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Dipper and Wendy are walking around the low budget and dangerous Mystery Fair when Wendy sees a duck/panda looking stuffed animal, hybrid prize for a milk bottle game. She expresses a huge desire for it and Dipper attempts to win it for her. He hands the carnival attendant a ticket for one ball and the man reminds him he only has one chance. Wendy smiles and shoots him a thumbs up for luck. Dipper throws the ball and misses, hitting the crate the bottles are standing on. The ball ricochets and hits Wendy, giving her a black eye. Dipper assures Wendy that everything is going to be fine and not to worry before running off to get her some ice.
He retrieves a bag of ice but crashes into Blendin Blandin on the way back, spilling ice everywhere. Blendin runs off without apologizing and Dipper manages to gather up the ice just in time to see Robbie soothing Wendy's eye with a snow cone. Robbie then asks Wendy if she would like to go out with him. Wendy says, "Yeah, I guess so," the same words she used when she agreed to hang out at the fair with Dipper. Mabel, unaware of what just happened, runs up to Dipper and gushes about her new pig, whom she has named Waddles ("I call him that because he waddles"). When she realizes he's not paying her any attention, she asks what's wrong and sees Wendy and Robbie run off to ride the The Tunnel of Love and Corndogs.
Dipper spends the remainder of the fair heartbroken, staring up at the sky on a skee ball game. Mabel tries to use Waddles to cheer him up, but Dipper is much too busy dwelling on the fact that his one mistake caused him so much pain. He spots Blendin, on whom he now blames his misery, and accuses him of spying on them. After using advanced technology in a very feeble attempt to escape, Blendin confesses that he is a time traveler. Dipper sees Wendy and Robbie on the Ferris wheel and asks if he can borrow Blendin's time machine, which appears to be a simple tape measure. He denies the request, claiming the device is far too complicated for them to use properly. After the twins dismiss the machine, Blendin travels back in time twice, slightly aflame on the second return. He then explains that he is on a mission to prevent a series of time anomalies from happening at the fair, but for whatever reason he has been unable to find them. Mabel gives him some tickets for the fair, claiming that he deserves a break. He happily agrees, but swears that he'll be keeping a close eye on them and the machine.
Blendin then arrives at a barrel ride, where Soos says he has to take his tool belt off to prevent it from potentially flying off and accidentally fixing a ride. Soos promises he will watch the belt like a hawk and Blendin gets on the ride. Dipper steals the device while Soos is distracted by the ride and runs back to the Mystery Shack with Mabel and Waddles. The twins then travel 6 hours back in time so Dipper can undo his mistake with Wendy and Mabel can relive the best moment of her life (winning Waddles). Dipper finds Wendy and she again says that she wants one of the stuffed animals of indeterminate species. Dipper tries again but, due to time paradox, his actions involve her eye being injured yet again. Robbie still comes to her aid with the snow cone and everything happens the way it did last time, excluding Dipper's involvement with Blendin.
Mabel and Dipper keep repeating their actions, Mabel bonding deeper with Waddles and Dipper keeps failing harder every time. Finally, Dipper comes up with a long and complicated plan that requires Mabel's assistance. This time, Dipper intentionally aims for the tent's roof, where it eventually makes its way to the storm drain atop the Mystery Shack. Mabel moves the drain to that the ball flies back to the fair, hits the target on the dunk tank (and still fails to dunk Grunkle Stan, much to the disappointment of the carnival goers), knocks the pizza out of the unnamed fat man's hands, removes the top of Robbie's snow cone, and successfully takes down the milk bottles without damaging Wendy's eye. The carnival attendant awards the stuffed animal of indeterminate species to Wendy, who gleefully shows it to Robbie while proclaiming Dipper won it for her. Robbie becomes flustered and pulls up his hood, walking away without asking Wendy out. Unaware of his intentions, Wendy shrugs and expresses her delight at being able to spend the day hanging out with Dipper.
Mabel, now having come down from the roof, is thanked by Dipper before she goes to win Waddles. However, Pacifica Northwest has already won Waddles, before Mabel can win him. Mabel screams until she finds Dipper disembarking the Tunnel of Love and Corndogs with Wendy. Mabel tells Dipper that she has lost Waddles to Pacifica and that they need to go back and fix the timeline. Dipper says that this timeline is the only one where he can avoid harming Wendy and they can't go hopping through time anymore. Upset, Mabel fights for control over the time machine and accidentally sends them back to the Oregon Trail. There, she intentionally messes with the people's knowledge of future inventions and advancements, such as braces, light up shoes, calculators, women's suffrage, and high-fives. Dipper then sends them to the Age of the Dinosaurs for a few seconds before Mabel takes them to the distant future (wherein the Time Baby is going in a destructive rampage). The pair then hop through some of the earlier events of the summer, leaving behind various items. The time machine starts shorting while they run by a snow-covered Mystery Shack, wherein Stan's brother Ford resides. They disappear before he can see them, reappearing in the successful Dipper timeline. He tells Mabel that it's over; this timeline is the one they have to keep.
