The biggest and best mystery on TV ended months ago when Dipper and Mabel Pines discovered the identity of the author of the Journals that chronicled the town of Gravity Falls’ anomalies and bizarre encounters. But the fight to keep the normalcy of weirdness ended when the final episode of Gravity Falls aired tonight.
****Spoilers to Follow for the final episode of Gravity Falls****
The third part of Weirdmageddon highlighted everything that made the series one of the most wonderful, heart-warming and heart-wrenching tales of growing up, embedded in the depths of a great sci-fi and fantasy setting.
For four years, and over the course of 40 episodes, Gravity Falls followed Dipper and Mabel Pines as they uncovered the mysteries of the town of Gravity Falls during one long Summer. Its town people were part of a living, animated space that upheld the show’s unexplained phenomena, and charmingly spooky aura. In the last episode, everyone came together for one final stand, as the Pines family and the central supporting cast worked together to save the town and the world from the apocalypse.
But it wasn’t just the towns’ people, as Gravity Falls’ monsters and existing mythical folk joined the fray as well. One of the show’s strengths was in the wealth of personality each of the creatures had that moved beyond the scary, predictable things we’ve come to think of lore and creatures. They were full of heart, hilarious, and at times as multi-layered as any of the humans in the show, if not more. It wouldn’t be Gravity Falls without some of the more memorable creatures there to duke it out with all-powerful villain Bill Cipher and his weird, dangerous army.
Tying up loose ends for the Gravity Falls cast meant some expected writing, with necessary pushes for the adult twins, Grunkle Stan and Grunkle Ford to make amends—coming to terms with their decades long dispute, guilt, anger and hurt. It took the desperate situation of their twin niece and nephew being in mortal danger for them to come up with a plan. But it was one which would sacrifice their summer long relationship built with the kids.
Despite a few convenient and quickly formed plot points (or was it all the destiny hoodie?), which just as easily unraveled—the end game did just about everything right. The animation was sharp and gorgeous as ever. The writing was laden with depth of character and wit. The threat was terrifying for a show that mostly set aside scary monsters for those with human qualities and problems. Even the Mystery Shack which was the Summer home for Mabel and Dipper became a character in itself, and one to root for in a battle of giants—a call to Gravity Falls’ always astute handling of pop culture references and comedic grace.
In the final hour or so, it was less about odd discoveries the show delved into on a weekly basis as that was not the point. Those characters and stories were developed, and settled during most of the show’s run. Here, it was about family, the Pines’ connections with everyone and the creatures in the town and their relationships, and the fight to keep their strange existence intact, by fending off a stranger and evil reality.
“Weirdmageddon 3" dealt not one but two gutting blows. And although one was resolved relatively quickly through a “power of family” moment, it never felt cheesy. It played to everything the show had built in the years it aired, namely Mabel’s undying optimism. That moment of realization that their world was completely shattered had me teary. Mabel’s quivering voice, and Dipper’s faltering resolve nailed the entire scene which showcased just how brilliant Kristen Schaal and Jason Ritter carried the pre-teen Pines twins’ believable relationship, not only with each other but to creator Alex Hirsch’s fantastically portrayed and voiced Grunkle Stan.
In the end, the town of Gravity Falls remains as odd as it ever was but with some appropriate send-offs to many involved. Power-shifts happened, there were changes in character relationships, and strengthening of others. The day is saved but not at the cost of saying farewell to a fantasy filled summer with the Pines Twins. It ended on a hopeful future as it was unknown—something Dipper noted, and echoed the mixed feelings I’ve had these few months with the sobering knowledge that the show was ending, coupled with the respect of knowing Alex Hirsch and the Gravity Falls team ended the show on a high and on their own terms.
But as delivered in Dipper’s final reflections—it was a perfect goodbye to Summer, and to the endearingly mysterious town and amazing series of Gravity Falls.
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