| Frozen Time|
Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier
|Season 2, Episode 7|
|Air date|| June 9, 2002 (TV Tokyo) |
July 31, 2004 (Cartoon Network AM block)
Man or Machine?
The Pharaoh's Curse
After waking up from a routine maintenance of his systems, 009 finds that his Accelerator is stuck in the on position and he cannot interact with anyone because he is moving too fast. 009 tries to keep his sanity as the world around him is completely frozen.
The episode opens in Tokyo with a clown handing out balloons and a scene of an overworked truck driver almost falling asleep at the wheel before waking up after a car honks its horn. At Chang's restaurant, 007 is enjoying dinner and asks 006 for a to-go order for Dr. Gilmore and 003 as Gilmore is back at the lab working on routine maintenance of 009's systems and 003 is taking care of 001 by feeding him his baby formula. 006 complains that 007 isn't doing anything except eating all his food, to which 007 retorts that he is trying to find something actually edible in the restaurant. While he is waiting for the carryout order, 007 entertains a little girl with his shapeshifting powers and making funny faces and stops when her parents look at him. The little girl smiles and laughs. Meanwhile, the truck driver is once again nodding off behind the wheel and struggles to stay awake.
Back at Gilmore Labs, Dr. Gilmore is working on 009's cybernetics, doing maintenance on the Accelerator in particular. 003 plays a music box, tucks in 001 and goes to get 001's baby formula. A tired Dr. Gilmore walks in to check on 003 and tells her his maintenance and adjustments on 009 went well and all Joe has to do is rest for a while. 003 offers to get Dr. Gilmore some coffee after feeding 001. Before going to get some rest, Dr. Gilmore decides to write an important note to 009 just in case he wakes up early.
The truck driver is once again nodding off at the wheel and finally falls asleep as his truck slowly drifts off the road. The family leaves the restaurant, with 007 waving goodbye to the little girl. 007 reminds 006 of his order and complaining and mocking his slow service, with 006 storming off to the kitchen to make the order.
The little girl Arisa gets a balloon from the clown as she walks with her parents and then runs off happily ahead of her parents, with her mother pleading her to be careful and not to run off. The truck is swerving dangerously back and forth as it goes down the road and is revealed to be a truck shipping highly flammable gas canisters. The father cries out to Arisa to get out of the way. The truck crashes into a clothing store and narrowly misses Arisa. 006 and 007 hear the commotion nearby and go outside to see what is going on. Arisa is amazed by the accident and is staring at the wrecked truck while the driver staggers out of his vehicle with a head injury. 007 goes to try and get Arisa away from the truck as do her parents, but a spark from the fuel line causes the truck to catch on fire. As Arisa's mother is about to reach her,the gas tanks begin to explode from the flames as 007 helplessly struggles to try and reach them in time before the flames and explosion engulf the family and the truck driver. Arisa lets go of her balloon as the flames come closer toward her.
Suddenly, everything stops and is frozen in that exact moment, with people fleeing in terror at the impending explosion, 006 falling over in shock, 007 reaching out desperately to save the family and Arisa's mother trying to get her daughter out of harms way. 003 is frozen holding 001's baby formula while Dr. Gilmore is sitting at his desk about to write 009's note. 009 wakes up and after getting out of bed, he realizes something is wrong as he cannot hear anything. At first he thinks something is wrong with the cybernetics in his ears and goes to look for Dr. Gilmore to ask him to fix it. It isn't until he gets upstairs and tries to speak to 003 that he realizes his Accelerator may have been on during maintenance. He tries to turn it off, but the switch on his back molar does not work despite multiple tries. 009 panics and forgets he cannot interact with anyone while at super speed, trying to get Dr. Gilmore's help in fixing his Accelerator. Realizing he is moving at a speed where the flow of time is different than theirs, 009 then freaks out even more and tries even harder to turn off the switch.
When it fails to work, 009 runs out of the house and then finds himself standing on top of the ocean tide on the beach as he is able to break the surface tension with his speed. He sees all the waves in the ocean frozen in time and despairs that he will be stuck in Acceleration forever if he cannot figure out how to fix the switch. He takes his frustration out by trying to throw a small rock out to sea, but the rock stops in mid air as 009 is moving so fast that gravity is neutralized to an extent. 009 desperately searches for help as he races to Tokyo. 009 sees everyone frozen in a moment in time and then tries to touch a piece of paper floating in the air from the wind blowing it in real time, which burns up into ash on contact.
