"The Countdown" is the thirty-sixth episode of Season 3 of The Amazing World of Gumball. It is the 111th episode overall.
The episode begins with Darwin waking up Gumball, and telling him that they'll be late for school. Gumball finally becomes wide awake after he sees the school bus leave, and alarmed when he is told that they will be expelled by Miss Simian if they are late again. When they question the amount of time they have left for school, an onscreen timer (that the duo can see) appears. It gives them 6 minutes and 24 seconds. As they race against time, the timer follows them (much to their initial puzzlement).
After five seconds of running, Gumball and Darwin decide to take the public bus to Elmore Junior High. On the bus, Gumball inadvertently attracts the attention of the passengers when he gets scared by a baby apple. Following a conversation with the Crocodile Woman, Gumball and Darwin learn that the bus is going to another destination – Richwood. They decide to jump off the bus, and they end up being pushed off the side of a bridge, landing on another vehicle which causes them to be taken to a pile of junk in the desert.
By taking advantage of the timer, they manage to get back to town with a minute to spare. Gumball and Darwin continue their way to school, with Gumball doing parkour (which he thinks will make them faster). On their way, they encounter Miss Simian. Eager to expel them, she outraces them with her car. Just as she drives off, Gumball accidentally stops time by crashing into the camera, and freezing the whole universe except for himself and Darwin.
At ease now that they do not have to worry about the time, they begin making fun of the other frozen citizens, and taking advantage of their motionless surroundings. It is only when Gumball and Darwin discover that they cannot use electricity (and thus the internet, TV, or video games consoles) that they decide to get back to school, and resume the timer.
Once in their classroom Darwin continues the timer, but unintentionally spins it to the far future (when the sun explodes). After Gumball tries to go back in time, he sends himself and Darwin to the beginning of the universe. Again, they go forward in time, and stop on prehistoric Earth. After accidentally meddling with an ape standing upright they find themselves in the present, but because of their meddling in the past they end up in an alternate timeline where there are no hands.
The duo try to prevent themselves from meddling with the monkey, and instead this results in many clones of them emerging. While the clones fight, a pair of the duo goes back to the present but finds their classmates as evolved versions of themselves. Back in the past, the original pair successfully stop their clones from fighting, and make them disappear after pointing out that they are all time paradoxes. In the present, they end up in an alternate timeline again, this time where they are to be sacrificed.
Gumball and Darwin try many attempts to fix the present, with these attempts resulting in many varied timelines. At last, they find a timeline where all seems normal, except that they now blink vertically. The episode ends with them deciding that they can live with the change.
Miss Simian (Semi-Antagonist)
- Manly Warrior
- Marvin Finklehimer
- The Hobo
- Elderly Chalkboard Woman
- Hot Dog Guy
- Crocodile Woman
- Apple Family
- Orange Woman
- Mr. Small
- Red Dog
- Neck Beard
- Hexagon Lady
- Ocho (poster)
- Splatty (poster)
- Gumball and Darwin clones (Minor Antagonists to each others)
- Sphere Citizens
- A pink version of Splatty appears on a paintball poster.
- Throughout this episode, Gumball and Darwin repeatedly break the fourth wall.
- Gumball and Darwin interacting with the timer on the screen is one example.
- Another is when Gumball and Darwin notice how they go through great distances in only a matter of minutes or even seconds whenever the scene cuts to another.
- Gumball breaks the fourth wall when he smashes into the camera, and stops time.
- One of the alternate timelines has the characters talking angrily in German. This may be a timeline where the Axis won World War II and annexed the United States.
- In that timeline, Sarah and Tobias' German dialogue translate to "I like to go to the disco!" and "No speed limit on the highway!" respectively.
- Music from "The End," "The Voice," "The Bros," "The Mirror," "The Fan," and "The Robot" are reused.
- Animation from "The Plan" and "The Kids" are reused.
- The second half of the episode is similar to The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror segment "Time and Punishment," where Homer constantly goes back to prehistoric times to fix the present, and in the end settles on a timeline that is "close enough."
- A music piece similar to the Star Wars main theme is played as Gumball is spinning.
- The gorilla world and the iconic theme "Also sprach Zarathustra" from 2001: A Space Odyssey is played in the episode.
- Gumball changes his clothes by spinning a la Wonder Woman's transformation from her eponymous 1975 television series.
- The Big Bang theory is referenced when Gumball and Darwin travel back in time.
- Gumball and Darwin freezing time is similar to the ending of The Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch," where the central character of the episode drops a stopwatch that can freeze time, leaving everything but himself frozen.
- This is the second time Penny is seen with her shell while riding the bus. The first time was in "The Mirror."
- When running to the public bus stop, Gumball and Darwin pass the same green house twice.
- Despite being at school, Juke can be seen playing with a basketball across from Gumball and Darwin when time is frozen. A similar problem is with Gary, who was riding a bus to Richwood, but he can be seen watching Sal Left Thumb steal Hexagon Lady's purse.
- When Gumball and Darwin are jumping and saying, "Yay! We still have one minute left to get to school!", Darwin's mouth stays open and doesn't move.