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 Gravity Falls to spend the summer with their Grunkle Stan, who runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. Dipper finds a journal in which the enigmatic Author has chronicled some of the unusual happenings and inhabitants of the town, and he vows to follow in his (or her) footsteps to unravel Gravity Falls’ mysteries while bonding with his wild sister and cranky Grunkle.
So Gravity Falls not only has supernatural occurrences happening on a daily basis, it also has its own popular television series, Ducktective. I’ll give you one guess as to what it’s about.
While Dipper and Mabel are watching it, Soos appears and tells them that while cleaning the Mystery Shack he found a hidden door. They check it out together and find it full of creepy wax figures of famous people including Sherlock Holmes, Ghengis Kahn, Lizzie Borden, Groucho Marx, Coolio, Shakespeare, and more.
Then they get startled by a wax figure of Grunkle Stan, which turns out to be the real Stan, which scares them even more.
With the intro out of the way, Grunkle Stan explains that the wax figures used to be part of the Shack’s exhibits, but he put them into retirement when they stopped drawing crowds. Now’s as good a time as any to bring them back, but when Stan discovers Wax Abraham Lincoln has melted (with Wax John Wilkes Booth as the primary culprit) Mabel promises to make a new wax figure for him. She even finds her muse – Stan himself.
Soon the day of the grand re-opening arrives complete with a gala event that promises fun – and no refunds – will be had. The Grunkle Stan wax figure is unveiled and it is an exact likeness (the glitter coating notwithstanding). Stan is interviewed by failing reporter and sad sack Toby Determined, who can only afford a turkey baster to use as a microphone, and serious reporter Shandra Jiminez, who calls Stan out for the lack of free pizza promised on the flyers. Stan ends the conference with a smoke bomb and flees while most of the crowd, especially Manly Dan, takes their anger out on anything in sight.
Stan considers the day a success and he attributes it to his wax doppelganger. He even starts talking to it like a real person, which is…a little weird. He leaves it propped up on the chair in the living room while he goes to the kitchen.
Moments later, Dipper and Mabel hear a scream from downstairs – Wax Stan has been murdered.
Sheriff Blubs (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Deputy Durland (Keith Ferguson) are called to the scene, where they pronounce the case unsolvable. Dipper thinks he has the detective skills to crack it, but they merely laugh at the “adorable city boy”. This only gives Dipper more resolve to get to the bottom of this and prove them wrong – and then he sneezes like a kitten.
The next morning Dipper and Mabel inspect the crime scene and find their first clue: a trail of footprints in the carpet with a hole in one shoe leading to the murder weapon, an axe with no fingerprints. Mabel remembers how cheesed off Manly Dan – a lumberjack – was when he didn’t get his free pizza and they go into town to question him. Their sleuthing earns them the nickname “Mystery Twins” from Soos (one that takes a while to stick) and Grunkle Stan, the ever-responsible non-parental figure he is, demand they avenge him.
Dipper and Mabel manage to get into the local biker bar (Mabel makes some surprisingly convincing fake IDs using stickers and googly eyes) where they interrogate Manly Dan. Unfortunately, he was out punching the clock at the time of the murder (and it’s still got the dents to show it) and the axe is a left-handed one while he is right handed. Armed with this new information, the twins go through the list of suspects to see who is left-handed, but they all come up short. Then they reach the last person on their list, the one who had the most to gain from Wax Stan’s murder – Toby Determined.
That night, the kids lead a raid on Toby’s place with Blubs and Derland and arrest him. Dipper spells it out to him – Toby was hoping the new wax museum would be the story to save his paper, but when it was a bust he decided to make his own headline. The hole in his shoe and his hand preference was what gave him away. It seems like the case is cleared…but Toby has an alibi.
The twins return home humiliated where Stan is throwing his wax figure a funeral, complete with a coffin and the wax people as mourners. It goes about as ridiculously as you’d imagine. Stan and Soos leave in tears while Dipper considers giving up on the case. Then he notices Wax Stan has a hole in his foot, where, according to Mabel, the pole that keeps him upright goes.
Suddenly, the pieces of the puzzle come together…and Dipper realizes they’re in the same room as the murderers.
