'Gravity Falls' Finale Decoded: Moments You May Have Missed In The Final Episode

'Gravity Falls' Finale Decoded: Moments You May Have Missed In The Final Episode

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
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Summer vacation just drew to an end for some, even in the middle of February. Last Monday, "Gravity Falls" aired its last episode, an hour-long intense emotional roller coaster of a final battle against the coming apocalypse. "Weirdmaggedon 3: Take Back The Falls" as the perfect, heartwarming and action-packed end to two seasons and one summer of weirdness. The world of "Gravity Falls," which started as such a quirky, sweet comedy, if surrounded by slightly off-putting imagery and creepy themes, has become a clever puzzle of suspense and dark mysteries. Yet, even as the tone of the show turned on its head, though, the show has never forgotten the foundation it finds in the importance of trust, love, and family, all of which was especially prominent in its final hour.

From this point on, this article will have major spoilers for the finale, so if you haven't seen it yet, go watch it and come back.

Of all the things "Gravity Falls" does well, it is, without a doubt, a master of climaxes. Just look back at the final moments of season one, where the show combines the answers to a season's worth of foreshadowing with a plethora of new questions, or the suspense that builds throughout the entirety of "Not What He Seems," as the show forces its audience to question everything they know to the last second. It uses color and animation, music and detail to craft heart-racing moments filled with tension and emotion. And its final episode, as the climax of the entire show, did not disappoint.

The episode races forward from the start and continues to pick up speed, hardly taking a moment to let its audience relieve the slight panic that's building in their chest as Gravity Falls begins to run out of options. But what really makes a good climax in this show is the way it handles its mysteries. No question is solved without two more being asked, and no climax is understood in full until it is taken under a microscope, picked apart and analyzed by the show's fans.

The show's finale features its biggest moment yet, as the Pines' move forward with one final attempt to destroy Bill. Unsurprisingly, this scene is filled with secrets you may not have picked up on the first time around:

1. Clues about Stan and Ford's plan that even Bill missed are dropped moments before the climax.

Some people were eagle-eyed, able to pick out the character design differences between the two in the quick shots they were shown in together. Most, myself included, were not. Upon a second viewing, though, their switch is pretty easy to spot. Ford's iconic six-fingered hands and the cleft in his chin paired with the bumps on Stan's nose give them away. Don't feel too bad about missing it, though. An all-powerful mind demon from a separate dimension couldn't figure it out, either, even with that one, big eye.


2. Bill's last words can only be heard when played backward.

The moments before Stan defeats Bill are unbelievably satisfying. It only makes sense that the trickster could only be beaten by the main con-man himself. But before shattering and disappearing, Bill starts saying something that is a bit indecipherable at first. Fans know that if you hear something on this show that you can't fully understand, it's normally not just your hearing going bad. As Bill finds himself coming apart, his garbled final words can only be understood when played backward:



"(A-)X-O-L-O-T-L MY TIME HAS COME TO BURN. I INVOKE THE ANCIENT POWER THAT I MAY RETURN."

In the days since the episode premiered, there's been some debate over whether or not Bill is spelling "Xolotl" or "Axolotl." Not only is Xolotl the Aztec god of fire and lightning, but he is also the god of twins and monsters. Clearly, a very fitting "ancient power" for Bill to call on in his last moments. However, Alex Hirsch, the creator of "Gravity Falls," said that he would answer any "spoiler questions" during an AMA on Reddit a while back with a picture of an axolotl, as in the small creature Stan keeps in a tank near his armchair. The "A" may be part of the word he spells, or it might just be a part of the scream that is heard before he reaches for Stan. The axolotl is one of the spirit animal forms of Xolotl, though, so the difference between the two is not as distinct as it may seem at first glance.

3. Bill knew exactly what was coming for him in his final moments.

This show has always liked to tease us with flashes of images that allude to what is to come later on. Blendin Blandin's suit changes to a scene from the beach Stan and Ford grew up on in "Blendin's Game," and Bill's body changes to an image of Ford and the mark that would later cause Stan's "tattoo." Bill's body does this one last time as it begins to glitch, changing to this:

An image that is kind of hard to make out until you see this image, moments after Bill is defeated:

4. You may actually be able to find his body.

Not just in the cartoon. In real life. If you watched the finale on television, you might have turned it off during the credits as a new show began. If you stayed until the end, you would have caught a glimpse of this:

Bill, no longer animated, in the same position as he is in the show. When combined with the decoded message found on the bus as Dipper and Mabel go home - "Hidden deep within the woods a buried treasure awaits / Secrets lost and statues found beyond the rusty gates” - it starts to sound like this isn't just a quick gag to make you feel like the events you just witnessed are real. "The rusty gates" is too odd a detail for that, considering there are no rusty gates worth noting in the cartoon. Fans have already begun searching, checking tourist traps around Oregon like the Oregon Vortex and the Temple of Oculus Anubis. The show was able to turn its viewers into conspiracy theorists, and makes sure to take its final moments to make them into explorers, essentially making them into honorary members of the Pines family.

