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The One Gravity Falls Episode Fans Want First-Time Watchers To See

When it comes to compelling and creative storytelling in children's animation, "Gravity Falls" is a hidden gem. Throughout two seasons, series creator Alex Hirsch introduces viewers to 12-year-old twins Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel Pines (Kristen Schaal). They spend their summer vacation exploring the fantastical world lurking just beneath the surface of the titular town (via IMDb). With a gaggle of interesting characters like Grunkle Stan (Hirsch) and Wendy (Linda Cardellini), the series takes advantage of its setting with plenty of tongue-in-cheek allusions to classic science fiction and fantasy tropes. The narrative manages to strike a careful balance between thoughtful, coming-of-age themes and a delightful indifference to reality, providing an engaging viewing experience for all ages.

However, the series was intentionally short-lived. Hirsch revealed in a blog post that the show was designed to capture the adventures of one perfect summer, a tactic that allows the story to follow a precise trajectory while hammering home a lesson on the bittersweet brevity of childhood. Thankfully, the series ends on a high note, allowing viewers to envision a bright future for the residents of that not-so-sleepy town in Oregon. Every episode of the show has its merits, but fans agree that one installment stands above the rest.

Not What He Seems finally reveals the identity of the Author

In a Reddit thread discussing the best episodes of "Gravity Falls," one title came up repeatedly. The Season 2 episode "Not What He Seems" is an emotional, action-packed installment that forces the audience to question everything they think they know. When Mabel and Dipper find a mysterious device hidden underneath the Mystery Shack, they're locked into a tense exchange with their Grunkle Stan that threatens to rip apart the very fabric of the universe. The ultimate reveal that Stan's twin brother, Stanford (J.K. Simmons), is the elusive author of journals documenting the town's many oddities is just the icing on the cake. "It's what the entire series was building towards since the first episode," wrote u/pk2317.

Other fans expressed similar sentiments, like u/Ice646, who said, "One of the only episodes to have me on the edge of my seat, it honestly felt like watching a movie. The animation, the quality, everything was amazing." For dedicated viewers, the installment provided a satisfying answer to the show's biggest mystery. "All the theories and months of speculation of what the end credits meant, and piecing together the 'Jigsaw puzzle'... probably one of the best episodes in television given the 'WTF' reveal," said u/zonination.

The episode also gives a subtle nod to the other-worldly villainy of Bill Cipher (also voiced by Alex Hirsch), whose extraordinary power is undoubtedly crucial to understanding the ending of "Gravity Falls."