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Recap / Gravity Falls S1 E4 "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel"

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Hey Mabel, wanna go on another date with Gideon? No pressure or anything.

The fourth episode of Gravity Falls.

An alleged psychic called Li'l Gideon has come to town and Soos, Dipper, and Mabel go to see his show against Grunkle Stan's wishes. The psychic turns out to be a little kid who fails to demonstrate any actual powers in his show (besides making the twins and Soos stand up inadvertently), leaving Dipper unimpressed. Li'l Gideon and Mabel start hanging out, and soon Gideon is asking Mabel out for a real date. Mabel is reluctant, wanting to remain friends, but agrees to one date so her new friend won't be sad. She keeps getting pressured into more dates and becomes increasingly distressed by her inability to return to just being friends until Dipper offers to break things off with Gideon for her. Dipper breaks the news to Gideon, who claims not to be upset. Later, Li'l Gideon lures Dipper into a trap and reveals that his lucky bolo tie amulet grants him supernatural powers. He tries to eliminate Dipper, whom he sees as being in the way of him and Mabel being together. Mabel arrives just in time to save her brother, smashing Gideon's power source. Li'l Gideon vows revenge and leaves. As the Pines family mock Gideon, confident he can't do anything to harm them, the child is plotting against while poring through a book—one exactly like Dipper's journal, but marked 2.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Gideon is this for Mabel. It certainly doesn't help that he's also a Yandere.
  • An Aesop:
    • As Mabel learns, you have to do your own dirty work. Sending someone else to take care of an unfortunate situation for you isn't fair on anyone involved, and can have unforeseen consequences.
    • More subtly, just because someone seems nice and they're your friend, you aren't obligated to date them if you don't want to. Be kind when refusing, but know that you have a right to say "no." And if they don't respect that the first time they hear it, that's when it's time to bail.
  • And Then I Said:
    Gideon: ...And so I said, "Autograph your own head shot, lady!" Ahaha!
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Well, little brother, but still. After seeing how miserable Mabel is with Gideon, Dipper decides to help her by breaking it off for her. It doesn't go well.
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    • Played straight by Mabel as well. She arrives at the factory to see Gideon preparing to kill Dipper (or at least cut his tongue out) with shears. She plays nice with Gideon long enough to snatch away the amulet that gives him his powers, then makes it clear that she has no desire to even be friends with him at all anymore now that he attacked her brother.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lil' Gideon.
  • Blatant Lies: Gideon pretends to be okay with Mabel breaking off the relationship through Dipper when he assumes that Dipper is trying to come between them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During Gideon's song, he faces the camera and winks, saying, "And thanks for visiting."
  • Captain Obvious: The 'predictions' Gideon makes during his show;
    Gideon: You wish your son would call you more
    Old lady with a cat: I'm leaving everything to my cats!
    Gideon: I sense that you've been here before
    Sheriff Blubs, covered in Gideon merch: What gave it away?
    Gideon: I'll read your mind if I'm able / Somethin' tells me your name's Mabel
    Mabel, wearing a sweater with MABEL stitched on: How did he do that?
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Dipper apologizes to Toby Determined for accusing him of murder in "Headhunters".
    • Mabel is seen wearing the llama sweater that Wax Larry King suggested she wear in the previous episode.
    • The S on the Mystery Shack is still detached from the previous episode.
  • Creepy Doll: Gideon has a whole toy line of them.
  • Dartboard of Hate: A photograph of Stan riddled with darts hangs in Li'l Gideon's house.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Dipper breaks up with Gideon in Mabel's stead, Gideon's response was to try to kill Dipper.
  • Distressed Dude: Dipper has to be saved from being killed by Gideon.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Gideon is the creepy kind, masquerading as the sympathetic kind. He comes off as friendly at first, and his crush on Mabel seems cute and harmless, but his refusal to take "no" for an answer, habit of repeatedly asking her out even when she's made it clear she's not interested, and big, public gestures that make it hard for her to refuse him are all huge red flags. He exposes himself as a full-blown Yandere by the episode's end.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Mabel tells Gideon they can still be friends after turning him down. She was lying to get the amulet from him; after she gets it, she tells him there's no way she'll be friends with someone who just tried to murder her brother.
    • Toby Determined is surprisingly okay towards Dipper after Dipper kinda accused Toby of murder "last week" (the episode "Headhunters").
  • The Exit Is That Way: Soos expects this when Stan storms out of the room. He's disappointed when it turns out Stan did not walk into a closet.
    Soos: Nope. Real door.
  • Foreshadowing: During Gideon's song, he grabs his bolo tie and tells everyone to rise up. Everyone does just that, to Dipper's surprise. This foreshadows his bolo tie is really an amulet that grants the wearer telekinesis, which prompts everyone to be forced to their feet.
  • Ghost Butler: When Gideon lures Dipper to the old cliff-side factory, the first thing he does is slam the door shut.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Gideon pressures Mabel into continuing to date him with these, like training a parrot to squawk out an invitation to a dance, or setting off fireworks that spell out her name.