009 then sees 006 and wonders what startled him, he then sees the explosion and 007 frozen with his hand stretched out. 009 then sees all the people in danger of being killed or hurt by the blast. 009 tries to rescue Arisa, but stops himself when he remembers the paper he touched earlier burning up. He knows he has to do something, but cannot figure out how to save the people without hurting them. 009 sees a water tower on top of a building, leaps up to it and tries to punch it to send water down to where the flames are, but the water freezes in time just like the rock 009 threw earlier. 009 realizes he is moving faster than he has ever accelerated before and ponders the conundrum of how to contain the blast's energy and save the people without burning them up. 009 realizes all he has to do is move those in harm's way for just a second to protect them. He grabs a steel railing, which turns white hot when he touches it, and breaks it off. 009 then jumps back down to the scene of the explosion and digs into the pavement using the railing pole, then walks off back home.
Back at Gilmore Labs, 009 sees 003 frozen again and in frustration tries one more time to deactivate his Accelerator with the switch, which again fails to work. 009 then has an emotional breakdown and screams. Days go by from 009's perspective as time is at a stand still, he begins to lose grip on his sanity as he can only hear the sound of his own heartbeat and voice. He thinks to himself that he wishes he were just a machine as he would not have the human emotion of loneliness right now and begins to cry. After day ten, 009 tries again to use the switch, but it still is not responding. 009 then notices that 003's eyes are closed from blinking, meaning that time has started to move by one second. 009 is overjoyed as he thinks this means his Accelerator is slowing down and laughs with a worrisome bit of insanity. 009 then regains his composure and begins to doubt that 003's eyes moved and he is starting to go mad by hallucinating things. He screams that he wishes something would just move in anger.
After a month alone in the accelerated time, 009 sees a jet plane that wasn't in the sky before. He pleads for it to move as this means he was right and his Accelerator is slowing down. 009 sees Dr. Gilmore beginning to write the note for him and then sulks when he realizes Dr. Gilmore cannot hear him. 009 then has another lapse in sanity as he hallucinates 003 talking to him, only to see her still frozen and her eyes open again. 009 begins laughing in a fit of insanity as his mind begins slipping, then gets worried he will go completely insane if this goes on for much longer. 009 tries to regain his composure again, as he has been alone ever since he was little so it doesn't matter if he has no one now. The jet above him moves and 009 begs for the plane to come back asking for help. 003 hears him and wonders what he is doing and why is he shouting. 009 realizes his Accelerator is finally off and embraces 003 in a hug, crying. 003 is confused as she doesn't know what is wrong with 009 as he is acting like he hasn't seen anyone for days.
As time restarts, the events play out as the water tower puts out the fire. Arisa and her family are safe inside a hole made by 009 with the steel beam, as is everyone in the blast radius. 007 and 006 tell Dr. Gilmore what happened and consider it a miracle as no one was killed. Dr. Gilmore is surprised 009 woke up so soon and asks him if he is alright and if any problems happened with his systems. Dr. Gilmore then decides to forego giving the note to 009, though Joe is curious about what he was writing. Dr. Gilmore says the note was a warning that maintenance on the Accelerator would cause side effects such as the deactivation of 009's limiter and control switch as well as experiencing a higher state of Acceleration for a bit as the system calibrated itself back to default settings. 009 then laughs in an unsettling manner and 007 wonders if one of the adjustments caused 009 to lose his mind but Dr. Gilmore angrily rejects that idea. 009 apologizes and says he was just laughing at an "inside joke" on himself and walks off. 003 thinks he just needs some time alone. 009 stands on the porch and listens to the soothing sound of the waves crashing on the beach, crying tears of joy that after all that time in isolation, he is no longer alone.
- In the American Dub, Joe states he is "traveling faster than the speed of gravity". In Physics, there are theories that gravitational force can be measured in velocity, yet there are no conclusive statistics or evidence of that speed at this time.
- Joe is most likely moving at (or close to) the speed of light, as time passes at a much slower rate from his point of view while others see it in real time as mere seconds or minutes.
- The plot of this episode is similar to the ending of the Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of Stopwatch" in which a man is stuck frozen in time and cannot interact with anybody, due to his pocket watch that can stop time breaking.