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Recap / Gravity Falls S2 E13 "Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons"

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As the town recovers from the gravity anomalies caused by the Universe Portal, Dipper rediscovers his favorite game, a tabletop RPG called Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons. However, Mabel is turned off by the copious amount of mathematics involved, Soos prefers a form of LARP called Foam-and-Cardboard Legitimate Outdoor Role-Play (FCLORP), and Stan finds the idea of rolling dice outside of Vegas laughable. But when he stumbles into the underground lab, he meets someone who shares his love of DD&MD; the reclusive Author, Ford Pines. Nerds of two generations quickly bond over dice rolls and graphs, during which Dipper asks what Ford has been doing since returning to Earth. Instead of answering the question, Ford shows off a souvenir from across the dimensions, an Infinity-Sided Die; when rolled, anything can happen. Because of how dangerous it could be, Ford keeps it safely tucked away in a cheap case with the other dice.

The next day, Stan, Mabel and Grenda prepare to watch the season finale of Duck-tective, only to find that Dipper and Ford's dungeon crawl has taken over the TV room. An argument between the two Stans erupts over who deserves the room, during which Stan loses his patience and throws the dice bag across the room, causing the Infinity-Sided Die to roll out. The Die brings the mascot of Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons to life, a math-themed sorcerer called Probabilitor the Annoying! With his magic, Probabilitor captures and takes Dipper and Ford to the forest, intent on eating their brains. ("It's what I do." "It's his thing!") Stan, Mabel, and Grenda gear up and follow after him.

After defeating Probabilitor's one guard, the trio find the wizard's camp. There, Probabilitor declares a battle royale of "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons, real-life edition" to decide the conflict, turning Dipper, Ford, and some ogres into game characters, with Stan and Mabel playing. The two players are at a loss what to do, until Dipper and Ford tell them the game involves not just math, but risk and imagination. Stan and Mabel realize that they are in their element, and use their own skills to defeat Probabilitor at his own game. With the wizard thwarted, the family watches the finale of Duck-tective.


Later, Ford decides to show Dipper what he's been doing; he's dismantled the Portal. Even though Stan used it to save him, the gateway reaching full power created a rift in space-time. It's small, and Ford has it contained for now, but still dangerous. Ford swears Dipper to secrecy, not to tell anyone, not even Mabel and Stan.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: This is the first time that Grenda appears without Candy.
  • Adventure Rebuff: Stanford turns down Dipper's offer to help with the Cycloptopus, saying "On the dark, weird road I travel, I'm afraid you cannot follow!"
  • Aesop Amnesia: Parodied when Dipper ponders obsessing over Wendy again while playing DD&MD with Gompers, and then averted as he loses his dice.
  • Affably Evil: Probabilitor. Although he is a villain and wants to eat Dipper and Ford's brains, he genuinely enjoys playing DD&MD and insists the game is fun to Stan. He also plays by the rules, while choosing a game edition that's to his advantage.
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  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Upon his defeat, Probabilitor reveals his true form is numbers.
  • Anything but That!: Stan's initial reaction to having to play Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons with Probabilitor.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Ford describing the possible outcomes of the Infinity-Sided Die to Dipper.
    Ford: Our faces could melt into jelly. The world could turn into an egg. Or you could just roll an eight.
  • Badass Creed: DD&MD has one that both Dipper and Ford know by heart.
    With pen, paper, shield and sword
    Our quest shall be our sweet reward!
  • Badass in Distress: Both Great Uncle Ford and Dipper become this when Probabilitor kidnaps them to eat their brains.
  • Big "NO!": Probabilitor's reaction when Stan rolls the exact number needed to defeat the Impossibeast.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Dipper utters one after Probabilitor makes clear he wants to eat Dipper and Ford's brains because they're the smartest players he has ever met.
  • Bishie Sparkle: The Hot Elf when he removes his hood.
  • Black Comedy Burst: After Grenda hits the ogre with a couch, Stan assures a concerned Mabel that since it's a fantasy setting, he's not actually dead... then leans down to tell Grenda there's no cops in the forest, and they have to take this incident to their graves.
  • Blatant Lies: "The rules [to DD&MD] are simple" says Dipper, as he pulls out a massive rulebook that's only the first volume.
  • Body Horror: Mabel summons a "centaur-taur" — a creature made up of two fused horse bodies, with the top half's legs stiffly protruding into the air. In response, Stan says he's confused and proud of Mabel at the same time.
