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Recap / Gravity Falls S1 E3 "Headhunters"

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Dipper and Mabel are ahead of the local cops.

After the kids find Stan's old collection of wax statues, Stan decides to exhibit them again, and Mabel makes a wax figure of him for the event. But when it is found beheaded, she and Dipper set out to find the culprit. Meanwhile, Stan mourns the loss of his wax doppelganger as though it was a real person.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Accidental Hero: Mabel's creation Wax Stan ended up saving the real Stan's life, since the wax statues were gunning for him and beheaded his counterpart.
  • Accidental Murder: Inverted; the wax statues meant to murder Stan, but they got his statue instead.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In the form of affectionate noogie-ing.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The wax figures are cursed to come to life every time the moon is "waxing".
  • Artistic License Biology: Dipper figured out that Gompers the goat was eating their tin cans. Contrary to popular belief, goats don't eat tin cans. They just eat the labels and lick the glue off.
  • "Aww"-choo: It's revealed Dipper's sneezes are rather cute though he finds it embarrassing. In the climax, after the wax Sherlock Holmes is beaten, Dipper starts to celebrate but sneezes during so causing wax Sherlock Holmes to mock how adorable it is as he melts away with the coming sunrise, much to Dipper's chagrin.
  • Ax-Crazy: The wax statues (quite literally with the one of Lizzie Borden).
  • Badass Boast: "You really think you can outwit me, boy? I'm Sherlock bleeding Holmes!"
  • Badge Gag: To enter the Skull Fracture bar, Dipper and Mabel make obviously fake ID badges. They give their names as "Lady Mabelton" and "Lord Dippingsauce" and have googly eyes, stickers, and macaroni on them. Closer inspection reveals that Dipper is trying to pass for 45.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Skull Fracture, a biker bar featuring only the manliest badasses in town.
  • Blank White Eyes: The wax figures get these as they are about to destroy the twins.
  • Body Double: Wax Stan gets turned into an unwitting one for the real Stan when the wax statues attempt to take their revenge on him, resulting in them cutting the head off the wrong target.
  • Brick Joke: Early on in the episode, Dipper gets called adorable and is told that he sneezes like a kitten. A melting wax Sherlock Holmes later tells him the same thing.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • When Mabel explains the hole in the shoe of Wax Stan, she says "All the wax guys have them. It's where the pole-thingy attaches to their stand-dealies."
    • Mabel later realizes they can fight off the wax dummies with "Hot-y melty things!"
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Grunkle Stan attracts visitors to the re-opening of his wax museum by promising them free pizza. He then claims that this was a typo. Cue the angry mob.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Sun, if you think about it. It melted Wax Abraham Lincoln at the start of the episode and Wax Sherlock Holmes near the end.
  • Companion Cube: Wax Stan for the Grunkle.
  • Deadly Dodging: How Wax Genghis Khan meets his end. He charges at Dipper, but he moves out of the way and Wax Genghis runs head first into the fireplace.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: This is how Dipper and Mabel locate the axe.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: One of the pictures on Dipper's suspect board is Robbie, who makes his first full appearance in "The Inconvencing". Another is Blendin, who wouldn't make an appearance for six episodes in "The Time Traveler's Pig".
  • The End... Or Is It?: Dipper and Mabel get rid of all the Wax Figures... except Larry King's head, who managed to escape into the vent.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: While still depressed about being unable to solve the case, Dipper noticed Stan's wax statue has a hole on his shoe, just like the culprit's footprints. Mabel tells him that all the wax statues have a hole under their foot to place the poles to keep them upright.
    Dipper: (realizing) Wait a minute! What has holes in its shoes and no fingerprints? (suddenly panicking) Mabel! The murderers are...
    Wax Sherlock: (comes to life) Standing right behind you?
    [The rest of the wax statues come to life as well.]
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: The clues pointing to the real killer are displayed to the viewer before attention is ever drawn to them. The hole in Wax Stan's foot that identifies the killer as a living wax statue is shown when his headless body is discovered in front of the TV, and Sherlock Holmes is depicted holding his magnifying glass in his left hand long before attention is drawn to which attendees at the unveiling were left or right handed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the first Ducktective short, the murder was apparently an axcident. This foreshadows the plot: the murder weapon was an axe, and it really was an accident; the wax figures were gunning for the real Grunkle Stan.
    • Combined with Meaningful Background Event, when Manly Dan points out to Dipper that the murder weapon is a left-handed axe, and thus the killer must also be left-handed, astute viewers might have noticed that the Sherlock Holmes statue is holding its magnifying glass prominently in its left hand. Sure enough, it turns out to be the Killer. Gets crossed with Fauxshadowing in the case of Toby Determined, since he's shown holding his turkey baster/microphone in his left hand during the grand unveiling, but he's a Red Herring to distract from the non-human true killer.
    • McGucket asks, "Are the wax figures alive, and — follow-up question: can I survive the wax-man uprising?" Mabel just gives a simple "Yes," and that is the correct answer to both. Not only are the wax figures alive, but everyone (except most of the wax figures themselves) survives the uprising.
