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Gravity Falls Wiki

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"Sock Opera" is the fourth episode of the second season of Gravity Falls and the 24th episode of the show overall. It premiered on September 8, 2014, on Disney XD.[3]

Official overview

Mabel decides to put on a sock puppet rock opera to impress a local puppeteer but her show goes astray when Dipper's drive to uncover journal secrets leads to a supernatural disaster.[3]


In the Gravity Falls Library, Mabel and Dipper are finally able to open the laptop they found in the bunker after Soos had fixed it. Unfortunately, they are stopped from accessing the contents because it's protected by an eight letter password. Annoyed, Dipper begins to attempt cracking the password with Mabel, but she is distracted by puppeteer Gabe Bensen, who is performing for children on the wonders of reading. Mabel chats him up, telling him she has a love for puppets as well. Gabe is glad to find someone who is as "puppet crazy" as he is and asks her when her next puppet show is. Put on the spot, Mabel makes up a quick story and details the show in next week.

Mabel requests Dipper's help, promising she'd help him crack the password once they finish the preparations for the last minute show. Dipper reluctantly agrees, eager to finally discover what the laptop holds as he leaves the library with Mabel, unaware that a familiar shadow is following them.

Bill proposes a deal with Dipper.

Over the next few days, Mabel, Dipper, Wendy, and Soos make numerous puppets. In the meantime, Dipper continues to attempt cracking the password at night, depriving him of sleep-- failing repeatedly. The night before the show, while Mabel is content with her puppet progress, Dipper continues to grow frustrated. As she gets ready for bed, Dipper decides to head for the roof and try a little longer. Angry with the constant error sound the computer makes with every wrong entry, he considers that there must be a clue or shortcut to make the laptop work, when he is surprised by none other than Bill Cipher. Bill toys with Dipper before offering to give him hints on how to unlock the laptop. Bill would help Dipper if he agrees to "a small favor." Dipper refuses, the events of "Dreamscaperers" fresh in his mind. Bill tells Dipper that the offer will still be open, and he'll be ready to make a deal right before Dipper wakes up screaming.

Dipper and Mabel fight.

In the kitchen, Stan is ignoring Mabel who is trying to get his attention with the puppet version of him. Stan continues to purposefully be oblivious to what she's been doing all week. Dipper tiredly takes Mabel aside and informs her of his encounter with the "triangle guy." Mabel reassures him that she's ready to help Dipper that day after passing along her puppets to her production crew, Candy and Grenda. However, this plan falls through when Gabe unexpectedly shows up, nitpicking a puppet show of another girl's he attended the night before. Feeling a rise in quality and pressure, and seeing her team's mishaps, Mabel decides to continue working on the show. Dipper angrily points out her promise and how breaking it isn't worth her obsession with her crush-of-the-week. However, Mabel throws the phrase back in his face and tells him that he's the one who's obsessed. She insists she'll help him after the show, but fed up and disappointed Dipper heads to the attic to crack the code himself.

Dipper tries to solve the mystery alone.

However, the laptop, having received the incorrect password too many times, prepares to initiate a data wipe in five minutes. Just as Dipper flies into a panic, Bill Cipher reappears, giving Dipper an ultimatum: Accept the deal, or have the laptop's secrets erased forever, and all Bill wants is a puppet. Dipper suspiciously continues to reject the offer, telling Bill that Mabel worked really hard on puppets. Bill slyly reminds Dipper of all the times he has sacrificed his wants for Mabel, who has never returned the favor. Moreover, he tells Dipper that he just needs one puppet, of which there is a surplus of anyway. As the laptop continues to count down the seconds, the temptation pushes Dipper over the edge and he agrees.

As they shake hands (closing the deal), Dipper asks Bill which puppet he wanted. Bill mockingly ponders his answer before turning on Dipper and takes possession of his body and kicking Dipper's consciousness out. Dipper, now in a ghost-like form is shocked as Bill stomps on the laptop, smashing it to pieces. He reveals that Dipper was the puppet he wanted and that Dipper "had come way too close to figuring out some major answers," and wanted Dipper out of the way. He proclaims that now all he has to do is destroy Journal 3 and Dipper will be unable to stop his "big plans."

