The episode opens with Gumball reaching out to retrieve a blue crystal as green light erupts around the cave he is in. Darwin brings him back to reality and points out that he is not being careful with the bottle he is recycling. Gumball gives up, and simply decides to put the bottle in the regular trash. However, as he throws the bottle towards the bin, Mr. Small jumps dramatically in front of it, and tells Gumball that he needs to recycle it. Gumball criticizes the concept, claiming that once Earth is gone, they can just move on to another planet. Mr. Small tells him that once, when the people were glib like Gumball, the Stink Ape, a primate with a distinct scent of rotting skunk flesh, went extinct. Gumball is still unbothered, so Mr. Small shows the boys how he lives his life— he only shops at organic and laid-back small businesses. However, Gumball points out that he is still making an impact, as the so-called 'small businesses' are owned by Chanax Inc.
Annoyed, Mr. Small goes for a drive, during which he realises that Gumball is right when he considers the microbes he kills when he drinks water, and when a fly hits his windshield, he snaps and decides to live in Elmore Woods away from civilisation. Unfortunately, the forest proves to be a dangerous place, with every inhabitant of it out to kill him. Meanwhile, the guilt is catching up to Gumball, and he decides that he and Darwin must go looking for him.
The boys enter Elmore Woods, nervously calling out for Mr. Small. They approach a cave, and notice a smell of rotting skunk flesh— the scent of the Stink Ape. Suddenly, a pair of red eyes materialises in the cave, and a monstrous figure chases them through the forest.
However, the figure reveals itself to only be Mr. Small. He tells them that the woods are dangerous because he had set traps all over the woods, having given up his vegetarianism because there was too much competition for the nuts and berries. Suddenly, the real Stink Ape approaches. Delighted, Mr. Small goes to embrace it, but it falls into one of his traps. Worse, this trap is one of his most brutal, and the ape is badly injured. Mr. Small is horrified, but agrees with some relief to return to Elmore Junior High, ending the episode.
[Episode starts in a dramatic setting as Gumball reaches for a glowing blue crystal and epic music plays. He is about to grab it when a voice is heard]
Darwin: Gumball!! Think about what you're doing!
Gumball: I have... to save... the planet!!
Darwin: Yes, but you're supposed to rinse it out and peel off the label first!
[Scene transitions to reality; they are standing by some recycling bins in front of a store, and the diamond has turned into a bottle]
Gumball: Why do they have to make recycling so complicated?
Darwin: Dude, any time you recycle anything, you act as if you're single-handedly saving the world.
Gumball: Ugh, I'll just throw it in the regular trash. It's easier to carry the guilt than to carry the bottle.
[Right as Gumball nonchalantly throws the bottle over his shoulder, Mr. Small swiftly bursts out from the store doors]
Mister Small: [In slow-motion] Nooooo!
[He does a slow-mo diving save for the bottle, but it hits him square in the stomach with a "honk" sound. Back to normal speed as he flops to the ground]
Mister Small: I misjudged! [Gets up, handing Gumball the bottle] You have to recycle this!
Gumball: Ugh, but I never know which bin to use.
[Pan on all the recycling bins with increasingly bizarre names: Paper, Plastic, Cards, Greetings Cards, Cardboard, Board Games, Storyboards, Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Rock, Soft Rock, Soft Toys, Bees]
Mister Small: Then you need to learn more about recycling. Take a leaf from my book. Well, don't actually take a leaf, 'cuz that would harm the tree that the book was made from. Actually, don't make a book at all, because the trees are dying! Just—use recycled paper, okay?
Gumball: Who wants to use something that's already been used? Isn't it weird making new stuff out of old stuff?
[A shot of Mr. Small's season one design appears. As he says his next line, a two-second clip of him talking is continuously looped]
Mister Small: With today's sophisticated recycling techniques, you can reuse old stuff and most people can never tell the difference. [Back to normal]
Gumball: Nah, I think it just looks cheap.
Mister Small: All I'm saying is, we all need to be aware of the impact we're having on the planet. Look at me. I have so little impact that when I'm gone, it'll be like I never even existed! Doesn't that sound fulfilling?
Gumball: No! If we ruin this planet, can't we just move on to the next one? It's what the founding fathers would have done.
