Thursday, August 20, 2015

Recap: Gravity Falls "Headhunters"

Today, we return to Gravity Falls because dang it, sometimes I want to recap a show I enjoy watching. And today, we've got us a bit of a whodunit. A tale of thrills! A tale of mystery! A tale of murder!

A tale of two Stans. About a season early.
The episode opens with Mabel and Dipper watching what I can only imagine is the Gravity Falls version of Sherlock, a little show called Duck-tective. The titular avian hero deduces that the dead body haphazardly shoved into a phone both may not have been an accident after all, to the amazement of Mabel. Dipper, though, is not impressed.

Dipper: "Eh. It's easier to find clues when you're that close to the ground."
Mabel: "Are you saying you could outwit Duck-tective?"
Dipper: "Mabel, I have very keen powers of observation. For example, just by smelling your breath, I can tell you have been eating... an entire tube of toothpaste?"
Mabel: "It was so sparkly...."

And poisonous. Toothpaste is very poisonous.

So, uh, you might want to get Mabel to the hospital.
But Soos, for the first time (and certainly not the last), rushes in with a hearty "Hey, dudes!" because he found something interesting while he was cleaning the shack. Specifically, he found a secret door underneath the wallpaper. He checks it out with the twins, and they find an entire set of wax dummies.

Mabel: "They're so lifelike!"
Dipper: "Except for that one."
Grunkle Stan: "Hello!"
Soos/Mabel/Dipper: "Aaaahhh!"
Grunkle Stan: "Heh, heh. It's just me, your Grunkle Stan!"
Soos/Mabel/Dipper: "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!"

After the opening theme song, Stan explains just what's going on with this room.

Grunkle Stan: "Behold, the Gravity Falls Wax Museum! It was one of the most popular attractions! Before I forgot all about it."

I'd ask how anyone could simply forget about maintaining such a popular attraction, but I just remembered that I haven't recapped an episode of Beware the Batman in a little under a year. So... complaint withdrawn.

Grunkle Stan: "I got 'em all! Genghis Khan, Sherlock Holmes.... some kind of... I dunno, Goblin-man."

Man, Larry King's a really good sport.
Speaking of goblins, Disney vetoed an episode based on the film Labyrinth because they thought kids wouldn't understand the reference. And yet, here's a Larry King cameo. Because every kid knows who Larry King is, I guess?

Unfortunately, Stan's favorite, Wax Abe Lincoln, was inadvertently melted down by the window in the corner of the room.

Grunkle Stan: "Who left the blinds open? Wax John Wilkes Booth, I'm lookin' in your direction."

Hands down, that's one of my favorite jokes from this entire show.

Mabel, bastion of positivity that she is, offers to use all of her artsy and craftsy skills to create a new figure from all the melted wax.

Mabel: "I'm an arts and crafts master. Why do you think I always have this glue gun stuck to my arm?"
Grunkle Stan: "I like your gumption, kid."
Mabel: "I don't know what that word means, but thank you."

Soon enough, Mabel is brainstorming what to sculpt, and runs her ideas past Dipper.

Mabel: "She's part fairy princess, and part horse fairy princess."
Dipper: "Maybe you should carve something from real life."
Mabel: "Like a waffle. With big arms!"

The mind that will later give us the Centaur-taur, ladies and gentlemen.

But when Grunkle Stan strikes a noble pose while searching for his pants, inspiration strikes as well. One montage and a bucket of glitter later, and Mabel's creation is complete. Grunkle Stan, plus pants and sans shoes, enters the room and freaks the heck out, which I'm sure is an innocent overreaction and not foreshadowing of any kind.

Anyway, he quickly ends up loving his wax doppelgänger and declares the Wax Museum to be back in business. Soon enough, nearly the whole town arrives to see the grand re-opening. After Grunkle Stan unveils his wax twin, he passes the mic over to Mabel to answer questions.

Mabel: "I made this sculpture with my own to hands! It's covered in my blood, sweat, tears, and other fluids."

The worst part is that she left it vague.

