“The Last Mabelcorn” is one of my personal favorite episodes of Gravity Falls. It features an awesome girl power team up of Mabel, Wendy, Grenda, and Candy; it gives us some crucial Ford backstory; and it is, quite simply, hilarious.
The episode opens in the middle of night. The camera pans around the Mystery Shack until it reaches Ford. His eyes go wide and we zoom into his head, into his dream. Ford stands in the middle of a field. We see a swing set from the Pines twins’ childhood, the portal, and the boat Ford discovered with Stan. A breeze moves the wheat, and the stalks begin to bend over to form a shape (like a crop circle). The shape is Bill Cypher.
It begins glowing and Bill himself appears. He calls Ford “His old pal,” and says that shutting down the portal cannot stop what he plans. He’s made deals, and chatted with old friends, in preparation for the big day. He says Ford can’t protect the rift forever, and he waits for the day that he slips up. Bill plans on unleashing an unknown, horrible evil into our world, and he will find a way in. Ford wakes up in a cold sweat. Bill is coming.
The next day he calls a family meeting. He pulls out a scroll with an image of Bill and asks if the twins know the symbol. He is surprised to learn that not only do they know Bill, he’s terroried them all summer. He realizes that if Bill was there before, then he can come back and they needs to protect the Mystery Shack from him at all costs. He pulls out a blueprint of the shack and begins drawing up a plan. He has learned a way to shield locations from Bill’s magic, but he needs one last, rare ingredient: unicorn hair. The only way to obtain such a thing is if a pure, good-hearted person goes on a magical quest to find a unicorn and ask her for the hair.
Mabel practically has an aneurism. She is the most good-hearted person there and she is literally obsessed with unicorns. She whips out her cell phone to call Candy, Grenda, and Wendy and tells them to clear their afternoons.
Ford does not think Mabel has much of a chance, but he doesn’t tell her this. He gives her a journal and a crossbow, lets her go, and takes Dipper with him to work out a backup plan. They head down to the basement, but- instead of going all the way down – they get off the elevator at a room that no one, not even Grunkle Stan, knows about: Ford’s private study. Ford tells Dipper that, if they can’t protect the shack, they need to protect their minds and he pulls out a rusty looking helmet.
Outside the girls walk through the forest, gushing about unicorns. All except Wendy, who stopped believing in them years ago. Suddenly they come upon an ancient, Stonehenge-looking clearing and Mabel whips out the journal. The book states that to summon the unicorn one must bellow an ancient chant, droned only by the deepest voiced druids of old. Grenda grabs the journal and begins throat-singing as deeply as she can. As she sings, the Stonehenge formations begin to rise and reveal a gated structure. Inside they find a unicorn.
The unicorn introduces herself as Celestabellebethabelle, last of her kind, and tells the group to enter, after taking off their shoes (actually she is rather insistent on this). They tell her of their quest and Mabel steps forward to receive the hair. Celestabellebethabelle is horrified that Mabel is the one with the purest heart and tells her that she has done bad deeds. She refuses to give Mabel her hair and tells them to leave until Mabel’s heart is pure.
Back at the Mystery Shack, Ford switches on a machine and puts the metal helmet on Dipper’s head. He explains that Bill currently has no way of entering their reality. He can only enter people’s minds through the dreamscape. That’s why he wants the rift, and he will trick or possess anyone to get it. Dipper asks how they can protect their minds from him and Ford tells him there are a few different ways. For himself, he had a metal plate installed in his head (he knocks on his head to demonstrate). For Dipper, he will use the machine with the helmet. The machine will scan his mind and encrypt his thoughts like computer files, which will make it impossible for Bill to read them. Dipper briefly inquires about Ford’s history with Bill, but Ford tells him it’s not important.
In town Mabel and the girls purify their hearts by doing good deeds wherever they go. They plant trees, donate blood, tip generously, and so much more. When the girls go back to Celestabellebethabelle, she tells them Mabel is still not pure enough. She actually calls Mabel a bad person, which causes her to run away crying. The others follow Mabel and try to console her, but she won’t have any of it. She wants to be the good sweet girl she’s always been and she won’t give up until she’s as good as Celestabellebethabelle.
