With the discovery of a whole new set of writing in the Journal, Dipper is ready to rally Mabel and Soos to pursue their next clue: a mysterious structure built beneath the tree where the Journal was originally found. But this time, there's a new addition: Wendy, fellow Mystery Shack worker and Dipper's longtime crush (though he swears he is over her, for good this time, no, really). Wendy has always wanted to go along with the twins and Soos on their mystery adventures, and swiftly proves herself a cool-headed and resourceful member of the team.
Beneath the tree is a vast, dusty bunker, full of occult machinery and preparations for "The End." But Dipper won't rest until he finds the person he's looking for: the author of the Journal. And Mabel won't rest until Dipper has finally confessed his feelings to Wendy (because he sure isn't over it), and decides to give her brother a push- into a closet with Wendy, refusing to let them out until he talks.
But the "closet" is actually a decontamination chamber, leading to another part of the bunker. There, a dangerous creature is heard in the shadows, and Mabel won't take their claims of it seriously. Before this monster can strike, a heroic figure appears to lead the two to safety. Have Dipper and Wendy found the Author? Meanwhile, Soos and Mabel find among such neat things like a sciency-briefcase, notes on a shapeshifting creature the Author created. Mabel then realizes that the monster Dipper and Wendy talked about is real.
In the other half of the lab, Wendy notices that their "Author" looks identical to the mascot for a brand of canned beans. His ruse uncovered, the Shapeshifter reveals his true form, and tries to take Journal 3 from Dipper. Dipper and Wendy manage to escape the creature, and run into Mabel and Soos. They conclude that they need to take down the Shapeshifter before it escapes and endangers the town. They try to force the creature into one of the lab's cryogenic tubes, and during the struggle Wendy apparently gets hurt, causing Dipper to blurt his feelings. Luckily, Wendy was just fine, and they manage to drive the Shapeshifter into a tube. Before being frozen, the Shapeshifter gloats that Dipper will never find the Author, and his search for answers will lead to a terrible fate.
With that concluded, the gang leaves the bunker. Before heading off, Wendy and Dipper talk, and Wendy, while flattered, admits that she's too old for Dipper, but values his friendship. However, it turns out that the briefcase Soos found is actually a laptop. Although it's damaged, maybe the handyman can fix it...
Tropes in this episode:
- Aborted Declaration of Love: At first Dipper refuses to confess to Wendy because he values their friendship too much (as well as just being insecure) but then it turns into:
- Action Girl: Wendy proves to be more than capable of taking care of herself, while also being incredibly skilled at dungeon diving.
- Alien Blood: The Shape-Shifter bleeds a greenish ichor when wounded.
- An Axe to Grind: Both Dipper and Wendy wielded a hatchet.
- Better as Friends: Dipper manages to confess his feelings to Wendy, the first time failing while the second was a slip up. She confesses that she always kinda knew, and admits to being very flattered, but gently lets him down.
- Big Sister Instinct: Wendy protecting Dipper from the Shape-Shifter.
- Bittersweet Ending: The group escaped the bunker alive and Dipper finally expressed his love to Wendy, but she turns down his affection due to a combination of the age gap between them, and an appreciation of the value of their platonic friendship. Also, Soos manages to acquire a laptop from the bunker that may give more clues to the author's identity once he manages to fix it.Dipper: Mabel, how can everything be so amazing and so terrible all at once?
- Blatant Lies: Dipper's claim that he's "over Wendy."
- Body Horror: Some of the Shape-Shifter's forms, especially the deformed twin mashup. The first stance the Shape-Shifter takes after being discovered is a Shout-Out to a certain zombie movie.
- Dipper learned about the existence of the underground bunker in the previous episode.
- Stan having to get the Mystery Shack repaired following the battle with the zombies.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Dipper tries to ask Wendy if there could ever be anything between them whilst watching a movie together, but chickens out. Mabel finds out, and tries to force it out of her brother by locking him in a closet with Wendy until he admits his feelings to Wendy, which Dipper still can't do when it turns out they're locked in with a monster.