She opens the floor up for questions. First up is Old Man McGucket.

Old Man McGucket: "Are the wax figures alive and, follow-up question, can I survive the wax-man uprising?"
Mabel: "Um, yes!"

I'd be more worried about the weird bald guy in the background....
Next up is "intrepid" "reporter," Toby Determined (Gregg Turkington).

Toby Determined: "Do you really think this constitutes a wonder of the world?"
Grunkle Stan: "Your microphone's a turkey baster, Toby."
Toby Determined: "It certainly is...."

Finally, Gravity Falls's best actual reporter, Shandra Jimenez (Kari Wahlgren), asks the question that's been on the entire crowd's mind: whether or not they're actually going to get any of that free pizza that was promised on all the flyers.

Grunkle Stan: "That was a typo."

After Stan absconds with the admission money, the townspeople start a bit of a riot as they leave. Chairs get kicked by women, lumberjacks break telephone poles....

And a single man in a "Free Pizza" shirt hangs his head in sorrow.
Someday, his time shall come.
Later that night, Grunkle Stan puts the kids to bed before watching some more Duck-tective alongside Wax Stan. He goes to hit the john during the commercial break. But soon, Dipper an Mabel hear Stan's cries of horror as they brush their teeth. And when they rush downstairs, they discover that Wax Stan has been....

Grunkle Stan: "Murdered!"

Decapitated, even. Or as I like to call it, the "Marie Antoinette."

The police are soon on the scene of the crime. I was going to make a joke about how not much happens if the two foremost police officers are investigating the "death" of a statue, but this still counts as breaking and entering as well as vandalism. So instead, I'm going to show a picture of Gompers the goat.

Because it's my blog and I like goats.
Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland go over the details of the crime and declare it to be unsolvable. Dipper, armchair detective that he is, offers to help solve the case.

Mabel: "He's really good. He figured out who was eating our tin cans!"
Dipper: "All signs pointed to the goat."

Leave Gompers alone!

The two officers make fun of the "city boy," calling him "adorable," to his dismay, before getting called away on more important business.

Police Radio: "Attention all units, Steve is going to fit an entire cantaloupe in his mouth. Repeat, an entire cantaloupe."
Deputy Durland: "It's a 23-16!"

After they leave, Dipper vows to prove his worth by solving the case anyway.

Dipper: "Then we'll see who's adorable! ...ah-choo!"
Mabel: "Awww! You sneeze like a kitten!"

The next day, the scene of the crime is soon marked off with toilet paper as Dipper goes over the possible culprits. In short, most of the town. They were all pretty steamed about the "Free Pizza" ordeal.  Following the uniquely imprinted footprints in the shag carpet, apparently made by a shoe with a hole in the sole, they...

Wait a minute...
What the... I have a hole in my shoe in that exact spot.

This is a set-up, man! I've been framed!
Anyway, they quickly find a clue behind the couch, showing right off the bat how "thorough" the local police are. Said clue is an axe, so they take it to Soos to get his opinion.

Soos: "In my opinion? This is an axe."

This triggers Mabel's memory. That lumberjack (Manly Dan Corduroy, Wendy's dad) was pretty steamed when he left. And lumberjacks are well known for using axes. It's kind of their thing. Soos tells them that Manly Dan hangs out in the local biker joint, so Dipper and Mabel know where they're going next.

Soos: "Dude, this is awesome. You two are, like, the Mystery Twins!"
Dipper: "Don't call us that."

Sorry, Dipper. It's caught on among the fans.

They head out the door, passing Stan on their way out as he begins to organize a small funeral for Wax Stan. They tell him where they're going, and Stan delivers yet another of my favorite lines in the show.

Grunkle Stan: "Sounds like the kinda thing a responsible parent wouldn't want you doing. Good thing I'm an uncle! Avenge me, kids! Avenge meeeeeee!"

Hmmm... that raises the question of why the Mystery Twins' parents would think sending them to live with Stan would be a good idea. Interesting....

Dipper and Mabel ready their plan for sneaking in as they approach the bar.