Mister Small: It's exactly that kind of glib attitude that led to the near-extinction of the great Stink Ape of Elmore Woods. [Close-up on a painting of the Stink Ape on the side of Janice]
Gumball: Wow. That ape must've been seriously glib for it to lead to its own extinction.
Mister Small: I will make this as clear as I possibly can. The people were glib; the ape was not glib.
Gumball: How do you know the ape wasn't glib?
Darwin: I guess everyone has a bad day sometimes.
Mister Small: Right. I-I-I feel like we're getting away from the point.
Gumball: That's true. I don't even know what glib means. Uh—why is this Bigfoot-creature thing called the Stink Ape anyway?
Mister Small: Its scent was reminiscent of a skunk. Or rotting flesh. Or rotting skunk flesh.
Gumball: And just to confirm, you wanna save this animal, not destroy it with fire? Wait— [sniffs] I can definitely smell something! Can you smell it, Darwin?
Darwin: [sniffs] It smells like miscellaneous herbs and body odor.
Gumball: Uh, I was going for THE STINK OF HYPOCRISY!!! [points accusingly at Mr. Small]
Mister Small: Excuse me!
Gumball: Well, everything you do has an impact on something.
Mister Small: Not me! Come, walk a mile in my sandals, I'll show you. [walks off]
Gumball: I don't think those things can last a mile, but whatever. [They follow him]
I've Never Harmed a Single Living Thing!
[Scene cuts to Gumball, Darwin, and Mr. Small walking into Organic 'n' Stuff, a small hipster-style grocery store. Larry greets them at the counter]
Larry: Welcome to Organic 'n' Stuff!
Mister Small: [to Gumball and Darwin] I think all ethical living has to start with what you buy. Which is why I never buy from big corporations. I shop at thirteen different free trade, independent grocery stores like this one. [picks up a basket and starts filling it] Sure, it may take me roughly three tanks of gas and a full set of tires to get me my groceries, but all the food here is locally sourced.
Gumball: Really? Were the coconuts locally sourced? And the Hungarian goulash? And this Himalayan goat curd? How did that get here? [hands a tub of goat curd to Darwin]
Darwin: [reading back of container] Truck, truck, boat, train, plane, truck, tanker, moped, truck, unicycle.
Mister Small: Well, it was locally sourced in its country of origin. [Takes his basket to the checkout] Thanks, Larry. Hey, am I paying extra for this warm feeling inside?
Larry: Ha ha! Yes. [Mr. Small hands him a bill and as Larry puts it into the register, he keeps his hand outstretched, eagerly awaiting change. Larry just looks at him, annoyed. Mr. Small sighs glumly and leaves.]
[Outside the store]
Gumball: But Mr. Small, how can you justify having money? It's made from paper, which comes from trees, which need to be cut down.
Mister Small: But—I also use a bank card.
Gumball: A plastic bank card, perchance?
Mister Small: FINE!! [throws his bank card on the ground]
Gumball: Littering, Mr. Small? Really?
Mister Small: Ugh. [walks off]
[Scene cuts next to Gumball, Darwin, and Mr. Small walking into Tea 'n' Stuff, a hipster coffee and tea shop that looks suspiciously similar to Organic 'n' Stuff. Larry greets them once again at the counter]
Larry: Welcome to Tea 'n' Stuff! What kind of blend are you vibing today?
Mister Small: Yeah, yeah, yeah, just my usual.
Gumball: [looks around suspiciously] Haven't we already been in here?
Larry: [nervously] Ha-ha, no. Tea 'n' Stuff is not connected to Organic 'n' Stuff, and neither of them are affiliates or subsidiaries of Chanax Incorporated.
Gumball: Are you sure about that?
Mister Small: Of course. They do poetry readings and jazz nights. There's a chalkboard with inspirational messages on it. [The chalkboard on the wall is shown to say "Coffee Helps make A Normal Afternoon Xtra-special"] It can't be a big corporation.
Gumball: Look closer, Mr. Small.
[Sure enough, the Chanax name is hidden everywhere in the store: on a poster, in the initial letters on the chalkboard, even on a tattoo on Larry's arm. He covers his arm sheepishly]
Mister Small: Fine! Then I'll just drink tap water! [takes a paper cup, fills it with water from the water cooler and takes a big sip]
Gumball: Just accept it. Everyone has an impact on something.