BONUS:

5. The episode features two very special guest stars.

"Gravity Falls" isn't the only odd town out there, as the show was extra aware of that when casting this episode. Cecil Baldwin, the narrator of the "Welcome To Night Vale" podcast, a series focusing on a small desert town filled with odd creatures and anomalies, made a return appearance in the episode as Tad Strange, the only normal person in all of Gravity Falls. He only has one line, but it is exciting to see the two towns collide for a moment. The episode also had a guest appearance by Kyle Maclachlan, otherwise known as Special Agent Dale Cooper from "Twin Peaks," a show that has been an influence on "Gravity Falls" since the beginning. He voices the bus driver who takes Dipper and Mabel back to California.

It's all very fitting, to say the least. The voice of an inspiration for the show carrying the Pines twins to the end of their journey while they watch "Gravity Falls" flick past the bus windows, a nostalgic version of the cartoon's opening theme playing as Dipper opens the letter to find the words, "See you next summer!" ties the entire show together so cleanly that it's almost impossible to finish the episode without feeling 100% satisfied.

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37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.

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We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint


18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings


23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop


31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me


This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

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It Is Pointless To Pity The Homeless

Guilt is the silent killer of political action.

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Two summers ago, when I was an intern at The Father McKenna Center in Washington DC, I met Jason, who was homeless. I had just finished closing the shelter's computer lab for the evening, and the attendees of the AA meeting in the shelter's cafeteria had started to say their goodbyes and disperse until next week. As I was leaving to take the subway home, and as he was leaving to walk back to his encampment, wherever it may have been, Jason and I converged with each other at the front door of the shelter, and we introduced ourselves to each other.

Jason had two children, aged four and six, both of whom were protected from him under custody by his former wife. She had made the decision to divorce him because of his drug use, which posed a danger to the couple's children. (Jason did not hesitate to admit to this.) Shortly after the separation from his family, he became homeless. He had a high school degree and some former experience doing construction work. Aged into his mid 30's with minimal employment, Jason had been struggling to find a job for years.

As we walked, he told me about his kids, and how sometimes he hears about them during occasional phone calls with his wife. For a moment, he turned his head to look at me in my eyes, and he quietly told me about how proud he was of his daughters for completing the first and third grades of elementary school.

If you are homeless, it takes an immense amount of courage to make the commitment to go to a homeless shelter. I believe that the one thing that most people struggle with, homeless or not, is the challenge of confronting one's own demons. Jason had demons, luggage, regrets, and so on - I had those too. Jason had first stepped at The Father McKenna Center shortly before I began my internship. As I performed the duties of my internship, Jason and I, together, experienced a great turbulence in our individual missions to confront our demons; and with that turbulence came sobriety. Not relief or improvement, but sobriety. True self-improvement is a year-long commitment, but self-awareness is a skill which can be utilized at any time.

Jason and I spoke several times throughout my internship. One of the last interactions I had with his before I completed my term happened again at the front entrance of the shelter. He told me that after years of searching, he had found the initiative to apply for a job. "Even though she and I needed to go our own ways," he said, "I still want to show my wife that I care about her. We're not married, but I still want to provide for her and the kids. I don't know how they feel about me, but I want to show my daughters that I am still their father, and that I love them."

When I started my internship at the shelter, I genuinely believed that I would come out of it depressed and disillusioned. But I learned to look beyond the misfortune and suffering, and with that perspective, I started to find more and more inspiration in the facets of life by which I had previously felt discouraged and depressed. I have not seen Jason in two summers, but I think about him every day, for strength.

Say, for instance, that you start to feel as though the daily grind of your summer job is starting to become too monotonous. Us undergrads are tirelessly told by our advisors that the best possible use of our time during the summer, outside of college and other than working for pay, is time spent volunteering and building up our resumes. After some online research and phone calls, you break down your volunteering options to three different nonprofit organizations in your area: Your first option is to spend 3-5 hours once a week helping a local community center care for its flower garden, fresh herb greenhouse, and wildlife sanctuary. Your second option is to spend Tuesday and Thursday evenings bathing, petting, and reading storybooks to all the dogs and cats at a nonprofit rescue shelter. Your third option is to spend 5 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at an inner-city homeless shelter and rehabilitation center for men who have been recently released from prison.

