Boy, fate is really testing my fandom patience these past couple of years. The Orlando Magic are wretched. The New York Giants made me bang my head against the wall god knows how many times. (Jacksonville? Really?) And my favorite show goes on hiatuses that are so long, even Ayn Rand novels take up less time. Atlas Shrugged? That’s weaksauce compared to the length of Gravity Falls hiatuses!
Since we are effectively midway through season 2 of Gravity Falls, I figured may as well see how the season’s ranking up so far. So far, I must say this season is better- characters have been fleshed out, the animation has become better and better, the plots are sublime…
Is it awesome? Yes. Is it perfect? No.
For a more definitive look at how the season has played out, I bring you a ranking of the first half of Gravity Falls season 2.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: didn’t you rank Season 1 of Gravity Falls just a few months ago? The answer is yes. But, again, we’re in another hiatus. I think another quick ranking might not be such a bad idea.
(Oh, most images are taken from the Gravity Falls Wiki or my prior blog posts. Please don’t sue me.)
11. The Love God
The more I think about it, the more I think this might be the single worst episode of Gravity Falls. As fleshed out as Robbie and his family was in this episode- a point I give a lot of merit to – the resolution was awkward, characters were transformed into idiotic jackasses for the sake of a too-silly plot, and the mere existence of the Love God and his methods creates plotholes that I could drive a Hummer through. It’s still better than most of TV, but that’s a) little comfort and 2) a sign on the quality of TV.
10. Little Gift Shop of Horrors
A weak attempt to capitalize on the relatively positive reception of “Bottomless Pit”, what made that episode great was how it developed the characters despite it’s trilogy format. Not so much here- in fact, at least one of the segments, if taken as an individual episode, would probably rank close to the bottom of Gravity Falls episodes due to it’s punting of character. Thankfully, this is the last “weak” episode of the season- here on out, I gush.
9. Northwest Mansion Mystery/Noir/Fracas/Problem
On one hand, the B-plot is probably the worst part of this episode, showing the problem that the writers have had with creating plots for Mabel, Candy, and Grenda. Still, it speaks wonders on how good this series has been that an episode like this one – one that explores the Northwest Family as the psychopaths and abusers they are – makes it into the bottom ring of episodes this season. (It also shows just how much impact the weaknesses had here, though.)
8. The Golf War
I took this episode as a possible subtle commentary on the rise of Euroscepticism, factionalism, and nationalism. Saner people took it for what it really was- an exploration into Pacifica, her lifestyle behind the public eye, and Mabel’s relationship with her. Oh, and the pointlessness of petty competition and whatnot. Thus, with the few lines he got, Nathan Fillon managed to make Preston as brilliantly detestable as possible- an art the writers managed to perfect in “Northwest Mansion Whatever”.
7. Blendin’s Game
Before “The Love God”, my least favorite episode was “The Time Travelers Pig”. Think of this episode as that sequel that’s actually far better– the Wrath of Khan of Gravity Falls arcs. Not only was Soos, the comic relief, given a bit of pathos, but Blendin was rounded out into a somewhat competent- if still quirky- antagonist. That, plus a bit of development for the other townsfolk, makes this episode fun to watch. Prepare… for…
First episodes back are a tricky one- in serialized shows such as Gravity Falls, they have to set the tone and the part of the Myth Arc that’s gonna be explored. In this case, I think they succeeded- Agents Powers and Trigger are introduced, Dipper and Stan begin mirroring each others in more disturbing ways, and zombies actually pose a threat. Not a huge fan of songs in Gravity Falls, though- otherwise, this would’ve been in the top 5.
5. Soos and the Real Girl
We thought we were just getting a cute episode that revolved around video games- another “Fight Fighters”. Surprisingly, we actually got a good social commentary into abusive relationships, with Giffany being a tragic figure in that regard. Plus, there’s all the geek jokes, and all that. It’d probably be a place above, if it wasn’t for a B-plot so cheesy, even the show seems to recognize it’s a time sink. (“This is literally too dumb for me to care about!”)
4. Sock Opera
Bill Cipher is freaking nuts. This episode proves it- much of the ambiguity that he had in “Dreamscaperers” is replaced by a psychopathy, a madness. Oh, and he kidnaps Dipper. Also, Mabel’s behavior over episodes such as “Time Travelers Pig” and “The Deep End” is finally put at the center of a serious conflict. Mabel actually gets more than minor character development here, with a climax as dramatic as it is silly.
3. Into the Bunker
Seemingly putting the final nail in the coffin of the Dipper/Wendy subplot once and for all, this episode was one epic sophomore episode- one that focused on the interaction between Dipper and Wendy. Even if the two don’t get together, the potential for adventures between the two is an untapped resource that we might see in the second “half” of the season. Either way, it was a thriller of an episode- one of the more genuinely terrifying episodes.
2. Society of the Blind Eye
Fiddleford McGucket, in this episode, went from just a quirky gag character to one of the most tragic characters in the Disney canon. (Yup, in the same list as Queen Elsa.) That alone guaranteed it a spot close to the top of the list. Uncovering the town, pathos for the main characters, and more development of the myth arc? Icing on the cake. An episode of this caliber that can only be bested by…
1. Not What He Seems
An episode that has been compared to “Ozymandias” in its epic-ness. The author is revealed. Stan Pines is unmasked- sort of. There’s a pseudo-betrayal that manages to be as epic as the rest of the episode itself. The device is activated. It is all done so beautifully- so perfectly- that putting this at #1 would be an offense to art. For the love of all things speculative fiction, watch it.
Agree? Great. Disagree? Please, feel free to comment, whether it’s on a particular episode, or whether it’s on the order I placed the episodes.
Hell, since we have a few weeks until the next episode, comment if you have a question or a head-canon/ship theory about the show in general. I may or may not take it on in a future post.