The next morning, the Mystery Shack has its grand re-opening, where Stan shares the glory with exposing Lil' Gideon's fraud with Dipper and Mabel. He announces an after party, which Mabel adds will feature karaoke, and that the Pines Family will do a song of their own. This...isn't something Dipper and Stan agreed on, as neither of them are good singers. Dipper asks for and gets his journal 3 back, unaware that Stan photocopied its contents. Taking Mabel to their room, Dipper notes that even the summer half over, they're still no closer to solving the big mystery of Gravity Falls and the journal; Gideon wanted journal 3 bad enough to destroy the town, and Bill Cipher had mentioned a day when "Everything would change." Mabel dismisses these concerns and tries to get him to enjoy the upcoming after-party.
Back in the gift shop, Stan's pleasure at how things are finally turning his way are brought to an end when Soos' observes a government vehicle of sorts driving up. Panicking, Stan closes the gift shop and chases everyone out. He then meets Agents Powers and Triggers, who have been sent to investigate any strange activity in the area. Dipper is ecstatic- finally, someone else has noticed the town's weirdness, and tries to show the agents his journal. Stan, however, claims as usual that any 'weirdness' is just to sell gift shop items and discredits Dipper as overly-imaginative. Stan confiscates the agents' contact card, much to Dipper's frustration.
As the after-party begins, Wendy helps Dipper find the card which he uses to arrange a meeting with the agents, but are caught by Stan, who is furious that Dipper hasn't given up yet, deciding to ground Dipper after the party. Down in his secret room, Stan notes that Dipper's stubbornness is very much like his own, but decides to focus on his own work. Outside, Dipper shows the agents his journal, but the entries on the sillier creatures of Gravity Falls convince them that it is just another product of the Mystery Shack gift shop. Desperate not to be dismissed, Dipper randomly rattles off a magic spell that summons a horde of zombies!
The zombies attack the party, and while Wendy is able to evacuate the guests, poor Soos is zombified! The twins retreat into the house, but find themselves almost overwhelmed- until Stan bursts in to save the day! As he fights off the undead horde, Dipper notes that Stan can no longer deny the supernatural, but Stan admits to always knowing about the town's weirdness. He claimed otherwise to keep the twins away from it, because that weirdness is dangerous. Though they manage to find sanctuary in the twins' attic room, they know it is just temporary- until Mabel notices that the light from a black light causes new text to appear in the journal. One of these hidden messages shows that zombies can be destroyed by three point harmony; which means that Mabel can have her karaoke trio with her family after all. The three sing "T8king Over Midnight", which eliminates the zombies, except for Soos, who got distracted watching TV. Luckily, the journal reports that zombification can be undone by a mixture of formaldehyde and cinnamon. Stan agrees to let Dipper keep his journal, provided that he only uses it for self-defense, and not to go looking for trouble. Dipper agrees, but only if there are no secrets between them anymore. Both were lying, though.
During the credits, Powers and Trigger, having survived their encounter with the zombies, conclude that whatever's happening in Gravity Falls is bigger than either of them can handle, and decide to call in "the big guns". Gravity Falls is the town they've been looking for.
Tropes in this episode:
- Absurdly Bright Light: Stan's machine in the basement produces such a light as he powers it up.
- Adult Fear: For Stan, trying to protect your niece and nephew from the weirdness of the town by lying about it, and realizing you didn't lie well enough. Not to mention Dipper and Mabel almost getting eaten by zombies.
- Affably Evil: Soos, after becoming a zombie.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Soos turns into a zombie after getting bitten. He gets better fortunately.
- Art Evolution: After the wait between seasons, the animation bumps it up a notch, and it's probably from better funding.
- Batter Up!: Stan, when he saves the twins from the advancing zombie horde.
- Big Damn Heroes: When the twins are cornered by the zombie horde and one of them is about to bite Dipper, Stan comes in and saves the day.
- Brick Joke: "What's the one thing I asked you not to do tonight?!" "Raise the dead..."
- Chekhov's Gun: Dipper finds brass knuckles in a drawer while searching around Stan's office; Stan later uses them to fight the zombies.
- The blacklight lamps used to illuminate the party posters; Dipper uses one of them to discover that the Journal contains secret entries written in invisible ink.
- Chekhov's Gag: The picture of Thompson with his shirt off ends up distracting Wendy while she's doing lookout duty for Dipper.
- Chekhov's Skill: Mabel earlier arranged for herself, Stan and Dipper to sing together at the karaoke. Guess who has to do a three-part harmony to kill the zombies?
- Continuity Nod:
- Tyler the Cute Biker apparently still couldn't decide between a puma shirt and a panther shirt... so we see him wearing a combination of both.
- Grunkle Stan has an issue of Gold Chains for Old Men magazine in his bureau and a Stan-Vac in his closet.
- The guests at the party include Gorney and Mr. Poolchek.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: "Thirty long years, and it's all led up to this... my greatest achievement! (beat) Probably should have worn pants."
- Foreshadowing: After smashing a zombie in the head with her karaoke machine, Mabel comments that it's "a surprisingly good weapon." Turns out it's the best weapon they have against zombie hordes.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- The entry in the journal for the "leprechorn" has Caesar cryptograms reading "WATCH OUT" and "KILL ME PLEASE".
- The page on cursed doors has a knock-knock joke on it:Knock! Knock!
The forces of evil!
- The very end of the episode features a shot of a journal page with a triple-encoded cryptogram.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Stan switches to Brass Knuckles after the bat breaks.
- Gratuitous Latin: The spell Dipper casts to summon zombies is in Latin, and roughly translates as "Corpse, rise! Devil's Dominion! Conquer the world!"