Mister Small: Well, not me! I have never harmed a single living thing! [Walks out holding the cup]
Larry: Hey, he hasn't paid!
Gumball: But it says the water's complimentary.
Larry: Yes, but the paper cup is thirteen fifty.
Living In the Forest
[Mr. Small drives away from the store]
Mister Small: [in his head] I've never harmed a single living thing! I've never harmed a single living thing! [suddenly out loud] I've never harmed a single living thing! [smugly] Wow. I really nailed that line. But—maybe he's right. [Looks into his water cup. A microscope image of four microbes is seen.]
Young Microbe: I'm home!
Microbe Dog: [barks]
Young Microbe: Oh hey, Patch! Hey, buddy! Mom, Dad, I've got some news! I got into Yale! For microbes.
Microbe Mom: Oh, we're so proud of you!
Microbe Dad: A chip off the old cell lining. Twenty-four generations of our family have lived in this water for almost an hour and you'll be the first to go to university, son!
[Suddenly, they are all swept away by a wave, screaming. It is revealed to be Mr. Small drinking the water. Back to reality]
Mister Small: What have I done?! [A fly lands on his windshield]
Fly: What did I ever do to you?!
Mister Small: I'm so sorry! Let me just- [Turns on his windshield wipers to free the fly, but only ends up squishing him more. Mr. Small screams and veers off the road, bumping into a tree. A branch bends downward. He looks up and from his perspective, it looks like the tree is pointing at him accusingly, with a face and all. He screams again and runs off into the wilderness]
Mister Small: AAAHHHHH!! I'M A MONSTER!!! [Hears some annoyed-sounding animal noises] Sorry. Sorry. Sorry!
[Later, in a sun-filled forest clearing.]
Mister Small: Ah. Maybe this is meant to be. I am meant to be completely at one with nature! EMBRACE ME, EARTH MOTHER!!! [Out of nowhere, it starts to downpour] Or don't. I guess you wanna be more of an earth aunt who only calls once a year.
[A few days later. It's a beautiful day in the forest, but Mr. Small is exhausted, hungry, and covered in dirt and twigs. He finds a squirrel, who mimes to him that he is hungry.]
Mister Small: Hungry? Yeah, I am hungry. Lead on, little buddy.
[The squirrel hops off, and Mr. Small crawls after him. They arrive at a small clearing, where a hungry horde of squirrels awaits. They all ravenously attack him and start biting.]
Mister Small: AAHH! AAAAAHHHH!! He meant he was hungry!
[Mr. Small is now walking through a river. He lifts up his leg and finds a leech]
Mister Small: AAHH! A LEECH!! Well, take what you need, I've got more than enough. [The leech sucks him completely dry.] A little too much! [He squeezes the leech and returns to normal, then pulls it off and throws it away.]
[Some time later, Mr. Small is meditating and some butterflies land on him.]
Mister Small: Ah, beautiful. Not all nature is out to get me. [More butterflies land on him and start lifting him up.] Huh? [They slowly lift him into the mouth of a giant leech.] AHHHH! [The worm starts to swallow him.]
The Pain of Guilt
[Meanwhile, at Elmore Junior High in Miss Simian's classroom]
Nigel Brown: Now class, it seems Mr. Small has taken a leave of absence. And his senses... so I'll be taking his class today.
Darwin: Do you feel bad about Mr. Small?
Gumball: No, I mean he's always struck me as the type of guy who would eventually throw his life away and go live in the woods. I don’t think it has anything to with me. My conscience is clear.
[Enters Gumball's conscience, with different Gumballs trying to put up with the guilt]
Other Gumball 1: [Russian accent] Captain, what is wrong?
Gumball: Nothing's wrong. Put up the denial shields.
Other Gumball 1: They're already at maximum! They won't take any more.
Other Gumball 2: Captain, we appear to be running low on soda on one of the vending machines on level three.
Gumball: Why would you tell me that now?
Other Gumball 2: Well, excuse me for wanting to be a part of something.
Other Gumball 1: The denial shields are down! Facts are getting in!
Gumball: Prepare for emotional impact.
[Back to Miss Simian’s classroom]
Gumball: Yeah, you’re right, I feel super guilty. And the ship's out of soda.
