If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for the first Gravity Falls episode, “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 Grunkle Stan is trying out his latest scam on some tourists – a mysterious bag where you put your money in and it doesn’t come out – while Soos, Dipper and Mabel are enjoying Gravity Fall’s hit show second only to Ducktective, Tiger Fist (think Bionic Woman but with a tiger and a fist. Sounds simple enough.) Then a commercial airs advertising the Mystery Shack’s rival, the Tent of Telepathy and its mysterious master, a psychic named Gideon. This piques Mabel’s curiosity, but Stan forbids them to go because Gideon steals away most of the Shack’s customers – not that this stops them from going anyway.
The three arrive at the Tent of Telepathy that evening. Dipper describes as a bizzarro version of the Shack but I don’t really see it. It’s a huge tent with a stage and bleachers set up, not a fake museum. The only thing I can say mirrors the Shack is that they have their own anti-Soos.
Finally the show starts and we meet Stan’s greatest enemy, Lil’ Gideon.
Gideon is voiced by Orman Thropp, the creator and voice of Flapjack. I’ve never actually watched that show but what little I’ve seen is…interesting, to say the least. His voice for Gideon along with his attire makes me think of those tv evangelists and preachers from the South, though the psychic aspect and hair was most likely inspired by Zelda Rubenstein’s psychic from Poltergeist (but Gideon is nowhere near as cool as she was).
Gideon’s show consists of pandering to the crowd with his adorability and “predicting” things based on what he sees in the audience, impressing everyone but Dipper. He even performs a musical number “Widdle Ol’ Me”. The gospel style reminds me of the church song from Blues Brothers.
The next morning Gideon calls on Mabel at the Mystery Shack. He was quite taken with her at the show the previous night and wants to get to know her better. They start by bonding over the one thing a twelve year-old girl and a Southern pampered stage kid have in common – makeovers.
She and Gideon start to hang out more in spite of Dipper not trusting him. On one outing up on the roof of his family’s merchandise factory, Gideon makes a not-so-subtle remark that from there he feels like king of the entire town…and Mabel is his queen. He admits that he feels closer to her than anyone he’s ever known and pressures her into going on a date with him. Mabel doesn’t want to hurt his feelings as she doesn’t feel the same but it’s clear that Gideon has fallen for her hard – he picks her up on a stallion, takes her to a fancy restaurant, and has a talking parrot trained to appear and ask her on another date in front of the entire town. Now Mabel’s feeling double the pressure to be Gideon’s girlfriend, and she’s not the only one who’s uncomfortable. The moment Stan finds out about it, he drives out to see Gideon’s father, Bud Gleeful (Stephen Root) and gives him a piece of his mind. Bud, in addition to being Gideon’s manager, runs the local used car dealership and turns his charms on Stan, portraying Gideon and Mabel’s romance as an opportunity to combine the Mystery Shack and Tent of Telepathy and share the profits. If there’s one thing Stan can’t resist, it’s more money (and sad clown paintings, he loves those).
Mabel comes home bummed and frustrating Dipper that she didn’t end it with Gideon. She tells him that she’ll break it off the next time she sees him, then the time after that, then the time after that, you get the idea. Gideon goes out of the way to do so many over-the-top romantic things for Mabel that it feels really awkward for her to come out and say it. Even Stan is pushing for them to get married thanks to his new partnership with Bud. Mabel finally breaks down and flees to the only place she can feel safe – sweater town.
Dipper decides to do the sweet thing and says he’ll break up with Gideon for her (aww). He shows up to the restaurant where she and Gideon are set to meet and tells him that Mabel doesn’t want to see him anymore. Gideon takes the news well, despite the twitching eye and hushed voice…and returning home and making the furniture in fly around his room telekinetically and smash into the floor.
Dipper gets a phone call the following morning from Toby Determined asking for an interview about anything strange he’s seen in town. They arrange it for that night in an abandoned factory…Gideon’s factory.
Dipper shows up and surprise surprise, Gideon is there waiting for him. He’s convinced that Dipper’s come between him and Mabel, and after giving a cryptic warning that Gravity Falls holds darker secrets than he could imagine, begins attacking him with his real psychic powers.
