The episode begins with Aelita having an intense nightmare in which she and her parents are on vacation in a log cabin. A wolf appears and chases Aelita through the snow until men in black arrive and abduct her mother.
The next morning, Aelita recounts her dream to her friends as it's revealed to be winter break at Kadic Academy. Ulrich, Odd, and Yumi resent having to spend the holidays with their more or less dysfunctional families, while Jeremie worries about leaving Aelita, who has no known family, alone during the break. Aelita, however, insists she will be okay, as Yumi won't be too far away and she will have Kiwi for company. The others then leave one by one saying their goodbyes and Yumi asks Aelita if she wants to spend the holidays with her and her family, but Aelita kindly refuses as she doesn't want to interrupt their time together and heads back to the school.
On the deserted campus, Aelita reflects on the memories of her parents until she receives a mysterious message on her desktop. The message is supposedly from her father, asking her to come to Lyoko to see him. Curious and hopeful, she wants to write another message but her computer freezes forcing Aelita to travel to the Factory. There her father sends her coordinates on the lab interface. Meanwhile, on their car rides home, Jeremie continues to worry about Aelita as his father quickly understands that Jeremie likes her and Ulrich is berated by his cold and belligerent father.
Aelita virtualizes herself onto the Ice Sector using the coordinates and finds a large Simulation Bubble nearby. Aelita enters the simulation and finds herself at the mountainous area with the log cabin from her dream and childhood. She enters the cabin to find Franz Hopper in the living room. After an emotional reunion, the two sit and talk with one another. Meanwhile, Yumi calls Aelita from her house to check up on her, but, being on Lyoko, she does not answer.
Suspicious, Yumi calls to inform Jeremie of Aelita's apparent disappearance. Jeremie tries to tell his father that he needs to return to campus to get a supposedly "forgotten laptop", but his dad proves to be incredibly understanding and immediately turns back to campus. He then relates to knowing how Jeremie feels towards Aelita; he felt the same way about his wife, Jeremie's mother, at his age. After being called and debriefed by Jeremie, Ulrich abandons his parents car, which is stuck in a traffic jam, telling them he will get "to their destination" faster by foot, and runs back to campus. Ulrich then calls Odd, who is at an airport, and informs him of the situation. Odd calls his sisters that he "missed" his flight and returns to campus as well.
As Aelita talks with her father, she slowly realizes the simulation is a trap set by X.A.N.A. because her mother isn't here and "Franz" does not remember the name "Skidbladnir" from a book he used to read her, and when she attempts to escape, William arrives and restrains her. Meanwhile, Yumi returns to campus and searches Aelita's dorm room until she finds Franz Hopper's message on her glitched desktop. Yumi then meets up with Jeremie, who has made it back to campus, and together they rush to the Factory. Once they confirm Aelita is on Lyoko, Yumi is sent in after her.
In the simulation, Aelita manages to escape William's grip and run out of the cabin. The fake Franz Hopper transforms into a wolf and gives chase, reenacting the scene from Aelita's nightmare. Yumi arrives at the Simulation Bubble, but is barred from entering by two Tarantulas, and a battle ensues. Meanwhile, Ulrich and Odd arrive at the Factory together and are sent to Lyoko as well.
Aelita is seemingly cornered by the wolf and William, but uses her Creativity to destroy the bubble, ending the simulation. Ulrich and Odd arrive to help Yumi against the Tarantulas as Aelita faces off with William. Once they discover the bubble is gone, the three rush to Aelita's aid, and Yumi is devirtualized by a Blok, which played the part of both Hopper and the wolf during the simulation.
Odd and Ulrich rush to help Aelita, but William sends the Black Manta to intercept them. Using his Super Smoke to bind her, William finally succeeds in throwing Aelita into the Digital Sea. Shocked, Ulrich and Odd both advance on William in an attempt to avenge Aelita, but stop when the real Franz Hopper emerges from the Digital Sea. A second Blok appears, and together the two monsters immediately begin attacking Franz Hopper. Odd and Ulrich move in to protect Hopper as it is revealed he has saved Aelita from the Digital Sea and brought her back to Lyoko.