Bill laughingly trying human things.

As he experiments with Dipper's body, harming it in several ways, they end up in the kitchen. Bill asks Dipper where the journal is, which Dipper immediately refuses to answer, just as Mabel pops in and reveals that she borrowed the journal to use as a prop for her show. Bill, equipped with this knowledge, follows the gang to the show with Soos and Wendy, mocking Dipper and gloating that Dipper cannot stop him from executing his plan.

Dipper follows them to the show which has a huge audience. Bill's plans are further aided with Mabel's help as he takes the role of the reverend in the play, allowing him firsthand access to the journal. Bill learns from Grenda that the journal is being kept in the prop wedding cake, which is suspended above the stage near the catwalk. Dipper attempts to warn Mabel of the imminent danger, but as a ghost, he was invisible to Mabel. He realizes he needs a body to possess to interact with others and thus possesses a sock puppet of himself.

The first half of the play goes successfully and Mabel washes up in the dressing room. She is frightened by the puppet of Dipper, who reveals his true identity and warns Mabel of Bill's plans. Mabel wants to stop Bill, but she risks losing the success of her show and Gabe's affection. This is further shown when Gabe, impressed, invites Mabel to join him for biscotti after the play. She compromises, attempting to retrieve the book as Dipper carries out the second half of the play.

Bipper manipulates Mabel into handing over the journal.

She climbs to the top of the stage and reaches out for the book, but falls into the cake and nearly plummets to the stage below. However, someone catches the rope, saving her and the show from a failure. But it turns out to be Bill-Dipper (or Bipper, as dubbed by Mabel) and threatens to drop the cake, thereby ruining the play if she doesn't hand over the journal. Mabel refuses at first, claiming the book belonged to Dipper. But Bill tries to guilt and cajole her into giving the journal up; pointedly stating that she had no problem taking the journal for herself and ditching Dipper when Dipper needed her. He threatens her again to give up the book or he'll ruin the play. Mabel hesitantly relents, giving him the book. Bill laughingly gloats, "who would sacrifice everything they'd worked for just for their dumb sibling?" Mabel, strengthened by all that Dipper's done for her, yanks the book back, dragging Bill into the cake and onto the stage - interrupting the play.

The two fight on the stage, Bill telling Mabel to give up, as he's a being of pure energy with no weakness. However, Mabel knows that Bill in Dipper's body possesses the same weaknesses as Dipper, and exploits this. First tickling him, and then making him aware of the fact that Dipper's body hasn't slept in 24 hours and is, therefore, exhausted. Having become more aware of his human container, Bill also finds himself plagued with itchiness from mosquito bites, and out of breath from being forced to chase an energetic Mabel. The sleep-deprived body, now completely unable to move, collapses, forcing Bill out of Dipper's body and allowing Dipper to reclaim it.

Bill, now in the body of Dipper's puppet, laughs menacingly and warns of bigger plans that would unfold in time. Mabel ultimately ends this boasting by lighting the pyrotechnics, destroying all the puppets she had created and silencing Bill.

Mystery twins.

Mabel assumes that like most movies, that the audience would believe the fight was part of the play and would find it exceptional. Unfortunately, the audience realizes it's the mess it really is and leaves with boos and hisses of hatred. Gabe, heartbroken at Mabel supposedly sullying his art form, makes out with his hand puppets and leaves. The twins are left weirded out, and Mabel realizes she probably dodged a bullet by not becoming more involved with Gabe. Dipper then apologizes for his actions, but Mabel ends up apologizing for wasting a week on some dumb guy instead of supporting Dipper as she should have. The two make up and leave.

As the credits roll, Mabel has a dream of an actual play starring her and Dipper as sock puppets with Stan and Old Man McGucket as audience members. She wakes up, unnerved, and turns away the puppet of herself which was sitting on her bedpost, and goes back to sleep.


