Gravity Falls Review: "Blendin’s Game" (Season 2, Episode 8)

Airdate: November 10th, 2014

Back and louder than ever! (Image shamelessly taken from Gravity Falls Wiki)

Synopsis: In the year 207012, escaped convict Blendin Blandin manages to temporarily evade remanding into custody by declaring GLOBNAR!!!! on the people he argues ruined his life- Dipper and Mabel Pines, in the year 2012. There, Dipper and Mabel try to get to the centre of Soos’s birthday blues. Winding up back with the Time Tape Machine (which is like Red Dwarf‘s Time Drive), the two morons wind up in the year 2002, where they examine a typical birthday for Soos… while being chased by Blendin and fellow guards to partake in GLOBNAR!!!!!!!

GLOBNAR!!!!, for those wondering, is basically The Hunger Games meets Laser Tag meets koon-ut-kal-if-fee. Winner gets to determine loser’s fate, and gets a wish.

Review (SPOILERS AHEAD!): Last time we met Blendin Blandin, we saw him in “The Time Travelers Pig”. At that point, I considered “Time Travellers Pig” my least favorite episode of Gravity Falls, due to the many slips in logic prevalent. To recap:
  • Why does Dipper give up a chance of a stronger bond between him and Wendy just so Mabel can have a damn pig? I know, Dipper’s a kind kid, but that’s still a bit too latent.
  • Why did we view Blendin as the antagonist when the only bad thing he did was set down his time drive?
  • Why does Mabel get off free from learning about sacrifice, when her desires were stupider than Dippers?
  • Why set up the Mabel/Dipper/Wendy triangle?
  • Why Robbie?

Admittedly, the episode grew on me a little bit. I no longer have the deep loathing that I had from it before – I appreciate it addressing the negative effects of causality (stupid as the example given may be), and in hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to have Dipper get the stuffed animal for Wendy, given that he, up to that point, just wanted to sleep with her because he had the hots for her.

I mentioned that because this episode is a sequel to “Time Travellers Pig”. Here, while there are a few slips in logic, these are far easier to forgive, mainly because they don’t distract from this episode’s raison d’être.

This episode concentrates on extending some Pathos for Soos. For a long time, Soos sort of fit as the “comic relief character”. While there were many hints that he was wise, he just seemed to be the go-to-guy for a quick joke or two. This episode is the first one to really peel away at his background – that, as happy-go-lucky as he appears to be, his “unorthodox” family situation has altered him. It has, however, encouraged him to become what his father wasn’t – he tries to be a good, if childish, parental figure to anybody and everybody, often being a paragon of wisdom. Again, this is balanced out by his lack of maturity.

“Blendin’s Game” is also a total inverse of “Time Travellers” in the motives of Dipper and Mabel. In that episode, both characters were wondering how they could improve their own self-interests. Their goals, however, were so irrational (Mabel’s even more so) that, not only was logic skipped, but it made almost nobody likable. Sure, Dipper wanted irrational romance (i.e. to make out with Wendy). Mabel wanted a pig. Granted, hindsight proved that romance was never going to work out. That, and it did expose flaws within the characters, which is not really a bad thing. But a pig? A freaking pig?

OK, back on track. This episode has Dipper and Mabel acting purely in the interests of other people – they wanted Soos to have a reunion with his dad, showing a level of innocent selflessness on both ends. They give their wish, which could’ve been used any which way, to Soos. That, my friends, is friendship!

And what is the wish used for?

Well, let’s just say it shows a great sense of maturity from the immature. Soos, as childish as he might seem, is really the most grounded, well-adjusted character in the show.

Oh, by the way, Blendin’s back! This is probably the largest issue I took with this particular episode. In “The Time Travelers Pig”, Blendin was way too sympathetic to have received the punishment he got. This episode, he’s made as annoying as possible, almost wanting to see Dipper and Mabel die. Whatever little logic he had is chucked out the window in favor of a near-murderous rage. Dipper and Mabel don’t reciprocate the feelings – they let him go scot-free, and with a new head of hair to boot! Again, this shows a level of idealism on Mabel’s part- it’s hard for her to hold a grudge. Still, you would think they went a bit far with rewarding Blendin for wanting the twins dead.

Will I say it’s perfect? Probably not. Is it an improvement over “Time Travellers Pig”? Hell yes.

Tidbits:

  • Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I declared Justin Rolland a genius for his work on Rick and Morty? He voices Blendin Bladin. They actually do a bit of a send-up to the voice acting found in Rick and Morty, what with Blendin stuttering to get words out.
  • Take notice of the various backgrounds found in 2002. Once you notice them, it really is a depressing look at the screwed up nature of the town. What, was everybody having their mind wiped?
  • I wasn’t a fan of the development between Mabel and Candy in this episode. It really does seem like they’re using Candy and Grenda for joke fodder now. Mabel seemed out of character in that particular scene.
  • Nothing like cake-flavoured pizza and pizza-flavoured cake!
Favorite Scene: The scenes that involve GLOBNAR!!!!!!!!
Least Favorite Scene: Back in 2002, Robbie shows up, squirts Dipper and Mabel with a water gun, and then says “Young Robbie!” I’m sorry – this is not how kids speak. Hopefully, future episodes expand on Robbie’s character.
Score: 8.5.
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