  • Breather Episode: To an extent — though it ends with some important plot points, and does show that Dipper and Mabel's bond is starting to fracture due to both twins' insecurities.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The bit involving DD&MD's Dork Age in the 90s winds up factoring into the climax where Probabilitor reveals the version of the game being used is "the controversial 1991-1992 edition", which includes the later-banned Impossibeast. invoked
    • When Probabilitor first comes to life, a griffin is with him, but is missing when Stan, Mabel, and Grenda confront the wizard in the forest. During the credits, the griffin abducts Toby Determined.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Dipper tells Mabel "Yes, except no" when she asks if she gets to ride unicorns after rolling the die.
  • Call-Back: Ford finally reveals that he destroyed the portal and why he was angry with Stan for restarting it: it opened up an interdimensional rift that he has contained in a glass ball that resembles a snow globe with hazard tape. Let's hope that the ball never breaks...
  • Calvin Ball: Apparently how DD&MD works — you roll the dice and make up your spells. Once Dipper and Ford explain this, Stan and Mabel are able to hold their own against Probabilitor.
  • Character Development: In all of the characters, but most importantly Ford when it's revealed he destroyed his "life's work" — the Portal — to keep the world safe.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Stan's gambling habits, as seen in The Stinger for Soos and the Real Girl. We now know why he and Goldie were kicked out of that casino after raking in winnings.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's subtle, but Stan starts chewing a stick of gum as they start the game with Probabilitor. When Stan needs to roll a 38, he manages it thanks to a wad of gum.
  • Conspicuous CG: The various dice whenever rolled.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Mystery Shack is "Closed for Repairs".
    • After showing clips in multiple episodes and shorts, the season finale of Duck-tective is finally airing, and Stan and Mabel want to watch.
    • After playing DD&MD with Gompers, Dipper hits a low point and wonders if he should crush on Wendy again.
    • The town is rebuilding from the gravity anomalies from "Not What He Seems".
  • Cool Sword: Mabel imagines a pair of "Super Hot Flamey Swords" for Dipper and Ford.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Invoked when Ford says that him missing the 90s was one advantage of being trapped in another dimension.
  • Cutting the Knot: When Probabilitor's guard ogre gives the group a list of Impossible Tasks, Grenda simply hits the ogre with the couch.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Stan imagines a "Shield of Shielding" to protect Dipper and Ford.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Ford as he first plays with Dipper, and then when he and Dipper are trapped in Probabilitor's game. He's actually having fun when Mabel summons bouncy boots for him and Dipper.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Averted by Probabilitor, but played straight by Stan.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Stan makes his "perfect" roll thanks to a wad of chewing gum.
  • Dork Age: The 90s were one for Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons when it was renamed Diggity Dungeons & All That! invoked
  • Dramatic Irony: It's confirmed that Dipper doesn't know that Grunkle Ford is going to kick Stan out of the house at the end of summer when he talks about the "Author of the Journals" living in "our" basement, not knowing that the Mystery Shack now re-belongs to Ford.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Grenda does this with the Hot Elf.
  • Eat Your Brains: Probabilitor plans to do this with Dipper and Stanford.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Mabel and Stan are put off by the copious amounts of numbers, statistics and graphing needed just to progress in the game, but both Ford and Dipper love it for the exact same reasons. Probabilitor — being the main villain, and thus the primary "opposing" player — also has a natural obsession with chance, and peppers his sentences with algebraic metaphors.
  • Evil Twin: Duck-tective has one, who plans to murder his brother in the hospital.
  • Faux Horrific: Grenda freaks out over graph paper.
  • Flaming Sword: "Hot Flamey Sword! Super Hot Flamey Sword!"
  • Forbidden Fruit: Dipper is told to stay away from Ford, and Dipper is not good at ignoring the supernatural.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Under the porch, Soos has carved a message into the stone foundation:
  • Game-Breaker: In-universe. The Impossibeast could only be defeated with a perfect 38 die roll, and was banned in subsequent editions.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Ford nearly kills a monster onscreen, or at least subdues it long enough to stash it in a jar.
    • Probabilitor makes it clear that he's going to eat Dipper and Ford's brains, and even measures them.
    • Poor Dipper is changed into a pointy-eared hero who wears nothing under his tunic. He covers his crotch when he realizes.
    Dipper: There'd better be something protective under this tunic. Oh no, there isn't!
    • It's implied that Grenda killed the ogre with her sofa.
    • The Hot Elf is implied gay, having a flaming accent.
  • Going Commando: Dipper discovers his character costume for Probabilitor's game has nothing underneath the tunic and becomes mortified.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Inverted; the Pines have to play a game with Probabilitor, a villain they've never faced, to save Dipper and Ford.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Mabel and Stan get a laugh out of the DD&MD rulebook's use of "buttress".