Wendy takes the others aside and tells them she thinks this whole thing is a load. Mabel is the best person she’s ever met. They’ve done things the good way, now they’re going to do things the Wendy way. The three of them leave and go to a gnome tavern, where they burst in and demand that someone point them to someone who knows how to take down a unicorn.
An old gnome in the back tells them they need fairy dust to knock out a unicorn. He can get them some, but they will need to get him something in return: butterflies. Apparently butterfly trafficking is illegal in their part of the forest, but he wants some anyway. If they get him a bag of butterflies, he’ll get them two bags of fairy dust. They agree, but as they make the swap the gnome police leap out and arrest him. One of the police asks Grenda for his cut, and she hands over a bag of the fairy dust. They were working undercover the whole time!
When they get back to the unicorn temple, Wendy, Grenda, and Candy sneak past Mabel, who is still trying to think of a good deed that will please Celestabellebethabelle. The three girls get inside and paste Celestabellebethabelle in the face with the entire bag of fairy dust. She falls over, out cold. Just as Wendy is about to clip her hair, Mabel burst in and snatches the scissors from her. She doesn’t want to do things this way, she wants to do them the right way. Suddenly Celestabellebethabelle wakes up and sees Mabel holding the scissors.
She calls Mabel a thief and declares she will never be pure of heart. Mabel tries to explain, but as she breaks down two more unicorns trot out from behind the trees and ask Celestabellebethabelle what she’s doing. The unicorns tell the girls that unicorns can’t see into your heart at all. They just use this story as an excuse to get humans to leave them alone. Instead of being embarrassed about being discovered, Celestabellebethabelle gets cocky and asks Mabel what she’s going to do about it. Mabel responds by punching her in the nose, sparking an all-out brawl.
Back in Ford’s study, Dipper is still hooked up to the machine and Ford falls asleep. Since Ford has still not told Dipper what he knows about Bill, Dipper decides to use the machine to look into Ford’s head. He puts the helmet on Ford and switches it on. He sees Bill and Ford make a deal and then see Bill possess Ford.
Suddenly Ford wakes up and tells Dipper he shouldn’t have done that. Dipper freaks out and grabs a memory erasing gun and the rift and prepares to defend it at all costs. He aims the gun at Ford and asks him why he was really scanning his mind. Ford starts coming toward him. Is he still Bill? Ford keeps getting closer and closer. Dipper demands the truth immediately, or he’ll erase Bill right out of Fords head.
Just as Ford is about to grab the rift, Dipper zaps him with the gun. The beam bounces off his glasses and around the room, shattering the machine. Ford grabs him and tells him to calm down and look into his eyes. His pupils do not look like Bill’s; It’s him! Bill can’t possess Ford because of the metal plate in his head.
Ford decides he can’t keep anything from Dipper any longer. He tells him that he and Bill used to be friends. Years ago he found some mysterious writing in a cave that spoke of a being with answers. He spoke the words aloud and later that day he had a strange dream in which he met Bill. Bill told Ford he was a muse and that he chose him as the one he would inspire next. He accepted Bill’s friendship and let him come and go from his mind as he pleased. He gave Ford the idea and plans for the portal.
Ford trusted him until the accident with Fiddleford. When he confronted Bill about what happened Bill told him there was nothing he could do to stop his plans, but it would be fun to see him try. Ford immediately shut down the portal and began hiding his work so that no one else could finish what he started.
Ford tells Dipper they cannot let Bill get his hands on the rift. It’s the last link between their world and Bill’s and, if he got his hands on it, it would be the end of the world. Dipper, realizing that by breaking the machine he ruined their only way to keep Bill away from the rift, asks Ford what they’re going to do now. Just then Mabel bursts into the house, covered in rainbow colored fluids and holding a fistful of unicorn hair.