- Cat Fight: Wendy ends up getting into a scrap with the Shape-Shifter while it's impersonating her.
- Character Development: One largely for Wendy, both in the badassery form and that she confesses to Dipper that she treasures their friendship.
- Chekhov's Gun: Wendy's zipping-up-her-mouth gesture from "The Inconveniencing" and earlier in this episode comes in handy when Dipper needs to distinguish the real Wendy from the shapeshifter.
- Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: The shapeshifter asks this when looking for Dipper.
- Connected All Along: This is the first episode to explicitly state note that Manly Dan is Wendy's dad.
- Continuity Cavalcade: The shapeshifter takes on the form of Gremloblin, a gnome, and the Hide-Behind.
- Continuity Nod:
- Wendy does the "zip the mouth" gesture she showed to Dipper in "The Inconveniencing."
- Dipper comments that zombie movies don't seem that scary after facing them for real.
- Conveniently Interrupted Document: The Journal has a sticker with the name of the owner ripped out.
- Creepy Monotone: Wendy does a good robot imitation.
- Crying Wolf: Mabel dismisses Dipper's claims of being trapped with a monster as a desperate attempt to avoid confessing to Wendy... unfortunately for all parties involved.Mabel: I thought he was just joking!
Soos: You know Dipper's jokes are terrible!
- Decoy Hiding Place: When the Shape-Shifter starts chasing Wendy and Dipper, Dipper manages to distract it by throwing his flashlight down one branch of a fork in the tunnels while he and Wendy go the other way.
- Department of Redundancy Department: One of the movies on the Gravity Falls channel is "The Planet People of Planet Planet."
- Didn't Think This Through: Mabel failed to see that the room she locked her brother and Wendy in led to a Shapeshifting Monster.
- Digging to China: Upon looking at a chasm, Stan comments that he doesn't want his car to fall in China.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Dipper shouts in the heat to the moment that he's in love with Wendy to her corpse...only it's not her corpse, it's the Shapeshifter, and the real Wendy was within earshot. Oops.Dipper: Oh, no! This is all my fault! If I had told you when we were in the closet we wouldn't be in this mess! But I was too scared and now you could be hurt or worse and I never even got a chance to tell you I'm, like, in love with you Wendy!
- Duct Tape for Everything: Soos figures he can fix the laptop in a few days, but it will take a lot of duct tape.
- Embarrassing Browser History: Mentioned in this line:Soos: This room is way creepy.
Mabel: Not as creepy as Dipper's internet history.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: We see Dipper full-on bury the axe in the shapeshifter. In Wendy form.
- Foreshadowing: Upon close inspection, the man whom Dipper thinks is the author doesn't have six fingers like the book, hinting he's a fake.
- From Dress to Dressing: Wendy rips off a sleeve off of her jacket to bandage her knee.
- Funbag Airbag: It's quick, but it happens.◊ Even moreso in the original storyboards.◊
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Wendy jokes that a stuffed walrus she has in her room is her new boyfriend.
- Impersonation-Exclusive Character: A minor example, where all that is known about the man on the "Baron Num Nums High Flyin' Beans" can is his appearance and the fact that he's the brand's mascot.
- Jumped at the Call: Wendy happily agrees to join Dipper and Mabel as they investigate another of the Journal's mysteries, and even admits that she's been wanting to join them on one of their adventures for a while.
- Knight of Cerebus: The Shape-Shifter ranks up there with Bill Cipher in terms of danger. We also see him torment Dipper with how he may be getting over his head with the Journal. He even shapeshifts into a terrified Dipper right as he's flash frozen into a chamber.
- Laugh of Love: A similar instance to the one in "The Inconveniencing" occurs in this episode, when Dipper chuckles nervously while talking to Wendy, causing Mabel to tease him about how she thinks that romance is afoot between the two of them. Dipper denies that he still has feelings for Wendy.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Subverted. Dipper begs Wendy to forget what he confessed in the Bunker. She insists on talking it out, and turns him down gently.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If Mabel hadn't locked Dipper and Wendy in the closet to make Dipper confess his feelings, no one would've been in danger from the Shape-Shifter.
