If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit Gravity Falls from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.
Previously on Gravity Falls:
Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer with their Grunkle Stan, who runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack in the small town of Gravity Falls. Dipper finds a journal in which the enigmatic Author has chronicled some of the unusual happenings and inhabitants of the Falls, and he vows to follow in his (or her) footsteps to unravel Gravity Falls’ mysteries while bonding with his wild sister, cranky Grunkle and the Shack’s friendly handyman Soos. Mabel, meanwhile, has won a pet pig named Waddles, and is as close to him as he is adorable (which is very).
Okay, I have to start by saying how much I love the title for this. When was the last time anything close to the mainstream gave a nod to Don Bluth? The irony lies in that it’s from the company that spawned and later defeated him in the animation box office, but still, much appreciated.
Late at night Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland are hard at work solving a maze – not a case that’s like a maze, a children’s picture maze – when something rips the roof off their car and flies away with it. The two friends see it as a chance to ride with the top down, immediately forgetting about Gravity Falls’ newest threat.
The next day Mabel and Waddles have the Mystery Shack to themselves. You know what that means….PIG DANCE PARTY!!
Nope. Not even close to the awesomeness that we get.
Stan trips over Waddles when he comes back from his latest tour and demands that she keep him outside where animals belong. Mabel refuses on the grounds that it’s not safe for him what with predators and summer barbecues out on the loose, and considering what supernatural creatures we’ve seen appear in the series so far I’m inclined to agree with her.
Dipper, having read about a mysterious new monster out on the prowl, takes Soos to the woods in order to find it. Not wanting to repeat the same mistakes from the Gobblewonker incident, they rig a bunch of cameras to go off simultaneously when tripped. Miraculously, the plan works, but Soos ruins the photos when he barges into the developing room with victory nachos.
Mabel runs out to buy a “Huggy Wuvvy Tummy Bundle” to carry Waddles around in, leaving him in the reluctant care of Stan. He’s not a fan, but he does promise to do it for her. Alas, while Stan is showing some tourists around the Shack, Waddles chooses that time to devour one of his top attractions, “The Corn-icorn”.
Having lost some valuable customers, Stan ignores Mabel’s request and puts Waddles on a leash outside. No sooner is his back turned than something swoops from the sky and nabs Waddles. Soos and Dipper manage to catch a quick look at the creature – a real life pterodactyl. Stan is more struck by the fact that Waddles is gone, and Mabel chooses that moment to return home with a lot of questions.
Stan concocts an elaborate tale where the pterodactyl broke in and ripped Waddles from his arms despite giving the dino a mean left hook in the face. Mabel buys it and everyone promises to help rescue her porcine playmate, albeit Stan does so hesitantly. Dipper also tries to figure out a way to ask Soos to stay home because he has the unfortunate tendency to mess things up when he’s involved. Sadly Soos already made matching t-shirts for them to wear for the occasion and Dipper just doesn’t have the heart to go through with it.
They follow the yarn unraveling from Waddles’ sweater to an abandoned church where Old Man McGucket is residing. His appearance in this episode is like a character spouting some exposition before a crucial moment in a video game; he points to where he saw the pterodactyl went, down a large hole in the floor. Regrettably for the Pines family – and us – McGucket overstays his welcome by tagging along on their adventure for no particular reason. His added weight causes the rope they’re climbing down to snap and they fall down the hole.
Luckily everyone lands on a giant mushroom at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft littered with geysers and prehistoric plants. While searching the tunnels, they find a whole T-Rex frozen in tree sap, along with a great number of other dinosaurs. The summer heat caused the sap encasing the pterodactyl to melt and let it escape, and from the looks of it the other dinosaurs aren’t far behind. Dipper insists they get a move on, but Stan is already coming up with ideas for a park based on this Jurassic world, though he’s stuck for a name. In the midst of planning he blabs while Mabel’s still within earshot that he should have left Waddles outside ages ago.
Mabel is heartbroken by Stan lying to her and endangering her beloved pig, and vows to never speak to him again. This sets off a chain reaction where Soos pleads with them to act more like him and Dipper, but Dipper reveals that he never wanted Soos to come along, and they all start fighting. Honestly this would be another “Liar revealed/pointless arguing” moment that I would despise except for the fact that everyone feels justified in their anger. They only stop when McGucket fixes their lantern.
Everyone is too scared to run, and McGuket warns them not to make any sudden moves or loud noises…then proceeds to do both anyway.
Sorry, Beast. One facepalm’s not gonna cut it this time.
The dinosaur chases them out into an open cavern where they take cover behind some rocks. As Dipper, Stan and Soos argue about what to do next, Mabel hears squealing coming from the pterodactyl’s nest. Waddles is alive! After a joyful reunion, she puts him in the Tummy Bundle, but he runs into Stan’s arms on hearing the dinosaur’s cry. It flies down to grab them both but knocks them off the railway linking the nest to the exit and down into a ravine.
