Well, yesterday, we looked at the top 5 worst episodes of season 1 of Gravity Falls. It was hard to pick the 5 worst, simply because the season was so good.
So, without further ado, here are…
“Bottomless Pit” was sort of the “Treehouse of Horror” of Gravity Falls. Now, whether this will be an annual installment like the “Treehouse of Horror” in The Simpsons or the Alternate Universe based/”Anthology of Interest” episodes in Futurama is mere speculation at this point. The fact is, this was a wonderful trilogy (and a half) of episodes produced here.
One of the great things about Gravity Falls is how well the show balances plot, character, and humor. This episode contains a healthy dose of all three. The strange part is that all three-and-a-half stories are more than just individual stories; they give some depth into our favorite characters.
5. The Hand That Rocks the Mabel
Gideon Gleeful’s first episode is a bit of a curiosity; despite being the primary antagonist in the season finale, he only makes his first appearance in episode 4. Yet, the episode itself is just so good that the curiosity of his relatively late first appearance can be more than forgiven.
Gideon and Mabel are just two of the fantastically developed characters in Gravity Falls. Gideon at first appears to be your typical child star; cute, with some troubled aspects. That is, until we slowly see him go insane due to his lust for Mabel. It is there that we learn the nature of his character; he has a dangerous combination of personal influence and supernatural powers. In fact, the very last scene in the episode makes the danger he possesses that much more insane.
After three episodes of showing Mabel as a general goofball, Mabel slowly starts to develop into a more relatable character; one that can draw the line and enforce it. She’s not just looking for a boy to date; she wants a close friend, a sister-type character. Of course, we get a brief dialogue with Wendy, which comes close to forming a bond, but the two devolve into their own dialogues that are tragically too far apart to really form a strong connection.
4. Carpet Diem
One of the greatest aspects of Gravity Falls has got to be the interpersonal relationships. The relationship between the Pines Twins is not just your typical brother-sister relationship; it’s complex, friendly and loving, yet also far from perfect – given that the twins have quite different personalities, this is to be expected.
“Carpet Diem” shows a somewhat more tense side to our favorite twins; the two decide to not room together anymore, and have to compete for Stan’s approval to get another room. This begins a whole bunch of comedy through the episode that eventually leads to the “Bodyswap” being invoked… which then leads into a bunch more comedy.
That’s why this episode is fantastic; while there is tons of character development (even for Candy and Grenda), this episode is just a comedy romp… before the last 4 episodes, which are much, much more dramatic overall.
3. Gideon Rises
As mentioned above, Gideon, despite initially seeming harmless and cute, slowly reveals himself to be a manipulative, Machiavellian antagonist who will do anything and everything to gain power. Here, he seems to have his power secured: he holds the deed to the Mystery Shack, and it seems like doom is approaching for the summer in Gravity Falls.
This is the season finale, so it probably made sense that, barring it being a major disappointment, it would make it close to the top of the charts. So, no surprises here. Really, outside of the predictable ending, you have a very wacky, twisty episode that throws surprise after surprise in terms of characters and plot.
Plus, this contains the return of the grappling hook!
Poll Gravity Falls fans on their favorite episodes and chances are that Dreamscaperers will win. Hell, for me, it is just mere inches away from the top spot.
Stan Pines is something of a “first among equals”; although all of the main characters (bar Wendy, so far) are well-developed characters, Stan is just a little bit deeper than all of them. Kinda ironic, then, that this episode takes us deep into his mind. Literally. We get to enter Stan’s mind. The end result? We learn about his tragic childhood, his relationship with Dipper, etc.
Also, this episode contains the fantastically morally ambiguous Bill Cypher. When a character manages to switch between creepy and funny at the drop of a hat, and still remain a genuine threat, you know you made a damn good antagonist.
Now, there were several episodes that could’ve made the list. That’s how good the season was. Yet, after narrowing down my 6 favorites, I think I am quite comfortable with my list. My number one favorite episode, though, is strange, as a similarly dark and tragic episode made it onto my worst episodes list. Folks, the Number One BEST Season 1 Episode is…
…wait for it…
…stalling some mor-
1. Boyz Crazy
Given that “The Time Travelers Pig” was a dark episode that ended in tragedy for Dipper and showcased a more selfish side to Mabel, you would think “Boyz Crazy” would also end up on the “Worst Episodes” list.
The difference, and the reason why this episode tops the list, while that episode tops the “worst episode” list? The overall episode quality… in that this episode was so perfect.
What made this episode work so well had to be the development of its characters meshing well enough with the episode’s depressing and dark tone. Really. This episode contains the following; kidnapping, lying on god-knows-how-many-counts, hypnosis, a very rape-y undertone to said hypnosis, sexism, and hot pants. Yet, this episode also develops every major character in the episode. Wendy, Candy, and Grenda, who are often left behind in terms of character development, are given some fantastic development.
Do I even have to mention the darker side of Mabel? She kidnaps an enslaved boy band with no knowledge of the outside world, then proceeds to enslave them. Unlike “Time Travellers Pig”, where Mabel is antagonistic simply to ruin Dipper, here, it’s all a product of power; she turns against her old words of “if you love something, you have to set them free”.
Both plots end with serious wake-up calls for our heroes: Mabel realizes that she has turned into a hypocrite, while Dipper realizes that he was not really looking out for Wendy, but rather was out just to go on a date with her. It’s fantastic, dramatic, all hysterical… what more can I say?
Character comedy and drama is one of those things that makes Gravity Falls so sweet. Even with a couple of clunkers, the awesome episodes are so fantastic that they supersede anything bad to come from those poor episodes. Let’s just hope season 2 is even better!
Tomorrow, the wrap up for season 1!