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Here's the thing: you've got to take your failures and make something out of them. Take Camp Campbell for instance: a lot of poor decisions went into making this place what it is today. Sure, somewhere along the line it maybe strayed from its path, not living up to the camp it wanted to be. At some point, the camp realized that the camp would never reach the end of its path until it was ready or until it gave up. So, if the camp wanted to keep embezzling money and dealing with foreign powers, so be it! But, at some point, it didn't anymore. I never saw this coming, but I'm starting to think this camp is the best it's ever been.

Cameron Campbell

"Time Crapsules" is the 18th episode of the fourth season of Camp Camp, making it the season finale, and is the 58th episode overall. It premiered September 28th, 2019 on the RT FIRST site, and October 5th, 2019 on the Rooster Teeth website.

Official Synopsis

Putting together time capsules gets the kids thinking about their futures, but after seeing Gwen not live up to her dreams, it paralyzes them with uncertainty. Meanwhile, Max tries to cheer Gwen up to expedite his transformation into a good person.

—Episode description

Plot

David hefts a large box into the activities field and opens it up, while Nikki is excited to see its contents - which happen to be several smaller empty shoeboxes. David explains that the boxes are meant to be used for the kids to create their own personal time capsules, which Space Kid enthusiastically misunderstands as 'time machines' as he puts one atop his helmet. Gwen explains how time capsules work (by putting stuff in the box with the intention of unearthing them several years in the future) and Campbell suddenly realizes that he buried a shoebox of treasury bonds somewhere on the campgrounds during the 90's, and rushes off to dig them up. Max grouses that watching Campbell's antics should be the afternoon activity instead, but David says the experience is supposed to be enlightening, asking them to imagine themselves in the future reading the letters written by their current child selves detailing their hopes and aspirations. Max mockingly scoffs that young Davey would be thrilled to hear that he grew up to be a camp counselor, and David happily produces a letter from his 10-year-old self that explicitly states he wanted this exact job. Max is deeply upset that he didn't see that coming. Nerris inquires as to what Gwen had put in her time capsule, and she flatly explains that she never made a lame time capsule because she kept a diary instead. Nurf smugly taunts to see if it's the same diary he's holding (emblazoned with "Property of Gwen", of course) and Max swipes it, sadistically stating he's gotta see this. He reads aloud an excerpt in which young Gwen believes she'll grow up to be popular due to being the best writer ever, and having a husband who owns a money factory/horse sanctuary and is also part wolf. The campers explode into laughter but the fun is immediately cut short when Max realizes that Gwen has tears streaming down her face. Hurt, Gwen runs off, ignoring David calling out to her before turning back to glare at Max. The kids look at David with varying degrees of shame and guilt, with the exception of Nurf, who loudly announces another line from the journal that says she wants to name her first kid Dracula Junior.

While the campers are all sitting around looking at their shoeboxes in bewilderment, David is scolding Max off to the side for upsetting Gwen, saying he hasn't seen her this upset since an unseen event where a waiter mistook her (distinctively odd) hairstyle for a hat. David tells him he hopes he's proud of himself, which Max immediately admits he isn't, and this catches David entirely off-guard. Max says he feels bad and wonders what's going on, to which Nikki pipes up that he's changing. Neil adds that Max is becoming kinder while David hired a criminal to - "oh would you look at that, Preston needs help!" David quickly removes himself from the discussion to avoid the reminder of the underhanded stunt he pulled in "Keep the Change". Max begs the duo for help because this developing conscience means he doesn't know who he is anymore, but Neil says they have their own problems as the time capsule is really stressing him out. Nikki agrees, saying she doesn't know what to put in hers and begins weighing the symbolism of her love of dirt versus her love of animal skulls to help decide which to include in the box. Max pulls at his hair saying he can't stand this "miasmic transitory period" anymore, and while Neil says that despite the fact that he adores Max's "deplorable standard of ethics", this moral transformation is inevitable, so he should just rip the band-aid off so everyone can get on with their lives. Max suddenly realizes that good people help other people, so he reasons that if he helps Gwen get her shit together, this will lead to his shit getting itself together and allow him to stop feeling so bad. Nikki dubiously notes that it sounds as though he's only wanting to cheer up Gwen for his own personal benefit (instead of hers, as it should be), and Max dismissively retorts that he's a good person now and knows what he's doing, carelessly waving them off as he leaves. Space Kid, holding a box of clocks, gleefully shouts "isn't this fun?!"