Production notes

See also: List of allusions and List of goofs.

Character revelations

  • Dipper and Mabel have a twin-based handshake.
  • Dipper never liked Mermando.
  • Dipper once attempted to eat his own shirt due to sleep deprivation.
  • Dipper is ticklish under his arm.
  • Candy is very fluent in Korean.
  • Candy has the same keyboard Soos has.
  • Bill has inhabited a body before. In "Weirdmageddon Part 1" he gains a physical body.
  • Bill claims to know the exact date and time of Soos' death.
  • At the beginning of Glove Story: A Sock Opera, Waddles appears as a cardboard figure controlled by Mabel; as of the later scene played by Dipper, the real Waddles shows up on the stage to bring the rings.

Series continuity

Songs featured


  • Viewership: This episode was viewed by 0.9 million viewers on its premiere.[2]
  • The "home" screen from the laptop shows a diagram that resembles the universe portal.
  • Stan's puppet and the puppet Soos makes are the only ones that are made from a paper bag rather than a sock.
  • MO52584 is the possible model of the old laptop.
  • The potential passwords Dipper tried out and failed are:
    • password
    • journal3
    • overlord
    • thrilled
    • crochet (which is seven letters, not eight)
    • patootie
    • spooking
    • craniums
    • reawaken
    • vocalize
    • mcgucket
    • volcanic
    • vomiting
    • numerous
    • ZLGGOH (meaning "WIDDLE" decoded in Caesar cipher)
    • EHDUR ("BEARO")
    • Mabel
    • is
    • useless
  • One of Journal 3's blacklight messages reveals the password is actually "STANFORD."
  • Starting with this episode, the series falls under the Disney XD Original Series label.
  • The Stan and McGucket puppets that appear at the end of the credits were used by Alex Hirsch at San Diego Comic Con 2013 and 2014.
  • Bill's cane is yellow instead of black as it was in "Dreamscaperers."
  • When Bill offers his hand to Dipper with his eye as a clock, the clock face appears to display the time 6:18, referencing the recurring number 618 in the show.

A little gift from the agents.

  • A listening device with the government agency's symbol appears in the space between the upper and lower floors when Dipper phases through to the living room.
  • The puppeteering for the credits sequence was done by creator Alex Hirsch and writer Matt Chapman. Chapman previously did some puppet work for the "Puppet Time" shorts on
    • Stan's Fez also has the sign it had prior to the change in season 1.
  • Originally, some characters were going to notice something wrong with Dipper while Bill was in his body; however, these scenes had to be cut for time. [citation needed]
  • This is the first episode of the series to feature live-action segments.
  • When Bill makes spinning slots appear on his chest, all of the symbols in the slots appear on the wheel surrounding Bill in the opening sequence.
  • In the original, unused opening for "Dreamscaperers," Bill tips his hat, causing the gravity to shift and Dipper to lose his balance. A similar scene unfolds in this episode.[5]
  • Bill never said that he would give Dipper the password, rather that he would give him a hint. When he smashed the laptop, he exposed the "McGucket Labs" label which Mabel finds in "Society of the Blind Eye," thus fulfilling his end of the deal.
    • When Bill and Dipper first talk to each other, Bill air quotes the word "defeated," implying that his defeat in "Dreamscaperers" was staged, or otherwise ineffective.
    • This implies that Gideon was used as an escape plan because during "Dreamscaperers" Bill shows the Gideon robot's wreckage and the prison after saying "I know lots of things" which also means that Bill knew a majority of the events of Gravity Falls.
  • The reason why Bill wants to destroy Journal 3 is that he wanted the portal between his and Gravity Falls' world to open, but Dipper just having the journal could have jeopardized his plan. In fact Dipper almost did.[6]
  • It is revealed in Journal 3 that Bill leaves a note in Stan's car on the way to the theater. The note reads:

"NOTE to self: Possessing people is hilarious! To think of all the sensations I've been missing out on-- burning, stabbing, drowning. It's like a buffet tray of fun! Once I destroy that journal, I'll enjoy giving this body its grand finale-- by throwing it off the water tower! Best of all, people will just think Pine Tree lost his mind, and his mental form will wander in the mindscape forever. Want to join him, Shooting Star?"

