Gravity Falls: Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls
February 16, 2016 6:26 AM - Season 2, Episode 20 - Subscribe

You guys...

It's the LAST EPISODE of Gravity Falls. I'm too verklempt to put anything coherent here.
posted by 1970s Antihero (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sad to see the end of such a fun show, but I respect Hirsch's desire to end the show on his own terms, having told the story he wanted to tell. I guess I feel the same way Kristen Schaal did.

That said - so many hooks in this episode for a future return to Gravity Falls! Way to tease the fanbase. (One example: the reversed audio from when Bill is being erased is "A X O L T O L MY TIME HAS COME TO BURN I INVOKE THE ANCIENT POWER THAT I MAY RETURN" Besides being a key for the cryptogram axolotls have remarkable regenerative capacities.)

I think they did a good job of striking the right notes with how they left the characters and their relationships. Nothing too pat, but you do get closure. Maybe the one exception in my opinion would be Pacifica, who felt a little underdeveloped after her buildup in S2E10. I guess you can't fit everything into one show, even a double episode.

Cryptograms are here.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:46 AM on February 16, 2016

I actually teared up watching this episode.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:54 AM on February 16, 2016

That episode was excellent. Such a nice way of wrapping up the series. It had much more of an emotional punch than I was expecting at the end.

The one thing I noticed -- it seemed as if at the end that the Mystery Shack looked like it had been abandoned for years, rather than being wrecked by the events of the episode. Grass growing inside, decay, leaves. I couldn't figure that one out.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:00 AM on February 16, 2016

I'm not even sure how to review this episode. I feel the same way as this AV Club review where I just want to point at some of the awesome parts of it. Wendy riding one of the bat eyes was amazing. And Soos' Abuelita moving in immediately was great too. I'm really going to miss this show, even when it was off the air for months at a time, at least there was the vague promise of more, but now its really gone.
posted by hobgadling at 8:06 AM on February 16, 2016

fimbulvetr - I noticed that too. I expect I might notice more rearranged details in the town on a rewatch. Possibly the dilapidation of the shack was a way of accounting for how much damage it had taken as a robot? Weirdmageddon debris being turned into leaves and grass? Though other things were replaced intact.
Another theory might be that the shack was being "reset" to an earlier point than other parts of Gravity Falls. (Prior to Ford first creating the portal/meeting Bill?) Images of Bill have been hidden in the decoration of the shack throughout the series. Maybe there was some lingering influence that required a deeper reset?
posted by Wretch729 at 8:17 AM on February 16, 2016

posted by Etrigan at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2016

A fun aside - It seems like mostly just a joke between the animators but the mug, pen, and pad that fly into the portal when Gruncle Stan first gets it running in S2E7 appear to pop out of a dimension portal in S1E10 of Rick and Morty. So technically until that show ends Gravity Falls' multiverse is still on the air! #graspingatstraws
posted by Wretch729 at 9:29 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like the way that pretty much every episode was revisited during Weirdmageddon.

Were any episodes left out? I don't remember a callback to the haunted convenience store ep.
posted by painquale at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

painquale - Aoshima and one of the Flavor Pups from that episode show up in Mabel's dream world.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:55 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm very glad that Alex Hirsch got to create and satisfactorily finish a serialized animated television series. The fact that this is an unusual situation is a symptom of the unsophistication of the American animation industry.
posted by Small Dollar at 1:59 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was a little disappointed because the prophecy didn't get to be fulfilled in terms of all the symbols working. I really wanted to see that!

But then I always found the Stan/Ford split kind of underwhelming. Which is fine for a bit of backstory but kind of thin to build your climactic moments on.

But hey, kid's show. A more powerful betrayal might have been too dark.

Bill was a great villain, so of course it's always a little sad to see him go.
posted by emjaybee at 6:15 PM on February 16, 2016

I'm very glad that Alex Hirsch got to create and satisfactorily finish a serialized animated television series. The fact that this is an unusual situation is a symptom of the unsophistication of the American animation industry.