Inside the counselor's cabin (where Campbell is shown frantically digging holes around the outside perimeter), Gwen is tearfully chucking her writing journals in the garbage, then sits down in the bin while calling herself garbage as well. Max opens the door and tentatively calls out to her. Despite Gwen saying nothing more than "fuck you", he awkwardly apologizes for the way he treated her because it was "disrespectful and wrong" and immediately asks if she feels better. In a harshly quiet tone she asks what he wants, and with a forced smile he says he just wants to see his buddy be happy again. Gwen turns her trashbin around to face him and repeats how she thought her life would be (influential author with a smoking-hot husband and fat stacks of cash), but instead her ass is stuck in a trashcan, she has no idea who she is, and that it's too late for her to reach those goals. Still with the fake smile, Max says she's just looking at things from the wrong angle, and invites her to follow him so he can show her she's wrong. He then quickly returns to help get her un-stuck from the trashcan, since they can't proceed otherwise.

Meanwhile, the campers (minus Space Kid) are all sitting around the activities field with their boxes, looking forlorn, and David uneasily asks why they haven't started working on their time capsules yet. Ered asks how he can expect them to be filled after what happened this morning, Neil wonders how they can be sure that they won't end up disappointing themselves like Gwen, and Nikki says she's all messed up. Attempting to diffuse their sadness, he tells them not to think about it too much, and that it's just - "the most important thing we'll ever do?! I agree!" Dolph interrupts vehemently then curls up into the fetal position, prompting everyone else to follow suit. David puts his hands out in front of him as if to stop an onslaught, and Space Kid pops up behind him asking to borrow his watch.

Now within the mess hall, a blindfolded Gwen sullenly hopes she's about to be executed. "You wish!" Max gleefully exclaims before removing her blindfold to reveal a romantic-looking table-for-two setup, while Quartermaster stands nearby playing the violin. Max says he's going to show her she's exactly who she wants to be, and will start by proving that anyone with half a brain would be happy to be her smoking-hot husband. Unmoved, she says that if he believes finding her a husband is the solution to solving her problems, he hasn't seen a TV show called "Flash Fiancé". He says he read more of her diary and was able to track down one of her old high-school crushes, a dude named Jake Stonewall. With a blush, she makes an innuendo about the varsity badminton player and his shuttlecock, which Max says is disgusting but now she has the opportunity to tell him herself. The double doors fly open and a visibly-balding Jake enters, wearing his old varsity jacket, sweatpants, and a shirt much too small to hide his massive beer gut. Max comes to the unfortunate realization that he hasn't updated his profile pictures on social media in a while. Jake sits across from Gwen, saying he's glad Max reached out, because even though he was a hot-shot single guy in high school, nowadays he's ready to settle down for a "doubles match" (in other words, a relationship). Embarrassed, Gwen says his badminton one-liners are still as laborious now as they were back in the day, and after slamming the door on him, Max says it was stupid to try and dig up the past when they should be focusing on the present. Pikeman kicks open the door, armed with roses and a box of heart-shaped chocolates, and Max quickly slams the door on him too, nervously asking if they've touched on the future yet.

