If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.
Welcome to Season 2 of Gravity Falls! What began as one man’s ode to the perfect summer his childhood self envisioned for himself and his sister has evolved into something greater. And what better day to return to it than on Alex Hirsch’s birthday? Let’s find out if Season 2 lives up to the hype.
Previously on Gravity Falls:
After finally reclaiming the Mystery Shack from their arch-nemesis Lil’ Gideon, twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines and their seemingly clueless Grunkle Stan have moved back in and are about to reopen Gravity Falls’ favorite tourist trap. Grunkle Stan has taken Dipper’s mysterious Journal for his own unclear purposes. Combining them with the two other Journals, one of which he had been hiding all along, he has used their knowledge to begin operating a mysterious portal deep within the bowels of the Mystery Shack.
That very night, as the inhabitants of Gravity Falls sleep, Stan activates the portal. As the power slowly begins to build, Stan reminds himself he has to keep playing it cool so nobody will suspect a thing. Sure that there’s no one who can put a dent in his plans, especially now that he’s come so close to his goals, he puts the machine into overdrive.
But Stan isn’t the only one awake.
Miles away a government facility picks up activity the likes of which they haven’t seen in thirty years. And it’s coming from the one place that’s been on their radar since then – Gravity Falls, Oregon.
The following morning sees the grand re-opening of the Mystery Shack. Grunkle Stan gets the town (and anyone else who may be watching) caught up on the season finale’s plot and invites them all to the after party that night. Mabel in particular is excited for it because she wants to sing karaoke with Dipper and Stan, though they aren’t too keen on performing as her dream band “Love Patrol Alpha”.As the crowd disperses, Dipper works up the courage to ask Grunkle Stan for his Journal back, and, in an unprecedented move, Stan returns it (he photocopied the pages the previous night just in case). Dipper steals Mabel away into their room and confesses something: they’re halfway through their summer but he’s no closer to solving any of Gravity Falls’ and the Journal’s mysteries, like who the Author is or Bill Cipher’s big plans or where the other Journals are. Dipper wants to get to the bottom of it all but Mabel points out that he’s scoured that Journal to cover to cover; there’s nothing new there that he hasn’t already read, and any pages that aren’t covered in writing are completely blank.
Meanwhile, Stan has some very unwelcome visitors in the form of government agents Powers (Nick Offerman) and Trigger (Brad Abrell). He closes the Shack and attempts to bribe them into leaving with money and tacky gifts.On learning Powers and Trigger are there to investigate the mysterious in Gravity Falls, Dipper is hyped. He tries to get friendly with them in hopes that they can discover the truth together. Powers gives Dipper a card with his contact info, but Stan tries to play off what he’s saying as the ramblings of a kid with an overactive imagination. The agents depart and Stan takes the card, warning Dipper to stay away from them. Mabel insists that Dipper listen to Stan and focus on other things, like the upcoming party and their big karaoke number.
That night everyone sets up for the party and it quickly becomes a swinging shendig. Wendy even puts out some cool posters that change color in black light. Dipper is still upset that he missed his one chance to connect the dots with the agents, though. Wendy, the boss that she is, tips Dipper off as to where Stan keeps his hidden contraband, and covers for him as he sneaks into his room to get the card back.
After some rummaging Dipper finds the phone number and calls Agent Powers. He tells him to meet him in the woods where he’ll show him the Journal that could be the key to unlocking Gravity Falls’ mysteries. Unfortunately Stan barges in and the two fight, mainly over whether or not there’s any reason for the agents to be here at all. Stan doesn’t believe there is and Dipper asks how he could be so oblivious to the weird things around them. Stan kicks Dipper out and tells him he’s grounded once the party’s over. Then he heads back downstairs through the vending machine to check on the portal.
Meanwhile Dipper slinks away from the party and meets Powers and Trigger. They’re not impressed by the Journal, however, since most of the pages they flip through feature the kind of cheap oddities you’d find at the Mystery Shack. Powers thinks this isn’t be a joke since he has the same condition as the bad guy in the 2011 Muppets Movie where he can’t comprehend humor or how to laugh, but either way he can’t take Dipper’s pleas seriously and they prepare to wrap up their investigation. Desperate to prove he’s right, Dipper reads out loud a random spell from the Journal. The ground beneath them shakes and opens up, spewing hordes of shambling, decomposing, flesh-hungry zombies.
Powers and Trigger are dragged screaming into the night and Dipper sprints back to the Mystery Shack with the zombies not far behind him. Everyone at the party flees from the “earthquake”, leaving just him, Mabel, and Soos to face the walking dead. Thankfully Soos is a horror aficionado and knows what mistakes not to make to keep them alive, like being that one guy who stands there talking instead of running for their lives.The zombies – and a zombified but still completely in-character Soos – attack the golf cart, their one means of escape, and Dipper and Mabel fight their way to the Mystery Shack (Note to self – karaoke machines make a surprisingly good improvised weapon during a zombie apocalypse). They board up as many entrances as they can but Zombie Soos cuts the power and they smash through the window. Dipper regrets how his impetuous search for answers landed them in his mess and barely has time to apologize before a zombie snatches him. Dipper is inches away from his doom…but is saved by an unlikely hero. Stan holds the zombies off so Dipper and Mabel can hide upstairs. First he beats their heads in with a bat, but when it’s broken, BOOM! Out come the brass knuckles! It is an unbelievably kickass moment from a character we often forget knows how to kick some ass. Bruce Campbell would be fucking proud.