Mabel, meanwhile, still feels awkward even after she thinks she and Gideon are through. After talking to Wendy about ex-boyfriends (which is really Mabel coming to her realization on her own while Wendy lists her many exes), she decides to go confront Gideon herself. She arrives at the factory just in time to see Gideon nearly chop up Dipper with his own brand of lamb shears. At last she confesses doesn’t want to be together, though they can still be makeover buddies…though that last part was just a ruse to get closer to him and steal his bolo tie, an amulet that’s the source of his psychic abilities. She and Dipper play keep-away with it until Gideon pushes him through a window. Mabel saves them both from falling to a ghastly death with the amulet, then levitates herself down and destroys it, telling Gideon that it’s over between them. Gideon runs off swearing vengeance on the Pines family, but Dipper doesn’t take it seriously since he’s now powerless. Gideon stops Stan and Bud from signing the contract between the Mystery Shack and the Tent of Telepathy, but at least Stan gets one swell consolation prize – he runs off with Bud’s sad clown painting. Back at the Mystery Shack the Pines family share a laugh at how a little ankle-biter like Gideon can get his revenge.
Alone in his room, Gideon creates a mini-Mystery Shack and figurines of Mabel, Dipper and Stan and plays with them, making them say all the twisted things he wants to hear – Mabel pledging her love once her family is out of the picture, Stan acting like an old fart, and mimicking Dipper’s taunts about what he’ll do without the amulet. He looks at the toy Dipper, smiles and says, “Oh, you’ll see, boy…”
This is another good episode, albeit one that hits a little close to home since, as of the time this review was written, I recently went through some similar things as Mabel. I was in a long-term relationship that wasn’t going where I had hoped and I tried to ease it into the friend zone. The guy I was with said he was ok with this new arrangement but clearly wasn’t, and after a time I had to break things off with him altogether, disappointing and hurting him and his family. I can sympathize with what Mabel goes through and how that pressure to give the appearance of a happy relationship when all you want is independence can be alienating and painful for both involved. Ending a relationship is one of the hardest things anyone can do, especially when you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the other person, and Kristen Schall captures that anxiety perfectly. As for Gideon himself, this is a fine introduction to one of Gravity Falls’ main villains. He has a personality larger than his hair, a cunning mind, and manages to pose a threat despite the fact that he’s only a child. Something I never noticed until now is that when he tells everyone to stand up during the song they all do, including Dipper against his will, all while Gideon’s holding his pendant. Great bit of foreshadowing there. Also, his relationship with his father is the right kind of comically dysfunctional – it’s easy to see Gideon is the one running things, and his laid back dad just goes with it either out of fear or obliviousness to his son’s evil nature (or perhaps both). I confess the first time I watched this episode the reveal that he had the second Journal wasn’t that big a deal for me. You see, I was aware of Gravity Falls’ existence when it was in its first season, but it didn’t grab my attention because it was a Disney Channel show and frankly I hadn’t found anything there worth watching since Dave the Barbarian (anyone else remember that show?) It wasn’t until I watched the last episode of the season just for the heck of it that I got intrigued, but – SMALL SPOILERS – it heavily involved Gideon and the Journals. So when I marathoned the series before Season 2 premiered, the shock of seeing Gideon already having one of them didn’t catch me off guard as much as it did a lot of other people. But boy I envy those who did. All in all it’s an enjoyable episode that gets the ball rolling regarding things to come.
And the Internet Went:
ANOTHER Journal? In the hand of the Pines’ family’s sworn enemy?! Forget intrigued, we’re INVESTED now!
End Credits Craziness: A bedazz – whoops, bezzazzled Soos being used as a disco ball by Mabel and Dipper. Grunkle Stan watches in silence before saying they’re all fired.
Callbacks: Gideon actually made his first appearance on the side of the magazine Dipper was reading in the start of “Legend of the Gobblewonker”, so it’s cool that he was set up beforehand. Also, Dipper apologizes to Toby for accusing him of murder the previous week, which he’s ok with, but mostly because Gideon promised him Shandra Jimenez’ phone number (hey, it’s a step up from making out with a cardboard cutout of her).
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: Stan’s great as always, but I have to give it to my girl Mabel: “I was in the friend zone, and then, before I knew what was happening, he pulled me into the romance zone! It was like quicksand! CHUBBY QUICKSAND!!”
Mabel SWatch: Quite the variety in this one. We get the return of the shooting star, a turquoise one with her name sewn on, a llama hair that appeared during the credits of “Headhunters”, a purple one with a kitty, pink with a butterfly, a blue one with a matching umbrella, and a magenta with a penguin! Dang, Mabel, where’d you find the time to knit all those?!
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: If there’s something you need to say to someone, you should be the one to do it, no matter how hard it is or how much it may hurt, because keeping it in will only make things worse.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, Dipper’s adventures about to become more inconveniently terrifying in…”The Inconveniencing”. See you then!
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