This where the conflict begins. Deep inside, you know that volunteering at the men's shelter is, in your opinion, the most valuable kind of work you can do. Human beings require more attention than plants and pets. Humans beings need to be kind to each other, and so, you may want to volunteer at the shelter.

The problem is certainly not that nobody wants to volunteer at homeless shelters. I consider myself an optimist, and I still think that the majority of people living in the United States wish to care for and support each other. The true problem is that even when a good-minded, empathetic, caring person wants to offer their kindness to the homeless, there are layers upon layers of illusions, false impressions, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and (most importantly), miscommunications which prevent them from doing so. What must truly be addressed is not how much attention is being paid to homelessness, but how attention is paid. There are many kinds of layers of illusion; the majority of them are certainly racial illusion. A vast number are economic. Others, however, are emotional. A lot are just flat-out moral as well.

The growing epidemic of homelessness, as an affliction, is the product of political injustice, racist systems, and greed. But the homeless lifestyle itself, however, is not political in nature. Homeless people are not statistics in a study, neither are they variables in a social equation. Homelessness is a daily struggle for a human life, and those who are homeless suffer. They are as emotional and as sentient as the well-off office workers who pelt them with quarters as though they're fountains.

Understanding homelessness is especially hard for people on the polar opposite side of the social/economic spectrum from the homeless. It is somehow harder for a wealthy and educated person to understand homelessness than it is for someone from lower-class origins to do so. As I said before, I genuinely believe that the vast majority of people on this Earth have the moral initiative to help those less fortunate - but this initiative is excessively overridden by the reflexive tendency most people have to compare and juxtapose themselves. This act of reflexive juxtaposition is what scares most people away from homeless shelters.

Call it what you want - "juxtaposition" is not the only word one can use to describe this feeling. Some people might call themselves "overqualified." From a political perspective, some have referred to it as "white guilt." Regardless of what you call it, it is reflexive. Homeless people, just upon sight, are registered with labels and false truths. The visceral, instinctive reaction to a homeless person is "Look forward, walk firm, and don't make eye contact." This is what needs to change.

In western society, people who grow up privileged - with parents, shelter, an education, and relationships - are subconsciously taught, unintentionally encouraged, and silently conditioned by the people around them to treat the homeless with, above all else, pity. The etiquette of reacting to a homeless person suggests something of a "passive melancholy." Like I mentioned before, under this mannerism of avoidant sorrow, homelessness is not a condition of life. It is a political symbol. The stumbling beggar in the subway and the raggedy busker on the street corner are effectively dehumanized by default; as long as they are evidently homeless, their role in the social dynamic of these public places is automatically different from yours and mine. The status of homelessness completely nullifies - no, prevents - a person's worthiness and rightful entitlement to human attribution, and without mercy, they are turned into something which is not human: a figure which is nothing but a representation of itself.

After years of riding the bus and subway, I have become aware of several different categories in which the people around me fit; I see the day laborers, who are categorized by being older men, clad in paint-stained construction pants, functioning in close-knit groups of six or seven. I see the government employees, who are categorized by the loudness of their gazes of exhaustion, directionless and unfixed, garbed in outdated albeit notably well-fitted suits, bland floral blouses, sky-blue button downs, the incredible pant suits, and khakis, and khakis, and khakis. I see the college-aged summertime interns running coffee for politicians who never remember their names, and they, too, are categorized; specifically by their calculated movements, blatantly artificial exteriors, and the endearing aura of simultaneous youthful naivety and capitalistic millennial-themed ambition (they also act like they know where they're going, when really, they don't, but they never stop to ask for directions). I see the mothers, the trust-fund white kids from Gonzaga, the beatniks from Howard, the Reagan-bound luggage-bearing vagabonds, the punks, the academics, the racists, the anarchists, the activists, the drunks, the wandering, the sleeping, and of course, the emblematic tourists in their MAGA hats, graphic tees, and jorts.

What kind of a response is demanded of those who choose to protect the weak? How are the wounded addressed by the healers? How should I talk to someone who suffers? The photographers, the journalists, and the volunteers cannot hope to rile a revolution alone. Neither can the teachers hope to raise a generation freed from toxicity alone, nor can the young politicians on the Hill hope to deliver their country to safety and stability alone. The problem of homelessness can be addressed, as can it be confronted, observed, studied, and journalized. Don't get me wrong, though - this type of action is deeply important: The awareness of a problem creates an opportunity for its solution. But the raising of awareness is not enough. The confrontation of our reality is not enough. To take the first step beyond awareness is to give attention to those who are in need of it; to attend to the weak and the wounded, and to act for their protection and their healing. In the words of the French revolutionary Simone Weil: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity."


Song suggestion: LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

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Paul J. RIchards/Getty Images

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