  • The Hero Dies: Implied in-universe with Duck-tective, who says he's going to the "big pond in the sky."
  • Hidden Depths: Whilst roleplaying Deputy Durland has an insightful epiphany about the nature of human life. The others remind him of his place as a fortress.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The Hot Elf is actually referred to as such by Probabilitor, meaning it's likely his character name or title.
  • History Repeats: This is the second time Stan has accidentally put Ford in danger, rescued him, and Ford refused to thank him.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Soos boasts that DD&MD is too nerdy for him, then runs off to indulge in some Foam-and-Cardboard Legitimate Outdoor Role-Play in his grandma's backyard.
    • Probabilitor's boast as he runs off with Dipper and Ford:
      Probabilitor: I'm not here to play games! Now, to the forest for the ultimate game!
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Lampshaded when Ford reveals that he keeps the Infinity-Sided Die in a cheap plastic box along with his regular dice.
    • Dipper and Ford moving the game to the TV room, as opposed to the other rooms in the Mystery Shack, which starts the main conflict.
  • Ignored Epiphany: During their game of FCLORP, Durland suddenly has an epiphany about the nature of human life, only for the others to dismiss him.
    Blubs: Fortresses can't speak, Durland.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Grenda with an armchair. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Probabilitor refers to Earth as "Dimension 46'\." Yes, he actually says "forty-six apostrophe backslash."
  • Jerkass Realization: Mabel seems to have one when Dipper says he hangs out with Stanford partially because he's cool, but also because he, unlike Grunkle Stan and Mabel, doesn't make fun of him. Unlike her dramatic realization in "Sock Opera", this one is very subtle and we don't see her response directly.
    Mabel: You're uh, spending a lot of time with old Fordsy lately, huh?
    Dipper: You have no idea. I knew the author must be cool, but he's better than I imagined! And... he doesn't make fun of me all the time, like you and Grunkle Stan do.
    Mabel: Give him time, haha! Heyooo! (beat Nah, you got me! (lies down) You got me.
  • LARP: Soos engages in "Foam-and-Cardboard Legitimate Outdoor Role-Play" (or "FCLORP" for short) with Toby, Blubs and Durland in his abuelita's backyard, leaving him absent for most of the episode. Toby even yells "Fireball! Fireball!" when casting spells, referencing a notorious Internet video of a LARP group in Massachusetts.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As mentioned in Self-Parody below, most of the conversation around Duck-tective involves gentle ribbing of both the fanbase and the show itself; Mabel and Grenda find the sudden reveal of a twin brother a "rip-off" (Soos even saw it coming a year ago), and Stan bristles when Ford calls it a kids' show.
    Stan: (suddenly furious) Duck-tective has a big mystery element, and a lot of humor that goes over kids' heads!
  • Magic Ampersand: Parodied by Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons, a game first seen in "A Tale of Two Stans".
  • Mundane Utility:
    • It's implied that Ford captured the cycloptopus merely to use its ink, since Dipper accidentally breaks a jar that contains the monster as well as a bottle of ink.
    • The Hot Elf lights a fire with his flaming arrows. Overkill? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Stan tossing Ford's die bag on the ground causes the Infinity-Sided Die to be rolled, which summons Probabilitor into reality (which could've been avoided if Ford hadn't been so careless with it in the first place; see Idiot Ball above).
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: When Probabilitor appears and announces his intentions to eat Dipper and Ford's brains, Ford's response is to whip out a gun. "Your math is no match for my gun, you idiot!" Unfortunately for Ford, he was wrong.
  • Not So Different: Ford and Dipper start to bond over their mutual love of Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Stan claims that Probabilitor's smarts were no match for his "dumb luck", then reveals to the audience that he fixed the roll with chewing gum.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite their animosity, Ford does attempt to convince Stan to join him and Dipper's game instead of continuing their argument.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Grenda, who's a kid but can carry an armchair without breaking a sweat.
  • Playing a Tree: Durland is relegated to playing a fortress in the FCLORP group. He's seems pretty happy about it, though.
  • Pointy Ears: The Hot Elf, plus Dipper and Ford in their character outfits.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Because Ford is his normal close-mouthed self and Stan doesn't want Dipper to know about the deal between the brothers, Dipper thinks that Grunkle Ford is shutting him out of his dangerous yet interesting work. Eventually averted by the end of the episode: Stan mellows enough to let Dipper and Ford hang out, and Ford confides in Dipper about the consequences of the portal.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    Dipper: Mabel, you'll never guess what I found at the store today!