  • He's Not My Boyfriend: Mabel keeps saying this even though she reluctantly agrees to go on another date every time he asks her.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Mabel's reason why she won't date Gideon. He doesn't take it well.
  • Ignored Epiphany: A minor one, Played for Laughs: Wendy, when listing off her old boyfriends, realizes that she isn't sure if she actually got around to breaking up with one of them, and "No wonder he keeps calling me!" She then gets a call, glances at her phone, rolls her eyes at whatever she sees and dismissively presses "Ignore".
  • Laugh of Love: Mabel and Lil' Gideon are attracted to one another (though it's purely platonic on Mabel's side) and tend to laugh when they hang out together, at least until Gideon reveals himself to be utterly psychotic in his attraction to Mabel.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Gideon, believing that Dipper is trying to ruin his relationship with Mabel, tries to kill Dipper after trying to end the relationship for Mabel. Thankfully, Mabel is there to save her brother.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The aversion of this trope is the first hint that Gideon is not a Nice Guy.
  • Noodle Incident: Stan apparently wound up in a Colombian jail at some point.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted. While the twins and Stan are mocking Gideon for being harmless after losing his amulet, Gideon is revealed to possess Journal #2, which is how he learned of the amulet in the first place. He looks through it as he plans his revenge.
    Gideon: (Mocking Dipper) 'What are you going to do without your precious amulet?' Oh, you'll see boy... you'll see...
  • Not Good with Rejection: Gideon when dumped by Mabel.
  • Not-So-Phony Psychic: Li'l Gideon uses obvious tricks in his shows, but actually does have telekinetic powers thanks to his magic amulet, and more occult knowledge from the second journal.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Gideon takes Mabel on one.
  • One Scene, Two Monologues: The conversation between Wendy and Mabel starts with them talking to each other but then turns into Wendy recounting all the guys she's dumped while Mabel realizes she should break up with Gideon herself.
  • Pet Heir: The old lady with a cat says she's leaving everything to her cats.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe: for Mabel and Gideon, Soos hesitates between "Mabideon", "Gideabel", and "Magidbelion".
  • Puppy Love: Li'l Gideon's crush on Mabel.
  • Psychic Powers: Gideon pretends to have telepathy. However, it turns out the amulet of his actually gives him telekinesis.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Parodied during Gideon's Chair Reveal, as he's holding a stuffed doll of himself.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: After cracking a joke about literally finding a loophole, Mabel makes a Losing Horns sound. "WOMP WOMP!"
  • Security Blanket: When Mabel buries her face into her sweater and escapes into "Sweatertown."
  • Shear Menace: Gideon telekinetically pulls out a pair of his own brand of lamb shears, and intended to use them to murder Dipper or at least cut his tongue out.
    Dipper: [Mabel]'s never gonna date you, man!
    Gideon: That's a lie. And I'm gonna make sure you never lie to me again.
  • Shipper on Deck: Everybody wants Mabel and Gideon together, except for Dipper (especially when he sees how much Mabel herself doesn't want it).
  • Shoot the Messenger: When Dipper tells Gideon that Mabel no longer wishes to "date" him, he assumes that Dipper is the one who is keeping them apart and attempts to kill him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The inside of "The Club" looks identical to the Black Lodge on Twin Peaks, another show dealing with unusual and supernatural occurrences in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. The naming would also imply a nod to "One-Eyed Jacks" a club/casino/brothel on that show.
    • The title could be a reference to The Smiths song "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle", the film, or the saying, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Apparently, Gideon is Stan's "mortal enemy".
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Mabel hides herself in "Sweater Town".
  • Twitchy Eye: Gideon gets this when Dipper tells him that Mabel doesn't want to see him anymore.
  • We Will Meet Again: Gideon after Mabel defeats him by destroying the amulet.
    Gideon: My powers! Oh this isn't over. This isn't the last you'll see of wittle...ol'
  • Wham Shot: At first this just seems like another ordinary episode, with Gideon as an unremarkable villain of the week... until the final scene, where he consults the book from which he got his Amulet, which turns out to have a six-fingered hand symbol bearing the number "2" on the cover.
  • Wimp Fight: Dipper and Gideon manage to have a slap fight in mid-air after falling out the window of the cliff-side factory.
  • Yandere: Gideon. He has an unrequited crush on Mabel and keeps getting her to go out with him. After a few dates, Dipper attempts to end the relationship for Mabel since she can't bring herself to do it. However, Gideon gets angry (although he doesn't show it at first) and tries to kill Dipper, believing that he's trying to interfere with their "relationship". Even after Mabel makes very clear that she does not and never will like him, he still believes that she has feelings for him and that her family is coming between them.
    Gideon (playing with a doll that looks like Mabel): Gideon, I still love you! If only my family weren't in the way!
  • You Monster!: "Grunkle Stan was right about you, you are a monster!"


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