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Pilot (What)

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Pilot is the first episode of What, airing on January 1, 2016.


Bill decides he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, so he and Ada sneak into an airport to fly a plane.


The episode opens with Bill and Ada looking bored in class. They start whispering to each other about how bored they are. As Ada is questioning whether they'll even need to know what they're working on when they grow up, their teacher announces that they have a guest speaker. A pilot walks into the classroom, dressed in the proper aviation clothing, introduces himself, and tells the class that what they're working on is extremely important to his field of work. As the pilot lectures, Bill looks more and more awestruck.

While Bill packs up after class, he tells Ada that he wants to be a pilot when he grows up. Walking out the door, he sees the guest speaker walking down the hall. Bill runs over, opens his notebook to a blank page, and asks for an autograph, causing Ada to facepalm. The pilot tells Bill that he's no celebrity, but happily obliges nonetheless. Afterward, Bill runs back to Ada, stars in his eyes. He manages to vocalize that he needs to learn how to fly a plane.

Cut to the two standing in front of an airport. Bill asserts to Ada that they're sneaking in, prompting the show's first exclamation of "WHAT?!" from the latter. Ada declares to Bill that he can't be serious, that they aren't really doing this.

As Ada walks into the airport, carrying Bill on her shoulders under a trenchcoat and fedora, she mutters to herself that he's serious and that they're really doing this. She asks Bill how they're going to get through all the security without being seen. Bill takes his arms out of the coat's sleeves and hands her a pair of suction cups. She starts saying, "You can't mean—" only for Bill to interrupt her with "Yeah, the ceiling." "Are you crazy?" "Maybe a little," Bill admits.

Cue a short scene in which two kids crawl across the very high ceiling of an airport using suction cups while wearing a trenchcoat.

A while later, Bill and Ada manage to get to the place where the airplanes are parked. They run behind a wheel as quickly as possible to avoid being seen. Bill looks up and expresses that the plane they are under would be a good one to fly. Ada maintains that she is not going on that plane with him.

On that plane with him, Ada checks all the seats to make sure no one else is on with them. Meanwhile, Bill giddily runs up to the cockpit and sits down at the seat. He pulls pilot clothes and a checklist out of hammerspace before going through the points, muttering to himself, "Auxiliary fuel pump, off. Flight controls, free and correct. Instruments and radios, checked and set. Any idea what I'm doing or even talking about, none." Ada walks up to the front to confirm that he's actually going to fly an actual plane; he retorts that he knows what he's doing.

Cut to a shot outside the plane, which starts to taxi incredibly slowly and doesn't speed up. A man standing in the airport turns his head to the scene, and "realizes" that he missed his flight. Inside the cockpit, Ada deadpans sarcastically about the speed of the plane, and Bill rolls his eyes and starts to speed up as he approaches the runway. Cutting outside again, the airplane miraculously takes off!

Both Bill and Ada sit there wide-eyed, though Bill's expression is overjoyed, while Ada's is that of sheer terror. Bill starts to perform all sorts of complex maneuvers, and when Ada questions how he is doing all the tricks, he merely shrugs. Suddenly, at the apex of a particularly high spiral, the plane completely stops for a second before nosediving down.

Both kids scream. Bill poses the question to Ada of what to do, upon which she suddenly remembers the thing they were working on in class that day and yells at him to do it. Bill's eyes dart around for a few seconds until he sees a few buttons and presses them in a sequence. The plane doesn't appear to do anything at first, leading the two to panic even more—Ada in particular grabs a paper bag and starts breathing into and out of it very quickly. Then, as the ground approaches, the plane begins to level out. In fact, it turns upright so fast that the nose points up. The plane then rocks back and forth to the ground like a flimsy piece of paper, landing successfully during a forward swing.

Seconds later, the door opens, and Bill and Ada fall out and collapse to the ground. They then peel their faces and upper bodies off of the asphalt. Ada congratulates Bill on making the plane move so quickly, and inquires how he knew what buttons to press. He replies that he actually had no idea what he was doing, and that the buttons just looked important. A look of confusion flashes over Ada's face as Bill goes on, saying it might have just been how he was holding the wheel or something. Ada jokes, "I guess that means we were just plane lucky!" They share a laugh before Ada glares at Bill, telling him, "That's not funny." Bill shrugs and says that they should probably get out of the airport before they are caught, ending the episode.


  • The episode's title is indeed a pun. The first episode of a show is commonly referred to as its "pilot episode". This pilot episode is also about pilots.

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