Here we have the introduction of the show’s first recurring antagonist. During the commercial break of popular show Tiger Fist…
They see an ad for live psychic readings done by someone named Gideon. The adverts openly mock Grunkle Stan and he bans them from going. Disobeying his orders, the kids go anyways to find out who Gideon really is. They arrive at the show, take their seats, curtains open to reveal…
Lil’ Gideon is a cute little pipsqeak whose psychic show is a total farce. He’s a blend of “cold reader” psychics and huckster televangelists. It’s hard to believe that so many residents are taken for fools by this kid, but who can refuse this face?
Well apparently while interacting with the crowd, he manages to become quite enamoured with Mabel.
He wastes little time trying to woo Mabel. After spending some time with her doing “girly” stuff, he propositions her with a date. Mabel makes it quite clear that she is not interested in Gideon in a romantic way but does not want to be mean so she agrees to just one date.
Gideon then treats her to a ridiculously lavish date that is made only more awkward by the public attention given to this “celebrity” couple. After a proposition from a rainbow macaw Mabel feels she has no choice but to agree to another date. She returns home miserable and confused.
At this point, Grunkle Stan becomes aware that Mabel is dating his sworn enemy and business rival. He storms over to Gideon’s house to give them a piece of his mind.
Unfortunately, Gideon and his family speak Stan’s language… money. By the time he leaves the house, he fully supports Gideon X Mabel and is wearing… this…
With pressure now coming from inside the Mystery Shack and Mabel too distraught to break Gideon’s heart, Dipper decides to do her a favour. He goes to let Gideon down easy for her.
This is easier said then done and Gideon takes Dipper’s message as an attempt to keep Mabel and Gideon. Gideon doesn’t take this too badly though. He responds reasonably by later luring Dipper to an abandoned old factory and attempting to kill him with a real magic amulet.
Meanwhile Mabel gets some useful “girl to girl” advice from Wendy about telling people the truth about how you feel (well… Mabel kinda realizes this on her own while Wendy remembers guys she either did or did not remember to break up with). Good thing Wendy’s got this relationship stuff down and there will be absolutely NO drama involving her… [cough].
Aaaaanyways. Mabel shows up just in time to steal the amulet before Dipper ends up badly hurt. She tosses the amulet to Dipper who just happens to be standing in front of a large window overlooking a gorge. Now Gideon isn’t a total psychopath, so he calmly turns to Dipper and
I mean seriously, this is not only completely homicidal but shows absolutely no sense for self-preservation on Gideon’s behalf. This is probably the first time where Gravity Falls shows that it can create a real intense moment but it will not be the last.
Luckily enough, Mabel manages to retrieve the amulet again and saves everyone. Now that she has seen Gideon’s really bad side, it’s pretty easy for her to tell him to F off forever and breaks the amulet. Gideon vows to get revenge on the whole Pines family and starts by hastily breaking off the deal with Stan.
Back at home, the twins and their Grunkle can sit back and laugh knowing that, without the amulet, Gideon will never be a problem again.
And that’ll close “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”. I had mixed feelings about Gideon being introduced as the central antagonist for this season, but the potential he shows in this episode grows further along. I do really enjoy the relation he has with his parents.
By being the dominant member of the family, it compares to the Twilight Zone “kid with powers”.
They also do a decent job with a strong and complex moral in this one. How it’s more important to tell someone the truth about complex emotions than to spare their feelings. Admittedly, Gideon turning into a villain does weaken this moral. It also seems weak comparatively when the same theme is discussed later in a far more complicated and heart wrenching way.
Again we spend a good portion of the episode examining how strong the relationship is between these two twins. While this was really important to set up in the beginning, it starts to get a little repetitive when the show spends the majority of an episode examining these two’s feelings for each other. Going forward, the show continues to show off its writing chops as the strong relationship becomes a give-in and is subtly presented instead of being the main attraction.
On the positive side, audiences were introduced to a continuing central antagonist as well as another journal, which starts to show the series’ commitment to a strong continuity. Not the strongest entry in the show, but it’s Gravity Falls so it’s still relatively strong compared to anything else you might watch.
Not really any secrets of note that I can find for this one. The code in the ending of the show reads CARLA, WHY WON’T YOU CALL ME? Which is a reference to the disclaimer at the end of Gideon’s Tent of Telepathy commercial which reads
“Void where prohibited, no C.O.D.’s accepted, the letter “p” in the word psychic is silent and used for entertainment purposes only. If unsatisfied, please return unused portion for a full refund. Side effects may include but are not limited to: prosperity, wads of cash, fun at parties, tight pants, 6.2% APR, no money down! Psychic readings may cause a warming sensation in the abdomen. If pain persists, consult your physicist immediately. Carla, I’ve always loved you but I’ve never had the guts to say it.”
To finish things off, I will leave you with a bezazzled Soos disco ball.