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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: Summer in Gravity Falls has gotten a bit more crazy ever since Grunkle Stan returned his twin brother and Journal Author Ford from another dimension. Though the brothers are still at odds over a decades-old dispute, this hasn’t stopped Dipper from trying to get to know the side of his family he shares his brains from. But some questions might be better left unanswered, especially when there’s a certain triangular nightmare demon involved…
It’s nighttime. The Pines family are sound asleep in the Mystery Shack. But Ford’s dreams are unsettling ones as an old foe makes himself known.
Bill’s happy to see his “friend” has returned, but the feeling’s far from mutual. Bill tells him that shutting down the portal hasn’t stopped his plan, and once the rift that’s keeping their dimensions separate has slipped out of Ford’s hands, well, it won’t be good. Ford wakes up in a cold sweat; the first thing he does the next morning is warn Dipper and Mabel about Bill, but is astounded when he learns they’re already more than familiar with him. Ford tells them that Bill is the most dangerous being he’s met, and if he achieves his goals no one will be safe. He does have a plan to protect his family by “Bill-proofing” the Mystery Shack. The only thing he needs is some unicorn hair, which can only be procured on a magical quest by a maiden who’s pure of heart.
Mabel, a bona fide unicorn nut, begs to go, and Ford allows it. Armed with a crossbow and Journal 1, she calls Candy, Grenda and Wendy and it’s off to the forest they go. Meanwhile, Dipper and Ford head to another hidden room in the Mystery Shack, his private study. Until Mabel returns with the hair, Ford is going to Bill-proof Dipper’s mind with a machine that can scan all thoughts and encrypt them so Bill won’t be able to read or enter them. Ford won’t have to do it to himself since he previously had a metal plate installed in his head to keep Bill out.
All the girls are eager to finally meet/touch/taste a real unicorn except for Wendy, who, as we already know, is the kind of girl who’d rather go hunting for direwolves for fun than track down some prissy horses. They find the magic glade where the unicorns dwell and meet the last of the unicorns, Princess Celestabelleabethabelle.
Mabel informs the creature of her quest and steps forward to claim the hair, but Celestabelleabethabelle finds with her magic that Mabel’s heart is not pure enough for her to receive it. This announcement shocks everyone, but on further introspection Mabel admits that she has been pretty hard on Dipper lately. Celestabelleabethabelle tells them to return only when Mabel has purified herself. The girls tell Mabel not to let what the unicorn said get to her, but Mabel is intent on righting her wrongs and being the good girl she felt she used to be. Through a montage underscored with a catchy soul tune (sung by Carmen Carter, who also sung the montage song in “Boss Mabel”). Mabel goes around Gravity Falls with her friends performing one good deed after another.
They return to the unicorn’s glen, but again Celestabelleabethabelle judges Mabel to not be pure enough. Mabel begs her to tell her what she did wrong and Celestabelleabethabelle rips into her saying doing good deeds to make yourself look good does just the opposite. But hey, those are the unicorn rules, they can’t just throw hair away to every terrible person who comes asking for it. She sends Mabel away in tears, her self-esteem shattered.
As Mabel sequesters herself in order to think of a deed that will make her as good and perfect as Celestabelleabethabelle, Wendy, Candy and Grenda plot to get the hair their own way, goodness and unicorn purity be damned.
One butterfly trafficking deal with some shady gnomes later, the girls sneak into the glen at night, drug Celestabelleabethabelle, and prepare to steal some of her hair. Mabel catches them in the act and stops them in time, but Celestabelleabethabelle wakes up, sees the scissors in Mabel’s hands, assumes she was the one behind it and declares that she will never be pure of heart. As Mabel breaks down, two more unicorns show up and roll their eyes at Celestabelleabethabelle “pulling the old ‘pure of heart’ scam”.
Celestabelleabethabelle owns up that unicorns can’t really see into people’s hearts and they say that just so they can be left alone; they’re jerks and they like it that way. Mabel, who believed she was a terrible person this whole time thanks to her, is beyond infuriated that a creature she grew up adoring could be a complete asshole.
And she responds in the best way possible.
By punching C-Bag in the fucking face.
The buildup to what would have been a great fight scene between Mabel and her crew and the unicorns is great, but just when shit’s about to go down it cuts back to Dipper and Ford. Luckily the scene while deleted was fully animated, and though it’s short it doesn’t disappoint.
While that’s going on, Dipper’s growing impatient with the lengthy Bill-proofing process. He gets to wondering why Ford has been skirting his questions about how he knows Bill and, spurred on by the echoes of his own thoughts from the machine, decides to take a peek into the sleeping Ford’s mind with the machine.
And he is not prepared for what he sees.
Ford wakes up and intones with an earth-rumbling baritone “You should not have done that.” He tosses the helmet aside and knocks over curtains revealing tapestries and idols of Bill. In a panic Dipper seizes the rift and points the memory ray at what he thinks is Bill possessing Ford. Ford tries to convince Dipper it’s him, but all the boy can do is chant the Journal’s warning of “Trust No One”. Desperate to protect the one thing keeping Bill from crossing over into our world, he fires the ray. It ricochets off Ford’s glasses and around the room before breaking the thought machine.
