If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.
Previously on Gravity Falls:
Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to spend the summer with their “Grunkle” Stan in the town of Gravity Falls, where he runs a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack. Dipper uncovers a journal in the woods detailing some the strange and mysterious happenings in Gravity Falls while Mabel finds love with a teenager named Norman, who turns out to be a bunch of gnomes piled on top of each other. After defeating the gnomes’ plot to kidnap Mabel and make her their queen, she and Dipper reaffirm their awkward sibling love and he vows to uncover more of Gravity Falls’ mysteries.
And now, Episode 2, “Legend of the Gobblewonker”.
Dipper and Mabel are enjoying breakfast when Dipper spies a magazine ad offering one thousand dollars to anyone who can get a picture of a monster. Since Gravity Falls is full of weird creatures (and they unfortunately didn’t take any photos of those gnomes from before) they’ll have no trouble finding any. Grunkle Stan shows up however and informs them that it’s “family bonding” day. The twins aren’t thrilled with this considering the last “family bonding” time they had with Stan.
After the intro, they arrive at the lake where Stan surprises them with their activity – he’s taking them fishing! It’s the first day of fishing season and most of the town is already out with their hooks, frying pans and other assorted lures. Dipper questions why Stan wants to do a real bonding activity and he admits that since he has no one else seems to “like or trust” him, they’re the only people he’s got. He’s even made them personalized fishing hats to wear while they spend all day in the sun with him and a book full of bad uncle jokes. Not surprisingly, Dipper and Mabel quickly try to find a way out of this.
The answer comes immediately in the form of Gravity Falls’ resident crackpot hillbilly, Old Man McGucket (Alex Hirsch). He runs among the townsfolk raving about seeing the local legendary lake monster, a Loch Ness-type creature called the Gobblewonker. Nobody believes him, not even his own son, even when he shows them the remains of his boat after the monster apparently wrecked it.
Dipper is the only one who believes him, and convinces Mabel that if they can snap a photo of the Gobblewonker, they can share the reward fifty-fifty. Mabel’s mind races with the possibilities of having $500 at her disposal.
Grunkle Stan isn’t keen on spending their day on a monster hunt, but Soos is, and he just happens to have his own bigger and better boat. So the kids ditch Stan and they head off to Scuttlebutt Island where the Gobblewonker supposedly dwells. Dipper goes meta for a bit and tells that since the number one thing that goes wrong when searching for monsters (apart from the side character always getting killed as Soos nervously points out) is that problems always come up with the camera, he brought along seventeen disposable cameras which he keeps among his person and hands out to Mabel and Soos – and in the following forty seconds no less than six of those cameras get destroyed or thrown overboard. I may be oversimplifying this scene for the sake of streamlining the review but the way it plays out is pretty funny with Dipper growing increasingly frustrated with Mabel, Soos and himself.
Meanwhile, Stan is jealously watching the twins have fun with Soos and tries to make new friends by bothering other people on the lake, including ruining a proposal with a bad joke (“My ex-wife still misses me……but her aim is getting better!! You see, it’s funny because marriage is terrible!”)
Dipper and Mabel and Soos crash on to Scuttlebutt Island because Mabel was too busy practicing her ventriloquism on a pelican to play lookout. They aren’t there for long before they hear a loud spooky noise like a roar coming out of the mist. Soos thinks they should turn back, but Dipper and Mabel are set on getting that reward and all the fame and perks that come with it. Their fantasy about being interviewed even includes Dipper showing no regrets that he abandoned Grunkle Stan, which, even as annoying to everyone around him as he is, still just…ouch. They keep venturing until they see a monster shaped creature out in the lake and the noise growing louder…which turns out to be a wrecked boat and a couple of beavers cavorting with a chainsaw (as it always is).
And then the real Gobblewonker shows up and chases them.
The chase sequence is both harrowing and hilarious, one in part due to the massive size and danger it presents and the other because the constant stream of camera loss continues in spite of everything Dipper does. It gets even more frantic as they make it in the boat and speed back to shore. They crash into the beavers which attack them (thankfully without the chainsaw), run over almost every boat in their path except Stan (who’s still painfully alone), and with their vessel nearly wrecked, they get trapped in a cave when the Gobblewonker gets stuck in the entrance. Luckily for them they’re now safe and Mabel finds the last untouched camera under Dipper’s hat. He gets some great pictures until the monster’s thrashing causes some rocks to fall on its head, which fizzles out. Dipper, Mabel and Soos investigate and find –
Yes, the Gobblewonker is in fact a giant robot piloted – and created – by Old Man McGucket. Turns out he’s a much smarter hillbilly that you’d give him credit for. He reveals that he did it because now that he’s an old coot no one pays him much attention, including his son, so he figured a giant mechanical monster would catch his eye since it’d be easier than just talking to him (and it’s not the first time he’s done it either). This gets Dipper and Mabel to feel guilty about leaving Grunkle Stan behind, and it just so happens they have one roll of film left on the camera…
The day ends as they bump into something big on their way back to shore. Maybe the Gobblewonker wasn’t just a legend which turned out to be a robot piloted by a kooky and lonely old man after all…
“Legend of the Gobblewonker” faces the impossible task all second episodes must, which is keeping the ball rolling after the one preceding it. Thankfully it does so with a lot of humor and a good heart. The plot may seem a tad predictable compared to the previous one, but it’s saved by a number of hilarious character moments and seeing Dipper and Mabel start bonding with Stan and Soos. I also enjoy the introduction of some of the more colorful side characters of the town; we get our first look at Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Derland (though they won’t really play a big role until the next episode), Lazy Susan, Tyler Cutebiker (the “get ‘im, get ‘im” guy voiced by Will Forte of all people), Manly Dan and his boys are especially fun to watch fishing (though he too gets more attention in the next episode) and of course Old Man McGucket, whose insane mannerisms mixed with an eerie amount of knowledge of robotics make for an interesting and kind of tragic character, even if it’s played mostly for comedy for a while (just wait until we get to Season 2).
And the Internet Went:
Yeah, it’s lazy for me to use the same image, but we’re still very early in the first season and I can’t think of any other way to describe how people felt about it so far. Continuing from the previous episode, we get a slightly bigger of taste of what lies in Gravity Falls, and the only way it can go from here is up .
End Credits Craziness: Mabel doing her ventriloquism on a pelican telling lame jokes.
Callbacks: It’s only the second episode so nothing apart from mentioning the gnomes –
Wait, did anyone else see that guy in the background by the boat rental hut before or is it just me?
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: Soos’ observation on the doomed side character came close, but Stan took home the title within the first few minutes: “Now who wants to put on some blindfolds and get into my car?” I’m also including the ex-wife joke as an honorable mention.
Mabel SWatch: Purple with a red heart wearing sunglasses, and red with a pink heart during the “bonding” flashback.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: I’ve learned that ditching family members in pursuit of fame and fortune doesn’t always turn out the way that you want and can hurt your family’s feelings. Sometimes you can have a lot of fun and make some great memories by spending some quality time with them instead.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, hang on to your heads, it’s “Headhunters”. See you then!
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