Gumball: Nothing. Look, we gotta see if he’s okay. I mean, it’s probably too late, but maybe we can help identify him.
Finding Mister Small
[Nighttime. Gumball and Darwin are out in Elmore Woods.]
Gumball: MISTER SMALL!!! MISTER SMALL!!!
Darwin: Dude, don't shout! There could be anything out here. You'll make us a target!
Gumball: Good point. I'll do a different voice. That way whatever comes won't know it's us! [sing-songy] Mister Sma-all!! Mister Sma-AAAAAHHHH!!
[They fall into a hole and land in front of a cave. Heavy breathing is heard from inside the cave.]
Gumball: Uh- you okay? [Darwin nods and moves his mouth with the breathing noises] Dude, you need to get some exercise. You sound like a French bulldog in a sauna.
Darwin: That's not me. And... [sniffs] Can you smell something?
Gumball: [sniffs] Yeah, it kinda smells like rotting flesh!
Darwin: Or a skunk!
Gumball and Darwin: OR ROTTING SKUNK FLESH!!
[Two bright red eyes open from inside the cave. The two turn around in fear.]
Darwin: [whimpering] It's the ape!
Gumball: On three. One, two, three...[Darwin runs away] STAY PERFECTLY STILL!! [He notices this and catches up with Darwin.] Why did you run?!
Darwin: You counted down! Who does a countdown to nothing?!
Gumball: [sees a log on the path] Quick! In here!! [They crawl in, but the figure keeps coming closer.]
Darwin: It's right outside! What do we do?!
Gumball: We're gonna roll this thing! [He pushes on the side of the log, and it rolls down a cliff. They land, but with swapped limbs.] Maybe one more roll?
Darwin: Yeah. [They keep rolling, and hit the side of a rock, back to normal.]
Gumball: Ah, that's better. Okay, the coast is cle-AAAAHHHH!!! [The figure's hand blocks the side of the log, and his leg blocks the other side. He punches into the top, but his arm gets stuck.] Its arm is stuck! Go, go, go!!! [They crawl under his arm, get out of the log, and suddenly find themselves cornered by the figure.] This is it. It's all over.
[Darwin reaches out his hand, and Gumball takes it. He quickly pulls back.]
Darwin: Ugh! Your hands are really sweaty!
Gumball: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry about that, but I didn't want to leave you hanging. And I didn't have time to wipe.
[The shadow gets closer. The boys grab each other.]
Gumball and Darwin: DAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
[The light comes on the shadowy figure. It's none other than Mr. Small, battered and filthy.]
Mister Small: Boys! I'm so glad you're okay!
Darwin: Mr. Small!!
Gumball: Why were you chasing us?
Mister Small: I was trying to warn you! These woods are not safe! Trust me. These have been the hardest eight months of my life!
Gumball: You've been gone half a day.
Mister Small: I figured I would not survive another winter. [His eye twitches]
Darwin: But on the plus side, you're living at one with nature.
Mister Small: And it's all thanks to you! [Gives Gumball and Darwin a big hug. Gumball's face dries up in disgust.]
Gumball: It seems you've buried the stink of hypocrisy under a far worse smell.
Darwin: We thought you were the Stink Ape!
Mister Small: Ho-ho! I'm afraid it doesn't exist. I've been out here long enough to know that there's no such thing.
Darwin: But if there's no Stink Ape, what's so dangerous about the woods?
Mister Small: Oh, I've set traps everywhere.
Gumball: Wait, traps? You're a vegetarian. What happened to living on nuts and berries?
Mister Small: Turns out there's competition for the nuts and berries. And...turns out the competition is tastier than the nuts and berries.
Gumball: Okay, but if there's no Stink Ape....what's that?
[Another shadowy figure walks towards them. Glowing mushrooms grow on the ground where it steps.]
Mister Small: Oh my goodness! It's real![The light comes on him. Sure enough, it's the real Stink Ape.] It's come to greet me as a brother of the forest! Embrace me, noble creature- [The ape falls into a deep hole. Mr. Small gasps.]
Darwin: Will it be okay?
Mister Small: I don't know. This is one of my more brutal traps.
Gumball: Eh, it's just a hole. I guess he'll- [Darts fly into the hole, and a huge boulder falls on top. The ape lets out a muffled groan.]
Mister Small: I think I was doing less damage in the real world.