Only a few hours ago I watched the much-anticipated finale to the Disney show Gravity Falls, titled “Weirdmageddon Part 3:Take Back The Falls”.
Gravity Falls was a show I was introduced to a little late in the game; I caught a two-minute preview of the episode “The Time Traveler’s Pig” once and forgot about it afterwards, then stumbled across the Season One finale “Gideon Rises” shortly after it aired and was determined to find out what this show was about. I marathoned the whole first season just in time for the premiere of its second (and ultimately last) one, and it almost immediately became one of my favorites shows of all time. Its humor, its complex characters, and its riveting mystery always kept me begging for more (and its many excruciating hiatuses between episodes didn’t help). Almost every episode was perfect. It filled the whole in my cartoon-loving heart that Avatar the Last Airbender left when it ended (not even Legend of Korra could do that).
What amazes me the most about Gravity Falls is how much creativity went uncensored. This is a show where humor and horror often go hand-in-hand and they got away with so many things it still boggles the mind. “Northwest Mansion Mystery” had a scene involving taxidermy animals straight out of the Evil Dead films. “Into the Bunker” features a monster that looks like an enraged reject from John Carpenter’s The Thing. “Boyz Crazy” took a big jab at boy bands and most teen idols in general by revealing that they’re all clones. I’m not even going to mention Grunkle Stan’s reference to a certain lewd gesture he wishes to make after a witch steals his hands (long story). Remember, this is a program made by the good folks at Disney. DISNEY. I’ve gushed over their films before but I’m not the first to say their channels hosts some of the finest garbage catered solely to dumb teenagers. This show was a rare creative oasis in a tween-age wasteland.
Still, it wasn’t just the comedy and artistry that kept me returning. The relationships between the characters and their arcs and subversions are some of the most fascinating I’ve seen on television in a long time. Most shows tend to fall in a pattern with their characters doing certain things after a while, but not here. Each decision they make has an impact on the story and the people around them. Dipper and Mabel are the best written siblings I’ve ever seen; separately they’re strong characters, but they’re at their best when they’re together. I relate to Mabel in particular with her lighthearted goofy ways and penchant for bright colors and anything cute, especially in the later episodes that dive deep into her fears of the future and growing up. Some of the most heart-rending episodes have revolved around that and how being reminded of what’s really her important – her family and friends – are what help her come around.
So I know what you’re thinking, how good was this finale? Well, to go into it too much would be to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it or the show yet, so I’ve written a brief spoiler-free opinion immediately below. If you want to see my spoiler-iffic thoughts, just keep on scrolling down to the italicized text.
“Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls” was a well-crafted and satisfying end to the series. Rather than dragging it out for far longer than it should and having our beloved Pines family overstay their welcome (like a number of other shows I could mention), Alex Hirsch and his crew have ensured that all the massive plot threads have their ends tied up, most characters get their karmic punishment or reward, and lessons are learned with an ending that feels much deserved after the many trials and tribulations our characters have gone through these past several episodes. There’s a lot of great action, some riveting dramatic scenes (Bill’s last form as he scours his lair for Dipper and Mabel may be his most nightmarish, and that’s saying a lot considering his many forms taken throughout the show) and most importantly, it never loses sight of its heart – the relationship between the Pines twins, both new and old. The note it ends on is especially poignant – summer may be over, but we the audience can always return to Gravity Falls. Plus, Alex Hirsch has said this won’t be the last time we see the Pines family, so we can only imagine what adventures wait for them, and us, beyond its borders.
And now, SPOILER TIME!
• It’s great to see a lot of minor characters and creatures from the very first episode make a comeback in the Mystery Shack – the gnomes, the Man-otaurs, Multi-Bear, Larry King’s head, the unicorns, Rumble McSkirmish, Sev’ral Timez, even the ball people from the mini-golf course!
• I know I wasn’t the only one getting…uncomfortable vibes with Bill trying to get Ford to divulge how to break the town’s barrier in that lounge with the wine and piano-playing, right? That and cutting right to the torture when he says no makes me feel bad for the guy…even if it is kind of his fault this all happens in the first place.
• Oh Stan, you and your selfish grumpy ways. I had my fingers crossed the whole time that you wouldn’t die sometime in the following hour despite the many MANY theories proving you would.
• The entire monster battle with the Shack-robot? AMAZING. Seeing it being put together was even better, incorporating McGucket’s robot designs like the Gobblewonker and even having the sap-covered dinosaurs return. Plus, just having everyone work together was a treat.
• I love Mabel knitting the team personalized sweaters (they even use them as parachutes!!)
• Wow, just take apart the throne to bring the town back to life? That was easy. But hey, if it gets Deputy Derland and Sheriff Blubs back together, I’m cool with it (they’re the REAL OTP of Gravity Falls).
• I had a feeling having everyone fit with a symbol in the Cipher wheel would happen (and I’m one of many who knew Wendy would be the ice bag) Still, I’m sure even Alex Hirsch knew it was too easy to defeat Bill that way…
• Having the Shack’s Achilles’ heel actually be its heel? Clever.
• Ford and McGucket’s reunion, though brief, was genuinely sweet. But hoo boy, I could see Stan’s jealousy a mile away, which leads to…
• Dammit, Ford! You had to go and screw it up with you and Stan fighting again!! This is why you’re my least favorite twin…until later in the episode where I get all the feels.
• So good to see them finally work it out. Stan’s sacrifice was clever and absolutely heartbreaking. I ALMOST shed a few tears. Almost.
• The scrapbook coming into play the way it did? Surprisingly didn’t feel like a cop-out. Way to go Mabel! (And way to go Kristen Schall for making Mabel’s heartbreak feel so real)
• So, is the “Never You Mind” law the new Blind-Eye Society? I mean Derland and Blubs can taze whoever they want if they’re found talking about the events of Weirdmageddon, which nobody wants to remember and I don’t blame them for it, but what about the other weird stuff in town?
• I was rooting for Soos to run the Mystery Shack the moment Ford pulled Stan aside to ask him to join him. It’s so satisfying seeing him become Mr. Mystery (and Melody is there with him!!)
• As wrong as it may sound, I was kind of hoping for Pacifica’s parents to remain statues. Well, at least they’re completely broke now, and McGucket has a fancy new “shed” to live in.
• During those last few minutes I kept thinking, “Ok, THIS is where someone is gonna die and it all goes horribly wrong….ok THIS is it…no THIS is…” I just kept thinking back to the video of Kristen Schall’s lines being leaked where she’s upset with something happening to Mabel and feeling this happy ending was coming too easily…and then she started to say goodbye to Waddles…good on you Stan, don’t separate those two!!
So, how did you feel about Gravity Falls’ finale? Was it over too soon or did it end just right? Are you completely lost right now? Go watch the show before the spoiler floodgates open! Just make sure whatever you’re sitting on is comfortable – you’ll find yourself at the edge of it plenty of times when you’re watching.