Odd battles the monsters to protect Hopper and Aelita while Ulrich duels with William. However, Ulrich is defeated and devirtualized by William. Odd only manages to defeat the Manta and one of the Bloks before William devirtualizes him as well. As Hopper continues to lose life points, William moves in to finish him. However, Aelita intervenes and shoots at William with her Energy Field and telling her father to escape back into the Digital Sea. His plan foiled, William devirtualizes Aelita out of anger and screams in anger because of the failure.
In Aelita's dorm room, the Lyoko Warriors discuss X.A.N.A. and Franz Hopper. Jeremie explains that Hopper found a way to inhabit the Digital Sea without being scattered and has been in hiding for over a decade. Knowing the threat that Hopper poses as long as he is alive, X.A.N.A has therefore been trying to throw Aelita into the Digital Sea in order to force him out of hiding as he will sure to rescue his daughter from demise.
To lighten the mood, Odd suggests they hand out each others' presents. Jeremie and Aelita open their gifts and find rather strange and silly gifts from Odd. Ulrich and Yumi, on the other hand, don't open their gifts and Ulrich explains that, in Japan, a person never opens their gift in front of the person who gave it to them (leaving him blushing as Yumi smiles at him). After opening their gifts from each other, Jeremie invites Aelita to stay with him over the break. She initially declines, not wanting to be a bother, but Jeremie reveals that his parents insisted on her coming over. Aelita happily accepts before reminiscing about the short time she just spent with her own father on Lyoko.
- The original French name for this episode is Mémoire blanche, which translates to White Memory in English.
- It was originally called La petite fille aux allumettes, which translates to The Little Match Girl.
- It's revealed in this episode that Aelita's mother disappeared because she was kidnapped by the Men in Black.
- How Aelita's mother was kidnapped changed several times during production.
- In the script, Aelita originally ran inside their house after seeing the wolf and noticing her parents were gone. After not finding them, she sees her mother get dragged into the Men in Black's car by two agents through a window, with two more agents running toward the house. Franz Hooper then burst through the door (having torn clothes and looking like he was in a fight) and hurries Aelita out a backdoor (who has just enough time to grab Mister Pück) and into a car, speeding away from Men in Black trying to block the way. As they're driving away, Aelita cries for her mother, who Hopper says through gritted teeth is alright, but has gone "on a very long trip".
- The storyboard version remained largely the same as the episode version, although Franz Hopper is shown grabbing Aelita to protect her from the Men in Black, but loses his grip after one of them punched him to the ground.
- How Aelita's mother was kidnapped changed several times during production.
- Despite his many appearances in flashbacks, tape recordings, and dreams, this episode marks the first physical appearance of Franz Hopper in the series' present timeline.
- This episode marks the fourth appearance of the Grut Advertisement.
- The boy wearing a red coat from Saint Valentine's Day can be seen during the traffic scene with Ulrich and his parents. Here, he is driving a truck.
- The title card features a red tower, but X.A.N.A. did not attack Earth in this episode.
- During Aelita's flashback of virtualization with her father, she is wearing her Season 4 outfit.
|Code Lyoko: Season 4|
|William Returns | Double Take | Opening Act | Wreck Room | Skidbladnir | Maiden Voyage | Crash Course | Replika | I'd Rather Not Talk About It | Hot Shower | The Lake | Lost At Sea | Lab Rat | Bragging Rights | Dog Day Afternoon | A Lack of Goodwill | Distant Memory | Hard Luck | Guided Missile | Kadic Bombshell | Canine Conundrum | A Space Oddity | Cousins Once Removed | Music To Soothe the Savage Beast | Wrong Exposure | Bad Connection | Cold Sweat | Down to Earth | Fight to the Finish | Echoes|
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