The pterodactyl comes in for another attack but only manages to swipe Stan’s fez, which it drops at the nest. With everyone thinking Stan and Waddles are dead, it’s up to the three people left to figure out how to escape. I say three because the egg hatches and the baby dinosaur does to Old Man McGucket what should be done to all pointless characters – disposes of him quickly and violently.
Stan and Waddles take cover under a mushroom as the pterodactyl flies overhead. Stan has no qualms about sacrificing Waddles for his freedom, but Waddles gives him that wide-eyed innocent stare that brings down his defenses:
Oh, I get it. You’re trying to guilt me. Well it ain’t workin’, pal! Who cares if you’re Mabel’s favorite thing in the world? I could live without the kid talking to me all the time…telling me her jokes…making me laugh…aw, dang it.
The pterodactyl spies them and flies in for the kill. Stan straps Waddles in. It’s him or the dino this time.
After the baby dactyl finishes eating McGucket, it turns its eyes to Dipper, Mabel and Soos. Soos tells them to get in a straight line because of its eyes; they’re so far apart that it won’t be able to see them if they stand right in front of it (according to Mel Brooks, that’s also how you hide from Marty Feldman). Dipper is skeptical but ultimately puts his faith in his friend. It works, and they make it to the exit, but not before seeing a truly miraculous sight.
Mr. Williams, would you kindly set the mood please?
Stan crashes the pterodactyl into a cliff and rejoins the others with Waddles safe and sound. Mabel is touched that he went through the trouble of punching a dinosaur in the face to bring back her pig. Unluckily for them the pterodactyl returns and chases them through the mine. They make it back to the shaft they fell through, but there’s no way back up. Dipper herds them into a geyser which Soos awakens with his heavy fists and they all fly to safety. Stan and Mabel make up, Dipper finds one of the pterodactyl’s teeth caught in his vest which he can use as proof of its existence, and he and Soos reaffirm their friendship.
Oh, and Old Man McGucket ate his way out of the dinosaur.
“The Land Before Swine” is another simple fun episode, though my favorite aspect isn’t the part involving dinosaurs; that’s just the window dressing for the heart of this story, which is Mabel and Grunkle Stan’s relationship. For all his bluster you see just how much Mabel means to Stan (enough to actually punch a dinosaur for her apparently!) and in little moments like the end credits stinger you can see how she looks up to him. Also Mabel and Waddles being “cute and great” together is the cutest thing you’ll see on tv. I like how every character featured (with the obvious exception of Old Man Mc Gucket) has a role to play in the episode and how they come together by the end to save the day and make a daring escape. As for the dinosaurs, I think they look great, but I know some dino-philes who can’t stand how inaccurately they’re portrayed and that the ones featured all come from different periods. I get it, but sometimes a show’s overall design sometimes calls for style over accuracy, so I can overlook it. Justin Roiland also returns, this time playing the overly enthusiastic tv salesperson Bobby Renzobbi and he provides some decent laughs. For a tightly crafted story, some fun character moments, and a big heaping dose of heart, “The Land Before Swine” gets a high recommendation from me.
And the Internet Went:
Gravity Falls. Dinosaur adventure. Mabel/Waddles/Stan feels. Need I go on?
End Credits Craziness: Soos and Dipper watch another one of Bobby Renzobbi’s wacky infomercials while Stan, Mabel and Waddles play a friendly card game.
Callbacks: Dipper’s BABBA CD from “Dipper vs. Manliness” appears in the garbage. The underground cavern with dinosaurs was briefly glimpsed on Blendin’s jumpsuit on one of his camoflauge attempts in “The Time Traveler’s Pig”. Mabel’s bike and helmet is seen for the first time since “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”. Quentin Trembley’s ability to be put into suspended animation using sweets is once again proven true here with the dinosaurs in the syrupy sap. And that one picture Dipper takes of the pterodactyl? It’s the same that appears in the intro of the show! Whew, that’s a lot of continuity!
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: I love Stan’s moment of realization, though his war cry when delivering the final blow to the pterodactyl’s face is great despite being bastardized for the censors: “From heck’s heart I STAB AT THEE!!!“
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): A glittery disco ball one for the dance party, and a red one with Waddles’ face to match the one she made for him. Flashbacks to Soos’ mistakes include lime green with a flamingo, brown with an owl labeled “Who”, and blue with a UFO.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: I’ve learned that dinosaurs rule, and don’t lie. Seriously, don’t. It causes trouble for everyone.
Where’s that wacky triangle JRG KHOS PH ZKDW’V JRLQJ RQ LQ PB KHDG RQHHBHRQHHBHRQHHBHRQHHBHKHOS!!!
Qhaw wlph rq Judylwb Idoov…