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. He also must deal with Stan’s business rival and Mabel’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon Gleeful, who has his own sinister plans for the Mystery Shack.
We open on Gideon plotting in his room on how to get his revenge on the Pines family. He consults his Journal but can’t find a resolution that doesn’t just hurt them; he wants his vengeance to give him “ultimate power”. Then he gets an idea…
The Pines are chilling at home when Stan gets called upon by a man in a business suit. Horrified that this may be the tax collector he’s been trying to avoid for years, Stan tries to make his escape but the man is from a Publisher’s Clearinghouse-type sweepstakes and he informs him he’s won a million dollars. He has Stan sign a check but then Gideon appears. Surprise, it was all a ruse to have him sign over the Mystery Shack to widdle ol’ him. Stan is one step ahead of him, however.
The next day Dipper beats Mabel in several consecutive games of chess and wastes no time gloating over it (I wouldn’t either, have you TRIED playing that game?) Soos asks Mabel to get him a jar from a shelf and Dipper goes for it, but Soos points out that Mabel is the taller of the two. Dipper refuses to believe it until Soos measures them.
Mabel leaps at the opportunity to lord her slightly superior height over Dipper and Grunkle Stan joins in the teasing. Dipper takes it to heart and searches his Journal for a possible solution. An entry on miniature buffalo found in the woods leads him to explore there until he finds a crystal-laden glade filled with tiny animals. A regular-sized mountain lion pounces at him but shrinks when it leaps through the rays of light passing through one of the crystals, and a tiny butterfly becomes gargantuan when flying through another beam.
Dipper attaches a crystal to a flashlight and experiments making chess pieces shrink and grow before making himself 2 millimeters taller. He shows off his new height in front of Mabel but she’s convinced she’s still the “alpha twin” because women grow faster than men. Dipper gives himself another growth spurt until he’s a foot taller. Mabel quickly catches on that this isn’t natural and makes the obvious deduction – an invisible wizard did it.
Gideon returns to the Shack with a jar of cursed termites that he threatens Stan and the Shack with, but Stan tricks him into dropping the jar and the freed insects attack him instead. Gideon flees swearing he’ll find Stan’s weakness and comes across Dipper and Mabel fighting over the flashlight. It flies out of their hands into his. Mabel wonders aloud if he knows that it can shrink and grow things.
Armed with this new knowledge, Gideon shrinks the twins, kidnaps them and brings them to his house. His father’s out selling cars which leaves him alone with his mother.
Now we’ve seen how laid back Bud can be when dealing with his little cretin of a son. Let’s see how his mother handles the pressure.
Gideon grills Dipper and Mabel to find where they learned about these crystals, even putting Mabel through unspeakable torture unless she promises to be his queen.
Dipper has Journal 3 on his person, a fact he’s reminded of when Gideon suspiciously asks if he read about the crystals somewhere. He activates an air horn in his face to throw the heat off, and for a brief moment Gideon gets…downright scary. He is ready to smash Dipper right then and there, no qualms, no regrets. At the last moment he refrains from committing murder and quietly reminds himself that they’re still of use to him in the creepiest way possible.
Gideon calls Stan to tell them he’s kidnapped his niece and nephew but he doesn’t believe them, and since the phrase “text you a photo” holds no meaning to anyone over 65, he hangs up. Gideon decides to go shrink Stan and take the Mystery Shack himself. He sets his guinea pig up as a guard for Dipper and Mabel and runs to catch the ice cream truck before he exacts his vengeance.
Dipper takes stock of their situation, though takes comfort in the fact that he and Mabel are the same height again. Mabel bursts his bubble by telling him that nope, she’s still the taller one, and she uses a ruler on Gideon’s desk to prove it. Now more motivated to return to human size than before, Dipper tries to think of an escape plan. Riding the guinea pig doesn’t work, so they create a rope out of Gideon’s hairs from his brush and, thankfully unlike Baron Munchausen, climb down safely.
They find Gideon eating his ice cream with the flashlight in plain view, and discover his one weakness – he is very ticklish. After telling off his dad for trying to tickle him and sending his mother on a panicked cleaning frenzy, Gideon is forced to take the bus to the Mystery Shack. On the bright side, he gets to spend some quality time with Lazy Susan as he waits.