  • Also, in Journal 3, Mabel comments that when she touched Dipper's hand while he being possessed by Bill that they felt, she noted, "Chillingly cold, is Dipper technically dead while being possessed?" Implying that without his mental form, Dipper was probably dead during the time Bill was in his body.
  • The suit worn by Bipper/Dipper during the puppet show is based on the suit worn by Reverend Harry Powell from the 1955 Charles Laughton film, The Night of the Hunter.[citation needed]
  • Deleted and cut scenes were revealed in the box set for this episode:
    • The plug on the laptop is extremely old but due to the library's lack of funding, it still has a socket that can power it.
    • Alongside drinking soda, Bipper pours hot sauce on cake and rubs it on his face.
    • The original opening song in Mabel's play was going to be more rock themed and high intensity.
    • A different closing credits sequence would have had Gabe arguing with his puppets in Greasy's Diner over if he was too harsh on Mabel. He is shown to be clearly upset but children there watching it find it amusing.


S2e4 black light.png
  • In Dipper's journal, during a musical montage there is a cryptogram that reads "KFIV VMVITB MLG HPRM ZMW YLMV IRHRMT ORPV GSV HSVKZIW GLMV." Using the atbash cipher, it decodes to "Pure energy, not skin and bone, rising like the Shepard tone." The Shepard tone is an unnerving artificial sound wave that sounds like it is continually rising, but does not actually change pitch. This may imply something about Bill's biology.
    • In Bill's AMA on Reddit, he mentioned that his favorite song is a rising Shepard tone.
  • A piece of paper in the background titled "Codes" has "ZLGGOH," "VKLIWHU," "ZKDWHYV" and "EHDUR" written on it. When decoded using the Caesar cipher, they read "WIDDLE," "SHIFTER," "WHATEVS" and "BEARO" respectively. The first three are the keywords from previous episodes. The last word is the name of Mabel's childhood stuffed bear, as seen in "Tooth" and the keyword for the next episode.
S2e4 end credits cryptogram.png


    • Found in the mirror's reflection after Bill takes over Dipper's body: "CIPHER"

End page.

  • The page section revealed at the end of the episode says, "10-9 8-3-8-8-19-4 5-4-6-15-10-17-5 21-23-10 16-9-12-20 11-19 20-9-1-10" on the top left, "5-9 8-23-4-15-19-10-4-12-25 15 1-23-4-21-16 4-16-15-5 4-9-1-10" on the top right, "23-22-10-9-6-11-23-12 5-9-9-10 1-15-12-12 22-19 4-16-19 10-9-6-11" on the bottom left, and "19-10-14-9-25 4-16-19 21-23-12-11 22-19-18-9-6-19 4-16-19 5-4-9-6-11" on the bottom right. After being put through all of the ciphers, it translates to "NO PUPPET STRINGS CAN HOLD ME DOWN," "SO PATIENTLY I WATCH THIS TOWN," "ABNORMAL SOON WILL BE THE NORM," and "ENJOY THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM."


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  1. Production art of puppet Stan
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pucci, Douglas (September 11, 2014). Monday broadcast finals (Live plus Same Day) (broken link). Cross-MediaWorks. Retrieved on November 14, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sock Opera. Disney–ABC Television Group. Retrieved on April 15, 2015.
  4. Tumblr Post ID 100803675012. Tumblr. Retrieved on November 14, 2020.
  5. Gravity Falls: Original Bill Cipher concept (DELETED SCENES). YouTube (September 20, 2014).
  6. Hirsch, Alex (October 16, 2015). Tweet number 655110193152286720 (broken link). Retrieved on November 14, 2020.

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