Gravity Falls Review: Season 2 Wrap Up

(Note – the ranking of every episode will be out next post, but given that I did a wrap-up for Season 1, I may as well do one for Season 2. This is going to be brief, since I’m going to touch on more posts in a full requiem of Gravity Falls.)

Screenshot of this image, found on the Gravity Falls wiki.

Thirty long years, and it’s led up to this! My greatest achievement… probably should have worn pants. – Grunkle Stan, in his boxers, “Scary-oke”.

The first line of “Scary-oke” set the tone for Season 2 of Disney’s Gravity Falls – it was going to be more ambitious, more plot-driven, than the act of brilliance that was Season 1. The question is, did it meet my expectations?

Well, how can I put this?

YEAH!

My wishlist for season 2 was simple – flesh out the side characters, reveal more of Stan’s psyche, substantial conflict between the protagonists, and an increase in drama.

All of them got checked off. Here is a sorta brief list…

  • The raison d’etre for Stan’s involvement with the device was revealed – a portal that could very well bring his brother back from the unknown. They lunged at each other’s throats almost immediately… and, in spite of this, were fleshed out to be more similar than different.
  • Robbie and Pacifica – seemingly one-note antagonists in Season 1 – were rounded out to be more affable in Season 2. In the former’s case, he was shown to be more pathetic than anything. The latter was in training to be as odious as possible, and hated it. Granted, Robbie’s resolution was… questionably written, but still.
  • Hell, every main character had their backstory laid bare. Soos was revealed to have a bit of a somber past, what with his dad partying in New Orleans, Dipper and Mabel’s time in Piedmont seemed to be an exercise in misery, and Stan… well, just read above. The one exception might be Wendy, but even then, she was given quite a bit of depth.
  • Beyond that, practically every character evolved over the season. Dipper matured, yet also had to go through a period where the people he trusted declined to the point where, by the apocalypse, he was trusting very few people. Mabel slowly (slowly, mind you) was able to comprehend that a sibling bond very well goes both ways (although, again, it takes her a season for it to embed in her mind). Those are just the twins – I already mentioned Stan’s development, although, I’ll bring up that he finally tears down his selfish tendencies to bring down Bill.
  • Holy moly, was this season darker and more dramatic! The last four episodes really flowed together, and comprehending it hinged on the prior… well, 14 of the prior 16 episodes. (May “Roadside Attraction” and, to a lesser extent, “The Love God” not be missed.)
  • That’s not getting into the animation quality – already very good, it became sublime in Season 2.

Season 2 was a marked improvement over an already impressive Season 1 – evolving from mainly episodic stories to a more cohesive arc. I really enjoyed it, even if it did last for a year-and-a-half. I did drop off slightly at the start of the second half, but rebounded impressively.

After calculating the averages of the episodes, on an objective level, I give the season an 8.5 – a score indicating a great season. Again, it wasn’t perfect – “Roadside Attraction” and “The Love God” could be skipped. However, the great episodes were truly impressive.

Season 3 will have a tough barrier to break… is what I would love to say.

Unfortunately, Alex Hirsch burnt himself out during Season 1, and only agreed to a Season 2 on the grounds that it would be the very last season. So for now, at least, it looks like the end for the adventures of the Pines family.

What now?

Well, first off, there’s currently a campaign out to get the complete series released on DVD/Blu-Ray, complete with commentary and deleted scenes. While I admire the campaign, Disney has noted that physical formats aren’t as likely to sell as they were years ago. And while I don’t necessarily side with the Mouse, I do understand where they’re coming from. (Do people even buy the House of Cards DVDs?)

Second off, my next post on this blog? Well, it’s listed at the top. A definitive ranking of every Gravity Falls episode is in order, don’t you think?

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