Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 18: "The Land Before Swine"

Airdate: June 28th, 2013

“Open the door. Get on the floor.
Everybody fight some dinosaurs!”

Synopsis: A pterodactyl swoops through Gravity Falls. Waddles winds up as one of its victims. Stan tries to paint himself as an attempted savior of Waddles, to try and avoid scorn from Mabel. Y’see, Stan wanted Waddles (who he hates) outside, which attracted scorn from Mabel. No prizes for guessing what Stan did to the pig to land him in this state. Meanwhile, Soos is messing up Dipper’s investigations as of late, straining the relationship between the two. Everything goes in when Old Man McGucket takes the four into the cave where the Pterodactyl apparently lives, with Stan revealing what happened to the pig, Dipper finally letting loose at Soos, and the Pterodactyl revealing himself.

Yeah. It’s that kind of episode.

Review: First, a rule of thumb I have just discovered.

Continuing on the comedy-drama theme from “Boyz Crazy”, one thing that I’ve noticed is that episodes of Gravity Falls directed by Aaron Springer (“Dipper vs. Manliness”, “Time Traveller’s Pig”, and “The Deep End”, for example) tend to lean more toward somewhat slapdash comedy, while episodes directed by John Aoshima (“The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”, “Irrational Treasure”, and “Boyz Crazy”) tend to be somewhat more dramatic, with darker humour and more character study. This is not an iron-clad rule (“Fight Fighters”, despite being an Aoshima episode, was largely comedic, while Springer-led “Little Dipper” was more dramatic), and does not signify which director was better (all depends on what attracts you to the show). Rather, it’s more of a guide for, say, season 2, assuming the director staff does not change.

(Simpsons Fans, think showrunners: Oakley/Weinstein and Jean/Reiss tended to lean more toward down to earth comedy and character drama, while Mirkin and Scully went more slapdash and zany- for good or bad. Red Dwarf fans, compare the more comedic Rob Grant to the more dramatic Doug Naylor.)

Now that my intro is done, I can confirm that the last three episodes are Aoshima episodes, and they all have character relations at or close to their epicenter. Today, it’s the relationship between Stan, Mabel, and everybody’s favorite pork-related pet, Waddles. It’s pretty apparent that Stan loathes Waddles to a great extent, even lying just to finally be rid of him. Stan made no effort to conceal that in “The Deep End”, and here, it’s FAR more obvious.

Really, Waddles helps bring out the worst in Stan, and brings out the best in Mabel. Mabel, however, also brings out the best in Stan; he realizes that lying to your genki girl pre-teen daughter about the fate of her pet is not a good idea. He then realizes what Waddles meant to Mabel: he was more than a pig, but rather, one of her many friends. To recover his relationship, he goes on one of the most spectacular attacks against the strangeness of the town ever. When you can quote Moby Dick beyond “Thar she blows”, you know your show is sublime. He knows he runs the risk of dying, and quotes Ahab’s immortal last words in case he goes down

This also shows a more realistic view of our show’s Plucky Comic Relief, Soos. Instead of just being an infallible center of wisdom with comedy splashed in, he is shown as an individual who’s lightheartedness can do as much harm as it does good. Of course, it resolves itself in the end with the “eyesight technique”, thus showing that the man is really intelligent underneath the silliness.

Probably the thing that keeps this episode’s score relatively low is that the humor in this episode is not fantastic. However, it’s not enough to drag the episode down below a “great”.

Favorite Scene: Stan. Fights. A. Pterodactyl.

Least Favorite Scene: Did we REALLY need a montage with Mabel and the Pig? At least they used the moves from the second-greatest movie from the 80s, The Breakfast Club.

Score: 8.5

One More Note: Yes, the name of this blog has changed from Geek Zone to Geek Centre. May as well do something new.


2 thoughts on “Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 18: "The Land Before Swine"

  1. Anonymous March 11, 2014 / 8:15 PM

    “At least they used the moves from the second-greatest movie from the 80s, The Breakfast Club.”

    Out of curiosity, what's the greatest movie from the 80s?


  2. Mr. B. March 11, 2014 / 9:01 PM

    Thank you for commenting. The greatest movie from the 80s is “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”. Should’ve clarified that.


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