Bouncer: "Sorry, but we don't serve miners."

And as the old prospector walks away, I can't help but realize that typing out that pun ruins the reveal. Anyway, Mabel and Dipper arrive with their glue-gun-and-macaroni IDs, identifying them as Lady Mabelton and Sir Dippingsauce.

Seems legit.
Bouncer: "Works for me."

They pass through the crowd, including a guy who somehow made it past the censors' radar. He's busy slamming his fist into his hand, which has a tattoo of a cat. In other words, he's pounding.... you know. Right on screen on Disney XD. Of course, the censors were probably more concerned with the guy lying motionless on the floor.

Mabel: "He's resting."

As Dipper goes to interrogate Manly Dan, Mabel makes a friend by bopping him on the arm.

This can only end well.
Unfortunately, Manly Dan has an airtight alibi. He was punching the clock.

Dipper: "You were at work?"
Manly Dan: "No, I was punching that clock!"

Thanks to the percussive maintenance, the clock stopped at exactly ten, the time of the murder. Not only that, but the axe they found was left-handed. And Manly Dan only uses his right hand.

Meanwhile, Mabel and her excited new friend are using a cootie-catcher to tell fortunes.

Mabel: "Your wife is gonna be beautiful!"

But sadly, Dipper drags his sister away before he can learn whether or not his future wife will truly love him. As they leave, Dipper produces a checklist of the last few suspects. All they have to do is figure out who's left handed. After a montage, they've narrowed it down to one person. And that very night, Dipper and Mabel lead the police raid to Toby Determined's office.

Toby had the motive, seeing as how Stan's presentation was a pretty terrible news story for his failing newspaper. And not only was he holding his microphone turkey baster in his left hand, but there was a visible hole in his shoe during the earlier scene.

Now that's attention to detail.
And yet, Toby Determined has an airtight alibi. Surveillance footage confirms that he was making out with a cardboard cutout of Shandra Jimenez at the time of the murder.

Sheriff Blubs: "Toby, you're off the hook. You freak of nature."

Dipper insists that it has to be Toby, and has the cops check the axe for fingerprints. They find none, despite the fact that Dipper's prints should be all over it. They all have a laugh at Dipper's expense and attend the funeral of Wax Stan along with Soos, Real Stan, and the wax figures. After Stan delivers a heartfelt eulogy, he gets overwhelmed by emotion and runs out, followed by Soos. And soon, the Mystery Twins are left alone to wallow in their own failure. Then Dipper notices something about Wax Stan, now that he's lying in a casket. There's a hole in his shoe.

Mabel: "All the wax guys have that. It's where the pole thingy attaches to their stand dealies."
Dipper: "Wait a minute, what has a hole in its shoe and no fingerprints?"

"A horse!"
While that guess is technically correct, and works surprisingly well, the answer is...

Wax Sherlock Holmes: "Standing right behind you?"

Well, looks like McGucket was right. So sorry, Batman and  Robin. We won't be needing your services.

Unless Wax Riddler shows up.
Creaking and groaning, the wax figures come to life as Dipper identifies some of them.

Dipper: "Wax Sherlock Holmes! Wax Shakespeare! ...Wax Coolio?"
Wax Coolio: "Wussup, Holmes?"

An unidentified lady (who is clearly famed forty-whacks-giver Lizzie Borden) takes back her axe as Wax Sherlock Holmes (voiced by John Oliver of The Daily Show fame) tells the twins in no uncertain terms that they're going to pull a Wax Stan on them. After they sarcastically clap for Dipper and Mabel's discovery, Wax Sherlock explains that he and the other statues are cursed to come to life whenever the moon is waxing.

Geez, and I thought my puns were bad.
Wax Sherlock explains that Stan bought them all at a garage sale.

Wax Coolio: "A haunted garage sale, son!"

But Stan was warned by the previous owner that the statues came at a terrible price.

Stan: "Twenty dollars? I'l just take 'em when you're not looking."
Seller: "What?"
Stan: "I said I was gonna rob ya."