Dejected, Mabel begins banging her head on a totem pole. Dipper says that she'll soon forget about Waddles, traveling further and further into the future to prove his point. When he goes a month into the future, he sees that her condition has worsened to the point where vines have begun growing over her disheveled body. She has now been turned into a tourist attraction for the Mystery Shack. He regrettably travels back to reinstate the original timeline, telling Wendy that people make mistakes and should always be forgiven before setting in motion the events that started it all. Wendy walks off with Robbie as Dipper looks on sadly. Mabel and Waddles then appear and express their gratitude, Dipper admitting that he couldn't break her heart and there was still time for him to win Wendy's heart later in the summer. Blendin realizes what has happened and takes the time machine back seconds before the Time Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron members Lolph and Dundgen appear and arrest him for violating the Time Traveler's Code of Conduct. Blendin then promises to mess up Dipper and Mabel's life by making their parents never meet.
Thanks to Soos' welding, Grunkle Stan has managed to avoid getting dunked at the dunk tank. He happily taunts one of the Time Paradox Avoidance Enforcement Squadron members, resulting in his firing "a futuristic laser arm cannon" at the target and successfully dunking Grunkle Stan. They disappear and Dipper and Mabel realize that they were the cause of all the time anomalies. Dipper groans as he sees Robbie and Wendy sharing a caramel apple on a stick. Mabel then sends Waddles (who had earlier expressed a love of caramel apples) off to the pair. Startled, Robbie drops the apple and spills a barrel of hot water on his pants, causing them to shrink painfully. All the carnival goers laugh at his expense, including the still submerged Grunkle Stan.
The episode ends with the Time Baby punishing Blendin to clean up the time anomalies, hence why he was in the first three episodes of the series.
- Written by:
- Aury Wallington
- Alex Hirsch
- Directed by:
- Aaron Springer
- Joe Pitt
- Storyboards by:
- Erik Fountain
- Mark Garcia
- With the Voice Talents of:
- Additional Voices:
- Viewership: This episode was watched by 4.14 million viewers, making it the second most watched premier, just behind "Double Dipper".
- In this episode Mabel is wearing a flower on her head instead of her headband, and is wearing pink sneakers instead of her usual black shoes with white socks.
- This episode marks the actual first appearance of Stan's brother, Ford, briefly seen when Dipper and Mabel accidentally time-travel to the Mystery Shack in the past.
- The title of the episode is an allusion to the novel The Time Traveler's Wife.
- The cryptogram at the end of the episode says "NOT H.G. WELLS APPROVED". This references the science fiction novella The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells.
- At the end of the episode, Dipper quotes the line "That'll do, pig. That'll do," from the film Babe.
- The two Time Police are named Lolph and Dundgren, as a reference to the actor Dolph Lundgren.
- The episode also makes direct references to the video game The Oregon Trail, including a joke about a common cause of death in the game, dysentery.
- Mabel and Waddles eating the same slice of pizza from different ends is a reference to the spaghetti kiss from Lady and the Tramp.
- Blendin Blandin's watch switches hands when he is confronted by Mabel and Dipper.
- Dipper's question mark corn dog disappears when Robbie shows up.
- The caramel apple Mabel feeds Waddles disappears after she drops it.
- The flash of light caused by Blendin's time machine in the credits during the events of "Headhunters" is not featured in the actual episode.
- When Blendin's "position was compromised" after he failed to hide, his watch switched from his left hand to his right hand.
- After Mabel hands Blendin tickets to the fair and he leaves, Mabel turns to the side, and her flower has vanished.
- When Mabel loses her flower, it is on the other side on her head.
- When Waddles is dressed as a doctor and follows Mabel to Blendin, his clothes disappear.
- When Blendin walks to the barrel ride, the time machine is not on his belt. When the camera zooms in, it is.
- The first time Dipper plays the ball toss, Robbie comes 10 or 20 seconds after Wendy gets a black eye, but many times while Dipper "do-overs" with the time machine Robbie comes earlier or right away sometimes even coming at a different direction.
- In one of the scenes where Dipper and Mabel are talking to Blendin, Mabel's eyebrows have disappeared.
- When Robbie talks to Wendy in Dipper's final do-over, there is a frame in which his teeth are skin-color as opposed to white.
- When Dundgren is talking to Blendin, there is a frame in which his pupil is colored light green instead of black.
- When Dipper and Mabel travel back in time to the episode "Headhunters", you see the pizza shirt guy wearing a green shirt, but in the actual episode, his shirt is red.
- When Mabel is riding the ferris wheel with Waddles the ticket booth in front of the ferris wheel is facing to the right. In all the other "do-overs," it is facing toward the front.
- When Wendy first sees the stuffed animals, they are seated on a board, but when they walk up, and the rest of the time, they appear to be dangling.
- When Dipper goes back in time to get Waddles back for Mabel, she remembers everything that happened even though she did not travel back in time with him.
- In the final reality, Blendin confronts Mabel and Dipper, but he didn't go with them and wouldn't remember it.
- When Grunkle Stan laughs at Robbie, his finger leaves the border of the dunk tank.
- When Mabel sat on the Test Your Strength game, the marker did not move when she got off, but it should have gone to 0 since it is impossible for Mabel to weigh 0 pounds.
- When Soos tells Blendin to take of his belt because of "tools", the only thing it holds is his time machine.
- When Mabel had Doctor Waddles, his nose color briefly changes.
- Robbie's teeth are pink.
- During the end credits of this episode, there was a cryptogram that reads "MLG S.T. DVOOH ZKKILEVW." Once decoded, it reads "NOT H.G. WELLS APPROVED.".