Gravity Falls Review: “Scaryoke” (Season 2, Episode 1)

Airdate: August 1st, 2014

Synopsis: With Gideon finally secured in a local prison, the Mystery Shack holds a mixer to try and celebrate something of a return to the status quo. Pretty much the entire town is invited to the party. However, Stan’s activation of his device in the basement alerts the federal government to the town. Dipper tries to convince the feds that the town is strange… to the point where he raises the dead and wrecks the party.

*WARNING: SOME SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON. READ AT OWN RISK*

Review: To quote Red Dwarf’s Dave Lister… “SHE RIDES!”

Gravity Falls comes back, and it comes back with a bang! I’ll put it this way: it was worth the year-long hiatus. Want more? Well, so do I!

Want more? Well, so do I!

“Scaryoke”, for one, finally confirms what we’ve all suspected: the town of Gravity Falls has been monitored by the federal government for its paranormal activity. The government traces the signal to 30 years prior. Ironic, as Stan says that he has felt the best he has in thirty years. This brings questions upon questions to the table for season 2: what does the government know about the town? How did Stan get ahold of the device? How seriously will they treat this investigation?

Really, though, this episode’s raison d’etre was “Welcome Back to the Show, Lads!” The party is all but a reunion of the cast from the past year, right down to the seemingly insignificant characters (such as the teens in “The Inconveniencing”). All of the characters aren’t just there for show: they actually use actual character traits, as if to welcome back people who may have forgotten about them in the past few months. Some of these one-shots even get some traces of development.

Speaking of development, much of this episode focuses on giving more depth to our main characters. Dipper and Stan obviously get the lion’s share. This episode tends to reinforce the theory of “Generation Xerox” and the mirror image first presented in “Dreamscaperers”. Both Dipper and Stan have a sense of arrogance, once tried to keep their discoveries in relative secrecy, seem to have fallen on the wrong side of the government, and seem to come off as somewhat hypocritical. However, Stan’s morals and character seem to have been eroded within a certain timeframe. Whatever happened has turned him into a cynical, angry man. Dipper does have some cynical traits, yet life seems to have not affected him as much as Stan. What was the path that Stan took to drive him off into abject cynicism? Is Dipper starting to turn into his own enemy (see below)?

Stan, however, is proven in this episode to be a more complex character. Once he realizes that the Pines twins are under attack by zombies, he immediately comes to their defense. Don’t tell me he hasn’t matured over season 1. Still, the question remains: does he want to prevent Dipper from finding any of his secrets out for the good of Dipper, or for the good of himself?

Dipper’s actions in this episode, meanwhile, seem to become more and more “rebellious” and desperate in his pursuit of an investigation. He breaks into Stan’s room just to alert the authorities, and is so desperate to convince the authorities that he finds the first spell in the book he can use, not knowing the ramifications of the spell. Are his actions for the good of the town, or does he perform these actions for a more self-serving reason? Could this spell an arc of Dipper slipping down a slope of insensitivity, odiousness, and anti-heroism?

On a happier note, his interactions with Wendy showcase a much more relaxed, platonic relationship between the two. This brings into question the potential of a formation of an investigative group between Dipper, Mabel, and Wendy, amongst others. It did, however, seem weird to see Wendy so enthusiastic about working at the shack… why does she continue to work there? Sure, Wendy has to work over summer to avoid the logging camp, but why did she wind up there? Who knows?

Soos, yet again, provided some levity in the darkest of moments. Even as a zombie, he’s still incredibly savvy, and knows when to draw the line (when a TV show he likes is on).

Sure, the plot seemed a bit simple, and I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the resolution as some others might have been (songs don’t do too much for me, at least in this show), but if those are the only faults that this episode has?

Welcome back, Gravity Falls.

Tidbits

  • The zombies being the main antagonists of this episode is actually an interesting callback to “Tourist Trapped”, where Dipper thinks that Mabel’s boyfriend is a zombie.
  • We’re one episode in, and the art has gone from “great” to “stunning”. The colors, the shading, the backgrounds… it’s almost perfect.
  • This is also the first episode for writer Jeff Rowe, albeit not solo: he wrote the episode with Matt Chapman and Alex Hirsch.
  • “Into the Bunker” is already on the “Watch DisneyXD” website for those in the states. I’ll watch that episode there, and try to get a review up some time on Tuesday.

Favorite Scene: Stan fighting off zombies. Awesome characterization plus beautiful animation means awesome episode.

Least Favorite Scene: There’s no scene that’s really outstandingly weak.

Score: 9.

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