    Mabel: Dogs! Dogs with hats!
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Ford contains the dimensional rift left over by the portal and hides it in his lab.
  • Secret Keeper: At the end of the episode, Ford asks Dipper to keep the dimensional rift he's contained a secret, and to tell no one, not even Mabel. Dipper agrees.
  • Self-Deprecation: The season finale of Duck-tective involves the twist reveal of Ducktective's twin brother. Every member of the Pines family and Grenda boos at the TV, calling the twist clichéd and predictable.
  • Self-Parody: Duck-tective apparently shares many tropes with Gravity Falls, including Parental Bonus jokes that Stan mentions, a Periphery Demographic, and a plot twist involving Duck-tective's twin brother.
  • Serious Business: If we can believe Grunkle Ford, multiple dimensions know about DD&MD, one dimension came up with reality-warping dice, and at least nine thousand dimensions wound up banning those dice. Probabilitor even plays the game starring himself as the antagonist, using older editions to use characters banned from later ones.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Everyone tries to get Dipper to watch the Duck-tective finale, but Dipper is too obsessed with a game that only one other person is into. Once Dipper watches the finale, it ends up being a colossal disappointment for all of them because the ending is predictable.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Rivalry: Stan and Ford's argument over who gets to use the TV room.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Probabilitor takes away Ford and Dipper to eat their brains, Grenda wants to watch Duck-tective, and Stan ponders whether they should wait for long enough for the brain-eating to "even out" Ford's intelligence before they rescue him.
  • So Proud of You: Stan after Mabel creates her Centaur-taur.
  • Special Guest: "Weird Al" Yankovic plays Probabilitor and makes a Large Ham out of the math wizard.
  • Stepford Smiler: Stan hides his worries about Grunkle Ford (both for his brother's mental stability, and about Stan's on upcoming eviction) in favor of nudging Dipper away from the Author.
  • Stylistic Suck: A subtle but realistic example — the commercial for Diggity Dungeons features a very quick cut of a blank brick wall without graffiti and no teenagers nearby, used for the pyrotechnics shot.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Probabilitor sends only one ogre to guard the forest.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted. Grenda knocks an ogre out with her couch, probably killing him; Stan says they have to take this to their graves.
  • Take That!: Dipper refers the 90s as "dark times". Also, every single non-dramatic moment involving DDM&D (and even some of the dramatic ones) is a joke at the expense of pen and paper role-playing games and those who play them, though the ribbing comes across as mildly affectionate.
  • Talk to the Fist: The ogre guarding the forest tries to set a series of impossible tasks to invoke You Shall Not Pass!. Grenda simply knocks him out with the armchair she's carrying.
  • Tempting Fate: Grunkle Stan at the beginning says that it's nice to have one day when nothing happens. Grunkle Ford then storms in from the basement, struggling with a cycloptopus.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Dipper reacts with dismay when Stan ignores his protests and agrees to play with Probabilitor.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Stan's experience with gambling and cons (because he cheats to win) and Mabel's big imagination makes them able to play DD&MD when they learn "risk and imagination" are involved.
  • Totally Radical: The... ill-advised 90s redesign of Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons, renamed Diggity Dungeons & All That! and featuring Probabilitizzle.
    "Aw, flip the cap back, and roll the dice / Don't step to the wizard, 'cause the wizard don't play nice!"
  • Villainous Valor: Although Probabilitor chooses an edition of DD&MD that grants him a powerful trump card, he plays by the rules and is forced to accept his loss.
  • Visual Pun: Probabilitor is a mathemagician.
  • Wham Episode: Played with. While the main plot is way sillier than the plots from previous two episodes, the episode does end with a rather major reveal: Stan bringing Ford back created an interdimensional rift that could permanently damage the fabric of reality if left unchecked, just like Ford warned about in the Journals. Ford then warns Dipper to tell no one about it, not even Mabel.
  • Wham Shot: Near the end of the episode, when Ford shows Dipper the dismantled portal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mabel glared at Grunkle Stan for saying to let Probabilitor to eat Ford's brain.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Ford defies the trope by showing his gun to Probabilitor after the former announces he wants to eat Ford and Dipper's brains. The gun turns out to be a No-Sell against Probabilitor's magic, and the ogre simply picks up Dipper and Ford by the scruffs of their necks.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: As Dipper puts it, he's been waiting all summer to find the Author of the Journals, and now the Author, his great-uncle, is shutting him out. Subverted later on, as Dipper did get to bond with his great-uncle over a game, and the latter even fills him in on an important secret.

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