Dipper is finally able to see Ford was telling the truth when he looks at his eyes – they’re not yellow with elongated slits like when he was possessed by Bill. He apologizes for nearly erasing his great-uncle’s memory, but Ford says the ray wouldn’t have affected him anyway due to the metal plate in his head. He commends Dipper for standing up to him like that if it really were Bill. Ford decides it would be best to come clean about everything so Dipper can be more prepared for whatever tricks Bill has up his sleeve:
Long ago when Ford was still studying the anomalies of Gravity Falls, he hit a roadblock in his research, the biggest one of all – where was all the weirdness coming from? One day Ford stumbled into a cave and found a room filled with images and incantations to summon a powerful being with the answer to everything – and warnings to never do so. Ford ignored them and gave it a try but nothing happened until he settled down for a nap. Bill appeared to him in his dreams claiming to be a muse that appeared only to a genius destined to change the world. Ford fell for his flattery and lies and allowed him to take over his body as he pleased to further his research. He asked no questions when Bill presented the possibility of building a gateway to other worlds, but its disastrous testing with McGucket getting a glimpse of what Bill’s true plans were finally made him realize his “muse” was anything but. Ford confronted him, but Bill’s schemes to cross over into the material world and conquer it were already well underway. Ford shut down the Portal and hid the Journals so no one could finish it, but if Bill got his hands on the rift through trickery, possession, or his other usual methods, then it all would have been for naught.
Ford promises to keep no more secrets between him and Dipper so neither of them will be fooled again. But without the machine it looks like there’s no way they can be protected from Bill – or so they think.
Now thanks to Mabel retrieving the unicorn hair (as well as a buttload of treasure), the Mystery Shack will be safe from Bill. Ford is sure to let her know that she is more than a good person for protecting her family (unicorn tears smell like onions, shut up).
The Last Mabelcorn is an episode I count among my top 10 favorites, maybe even top 5. It is a gutbusting riff on the traditional mythos surrounding unicorns and their depiction in media like My Little Pony and The Last Unicorn. Celestabelleabethabelle is voiced by Sam Marin who plays many of the characters on Regular Show, and by God does the over-the-top queenly voice he gives her crack me up something fierce. There’s other individual moments of dialogue or sight gags that are too numerous to get into but they also make the episode for me (the butterfly trafficking deal must be seen to be believed). We also get some great backstory with Ford and Bill as well as some more rapport establishing between him and Dipper. It’s a shame the rest of the season is so short or that we never got a complete third one because I would have liked to have seen more moments with Mabel and Ford bonding as well like in the end of this episode. Part of me can’t help but feel a lot of Mabel’s character arc in this one is somewhat inspired by the fans of the show who are Mabel’s detractors; those who say she gets away with everything but screws things up for her brother too much to earn any of it. I like how here she acknowledges the teasing and harm she may have done and tries to better herself in the name of protecting her family, and even going so far as to attempt to live up to an impossible standard of saintliness. What those detractors forget is that for all her flaws Mabel is still a good and very caring person, and when that seems to be taken away from her she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. It’s so awesome to see Candy, Wendy and Grenda stick up for her the way they do; in fact the whole girl adventure aspect is another badass subversion of the traditional girls and unicorns fantasy tropes. Wendy’s declaration that girls aren’t meant to be perfect unicorns and they’re through playing by Celestabelleabethabelle’s rules is a true “F YEAH” moment. The animation is great, the backgrounds are beautiful, the writing is top-notch, and there’s a nice lesson to be learned here too about putting up with people who try to make us feel terrible about ourselves.
And the Internet Went:
End Credits Craziness: With the unicorn hair put in place, the Mystery Shack is officially safe from Bill’s intrusions. Little do they know Bill is watching from his Nightmare Dimension. He may not be able possess anyone in the Shack, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take control of anyone from the outside…
Callbacks: The remains of the Portal, and broken-down versions of the Stan-O-War and Ford and Stan’s childhood swingset are in the background of Ford’s nightmare. In the beginning of the episode Stan is busy smuggling pugs, one of the many crimes he’s previously committed listed at the end of the last episode. Mabel and Dipper briefly recap their previous defeats of Bill from “Dreamscaperers” and “Sock Opera”. We learn Ford’s middle name is Filbrick, after his father. Bill’s nightmare realm and his plan was previously mentioned in “Dipper & Mabel’s Guide to Mystery and Nonstop Fun!” Ford’s electron body-switching carpet makes another appearance. The rave music one of the unicorns play through their horns is the same as the Dance Dance Revolution game from “The Inconveniencing”. When Dipper is plugged into the mind-encrypting machine, several familiar thoughts cross his mind – scenes from “Tourist Trapped”, “Into the Bunker” and “Not What He Seems”, him missing his clone Tyrone from “Double Dipper”, singing the “Disco Girl” song from “Dipper Vs. Manliness”, text repeating “Eenie meenie miney you” from “Tourist Trapped and “Sock Opera”, fondly remembering Wendy in her bathing suit from “The Deep End”, a mental note to try the President’s Key from “Irrational Treasure”, and wondering about a Hardy Boys knockoff series he was reading in “Double Dipper”.
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: Wendy, you do the honors –
“It’s time we stop trying to be so “perfect” and be who we really are. We’re crazed, angry, sweaty animals. We’re not unicorns, we’re WOMEN! And we take what we want!!”
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): Yellow to red gradient stripes with a pink unicorn in the center (which gets ripped off when Mabel loses all faith in unicorns) before the fight.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle:…go buck yourself.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Well it’s been a helluva year, isn’t it? I’ll be seeing you two weeks into 2018 with the next Gravity Falls adventure, “Roadside Attraction”. Until then, I’d like to leave you with one small message: I hope the new year holds many wonderful things for you all, that the pains and sorrows of the old year are left behind for good, and that you carry the best from those days with you always.