taped on September 28, 1993
  • This episode was rated "TV-PG" in later reruns due to disturbing images.

Video releases


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