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Howdy y'all! Random critic, Vérité et Masques (VeM, for short) here to review the rather disapointing episode that was The Last Mablecorn.
Where to begin? The episode actually starts off well; nightmare of Bill, Stanford setting up the plot and then comes the issue: while Dipper and Stanford are off doing the more plot heavy stuff, the focus gets shifted off into Mabel's adventures for unicorn hair. This would be a perfectly acceptable episode plot if it didn't throw off the tone so much. However, even on it's own it has flaws. Particularly the rather glaring one at the end.
Two unicorns appear out of the bush (which, btw, was a really stupid reason for why they weren't there earlier) and explain to Mabel that unicorns can't see into hearts and that it's all just them being jerks cause they like flaunting their magical hair, while getting on the first unicorn's case for doing that. Ok, so those two unicorns are good guys? Alright then- BUT WAIT. Nope. They're jerks too. They stood by the first unicorn BEFORE she got hit which means they likely do the same thing to others. So why did they come to explain that it's just a prank? The real reason is that the writers needed a way to get Mabel to punch out a unicorn without being OOC, but man the execution is off.
Meanwhile, there's my biggest problem with the episode: Dipper vs Stanford. Stanford passes out and Dipper, feeling a bit too curious, decides to use the mind machine on Stanford to see what he's hiding about Bill. Cue the screen flashing images of Bill possesing Stanford and Stanford calling Bill his friend and Dipper fears that Bill is Stanford (or that Stanford is helping Bill). Stanford wakes up, and his glasses lens begin to glow yellow from the glare of the screen. In a creepy and monotonous voice, he asks Dipper what he's doing. Dipper grabs the rift and the mind erasing gun which he aims at Stanford. Stanford demands the rift all while marching towards Dipper, who eventually shoots Stanford. The beam bounces off Stanford's face due to the metal brace, bounces off several walls and then destroys the machine. Stanford grabs Dipper and calms him down by adjusting his glasses and revealing that he's himself. Then explains his connection to Bill, Mabel shows up with the Unicorn hair she obtained offscreen, we get a gag from Stanley and roll credits.
So what was wrong with this? Everything. First, Stanford was just so happening to be dreaming about those exact moments and nothing else. He wasn't having another dream conversation with Bill, he wasn't fantazing about his life had his project not been ruined, he wasn't having nightmares about the things he saw across dimensions, he was dreaming about snipets of his time with Bill. Conviently, only the moments that would raise suspicion.
Next comes Dipper's response: grabbing the rift and walking off with it. He does this cause of the dream, Stanford's glasses, his voice and his walk. Of course, it never crosses his mind that if Stanford really was Bill, that would mean breaking the rift open wasn't his true goal. If it was, Stanford/Bill would've just done it already. Also, he's suspicious of a lens glare he should've already seen from the lighting prior? We also have Stanford doing a really poor job of trying to convince Dipper he's not Bill.
Then there's Dipper shooting Stanford. The beam bounces off his face and then bounces across the room becuase for whatever reason, a beam that's supposed to wipe minds can take a more physical form and bounce across anything that isn't someone's face (even though when it hit the walls/floors in The Society of the Blind Eye, it did no such thing; I guess they're made of plot). It then conviently stops when it hits and smashes the screen, which, ironically, would've been the most believable thing for it to bounce off of. Despite the machine being destroyed, there's still the glare in Stanford's glasses until he readjusts them into the exact same position, only now the glare is gone for some reason.
This is when Stanford decides to explain his connections to Bill and why he's been keeping it a secret: so that Dipper wouldn't get tricked like he was. Wait. You mean to say that in order to keep Dipper from getting tricked by Bill, you wouldn't tell him a cautionary tale of when you got duped into thinking Bill was your best friend? How exactly does keeping that secret away from him when he asks makes him less likely to be tricked?
Honestly, that scene sums up my biggest problem with GF: almost all logic will be thrown away if the plot demands it. This episode was more extreme with that flaw than most and that's not even adding in the shift in tone it takes on top of it.
Do remember, this is a critical viewpoint of one episode of the show. Latah.
Do remember, this episode showed some major insight iinto Bill's master plan.
We now know that Bill needs the contained interdimensional rift to transfer his monsters from the Nightmare Realm to the Earth Realm. And now he knows that Stanford Bill-proofed the house and his mind, making Bill need a new puppet outside the shack.
In my opinion, the puppet will either be Soos, Robbie, Gideon, Wendy, Pacifica, or Fiddleford. (Well maybe not those last three, since they are not confirmed symbols of the Cipher wheel.) Bill needs a puppet, and he'd most likely use a puppet with unknown power over them, if the theory that the characters on the Cipher Wheel need to be together to defeat Bill is true.