Between Gravity Falls and Over The Garden Wall, we may be turning a corner on this.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:36 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I actually teared up watching this episode.

I managed to stay strong until Mabel said goodbye to Waddles. And then the waterworks opened for real.
posted by librarianamy at 8:20 AM on February 17, 2016

Even though it was one of my favorite TV shows the first season, I sort of lost track of Gravity Falls in the second season (though no fault of the show except for maybe the incoherent scheduling) but caught up with the last half during a Disney XD marathon last weekend.

I was never able to keep up with the ciphers and other hidden puzzles (which is a shame, because like Alex Hirsch himself, Kid Me would have loved that part so much. But as far as the emotional promise pf the character relationships that was set up very early in Season 1, I feel like the ending paid off in an absolutely amazing way. So great.

I love that Wendy just got better and more awesome as the show went on. Sometimes the cool older girl you have a huge crush on (or, in my case, you would if you weren't Super Gay) actually is the Coolest Person You'll Ever Know.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:39 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

or, in my case, you would if you weren't Super Gay

I'm still mad Ant Man got a movie before you. So unfair.
posted by phearlez at 11:21 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's hard to imagine a better ending than this one. Completely satisfying without being maudlin or saccharine. This weird kid's show really turned into something special.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:43 AM on February 17, 2016

I was a little disappointed because the prophecy didn't get to be fulfilled in terms of all the symbols working. I really wanted to see that!

I liked the implied lesson of "Sure, there are often ways to do things, but fuck it, find your own."
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

As it turns out, theres still one more mystery to solve.
posted by hobgadling at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I liked the implied lesson of "Sure, there are often ways to do things, but fuck it, find your own."
posted by Etrigan

Not only did I like it I think it’s essential to Dipper’s character growth. A pivot of the whole series is the dynamic tension between Dipper’s social anxiety and desire to grow up too fast and Mabel’s comfort with her big personality and fear of change as she grows up. Dipper is motivated by his desire to know the truth and interest in cryptozoology but he also falls into the nerd trap of thinking that if he can just figure out “the rules” he can use them to game the system. This pattern comes up repeatedly for him: “teenagers are cool, ergo if I pass as a teen I will be cool” (S1E5 “The Inconveniencing”) or “if I can follow my rules I can fool Wendy into liking me” (S1E7 “Double Dipper”).

In Weirdmageddon part 1 Ford and Dipper try to solve the problem alone and fail (it’s telling that Ford’s first instinct is to try his own invention rather than assembling the people needed to fulfill the prophecy of the circle, of which he is clearly aware). With Ford’s loss and the destruction of the journals Dipper is on the point of giving up but Wendy helps him realize that with his sister’s help there is still a chance to win. (It’s not made explicit but surely Dipper is meant to remember back to the season 1 finale, where he also lost the journals but was able to beat Gideon with his own abilities and his sister’s help.)

Then we see the flip of this in the penultimate episode, where Mabel must accept that “things change; summer ends” and with Dipper’s help rejects an escapist illusion in favor of a sometimes upsetting but real life with her brother.

The parallel to Stan and Ford’s relationship is obvious but note how they each exaggerate or suppress important traits of the twin protagonists. Stan was the “smooth operator” who knew how to con people. The (escapist) dream of sailing off together was always closest to his heart. Yet he suppresses the compassion that characterizes Mabel and his refusal to accept or understand his brother’s goals and desires leads to their estrangement. Ford is a bona fide genius where Dipper is just a bright kid, but his bitterness over his missed opportunity at the science fair also contributes to his estrangement from Stan and drives him to pursue his research with no regard for the cost to those around him. Like early series Dipper he succumbs to the temptation for a shortcut and his collaboration with Bill drives McGucket away (ruining his life) and puts the whole world at risk from the demon.

All of this serves to reinforce the series-underpinning concept that working together with your friends and family isn’t an end in and of itself but a means to achieving any goal. Yes, there’s a prophecy for how to defeat Bill but the mechanics of getting certain people in certain slots is less important than the method; working together with compassion and creativity. It’s a great message for a kids show especially in an age of formulaic standardized testing.