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Blubs and Durland rap about how their job gets them girls despite all the Ho Yay between them in the past season.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Dipper and Stan are hesitant about singing on stage, and Mabel assures them that karaoke is about "singing bad together." However, they actually manage a three part harmony to destroy the zombie horde and get into it; one video clip shows Jason Ritter actually singing better in the recording studio.Stan: Mabel, our lives may not be worth this.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Stan, when fighting off the zombie horde.Stan: The only wrinkly monster who harasses my family is me!
- Immediate Sequel: This episode picks up where "Gideon Rises" left off.
- Lying Finger Cross: Both Grunkle Stan and Dipper do this when they exchange promises.
- Madness Mantra: One of the journal pages has "CAN'T SLEEP!" repeatedly written on it in invisible ink.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- In his attempt to prove his point to the agents, Dipper unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse on the shack.
- Not only that but in his anxiousness to prove that Gravity Falls is supernatural, he wound up directing the attention of the Government to the town which could expose whatever Stan's planning with the machine.
- Noodle Implements: The cure for zombification.Dipper (reading from journal): It's gonna take a lot of formaldehyde.
Mabel: Ooh, and cinnamon.
- No Sense of Humor: Agent Powers claims to be "physically incapable of experiencing humor".Stan: (laughs nervously)
Agent Powers: (deadpan) I don't understand that sound you're making with your mouth.
- Not So Different: After Stan comments on Dipper's stubbornness, in regards to his attempts to make a deal with the government agents, he admits to himself it's a fault he has as well.
- Not So Stoic: Agent Powers and Agent Trigger quickly lose their stone-faced demeanor when Dipper summons zombies, claiming they've never seen anything like it.
- OOC Is Serious Business: "You never shut down the gift shop..."
- Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies summoned by the spell Dipper casts are considerably more decayed and inhuman than the "undead" described elsewhere in the journal, and can infect people with a bite. Also, "perfect three-part harmony" is their Achilles' Heel.
- Papa Wolf: Stan fending off the zombies with a baseball bat, and later brass knuckles.
- Porn Stash: Dipper finds a pile of back-issues of Fully-Clothed Women Magazine and Lady Swimwear in a trunk in Grunkle Stan's room.Dipper: Euw! Pretending I never saw that...
- The Power of Rock: Zombie skulls can be shattered by "perfect three-part harmony". Dipper, Mabel, and Stan singing karaoke manages to be close enough to save the day.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Alright, you undead jerks! You ready to die twice?"
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: From Dipper's perspective, it looks as if the zombies he summoned killed Power and Trigger, which would essentially be manslaughter. Dipper seems to have forgotten about them by the episode's end.
- Refrain from Assuming: The song Dipper, Mabel and Stan use to defeat the zombies is "Taking Over Midnight", but when they sing it, they say "tonight" instead of "midnight".
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Dipper is surprised that Stan just gave his journal back, Stan mockingly says "What else do you want, a kiss on the cheek?". After Dipper and Mabel leave, we get this response:Soos: I wouldn't mind a kiss on the chee-
-Stan: (Flatly) Not going to happen.
- Sequel Hook: Ultra-violet lighting reveals the author's underground bunker in one page of the journal. And the Government now has taken an interest in Gravity Falls.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: A male example, as this is Mabel's exact reaction to Gorney at the party.Mabel: Gorney! You clean up nice!
- Shmuck Bait: The spells Dipper finds in the journal are clearly marked "DO NOT READ ALOUD", and yet he reads one anyway.
- Shovel Strike: Dipper uses a shovel to fight off some of the zombies.
- Skewed Priorities: Grunkle Stan once he reads the lyrics of the song he, Dipper and Mabel have to sing to stop the zombies.Stan: Uh, Mabel, our lives may not be worth this.
- Status Quo Is God: Soos gets infected by a zombie and joins them. At the end of the episode, he's cured with a recipe Dipper finds in the book which uses formaldehyde and cinnamon.
- Tempting Fate:
- Stan at the beginning: "Who could possibly catch me now?" Cue mysterious agents detecting the signal from his machine
- After Agent Powers takes out the zombie, Dipper says "Good thing it was just that one..." Cue horde of zombies emerging from the ground.
- As she's setting up the grand re-opening party, Mabel remarks that things should go smoothly as long as Dipper doesn't get involved in something weird like making contact with aliens or raising the dead. Turns into a Brick Joke (see above) when she ends up scolding her brother for summoning zombies.
- Soos insists he's seen enough horror movies to handle the zombie swarm, and almost immediately gets bitten and infected.
- Wham Episode: Grunkle Stan finally comes clean to Dipper and Mabel that he's aware of the town's weirdness, but he claims he hid it in order to protect them from the dangers. He allows Dipper to keep the book - which was also revealed to have secrets written in invisible ink - for self defense and not seek trouble. Dipper agrees on the account that Stan promises he has no more secrets. Both swear while performing the Lying Finger Cross. What's more, the Government plans to start investigating soon after seeing proof there is something supernatural about Gravity Falls.
- Who Writes This Crap?!: Dipper's reaction to the first lines of Taking Over Midnight.Dipper: "Friday night and we're gonna party 'til dawn. Don't worry daddy, I've got my favorite dress on?!" Mabel, this is stupid!
- You Are Grounded: After discovering that he called Powers and Trigger back, Stan tells Dipper that after the party, he's grounded.
- You Didn't See That: When Stan is photocopying pages in Dipper's journal before giving it back to him, Waddles watches him with curiosity.Stan: (To Waddles) You didn't see nothing!
- Your Head A-Splode: Singing in three-part harmony can cause the zombies' heads to explode.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Dipper accidentally summons one.