Dipper and Mabel climb on to one of Bud’s balloon displays and cut the rope, allowing them to float to the Mystery Shack in time. Mabel distracts Gideon by dropping a sticky gummy bear on his hair and they get to the flashlight while he tries to remove it.
And then Dipper asks that Mabel make him grow to the same height as her. And though Mabel tells him that his height issues are nothing compared to, you know, getting back to normal before their archenemy catches them and destroys their uncle, he refuses to drop the subject and calls Mabel out for the teasing she’s done throughout the episode and they start fighting again, which allows Gideon to recapture them.
Gideon barges into the Shack and shrinks the first person he sees wearing Stan’s trademark fez – Soos. He accidentally blabs about where Stan is and Gideon shoves him in a jar in his pocket along with Dipper and Mabel and goes looking for him. Dipper acknowledges that he done goofed up, but asks Mabel what’s with all the teasing. In a surprising move, Mabel hands him a pad marked with tallies of all of Dipper’s victories stacked against hers. He has a lot; she has none. She confesses that he’s better than her at a lot of things and isn’t afraid to show it. She was just happy that she was winning at something for once. Dipper realizes how much of a “little” jerk he was, and they make up.
Gideon finds Stan in a mirror maze that he and Soos have been setting up all day. Together Soos, Dipper and Mabel break out and make their way around Gideon’s shoulder. Soos gets swatted away after making “fat angels” in the back of Gideon’s neck, leaving Dipper and Mabel to save the day. Gideon starts smashing mirrors until he brings out the real Stan and prepares to shrink him. Dipper and Mabel have no alternative than to go where no human being should dare to tread – his armpit. In the middle of his villainous monologue, Gideon starts rolling on the floor laughing. Stan awkwardly rolls him out the door and Gideon loses the flashlight.
With Gunkle Stan out of harm’s way for now, Dipper returns Mabel to her right size – and lets her keep the extra millimeter. Dipper and Mabel destroy the flashlight, making sure no one can harness its powers for evil again and wrapping up everything nicely.
“Little Dipper” is your typical Honey I Shrunk the Kids-style “let’s have fun with shrinking” episode, but what makes it stand out from all the others that try this gimmick are the characters. We learn more about Dipper and Mabel’s relationship through this conflict (the essence of drama) and both end up growing from it as a result. We also get another taste of how evil Gideon is and the lengths he’ll go through to get what he wants, as well as a hint of his motivations for wanting the Mystery Shack. It’s very cryptic, just that it holds some sort of ultimate power, but it’s a great hook. Speaking of revelations, the moment where Soos tries on Stan’s fez in private gives us an inkling that he feels his relationship with his boss is more than just employer-employee. All of this serves to build up a number of things to come in the series. That, in addition to the previously mentioned character moments and the bits of humor, make it worth watching despite the moments of petty arguing. It may seem like I’m belittling this episode (last pun, I swear) but I think it’s a decent one that takes advantage of its premise.
And the Internet Went:
A decently written sibling rivalry conflict, more Stan vs. Gideon vs. the twins, and some well-written jokes. I didn’t even mention the meta one before the intro starts. What’s not to love?
End Credits Craziness: Stan wins an actual sweepstakes but he thinks it’s another hoax and slams the door on the camera. The announcer gives the fortune to the runner-up – Old Man McGucket.
Callbacks: All going back to “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”, Gideon still has his creepy Mystery Shack playset and Bud has yet to replace his stolen clown painting. As to the calls forward…I’ll leave that a mystery for now.
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: This last exchange between Stan and Gideon as he shuts himself always has me in stitches.
Gideon: My light!!
Stan:…You’re the light of my life too, pal. (slams door)
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): Magenta with a pink stripe and pouch/pocket in front
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: I’ve learned that despite what people say, size doesn’t matter. Let me rephrase that – children’s size doesn’t matter. Wait I didn’t mean NOT THE PEPPER SPRAY AAAAAHHGSHUFHSHFMYEEEYES!!!!
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, can you celebrate Halloween in October, July AND January? We’ll find out in “Summerween”. See you then!
9-14-19-5-18-20 1-14-25 19-8-15-18-20 10-15-11-5 8-5-18-5. 9’13 20-9-18-5-4.