And soon they were all the stars of the Shack.

I mean, who wouldn't want to kick that crook in the joy department?
They lived a nice life, sort of a Night at the Museum deal. But then people stopped coming to see them, so Stan locked them away until Soos rediscovered the room, ten years after they were locked in.

And who knows? Wax Lincoln was Stan's favorite. Maybe he Operation: Murder Stan and ended up melted by the others in retaliation. But either way, Sherlock soon found himself in the living room with an axe, ready to kill Stan Pines.

Wax Sherlock: "But we got the wrong guy."

But the tale is told, and the wax figures mobilize to kill the twins. With few options, the kids hurl some late-night coffee at the figures, melting one of them something fierce. With new knowledge of the wax figures' weaknesses, they grab some electric candles and start swinging at the various historical figures.

Wax Larry King: "My neck! My beautiful neck!"

Meh. I've seen better. 6/10
Wax Groucho Marx: "I've heard about a cutting remark, but this is ridiculous! Hey, why is there nothing in my hand?"

Because you can't show cigars on Disney XD.

Dipper: "Ha, Genghis Khan! You fell harder than the.. I dunno, uh, Jin dynasty?"

Soon enough, all that's left is Wax Sherlock. And he apparently got a sword from somewhere, so Mabel tosses her brother a red hot poker and they get to sword fighting. Their swashbuckling swordplay takes them onto the roof of the Shack, where an errant blow knocks the "S" off the word "Shack" on the sign to match the intro.

Wax Sherlock Holmes: "You really think you can outwit me, boy? I'm Sherlock bleedin' Holmes!"

Whoa, that's actually heavy swearing in the UK.

Wax Sherlock Holmes: "Have you seen my magnifying glass? It's enormous!"

Not always.
But just as it looks like the wax man has won, the sun begins to rise, as this was Dipper's plan to destroy him the whole time. And unlike the kid from Hocus Pocus, he didn't have to fake it with car headlights. As Wax Sherlock melts, Dipper claims victory and wipes the dust off his hands, causing another sneeze.

Wax Sherlock Holmes: "You sneeze like a kitten! Those policemen were right, you're adorable."

Back inside, Mabel throws the head of the Bard of Avon into the fireplace as Dipper returns to retrieve Stan's head from where Wax Sherlock put it.

Dipper: "I couldn't have done it without my sidekick!"
Mabel: "No offense, Dipper, but you're the sidekick."
Dipper: "What? Says who? Are- are people saying that? Have you heard that?"

With an exclamation of "Hot Belgian Waffles!" Stan returns to see the waxy aftermath.

Mabel: "Your wax figures turned out to be evil, so we fought them to the death!"
Dipper: "I decapitated Larry King."

Stan has a good laugh over this "imaginative" tale and is simply glad to have Wax Stan's head back. He affectionately noogies the kids as the cops drive up to gloat.

Sheriff Blubs: "Solve the case yet, boy? I'm so confident you're gonna say 'no,' that I'm gonna take a long, slow sip from my cup of coffee."
Dipper: "Actually, the answer's 'yes!'"

After a series of hot-coffee-spittakes between the cops, they drive off as the Pines all have a good laugh. But unbeknownst to them, lurking in the vents, the head of Larry King is busy hopping after a rat after it took his ear.

As the credits roll, Mabel asks Dipper which sweater she should wear. A voice from thew vents answers her.

Wax Larry King: "The llama hair. Llamas are nature's greatest warriors."
Mabel: "Thanks, Dipper!"

The credits cypher for the episode, (KH'V VWLOO LQ WKH YHQWV) translates to "He's still in the vents," so we can only hope for a sequel. So maybe he's head-ing our way soon. I'm not apologizing for the pun.

And now that the waxing moon has done its damage, it's time to review.


  1. Llamas? Please, nature greatest warrior is chicken.

    And if you don't get it, you're guilty of not watching Be Cool, Scooby Doo. For shame.

    1. Guilty, I'm afraid. Blame it on all the other stuff I barely have time to watch.