Honestly though, I feel the Mabel-Unicorn subplot was just a sideplot to
A. Make the episode feel like Sock Opera
B. Create filler space so they didn't have to give too much information about Bill (which in my opinion, didn't work, since they basically have shown in the last two episodes that Gideon is aware of the Cipher Wheel and that Stanford used to be Bill's Marionette, plus it basically showed Bill's master plan.)
Eh. I agree with everything you said, but it was still worth it for the initial thrill of Dipper VS Stanford and hearing the backstory between him and Bill, as well as the whole "new pawn" setup. the Mabel plot wasn't very interesting, and the Dipper plot had some logical flaws, but nothing was truly BAD, per say. I'm finding more and more that when an episode has to devote subplots to Mabel, they're ALWAYS inferior to Dipper's plots in every way, especially in episodes like Sock Opera and Northwest Manor Noir, where they feel like a waste of time compared to the rest of the episode.
You make a lot of good points, but I'm gonna say that it wasn't too coincidental for Stanford to be thinking about Bill; he was setting up a machine to prevent Bill from possessing anyone, so of course he's gonna be thinking of the reason WHY he's doing that.
"Next comes Dipper's response: grabbing the rift and walking off with it. He does this cause of the dream, Stanford's glasses, his voice and his walk. Of course, it never crosses his mind that if Stanford really was Bill, that would mean breaking the rift open wasn't his true goal. If it was, Stanford/Bill would've just done it already. Also, he's suspicious of a lens glare he should've already seen from the lighting prior?"
And the thing about Dipper not acting logically: well, he was panicking.
Stanford not telling the kids about Bill before? That's just Stanford's character: he seems to think that other people are unable to handle important information. It seems that while Ford is very smart when it comes to science, he doesn't have much common sense. I didn't have a problem with that in this episode because this has been consistent with all of his appearances (It does get me pretty annoyed at Ford, though he makes up for it by being generally awesome)
This episode did have problems, though. In addition to the ones you pointed out, I was pretty confused with the Project Mentum. It "bioelectrically encrypts your thoughts so Bill can't read them." What? How does this stop Bill from reading them? Is the giant screen reading your thoughts aloud really necessary? Does that mean you have to be hooked up to the machine in order for it to work, in which case this is completely useless? If this somehow changes how you think, isn't that ethically ambiguous, if not a cause of horrible cancer? What?
I'm finding more and more that when an episode has to devote subplots to Mabel, they're ALWAYS inferior to Dipper's plots in every way, especially in episodes like Sock Opera and Northwest Manor Noir, where they feel like a waste of time compared to the rest of the episode.
Yes! And the episodes where Mabel is the main character, "Boyz Crazy" and "The Deep End", are the worst episodes in my opinion. The best episodes are the ones where Dipper and Mabel are equal characters in the same plot (As in "The Time Traveler's Pig"), or when Dipper has more screen time than Mabel does ("The Inconveniencing")
Speaking of the other episodes, I was reading a prediction online that since Bill has been "making deals", there is a theorized "second wheel" that will include other characters such as Blendin, Bud Gleeful (possibly), The Northwest Parents (again possibly), and others.
Also speaking of Gideon, what kind of deal do you think Gideon made with Bill? Is Gideon free from prison, and will he continue to wreck havoc on the Pines family? Follow-up question, is Gideon aware of Bill's true intentions? Heck, is ANYONE aware of Bill's true intentions? (Not including Ford or Dipper)
EDIT: By the way, doesn't Roadside Attraction air today?
It is likely the only people fully aware of Bill's intentions are Stanford, Dipper and (formerly) McGuket. As for Gideon, I doubt it. As for the deal, hard to say. Possibly to give up his body so Bill can attack the real world.
If that episode does air today, I likely wont see it till tomorrow >.>
Oi vey. Here comes one of those tough issues for critiquing such narrative heavy shows like Gravity Falls. Roadside Attraction was filler, but it was a pretty good episode overall. Don't get me wrong, it had its flaws. There was literally no reason to revive the Wendy angst other than to create love drama for Dipper. But other than that, it was pretty good and probably my favorite episode since Stanford showed up. I don't mind filler as long as it's good, but I do prefer plot moving episodes.
As for Vs the Future, seems like it might be good. Have to catch up on theories for it so I can effectively ride the hype train.
I don't see why Dipper would assume Stanford IS Bill. That's a ridiculous assumption. As for Mabel and the unicorns, yeah the unicorns were upset with Celestebellebethabelle, but that's because she took it too far. She took it to the point of making a little girl cry. They probably aren't used to having someone do so many good deeds in hope that they will get the hair. But in the end they've got C-beth's back. Also I'm sure the Realm of the Unicorns is huge which is why they weren't there before. Stanford happened to be dreaming about Bill because he was just talking about Bill with Dipper.