Back at the activities field, Space Kid is gleefully arranging his box of clocks, and Neil is very obviously copying his every movement. Nikki zips up asking for help, as the stress of time capsule has her (quite violently) pulling out her pigtails. Neil says he thought a lot about what to put in his, as he wanted it to be something achievable and satisfactory, but once his ensuing panic attack subsided he saw Space Kid taking the concept of a "time capsule" as literally as possible and thought, "eureka!" He further explains how simple the boy's idea is, that he hasn't stopped smiling since he started collecting time clocks, and asks if she has a watch he can use. Nikki is beyond shocked that he's changing career paths at this age and David promptly appears to ask if everything's okay. With an unstable edge in her voice she assures him it's fine - "it's just that one day we're all going to die one day, so if I devote myself to something, I need to make sure I'll love it for the rest of my life because there's not enough time to start over if you're uncertain!" and grows more frantic over the course of her scentence. David quietly suggests a different camp-tivity instead, and she rages at him for not hearing what she just said.

The next step of Max's efforts takes him and Gwen back to the counselor's cabin, where he drops a box of Gwen's old journals onto the counter, and tells her to quit complaining when she says she doesn't wanna do this. He attempts to correct his attitude (and hers) by shrewdly reasoning that one of these books must prove that she's a great writer, and she sardonically asks if he'd rather read "Sasquatch Origins: Ferocious Tendencies" or "Confessions of a Teenage Vampire Kisser." Lying through his teeth, Max says they both sound so good, but his curiosity is instantly piqued by a bound script titled "What Comes Around", which she initially tries talking him out of only to then be shushed. Max is immediately engrossed by the story and spends a long time reading it aloud, moving throughout the cabin while doing so. Quartermaster has resumed playing the violin by the time he reaches the end of the script, and he slaps it shut with a look of awe, taking a moment to collect himself. He turns to Gwen and tells her that was incredible, to which she ruefully admits to being a re-write of "A Walk to Remember" with only the character names replaced with her own. Max angrily tosses the book aside and demands to know why he let her read the whole thing, to which she replies "to prove a point" while settling back into the trashcan again. He tells her to get out of the trashcan and start feeling happy again, which makes her ask why he cares, and he yells that he wants to start feeling happy again. Gwen gets out of the trashcan and starts yelling back at him. "Yeah well, newsflash idiot: good people don't make everything about themselves!" and tells him he fucked up right outta the gate if he was trying to make everything better. Max counters that she'd know a thing or two about fucking up in life, and Gwen is visibly taken aback by his words. She then replies in an eerily calm tone, "you know Max, I don't think you have to worry about changing. Something tells me you're going to be bitter and unhappy no matter what you do!" she gets heated in the last few words, and Max glares at her with his arms folded in response. However, they both quickly realize they've gone too far with their words, as they look away from each other with regret plastered all over their faces. David clears his throat and carefully asks if they're ready for the time capsule burial ceremony.

Out at the edge of the lake, David has dug up a large hole for the campers to place their boxes, outlined with several lit torches, and asks who'd like to go first. Across the chasm, Gwen and the kids stand together, looking rather miserable and sullen, with no one daring to volunteer. Space Kid, oblivious to the general mood, comes forward, saying he filled his capsule with all the time he could find before dropping it into the hole. Neil begins to echo his words but then realizes how idiotic this is, and David gently reassures him it's okay. Gwen blurts out that nothing's okay as the music immediately spikes erratically. Growing more frantic, she tells the kids they should all be terrified; all it takes is one little mistake, then a few more, and before they know it they'll all end up failures just like her. David attempts to diffuse things by telling them it's not true, which Max immediately denies because he just wanted to make one person feel better and he couldn't even manage that. Fanning the flames of panic, Nikki asks how they can know if the future they want is the future they want, Dolph speculates on being unable to become a famous artist while rocking in the fetal position, and Ered wonders what'll happen if she becomes too extreme in the future. The equally tone-deaf Campbell pops up beside David to proudly announce he's got two thumbs and a box full of treasury bonds, and everyone gawks at him in disbelief.