    • Wax Lizzie Borden wields an axe, which was used to behead Wax Stan. During the funeral, she didn't have the axe with her, and only got it back from the twins after they figured out the statues are the culprits.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Dipper is talking to Manly Dan, there is a sign in the background for Hürszch beer, as in showrunner Alex Hirsch.
  • Fun with Homophones: "We don't serve miners here."
  • He Knows Too Much: The wax figures decide to kill the kids because they know about them.
  • He's Okay: After walking over what appears to be a dead body on the barroom floor, Mabel helpfully announces, "He's resting", possibly for the benefit of any concerned parents or network executives.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Toby Determined tells the twins "I'd be pretty embarrassed if I was you two." Meanwhile, there's a video playing of him making out with a cardboard cutout.
  • Improvised Weapon: The twins use decorative candles and a searing hot fireplace poker to melt the wax figures to death.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In the flashback to Stan getting the cursed wax figures, he openly told the owner he was going to just steal them.
    Stan: Twenty dollars?! I'll just take 'em when you're not lookin'.
    Salesman: What?
    Stan: I said I was gonna rob ya!
  • Insistent Terminology: Sherlock insists that he and the wax figures are not "magic" but "cursed", cursed to come to life whenever the moon is waxing.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: It turns out the axe Dipper and Mabel found is a left-handed one. Manly Dan couldn't have used it because he's right-handed. Wax Holmes seems to be ambidextrous.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Dipper questions Manly Dan on what he was doing at the time of the 'murder', Dan reports he was punching the clock. When asked about this, he claims he was literally punching a clock, and points to a severely dented street clock.
  • Monster of the Week: Wax Sherlock Holmes.
  • Mourning an Object: When Stan's wax figure is beheaded, he treats it like a murder and holds a funeral for it.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Wax Sherlock wastes no time to enact his plan to kill the Pines once the museum room is discovered. As soon as he has an opening he tries chopping off Stan's head, failing only because he mixed up Stan for his recently-crafted wax figure. During the fight with the twins, he grabs a sword hanging from the wall and disarms Dipper's decorative candle with it to eliminate the immediate danger to himself, and keeps the upper hand during most of their fight even after Mabel hands Dipper a new weapon, up until Dipper tricks him into chasing him on the roof as the sun is rising.
  • No Smoking: Lampshaded by Wax Groucho Marx, who questions why there's nothing in his hand after making a Groucho-style witty comment.
  • Police Are Useless: Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland, who immediately deem the case unsolvable.
  • Police Brutality: Durland is a little too excited about getting to use his nightstick when they're preparing to arrest Toby Determined, though all he actually does with it is knock a lamp off the table.
  • Police Code for Everything: An officer getting ready to fit an entire cantaloupe in his mouth is a 23-16.
  • Properly Paranoid: Old Man MacGucket was right to worry about the wax figures.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Invoked by Mabel when showing Stan the axe they found.
  • Red Herring: Both Manly Dan and Toby Determined had very convincing evidence stacked up against them, but were not, in fact, the killers.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Wax Sherlock chases Dipper on the Roof.
  • Running Gag: The episode's end-of-credits cryptogram reads "KH'V VWLOO LQ WKH YHQWV". Once decoded, it reads, "HE'S STILL IN THE VENTS", referring to the severed head of Wax Larry King, which had been shown to be hiding in the vents.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Two people clap half-heartedly during the opening of the Wax Museum. Also invoked by Wax Sherlock Holmes.
    Wax Sherlock Holmes: Applaud everyone, applaud sarcastically! No, that sounds too sincere, slower... There we go, nice and condescending.
  • Sequel Hook: Wax Larry King's head is still alive and hiding in the air vents at episode's end.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Starting from this episode, the sign says Mystery Hack considering that the second S of the sign gets knocked off.
  • Skyward Scream: Grunkle Stan does this while encouraging Dipper and Mabel to investigate the "murder" of Wax Stan.
    Grunkle Stan: Avenge me, kids! Avenge me!!
  • Something We Forgot: Mabel is sure they got rid of all the wax figures; turns out the head of Wax Larry King is still standing, and escapes into the vents.
  • Special Guest: Larry King and Coolio as their wax figures. John Oliver as Wax Sherlock Holmes.
  • Spit Take: Parodied. When Sheriff Blubs arrives at the Mystery Shack at the end of the episode, he mockingly asks whether they solved the murder yet, then adds, "I'm so confident you didn't that I'm going to take a long, slow sip of my coffee". Needless to say, that coffee gets spat straight back out again when he learns that Dipper did indeed solve the case (and for bonus points, Deputy Durland also spits out his coffee).
  • Stealth Pun: The statues only come to life when the moon waxes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: For the first two episodes, Dipper and Mabel were more Action Survivors. In this episode they fight and destroy the wax statues when they come to life and try to kill them, with Dipper outwitting Wax Sherlock Holmes and tricking him to follow onto the roof just as the sun is starting to rise.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Wax Sherlock Holmes doesn't take his defeat well.
    Wax Sherlock Holmes: Outsmarted by a child in short pants?! Nooooooo! Fiddlesticks! Humbugs! It's a total kerfuffle. What a hullabaloo.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The statues have no qualms about killing the twins.



Did we get rid of all the wax figures? Well, not everyone...

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / SomethingWeForgot

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