Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Gravity Falls "Headhunters"

I just realized that in this episode, somebody took a few whacks at some wax. I can't help but wonder if that was intentional.

Hmmm... There's a "Pines box" pun in there somewhere....
Plot/Themes
This is really the first episode where Dipper and Mabel team up to accomplish things. Yes, you could say that they worked together in the previous episode, but that was more of an adventure with Soos. Here, it’s just the two of them solving a mystery and kicking wax butt.

The actual whodunit is surprisingly well thought-out, with subtle clues and red herrings. Toby Determined fits every single clue… except that he has an alibi.

And a turkey baster for a microphone.
And if you look closely, Wax Lizzie Borden has an axe in earlier scenes that she’s missing in later ones.

For obvious reasons.
Every clue you need to solve the mystery yourself is provided to the audience, as it should be in a good mystery. Half the fun is seeing where all the pieces fit together.

The moral of the story is actually very subtle and woven into the story quite well. Never let others tell you that you can’t do something. Mabel made a wax statue, and Dipper solved an “unsolvable” mystery, despite what others may have thought of him. It just goes to show what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something. Believe to achieve, and all that.

Characters
Dipper

Dipper is cemented as not just the smart, booky one, but the one with a thirst for the truth. A 12-year-old Fox Mulder, basically.

Mabel
This is really the first episode to show that Mabel has a real connection with Grunkle Stan. Stan, being a lovable con man, has to be creative in order to make his schemes work. They both have quite the imagination, and Mabel apparently looks up to him so much that she made a statue of him.

Grunkle Stan
The most important thing to remember about Stan Pines is that he’s not what he seems, as the opening credits let us know. But what sort of a man freaks out that much upon seeing his own double? And why did Wax Stan seem to fill a need for companionship? Well… spoilers.

The Wax Figures
The choice of figures was both creative and entertaining, from the Queen of England to Robin Hood and everyone in between.

Ironic that Wax Edison was killed by a light bulb.
John Oliver as Sherlock Holmes was entertainingly over-the-top, and I loved the cameos by Coolio and Larry King as their wax doppelgangers.

Still, you have to wonder what happened to the Wax John Wilkes booth Stan spoke of. I mean, we never actually saw him in the episode. Did he escape as soon as he could to stalk the night as a man of wax? Or maybe it was just a one-off gag and I'm nitpicking.

Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland
Their mile-long incompetent streak is cemented. Now, I’m not their biggest fan, mainly because they bring a lot of over-the-top wackiness into what is otherwise a surprisingly “realistic” show, but I thought their role served its purpose well in this episode.

Animation
The attention to detail is phenomenal. Not only that, but the actual technical animation is as good as ever, with nice touches thrown in for the melting effects.

Final Thoughts
Story time. When the DVR was filling up with Gravity Falls episodes so I could recap them, this was the episode I showed to my sister to explain how this show was different from most of the other cartoons I cover on my blog. You know. Because it’s good.

Apart from the cops spitting coffee in each other’s face, there wasn’t a single joke that didn’t hit in some way. In my opinion, this is the episode to use to get your friends hooked on the show. Doctor Who has “Blink” to get people hooked, Gravity Falls has “Headhunters.” Just give them a quick rundown of Stan, the twins, and the Shack beforehand, and they’ll be marathoning it in no time.

All in all, this episode is definitely one of the highlights of the first season and one of my personal favorites of the entire show. Next time, David Lynch homages and character revelations. See you then!

6 comments:

  1. that header image has got to be the saddest image the show has ever produced. Especially with the revelation that Stan used the wax figure as a replacement for his brother.

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    1. I'd say "Whoa, spoilers," but keeping the big Season 2 twist a secret would be like trying to conceal what Rosebud was, or the fact that Snape killed Dumbledore.

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  2. I mean, uh, Dumbledore just went to live on a farm, sweetie. He gets to chase rabbits and put students in danger all day! And they feed him only the finest lemon drops and Bertie Bott's beans with the earwax ones removed beforehand.

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    1. This is why I love this blog. You're so funny!

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    2. Thank you, that means a lot to me,

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