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. He vows to follow in his (or her) footsteps to unravel Gravity Falls’ mysteries while bonding with his wild sister and cranky Grunkle, and winning his crush Wendy from her jerk boyfriend Robbie.
Happy New Year everyone! Continuing with my unusual habit of the wrong holiday-themed movie/episode at the wrong time, here’s a Halloween episode. Yes, a Halloween episode in a series that takes place during the summer. How do they pull it off? The answer is simple; the people of Gravity Falls love Halloween so much that they celebrate it during the summer and call it Summerween (it went over better than their decision to adopt Decemberween, I can tell you that much).
Grunkle Stan takes Dipper, Soos and Mabel to the Summerween superstore to stock up on decorations, candy, and assorted doo-dads to scare all those who dare to cross the Mystery Shack’s threshold that evening. The store is run by the unsung tragic hero of this episode.
This woman. This fucking woman. This woman who is not even given a name or character description beyond Sumerween Superstore worker. Where do I begin with her? She doesn’t just hate her job. She’s one overly-optimistic sponge co-worker away from wearing a “I really really wish I was doing anything but being here right now button”. And who can blame her? Soos and The Pines are running completely amok messing with the displays, causing chaos and running off with merchandise thanks to Grunkle Stan’s smoke bombs and “Stan Bucks”. As someone who has worked three years of retail as of the time this is being written, I’ve had to put up with this kind of crap before. Though it isn’t shown, it’s more than implied that she deals with this on a near-daily basis. I haven’t grown as bitter towards the holiday as she has, but even in the face of blatant disrespect and disregard she is still giving it her all.
Dipper and Mabel get ready for trick-or-treating and we get to see some of their history with Halloween. Halloween is their favorite holiday, and seeing how they’re twins they’ve worn identical themed costumes every year that have scored them bucketloads of sweets. Dipper helps himself to some of the candy that will be handed out that night. Unfortunately, it’s “loser candy” that tastes terrible and aren’t as popular as name brand candy. Soos warns them to keep their complaints to themselves lest they invite the wrath of the Summerween Trickster. According to legend, this holiday monster devours children lacking the Summerween spirit. Dipper ignores him and promptly tosses the candy out, unaware that he’s being watched.
Wendy shows up with Robbie and when Robbie insinuates that Dipper’s going trick-or-treating with all the other kids, she inadvertently makes a comment that he’s way too mature to do that. She invites him to a party at Tambry’s that they’re going to and Dipper promises to meet her there. He realizes after she leaves, however, that he has to tell Mabel that he won’t be going trick or treating with her.
Candy and Grenda show up to join Mabel and Dipper appears sans costume faking a cold. Mabel demands that he fight through it for the sake of free candy when there’s a knock at the door. A large shadowy figure in scarecrow clothes and a tiny smiley face mask asks for candy and Dipper shuts him out cold for being way too old.
I’m guessing now would be a good time to wonder if anybody in these situations has ever watched Beauty and the Beast.
The “adult” forces his way inside and to show he’s not messing around eats a young trick-or-treater named Gorney.
Yes, Dipper has royally pissed off the Summerween Trickster and it demands satisfaction – he orders them to obtain five hundred pieces of candy before the last jack 0’melon goes out, or they will all suffer his terrible vengeance. Dipper now has a reason to participate in “trick or treat or die” and Soos offers to help them.
In the B-plot, Stan is having a ball scaring kids at the Shack until two little brats that are desensitized to all his tricks come along and try to show him what real horror is.
Meanwhile, the whole town is out and about rocking the Summerween spirit. It’s fun seeing all their costumes and being so into the holiday. Dipper’s the only one who refuses to give in and get dressed up. This doesn’t go well when Lazy Susan refuses to give them more than one piece of candy each since they’re not all in costume, and it’s rotten candy at that. When the Trickster shows up to taunt them, Dipper’s convinced to finally don a disguise. From there they start earning piles of candy due to how adorable they are. My personal favorite is the tough-looking guy who, upon seeing these kids dressed in matching peanut butter and jelly costumes, looks like his faith in humanity has been restored.
After the montage our heroes find themselves with only one piece of candy left to gather and plenty of time before the party. Mabel notes Diper’s “cold” cleared up pretty quickly and he admits that he’s been having fun. She and the girls go to the last house while Soos gets his truck, leaving Dipper to watch the wheelbarrow full of treats. On seeing Wendy and Robbie about to pass by, he quickly gets changed, hides the candy and confirms that he’ll be going to the party in a little while…just in time for Mabel to overhear him.
Mabel rightfully calls him out trying to abandon her and asks what happened to the candy. Dipper goes to get it – and discovers the wheelbarrow fell into a creek and washed all the candy away. By this point nearly all the jack o’melons are out. They barely manage to stop Old Man McGucket from blowing out the last lit flame, but their sigh of relief snuffs it.