(Sorry for the novel.)
posted by Wretch729 at 6:29 AM on February 18, 2016 [11 favorites]

Exit interview with Alex Hirsch.
I am Grunkle Stan: I am the voice of Grunkle Stan; my profession, much like Stan’s, is to be this carnival barker delighting and confusing kids and taking them for a strange ride. So when Grunkle Stan says goodbye to Dipper and Mabel, that’s me saying goodbye to Dipper and Mabel—saying goodbye to working with Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal, saying goodbye to working with my crew, and saying goodbye to an amazing experience. I do get a little misty when I watch that scene even after seeing it 100 times because as hard as the show was, I genuinely love the team I got to work with. I’m proud of what we did. And I do love the fans. Of course it means so much to me, and I can’t help but feeling it when I see that scene.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:55 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Just came back here to post this amazing follow-up fan cartoon.
posted by emjaybee at 3:00 PM on February 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

More comics can be found here on tumblr.

I like this one.

This one is too real.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:45 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm disappointed with how readily they gave Stan his memories back. The guy just made the most badass sacrifice he could to take Bill down with him, in one of the most satisfying final confrontations, then he gets his memories back as soon as he comes back to the Mystery Shack. Most REAL amnesiacs can't hope for a recovery that swift. If he stayed amnesiac, almost everything could have stayed the same. Could've had the same heartfelt goodbye at the bus (So what if Erased Stan only knew the kids for that last week or so? Stan only knew them for three months.) Soos could have still inherited the shack, and Ford could have taken Erased Stan on the sailing trip Stan always wanted as a thank you, and in the hopes of finding something to restore his brother.

The way they have it cheapens the whole thing, and undermines Bill's defeat. After all, if Stan came back so easily who's to say Bill's not still in there too? Admittedly, this may be intentional. If Gravity Falls ever did come back, it gives Bill an excuse to show up again. I just wonder if it was executive meddling that made Stan come back, since the ending still works with his mind erased.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I kind of agree, Mr.Encyclopedia. Alex Hirsch has said in an interview since that he wishes he could have drawn out Grunkle Stan's recovery a bit more. But in the end, for the kind of show that Gravity Falls is, it's not entirely out of character. And remember that the most visible victim of the memory erasure gun, McGucket, the first thing he erased was something he didn't want to remember, he then used it on himself many times after resulting in his old-hillbilly personality, but even then towards the end he seemed to be remembering something of his old life, such as when he forgave Ford and cashed in all those patents. Presumably Grunkle Stan had a close-enough connection with the kids that the album helped bring those memories back, and from there the rest followed. It also gives important narrative weight to the adventures Stan and the kids had the whole series, and to Mabel's scrapbook.

It does seem to leave the door open for Bill's return, though, that and the reversed AXOLOTL message....
posted by JHarris at 12:28 PM on March 9, 2016

Agree that the return of Stan's memory undercuts his sacrifice. That said, even if maybe the ending still works without it for the twins, if you don't bring his memories back you erase all of Stan's character development over the whole series. I don't think you can recover that in a few days before the kids leave. Stan recovering his memory may be contrived but I think it's necessary for a happy ending.

As a character he covers a lot of ground in the last few episodes but I also think that bits from earlier are crucial. For example if you go back to S1E2 where he tries to take the kids out fishing (his crappy dinghy has the same name as the boat he hoped to sail with his brother) the way he's so downcast when they abandon him is more poignant in hindsight and the fact that they come back and wear the dumb hats and bond with him seems like an important moment of healing. Without the little moments like that I'm not sure you'd get the character back. Stan and Ford would be at each other's throats again by October. The twins might be fine but I don't see how Stan and Ford could be.

As JHarris notes, the ability to recover one's memories is so solidly established in S2E7 with McGucket getting years and years back (even if he's still a bit brain-damaged) that I'm forgiving about the quick recovery. And of course Bill will come back; demons always do.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:23 AM on March 10, 2016

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