As Time Goes By
|Season 7, Episode 20|
April 7, 2000
Cory and Topanga get into a fight because Topanga keeps studying, while Cory simply lazes around watching cartoons. Cory begs her to enjoy herself for just a few minutes, so she compromises and cleans the closet. While cleaning, she discovers a time-continuum vortex and accidentally falls into it, entering a detective noir world involving counterparts of the main characters.
Topanga, suffering from amnesia, hires the local Gumshoe, an alternate personality of Eric, to find out who she really is. However, she soon learns to enjoy the carefree atmosphere of the Shangri-La Café. Adopting the name Trixie, she becomes a waitress and attracts the interest of Rory, Cory's counterpart, the owner of the café. When the Gumshoe shows up with a lead, she has already forgotten why she hired him. The Gumshoe asks her if she knows anything about a "time-continuum vortex," which causes her to have a brief flashback, but she remembers nothing specific.
However, the flashback awoke her annoyingly realistic personality, throwing the frivilous world into dispair. Fez-Head, the counterpart of Feeny, declares, "the interloper must die!" As people start to chant "Die," the Gumshoe decides to do something and wanders into the vortex, appearing in Cory's apartment.
Mistaken for Eric, the Gumshoe leads Cory through the vortex to find Topanga's body laying on the ground with a crowd surrounding her. Cory demands to know why anybody would kill her, and is answered by his counterpart. Rory explains how everybody was happy with their carefree lifestyles until she showed up and got them worried about their futures. Cory accuses Rory of killing her, saying the difference between them is that he never acts on his malicious thoughts.
He leans down to Topanga, and tells her to get up. She mutters that she is dead, but Cory denies it, saying that this whole world is just pretend. The Gumshoe admits he knew this as the world melts away, and Topanga wakes up. She sees she fell asleep studying, and Cory is still watching cartoons on the couch. Cory hears her move and decides to stop to study, but Topanga insists they watch cartoons together.
Later, both of them cuddle on the couch, while the Gumshoe sits at the table. "Shangri-La, Heaven on Earth, Utopia," he says to the audience, unheard by the other characters. He walks over to the closet with a smile. "Is it hidden somewhere far away? Or just tucked behind the shoe rack in the closet? You decide." As he disappears through the vortex, Cory comments to Topanga how nice it is to watch together. Topanga replies, "Ain't it?"
- The episode's name and the name of the café is both a homage and reference to the movie Casablanca (1942).
- Betsy Randle sang "Anything Goes" while Matthew Lawrence sang "This Dame".