The Trickster demands his candy, and when they have none, he grows to an incredible height and an extra pair of arms sprout from his back. Dipper tosses a candy bar at him to distract him and run, but he absorbs it and grabs the kids. Before he can eat them, Soos drives his truck through him and he bursts into a million pieces. Everyone is unharmed and Soos can technically get away with manslaughter so it should be fine…
…but it’s not. And I’m not talking about the Trickster inevitable pulling itself back together and going after the truck. Mabel scratched her elbow while being dragged by the monster and refuses to talk to Dipper even after he offers her first aid.
The Trickster leaps on to the truck and they crash into the Summerween Superstore. Everyone hides among the shelves as it searches for them. While huddled together, Dipper tries to explain that he was beginning to feel that he getting too old or trick or treating. Mabel replies that’s precisely why they have to do it. There’s not too many Halloweens left where they can go. It’s their special day, and now that they’re growing up they have to make each one count.
With the emotional dialogue out of the way, everyone disguises themselves in costumes and pretend to be on display while inching towards the exit. Unfortunately, even though they’re two steps away from freedom, Soos can’t resist putting batteries in and playing with one of the talking skull decorations he loves so much.
Unsurprisingly, this alerts the Trickster and he eats him. Candy, Grenda, Dipper and Mabel attack with plastic weapons, though it seems to do nothing. The strangest thing, however, is that the flakes of its skin taste like saltwater taffy. “You haven’t figured it out yet? Don’t you recognize me?” the monster hisses. It nabs the kids and takes off its mask.
The Summerween Trickster is a monster made up of the Halloween candy that nobody likes and tosses out. Every year he seeks revenge on the children that wouldn’t eat him by eating them instead. This is a GREAT twist that I don’t think anyone really saw coming unless they were paying close attention.
Before the Trickster can eat them, Soos bursts out of its chest apparently none the worse for wear. The monster flails in pain as Soos eats his way out of him. If this was anything but a cartoon this would be a pretty nasty way to go. Just replace the jellybeans he coughs up in his death throes with blood and you’ve got something out of a real horror movie. You even catch Soos eating a piece of him that looks suspiciously like his heart. Kali ma, much? The monster does end up dying happy, however, as Soos tells him that he thinks he tastes good. (Oh, and Gorney lives. Yay, I guess.)
Everyone returns to the Mystery Shack where Stan is enjoying a spooky old movie. Wendy is hanging out there as well. Dipper tells her that he was out trick-or-treating with his sister, and she says he made the right call. The party blew and Robbie had to go home sick because he ate a lollipop the wrong way. Mabel laments that they didn’t get the huge haul of candy they had hoped for, but Stan produces two big bags courtesy of the little pain in the asses from earlier. They dropped their load and ran after catching a truly horrifying side of Stan few have seen – him getting in the shower. Everyone enjoys the movie and the candy, and Dipper gives Mabel a band-aid, a sign of their repaired relationship.
In a show where every episode is appropriate to watch for Halloween, the creators went all out in making an actual Halloween episode. The art direction with its popping colors and intense shadows make it feel like Halloween in the middle of summer. The characters are at the top of their game and seeing every twist and turn they go through is as enjoyable as a carnival ride. This is also the episode of Gravity Falls that I think best illustrates one of the show’s themes, that of growing up. While Mabel is content to enjoy her childhood and live in the moment, Dipper wants to grow up too fast. He’s ready to throw aside everything that makes him in adults’ eyes a kid and try to be more mature, while forgetting to enjoy the time he has now. It’s up to Mabel to remind him of that and restore the balance between the two. It’s another episode that proves that they work best when they’re together, that they bring out the best in each other and help realize the others’ flaws. Cleverly written, dark and fun, I can easily count it as one of my personal favorite episodes.
And the Internet Went:
Ok, last time I use this picture in the review, I swear, but there’s a reason why this episode is always in fans’ top 10 lists. A cool monster, Halloween hijinks, and some feels by the end? It’s damn near flawless.
End Credits Craziness: Mabel making some darn cute memes with “Boss” Waddles while “9 to 5” plays. Great way to tie into the next episode actually…
Callbacks: The biker that cries tears of joy also received a fortune from Mabel in “Head Hunters”. The teens seen throwing out candy in the Trickster’s flashback are the same ones who rebelled against the convenience store owners in “The Inconveniencing”.
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: The last line of the episode. Everyone revels in celebrating a day of “pure evil” and has a big group laugh. And then –
Soos:…I ate a man alive tonight.
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): A purple and yellow striped sweater before a red one to match the jelly costume.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: Appreciate the time you have with others, no matter how silly or trivial. Also Halloween kicks ass, no matter what time of year it takes place.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time, Mabel takes charge in “Boss Mabel”. See you then!
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