Episode #29A - 10 Minutes to Doom
Zim’s PAK gets disconnected, which gives him only ten minutes of time before he dies without his life support system causing him to slowly lose consciousness and memories within these ten minutes. Seeing this as an opportunity to finally defeat Zim, Dib steals his PAK and intends on keeping it out of his reach. However, this backfires in two ways. The PAK digs itself into Dib’s belly and takes control of him. While the PAK is embedded in his stomach, Dib becomes more like Zim, sharing what used to be his ambition of destroying Earth. Dib remains sane enough to fight with himself. With the inadvertent help of Gaz, Zim manages to retrieve his PAK with a second to spare. Had Zim not regained the PAK, he would’ve died completely. Also, if Dib had the PAK in his body during that crucial second, he would’ve been completely destroyed.
Apparently, the episode was to be set in real-time as a “life clock” would have been present throughout the episode. Jhonen Vasquez planned for Zim to actually die in this episode due to the series’ upcoming cancellation, making it a convenient series finale, but Nickelodeon did not allow it in case they decided to bring the show back. So Jhonen changed the scene from Zim dying into the scene that Zim reclaims his PAK at the final second. Voices were recorded before the cancellation.