Once again, I have to applaud the writers on this great twist. It’s not spoiled on repeated viewings because you can see how all the clues add up without it being a cop-out.
The wax figures, led by Sherlock Holmes (John Oliver), applaud them for figuring it out (sarcastically, of course) and he tells them their story – Grunkle Stan
stole bought them from a haunted garage sale, unaware that they were cursed. By day they were playthings of the public but at night they came to life and had fun. Then Grunkle Stan put them in storage, where they waited to take revenge. Sherlock beheaded Wax Stan thinking he was the real one, and now he and the wax horde are ready to kill the twins to keep their true nature a secret. As funny as they are, they do get legitimately creepy when their eyes roll back into their heads and close in on them.
Dipper and Mabel throw whatever they can get their hands on at them but the wax absorbs everything. It’s not until Ghengis Kahn gets a pot of hot coffee in his face that he reacts in pain. Realizing hot things are their one weakness, they fight back with electric candles and do a decent – and hilarious – job beating them up. They even use the decapitated bits of other wax figures (Mabel swinging Coolio’s head around by his braids gets a big laugh out of me).
Finally it’s down to Dipper and Sherlock Holmes. The two have a sword/hot poker fight throughout the shack, leading to the top of the roof (if I know my Disney movies, there had better not be a giant bell about to go off…) Dipper is cornered and about to meet his end, but it turns out he was stalling for sunrise. As the dawn comes, Sherlock curses his luck and melts like the Wicked Witch of the West – but not before getting the last laugh on Dipper’s adorable kitten sneeze.
Mabel disposes of the living waxy remains in the fireplace just in time for Grunkle Stan to come in and find his parlor in shambles. They surprise him with the recovered head of his wax self and are rewarded with some affectionate noogie-ing. Derland and Blubs also drop in to see if “city boy” solved the crime, causing them to spit out their coffee and give each other first-degree burns when they learn he did. It seems like everything has wrapped up nicely…
“Headhunters” is a lot of fun, with most of the comedy deriving from just how seriously everyone in the episode takes the “murder” of a wax statue. We’ve seen a bit of Dipper’s enthusiasm for monster hunting in the first two episodes but this is the first time we really get to see his problem-solving and deducing skills, and he’s quite good. Also this episode marks the first time we’re shown Mabel’s penchant for arts and crafts, which is another reason why I like her so much. As silly as her ideas are she’s creative and has real talent if she can make a lifelike figure out of wax in just a few short days. I didn’t get a chance to say it before but according to Alex Hirsch, she knits a new sweater every day, which is why she’s always wearing a new one in each episode while all the other characters are seen wearing the same clothes. That is a lot of dedication for one pint-size artist. Like I said before, the comedy is great, especially from the guest stars. Coolio and John Oliver are so into their parts, and is it just me or does Larry King love appearing in things where he’s the butt of a few good-natured jokes? The mystery is a tight one with no plotholes, the climax is enjoyable to watch and it’s nice to see a bit more of the town’s strangeness. But if you thought gnomes, robot sea serpents and living wax men were weird, you ain’t seen nothing yet…
And the Internet Went:
I have nothing else to say, do you? Didn’t think so.
End Credits Craziness: Larry King’s living wax head hopping around the vents of the shack talking to anyone who will listen.
Callbacks: The return of several characters from the past episode. Plus I could swear I saw someone blending in to the background at the news conference before…
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: Stan’s declaration of revenge would have made it if it wasn’t for John Oliver’s perfectly passive-aggressive Sherlock: “Applaud, everyone, applaud sarcastically – no, that sounds too sincere. Slowly, there we go, nice and condescending.”
Mabel SWatch: Green with a strawberry.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: Ummm…..wax figures are creepy, I guess?
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, things are about to creepier in “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”. See you then!
20-15-14-9-7-8-20 15-14 12-1-18-18-25 11-9-14-7’19 8-5-1-4 12-9-22-5, 12-1-18-18-25 11-9-14-7 8-15-16-19 1-6-20-5-18 1 18-1-20 20-8-1-20 8-1-19 19-20-15-12-5-14 8-9-19 5-1-18. 13-15-18-5 1-6-20-5-18 1 23-15-18-4 6-18-15-13 15-21-18 19-16-15-14-19-15-18-19.