- Nightmare Face: Invoked by Soos:Soos: My face is tired from doing this all day. (points at his face in a screaming pose)
- Nightmare Fuel: Invoked In-Universe when the Shapeshifter lets itself be frozen as Dipper dying in agony.Soos: Hehe. Good luck sleeping tonight.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Wendy, and then Dipper, when they realize that the "author" looks just like the guy on the label of a can of beans, which means he's really the Shape-Shifter.
- Mabel and Soos also get this when they see that the Shape-Shifter has broken out from the ice chamber.
- Out of Focus: Grunkle Stan only has a brief cameo appearance after the theme song.
- Reality Ensues:
- Stan is forced to deal with a representative of a insurance company in the aftermath of a zombie attack. Since the man wouldn't believe a story about zombies, he has to bribe him into believing his lame woodpecker story.
- Mabel assumes Dipper will feel better if he confesses his feelings for Wendy. When he finally does, however, he feels, "anxious, scared, and itchy".
- Sequel Hook: The laptop.
- Shapeshifter Swan Song: The Shape-Shifter goes through one of these as he's about to be frozen, ending it with a screaming version of Dipper to taunt him.
- Shipper on Deck: Mabel wants Dipper to confess his feelings to Wendy, at least to get it off his chest. When Wendy turns Dipper down, Mabel says she'll come up with a list of "rebound crushes."
- Spot the Imposter: When Wendy is wrestling against the Shape-Shifter disguised as her, Dipper asks for a sign. The Shape-Shifter winks, while Wendy mimes zipping her lip and throwing away the key, a special sign she and Dipper have had since "The Inconveniencing." Earlier in the episode, when Dipper and Wendy run into Soos and Mabel, Dipper initially worries that they might be the Shape-Shifter. Their goofy antics convince him they aren't.
- Stylistic Suck: The episode opens with Dipper and Wendy watching a cheap zombie movie, Nearly Almost Dead But Not Quite!. The Stinger shows promos of additional movies for Gravity Falls Bargain Movie Showcase.
- Survivalist Stash: Dipper notes that the bunker contains supplies for at least sixty years, and wonders what could the author possibly be preparing for.
- Tank-Top Tomboy: Wendy sports this look when she fights the Shape-Shifter.
- Ten Minutes in the Closet: First invoked and then subverted. Mabel shoves Dipper into a confined space with Wendy in an attempt to get him to confess his feelings. Unfortunately, the "closet" was actually a decontamination chamber, leading to the lair of the Shape-Shifter...
- The Last Thing You Ever See: The Shape-Shifter warns Dipper that searching for answers will lead to a terrible fate and afterwards turns into a screaming Dipper before being frozen.
- Took a Level in Badass: Not to say Wendy wasn't badass before, but this episode is where it really shows.
- [Verb] This!: After being deceived by the Shape-Shifter:Wendy: Hey body snatcher! (Picks up can of beans and throws at shape shifter) Snatch this!
- Villain Ball: The Shape-Shifter posing as the Author gets his hands on the Journal... and starts pouring through it while he, Wendy and Dipper are surrounded by bean cans with the image that he's using. Then, despite having the Journal, he ends up trying to kill Dipper and Wendy when they find out for unknown reasons. If he had just led them to a place with no bean cans, or made off with the Journal, then he wouldn't have been caught.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: By the shapeshifting monster.
- Wall Crawl: The shapeshifter is capable of that.
- The Walls Are Closing In: A death trap on the way to the underground base. The Journal saves the day.
- Would Hurt a Child: Experiment 210 goes after the twins after transforming into a deformed fusion of them.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The Shape-Shifter poses as an unconscious Wendy when Dipper comes across him, which leads to the Anguished Declaration of Love. Of course once the real Wendy appears, the Shape-Shifter immediately attacks her for the Journal.