The Pines barricade themselves in the attic, but there’s little time left before the zombies break through. Dipper can’t help but say that at least Grunkle Stan can no longer deny that the supernatural exists, to which Stan says –
“…Kid, I’ve always known.”
He reveals that he only pretended to ignore the obviously whacked-out things in town in order to keep them safe from them, but he fears this may have cost them their lives. Dipper despairs that there’s nothing in the Journal about fighting off zombies, but Mabel points to the black light on the floor:
Yes, there are even more secrets hidden in the Journal thanks to invisible ink, which is revealed in the black light. The ink over the entry on zombies reveals that the Author discovered what a zombie’s weakness is – a powerful three-part harmony. And the karaoke machine is still in working condition…
With the coming of dawn, Stan, Dipper and Mabel clean up the ruins of the party. Dipper apologizes for wrecking Mabel’s perfect night, but she says she got it when they all sang together like she wanted. Grunkle Stan lets Dipper and Mabel keep the Journal if he promises to use it to defend himself from any spooky weirdness he meets and not go looking for trouble. Dipper agrees as long as Stan swears that he’s not going to hide any more big secrets from them. Unsurprisingly, both keep their fingers crossed when making these vows.
A still-zombifed Soos reappears, having stayed in the Mystery Shack to watch some reality TV during the sing-along, but using the black light Dipper finds an easy homemade cure for zombie bites. He also discovers that an illustration of the tree where he first found the Journal has a hidden staircase leading to an underground bunker…
I. Freaking. Love. This. Episode. It does a bang-up job welcoming us back to Gravity Falls and inviting us deeper into its mysteries. It also marks a massive shift from strange but mostly lighthearted slice of life segments, to a much darker, connected story. This was the point where Disney moved the series from the Disney Channel to Disney XD, which gave the GF team more freedom to do things that appealed to the show’s slightly older audience without alienating families completely. It’s a prime example of the show’s themes – that of family and togetherness. Not to spoil anything, but it’s going to play a huge part by the end. The art direction is incredible with plenty of dark shadows and popping neon colors, especially in the last third with the zombie attack. And good luck getting “Taking Over Midnight” out of your head. Ten out of ten, will watch again. Go Love Patrol Alpha!
And the Internet Went:
Need I say more?
End Credits Craziness: Agents Powers and Trigger have not only miraculously survived the zombie attack, but decide this warrants further investigation of the town and the Pines family. Also they nearly kill Toby Determined when they temporarily mistake him for another zombie.
Callbacks: Stan uses the cloning photocopy machine on the Journal. The items on Dipper’s board documenting Gravity Falls’ mysteries includes the experiment tag from the carpet in “Carpet Diem”, a drawing of Bill Cipher, photos of Quentin Trembley the 3rd and the Summerween Trickster, Gideon’s amulet from “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”, and a newspaper article about Gideon’s arrest. Tyler Cutebiker arrives at the party wearing both the puma AND panther shirt that he couldn’t decide on getting. Gorney, Poolcheck, and Wendy’s friends are also there. Safe to say the boxing lessons we saw young Stan take in “Dreamscaperers” came in handy when punching the zombies in the face. Dipper uses the same shovel Soos gave him to fend off zombies in “Tourist Trapped” so he can…fend off the zombies. Good to know it came in handy for that specific reason.
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: In honor of Gravity Falls’ return, I am going to list SIX Crowning Lines of Hilawesomeness in this episode:
6. Mabel: (lowers party horns into Blubs and Durland’s mouths; whispers) Welcome to your dreams.
5. Zombie Soos: Give it up, dudes. Your fighting only makes us look more rad!
4. Zombie Soos: On second thought, gonna flip the script. Can I, eat your brains, yay or nay? I’m seeing some “yay” faces…
3. Mabel: Karaoke isn’t about sounding good. It’s about sounding terrible together.
2. Mabel: Dipper, what’s the one thing I asked you not to do tonight?
Dipper: Raise the dead.
Mabel: And what did you do?
Dipper: …Raise the dead.
1. Grunkle Stan: Thirty long years, and it’s all led up to this. My greatest achievement! …I probably should have worn pants.
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): A watermelon pattern during the day, and a fashionably oversized purple one with a light-up boom box for the party.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: See Crowning Line #3. Oh, and be mindful of how far you take your search for answers, because your stubbornness could land you in deeper trouble.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?And finally, I’m starting a new category for this season called Have You Seen The Agents? …It’s kind of redundant for this episode since they’re part of the end credits but I’m gonna do it anyway. Next time on Gravity Falls – Gather your explorers’ gear and an extra pair of brown pants. We’re going Into The Bunker. See you then.