Relieved, David begs him for help in assuring everyone they're all worried for nothing and that no one's going to end up a failure in life. Campbell chuckles merrily and tells them of course they're all going to fail! The kids all scream and Campbell tells them to pipe down because he wasn't done talking. He tells them failure is unavoidable ("like going to a baseball game only to realize that baseball is terrible"), and that the fact of the matter is most of them likely won't end up where they want to be in the future. Neil screeches that he fucking knew it, and Campbell barks at him to stop, before pausing to inhale deeply and collect himself. "Here's the thing: you've got to take your failures and make something out of them." He uses Camp Campbell as an example, in that a lot of poor decisions went into its inception. Somewhere along the line it strayed from the path of living up to what it wanted to be, and these words touch Gwen emotionally. He says the camp wouldn't reach the end of its path until it was ready or until it gave up, and Max hangs on these words with an uncertain expression. He muses that if the camp wanted to keep embezzling money and dealing with foreign powers, so be it, and an astonished David realizes that Campbell is actually talking about himself while using the camp as a metaphor. Campbell admits that he never saw this coming, but thinks the camp is the best it's ever been, and David beams at him. Nurf, taking his words literally, mumbles that he never realized the camp had so many complex emotions.

After a pause, Max suggests there's no need to rush anything, and apologizes to Gwen. She accepts his words and replies that dusting off some of her old writing samples could make for some good practice, and they share an understanding smile as David looks on with hands clasped and tears in his eyes. Nikki relents that perhaps the time capsules aren't scary commitments to the future, but are actually proof of how much they've grown since childhood, but Neil sours the mood by saying they're a waste of energy. He asks for a show of hands to approve striking the activity from the roster forever, and all the campers (but Max) tiredly raise their hands in agreement. He takes one of the torches and tosses it into the pit, along with his box of clocks, and everyone throws their empty boxes into the fire as well. Campbell claps David on the back, saying that although he doesn't know what happened here today he was glad to be a part of it, while mindlessly letting the box slide out of his hand. David quietly asks if he just tossed his bonds into the fire, and Campbell hollers in anguish over his own accidental stupidity. He tries jumping in after it, and David physically restrains him (with Gwen, Ered, Dolph, and Nurf promptly rushing over to help) and the rest of the campers all talk over each other unintelligibly.

Transcript

{{Transcript}} would go here.

Features

Characters

Main Characters

Supporting Characters

Minor Characters

Music

Gallery

Main article: Time Crapsules/Gallery

Trivia

  • In the "Camp Camp Waffle Watch-Along" live stream for the season 4 finale, Miles Luna mentioned that one of the early ideas for this episode was to be about David's birthday. It's possible that this idea may be picked up again for a future episode.
    • Also included in that live stream was that they wanted to make Gwen a central focus of a season finale for once (as the other 3 have mainly focused on Max and David's rapport). They also felt it would be the best use of storytelling for Campbell to deliver the final speech about change, and that he would never be so openly vulnerable about his emotions and ongoing transition, so it makes total sense that he'd personify his own changes through the camp metaphor instead.
    • Miles & Jordan went through several re-writes of the script, mentioning things that got cut, such as Max setting Gwen up with more guys (including an Italian olympic swimmer) and the kids trying to get items from each other to put into their time capsules. They wanted to simultaneously use the capsules as a vehicle for the kids to express their personal fears and uncertainties that come with growing up, but also understanding that aging isn't necessarily as scary and stressful as they blow out out of proportion to be.
    • Michael Jones also mentioned he found it difficult to portray Max in this episode, due to the character trying to fight against his usual cynical and disingenuous nature with attempts at genuine positivity and support, and often had to re-do lines to try and find the right balance.
  • During Gwen's early scene of being stuck in the trashcan, she says she has no idea who she is, which contrasts directly with her words in "Party Pooper" when she tells her father that she knows who she is and is proud of herself. That being said, being proud of oneself in the current moment is a much different experience than being upset about childhood wishes for the future that never came to pass. This is why Campbell's words of "straying from the path" affect her, and eventually understands that the most sensible and realistic approach would be to keep working on her skills (as Max suggested), rather than freak out and spend all her energy trying to throw herself into a lifestyle and fame that may well never happen.