With everything they need to protect the shack, Dipper and Ford take the hair outside and set up a magical perimeter. When the last piece is in place, it puts out a force field that will protect them from Bill. They’re safe… for now.
In the nightmare realm, Bill watches everything. He realizes he no longer has access to anyone inside the shack. He says to himself that he’ll just have to find his next pawn on the outside. His eye rolls backwards and begins to flash images of the citizens of Gravity Falls as he decides which person to call on next.
From the moment I heard there was going to be an episode of Gravity Falls called “The Last Mabelcorn,” I knew it was going to be a great episode. Knowing Mabel, I just knew she was going to flip out over the promise of unicorns. When I saw the first image of the unicorn I was excited because it was the perfect mix of classic unicorn design, with a splash of modern My Little Pony/Lisa Frank color, tied together with a Hirsch-esque Gravity Falls character design.
When I saw the final episode, I was not disappointed at all. I expected some subversion of the classic unicorn character tropes, but I was not prepared for how messed up, in the best possible way, that this story was going to be. The unicorn trope was not only subverted, it was completely turned on its head!
Before I go on I will get my criticisms, which are very minor, out of the way. The first is that there weren’t many unicorns other than Celestabellebethabelle. We got a glimpse of them, but I want to know more. Are they all jerks? The others seemed to call out Celestabellebethabelle on her scam, but then they fought alongside her when things went south. I feel there may be more to their story, but the episodes can only be so long so some stuff probably didn’t make the cut.
My other criticism is that this episode was a little short on Grunkle Stan. I guess it’s only fair, since he was the main focus of the previous episode, but I still missed him. However, his two featured scenes were hilarious and helped make up for his absence. His first scene was a perfect throwback to the pug trafficking charge listed alongside his many crimes in the last episode.
Okay, on to the good stuff – of which there is a ton! It was great to learn some more of Ford’s backstory and any time we see Bill again it’s guaranteed to be a good episode. I loved the flashbacks, seeing Ford working with McGucket, and learning how he knew to build the portal, which was one question I had since we learned about it. Where did that knowledge come from? How did he know about other dimensions? Now we know: it was Bill this whole time.
(Side note: This quote from Bill: “Whoa, don’t have a heart attack, you’re not 92 yet!” – does this mean what I think it means?)
I loved seeing Dipper and Ford hang out, plan together, share secrets, and work to protect their family. Everything about their scenes guaranteed right off the bat that this would be a ‘top ten’ episode, but somehow, as awesome as all those scenes were, they were still second to Mabel’s hilarious quest.
Having Wendy team up with Mabel’s group was great. I love a good girl power team, and then having the three girls split off to go do some dirty work behind Mabel’s back was even better. One of my favorite scenes this year, hands down, is the gnome “drug bust” scene. It was so unexpected, and so out of left field, but so perfect. Grenda was already one of my favorite characters and that scene only made her better. Not to mention the deer with the police light on his head. So, so funny. Whoever thought of that is a straight-up genius.
Mabel: “Ooh! Mysterious scrolls and potions! Are you going to tell us we’re finally of age to go to wizard school? Is there an owl in this bag?”
Ford: “No! I can assure you, that if there’s an owl in this bag, he’s long dead.”
Mabel: (GASP!) “The paintings airbrushed on the sides of vans were true!”
Wendy: “Mabel’s a straight-up saint, you judgmental hoofbag!”
Celestabellebethabelle: “Doing good deeds to make yourself look better isn’t good at all! Not to mention you’re crushing like ten dandelions right now. Those are basically children’s dreams.”
Wendy: “We’re crazed, angry, sweaty animals. We’re not unicorns, we’re women!”
Police Gnome: “Tell it to the adorable owl we’ve dressed as a judge!”
Mabel: “Today I learned that morality is relative!”
Grunkle Stan, running by and grabbing armfuls of treasure: “MONEY!!!”
This was one of my favorite episodes ever. It was almost perfect in every way. I loved it.
What did you think of this episode of Gravity Falls? What was your favorite scene?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes