"The End of Serialization as We Know It" is the tenth and final episode of Season Twenty, and the 277th overall episode of South Park. It aired on December 7, 2016.
As TROLLTRACE goes live, Sheila logs on to see Gerald's on-line activity. At SpaceX, Cartman tries to convince the scientists that going to Mars is a bad idea. And defying their mom, Kyle and Ike get all the kids together to try to save the world from certain destruction.
The episode starts at The Pentagon , people are scrambling and running around like wild animals as President-Elect Garrison sits in a chair. His advisers come over to inform him that Russia has already scrambled bombers to Denmark and that they must respond. An NSA agent informs them that somebody is leading a cyber attack on the TrollTrace website. Mr. Garrison is excited upon hearing this news.
At the Broflovski Residence, Kyle is sitting in front of his computer, with a headset, as Smokin' by Boston plays in the background. He FaceTimes Token asking him for something offensive to say about black people, he then does the same for Tweek and Craig about gay people. Then Stan, telling him to get online and Jimmy for something offensive to say about Syrian Handicapped Refugees. Meanwhile, Sheila is trying to escape the pantry threatening to lock the boys in their rooms for all eternity.
At the Trolltrace building, “Never Gonna Give You Up” is playing on TV monitors as Gerald looks exhausted in the conference room. Suddenly, Dildo pops up on the monitor and tells him that the servers are being overloaded and that the troll is doing it from his account. Gerald says proudly “That’s my boy”.
At SpaceX, people are still outside wanting to get to Mars. The SpaceX employees are excited since Heidi has found a way for humans to get to Mars. Cartman and Butters watch from a distance, saying that girls are “snakes in the grass”. An employee offers them drinks and snacks, Cartman just asks for a moment alone to talk about the end of the human species.
Back at the Broflovski Residence, Kevin, Kenny, and Ike all appear on the computer, offering assistance to help Kyle troll. Dildo Shwaggins pops up and offers to troll with Kyle, saying Gerald was the best at Trevor’s Axiom. After Kyle asks what that is, an NSA agent is shown explaining it to Mr. Garrison, using a whiteboard with letters and arrows. Mr. Garrison asks to speak with the troll.
At SpaceX, Cartman explains his visions of Mars. He is shown jumping around on Mars, and wondering why there are no men on Mars. He goes into a subterranean pathway to find men held captive, being milked for their semen and jokes. Two women pull off Cartman's helmet and momentarily, he is shown having been hooked up to one of the machines, sucking semen from him. The SpaceX employee thinks Cartman’s vision is ridiculous, two women walk by, and the employee gives them a suspicious look.
Gerald is trying to get the key access code to get out of the conference room. Dildo again tells Gerald that there are breakers they have to shut off for the servers to overload. One of the TrollTrace workers tells Gerald the code is just the number 9. Gerald walks out, annoyed.
Back at the Broflovski Residence, Sheila is still trying to escape the pantry. She finally breaks out, steaming with anger, a dramatic look on her face, yelling like a banshee.
Back at the TrollTrace headquarters, Gerald puts on a workers uniform and goes up to the servers and starts to turn off the breakers, causing the building to shake.
At the Broflovski Residence, Ike calls somebody a “Dumbass Fuckwad” as Sheila angrily approaches from behind. She destroys the computer as he runs into Gerald's office where Kyle is. Kyle freaks out and stands in front of Ike. Sheila tells them they are grounded forever from the computer. Kyle puts on a harness, grabs Ike, says “I’m sorry, Mom. I’m just trying to protect my family” as he flies out of the window. He appears to have been whisked away using the Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System. Sheila looks on in anger and disbelief at the broken window.
Back at SpaceX, Cartman is trying to tell Elon Musk about his visions of Mars. Elon doesn’t believe him, saying that women are smart and funny. Heidi walks by and Cartman gives her a half-hearted wave.
Kyle and Ike are now at a computer cafe. He FaceTimes Stan trying to find Butters, as President-Elect Garrison requests to FaceTime with him. Mr. Garrison tells Kyle that the American Government is behind him and is trying to amplify the effectiveness of his trolling.
In Denmark, Lennart is flying away in a helicopter as he sees Gerald climbing to the up to the servers from his iPhone, he turns around, heading back to the TrollTrace building.
In South Park, people are running around like crazy, as chaos ensues. Sheila knocks on the door to the Tucker Residence, Laura, in shock after what she finds her husband was accessing online, eventually convinces Sheila to use the TrollTrace website. Sheila types in Ike’s name and scrolls through.
At SpaceX, Cartman is torn between staying with Heidi or ending up underground on Mars. Kyle calls Butters, Butters tells him about the energy source they created to get to Mars. Cartman tells Kyle he’s having girl problems and Kyle tells him they could help each other out.
Gerald is approaching the last breaker at Trolltrace. He approaches towards it on a elevated bridge, as Lennart appears. They start to argue about what the Danish are doing as the building shakes and begins to explode.
Sheila is relieved to find out that Ike's history has no trolling. Laura continues to push Sheila to find out what Gerald has been doing online.
Back at The Pentagon, people are still scrambling. Somebody runs by aflame, as advisors are attempting to get Mr. Garrison to go to a bunker. Kyle calls and asks if the internet can be routed to SpaceX.
The elevated bridge is shaking as Gerald keeps pushing Lennart about what he’s doing.
A alarm is going off at SpaceX as Cartman is on the PA, telling everybody to escape as NASA sent them a bomb threat. Heidi approaches, confused about what’s going on as they start to head out. Heidi stops and asks Cartman if she did something wrong. They both keep talking as Cartman tries to look at Butters instead of her. Cartman tells Heidi they have to leave as soon as possible as they run out.
Sheila prepares to type in Gerald’s name on the computer.
Gerald tells Lennart he can’t keep arguing with him and that they made excuses for being horrible. Gerald slowly approaches Lennart and kicks him in the balls, throwing him off the bridge. Gerald gloats as he turns off the last breaker.
Kyle tells Garrison to reroute the internet through SpaceX. The SpaceX building explodes. As Shelia clicks enter on Gerald’s name, to bring up his history, all of the computers everywhere go blank, including the main screen in the Pentagon, which now is displaying a command prompt screen. The same message appears on the computer that Sheila is at that reads “Internet Reset, Global Cache Cleared”. She is confused as to what just happened.
The SpaceX building blows up completely, Cartman, Heidi, Butters, Elon Musk, and a handful of SpaceX staff watch from the hillside nearby. Kyle narrates saying that the world is fine and that the internet was erased. Gerald arrives home and hugs Sheila, as Kyle and Ike give him an angry look, into one of disappointment. Cartman and Heidi arrive back home and kiss. President-Elect Garrison sits in the Oval Office, with a room full of Member Berries looking at him.
The Marsh family watches the news, which talks about the first email sent using the new internet. A old man is shown and says he sent an email with a photo to his friend in Connecticut. He further tells the reporter that he showed his friend his dick, and called him a fag.
AV Club gave "The End of Serialization as We Know It" a "C" rating saying: "That’s not much of a grand statement for a season finale of South Park. It ultimately amounts to little more than “People are shitty and will always be shitty and the internet makes them more shitty or at least reflects their shittiness.” The show’s already explored all of those ideas before in more interesting (and funnier) ways. It all points to Parker and Stone being thrown for a loop by the election results, never being able to fully recover. Part of why there’s not a strong final thesis for season 20 is because they’ve gotten so bogged down in plot, they haven’t had time to focus on a coherent theme.
Even worse, they never circle back to the season’s funniest gag: the Member Berries. South Park has always had the luxury of being able to fall back on a good joke when the message falls flat, but here, the berries only get featured in one brief shot, and with no lines. What happened with the older Member Berries from the 1940s? What was their final plan? Where’s Caitlin Jenner? Featuring any of these things would automatically make “The End Of Serialization As We Know It” funnier, and yet it all remains mysteriously absent."
IGN gave "The End of Serialization as We Know It" a "6.6" rating saying: "This isn't the first time a season of South Park has failed to stick the landing, but it's still disappointing that the show's most continuity-driven season wrapped on such an anticlimactic note. There were plenty of funny moments along the way, but also a lot of plot threads left dangling and a generally anticlimactic conclusion to the TrollTrace storyline."