Cultural References

  • The show "Flash Fiancé" is most likely a reference to the real-world TV show ""90-Day Fiancé".
  • Gwen's script titled "What Comes Around" is indeed re-write of a real book (turned movie) called "A Walk to Remember".

Continuity

  • Interestingly, while 10-year-old Davey wrote a letter saying he wants to grow up to be a camp counselor, he didn't make that jump as soon as he became an adult. Rather, he spent a few years at a clown school in Paris, as revealed in "Preston Goodplay's Good Play". At the end of that same episode, it's hinted that part of the reason why he left the school was because of nature calling to him. In "Gwen Gets a Job", David also states that "I'm lucky that I'm already where I want to be. Working at Camp Campbell is all I've ever dreamed of."
  • Young Gwen's diary mentions her desire to be a writer (which she's been actively shown doing in "Something Fishy" and mentioned enjoying in several other episodes), and her romantic penchant for monsters (most explicitly shown in "Something Fishy", as well as in the various books and posters she keeps throughout the series).
  • Neil makes a direct callback to the events of "Keep the Change" when David brought a gun-wielding robber to the camp in hopes of giving Mr. Campbell a chance to do the right thing and save them.
  • Pikeman's crush on Gwen is brought up again in this episode. It was first shown in "Camporee" and also mentioned in "The Lake Lilac Summer Social".
  • This episode is a direct followup to "Keep the Change", "Cameron Campbell Can't Handle the Truth Serum" and "The Butterfinger Effect" for Max. In the first two episodes, he was heavily resistant to the prospect of change (mostly for himself but also largely for Campbell), although he does relent in the third episode that he has improved, at least somewhat. Here and now, he understands why he hurt both himself and Gwen, which isn't something he'd openly admit to in previous seasons. However, he does not make a genuine personal effort to make her feel better (until his apology at the burial ceremony); rather, he blatantly copies David's behavior in several interactions with her, especially in his opening lines of apology.
    • If nothing else, at least he learned something in the way of positivity and conflict-solving skills from David, which is partially what has "rubbed off" on Max that Nikki mentions in the season premiere.
      • The other part is a generally calmer nature and occasional willingness to help (in his own way) such as his unique method of wrangling money in "The Fun-Raiser" and grand master plan to take back the camp in "Camp Corp."
    • Max also hasn't fully become "a better person" as Nikki initially claimed, in that he only wanted to help Gwen for selfish reasons, so he still has more growing to do.
  • This episode is also a direct followup to "Keep the Change", "Cameron Campbell Can't Handle the Truth Serum" and "Panicked Room" for Campbell. He is initially overconfident and selfish in his reasons for wanting to change, and completely oblivious to Max's efforts to undermine his attempts at growth. He later admits that making self-improvements would mean actually putting in constant effort and he was too lazy to do so, but vowed to finally start trying from that point on. He seems to follow through on that in apologizing to Miss Priss and explaining his efforts to become a better person after they get locked in a room together.
    • Thankfully, he hasn't been fully reformed at the end of his first season of community service work, meaning there is more potential improvement to be seen from him as well.
    • Funnily enough, both Max and Campbell's most notable moments of personal developments this season overlap in two episodes out of three.
  • This episode is another example of David being the only one to sympathize with Campbell and suport his attempts to change, with previous examples being "Keep the Change" and "Cameron Campbell Can't Handle the Truth Serum".
  • This episode also builds on Max's friendship with Gwen. Wherein he initially describes it as a "mutual loathing being the only thing making this place bearable" in "Something Fishy", it evolves a fair bit here. Despite spending the bulk of this episode being insincere and trying to make her happy for his own benefit, he does make a sincere apology for hurting her feelings after they blow up at each other, and in return she takes up his suggestion of looking over her old material to inspire growth as a writer.
  • Max is shown tugging at his hair in distress while worrying about who he's become, which he's been shown repeatedly doing in "Arrival of the Torso Takers" after snooping through "David's" affairs and in "Jermy Fartz (episode)" when realizing the arduous task of being well-behaved for the sake of the bet.

References

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