Gravity Falls' "The Golf War"! Season 2, Episode 3 Recap and Discussion

This week's Gravity Falls tells us straight out that the last few days have been hectic, and it's time to unwind. With the knowledge that we'll be taking a slight break from a heavy plot based episode surrounding the greater mysteries touched on in Episodes 1 and 2, we're left with an episode that dives a little bit into some character development of Mabel's rival, Pacifica Northwest. But not before a good dose of murderous intentions doled out by a bunch of golf ball people.

Spoilers for Episode 3 of Gravity Falls "The Golf War" to follow!

Mabel's squirrel fashion has not won her the accolades in the local paper she so rightly deserves, as rich girl and rival Pacifica has bought her way to the front page of newspaper stardom. Disheartened and angry, what better way to recover the spirits than a fun-filled, normal game of Mini-Golf? Except this is Gravity Falls where nothing is ordinary.

Mabel is on a winning streak but loses at the 18th hole, and what's worse? Pacifica is a beast at mini-golf too (not without a little help from Sergei, her gold medalist trainer) and once again, outshines Mabel. Having had enough, the mini-golf gauntlet is thrown and a Tee-off at Midnight seems like the most logical challenge.

Mabel and Dipper break into the golf park ahead of schedule to get a little practice in, leaving Soos and Grunkle Stan out of the supernatural shenanigans this round. When Mabel is unable to best hole 18 at the Mini Windmill obstacle, Dipper hears noises coming from inside. He and Mabel lift the side panel and they discover an intricate (and unnecessary) production manned by tiny people with golf balls for heads called Liliputtians.

But these cute, Dutch inspired race of golf ball people are not the only ones inhabiting the park. Each section of the golf course has their own little race of Liliputtians, each characterized by their location's theme (for instance, the pirate ship hole is run by swashbuckling pirate Liliputtians, the coal mine hole has hardworking miner Liliputtians etc) - and they all hate each other. Every Liliputtian race thinks theirs is the best and the nations are locked in an endless golf war. If only there was some way they could resolve their differences by crowning one of the races as 'the best' with some sort of award, or...sticker that Mabel just so happens to have stating "U Da Best".

Gravity Falls' "The Golf War"! Season 2, Episode 3 Recap and Discussion

Dipper's not above using the little guys to Mabel's advantage - saying that whoever helps them win against Pacifica would get the sticker. Mabel has second thoughts about cheating but wise words by Dipper convinces her to go along with the plan. And so begins the rigged game of Mini-Golf with adorable, disturbing and hilarious sequences of the Liliputtians in their habitats, executing cheats by controlling the balls in Mabel's favour.

After a riveting performance by the miners and the fall of Big Henry - the Liliputtian with a whole lot of courage, heart and determination - Mabel tells the miners that while too early to call a favourite, it seems they would be awarded the sticker. Unfortunately, the Dutch Liliputtians at the windmill see this and decide that the only thing better than cheating the competition is by killing the competition. They kidnap Pacifica, tie her to the windmill in a Gulliver's Traveller's nod, and announce their plan to the aghast Pines Twins.

What's interesting here is that both Sergei and Pacifica are clued in to the madness that they have been captured by miniature golf balls with bodies and yet, this occurrence phases neither of them. The present danger is the focus - in that they are about to be killed - but to actually question the supernatural never happens.

It leaves me with my own question that has been bugging me since last week: before any weird things happen in Gravity Falls, the residents are usually not on site to witness it. But is that just a smoke screen and like Grunkle Stan, everyone actually knows about the weirdness of their town and aren't so oblivious as we are lead to believe? Or maybe this is important solely to Pacifica and her family. Because as the richest and most powerful family controlling a lot of Gravity Falls, it's believable they might have a hand in all of this too or at least know about the weird little town as well and are manipulating things in their favour beyond just finances.

Those questions aside, the episode continues with Pacifica having to team up with Mabel and Dipper to fend off their attackers who are armed with sharpened pencils and uh, themselves as dangerous projectiles. But it's not just the Windmill inhabitants who want Pacifica dead. When Mabel reveals that their fighting over a sticker is ludicrous, and that everyone should just get along, she eats the shiny prize and the Liliputtians nations band together in an attempt to cut open Mabel's stomach to get the sticker. Oh hey, there's that dark tone again that we saw from Episodes 1 and 2 this season. Scary stuff.

One daring escape later using teamwork and sprinkled with snarky compliments, the girls are on their way to forming a sort of friendship. It's one where they both understand each other a little bit more because bonds forged in the face of murder will probably do that to you. Even if Pacifica still maintains a bit of her raging rich girl snobby attitude, and the Pines Twins eat surprise tacos they find in the backseat of the car.

Other Observations and Ramblings:

Gravity Falls' "The Golf War"! Season 2, Episode 3 Recap and Discussion

  • "She's rich. She cheats at life."
  • I didn't think I missed Xyler and Craz as much as I did but the Regular Show type "woooaaahh" really made me chuckle. Perhaps I should keep those thoughts to myself.
  • It was an escape for all but Sergei. Poor Sergei. He may still be alive but subjected to a life of Liliputtians singing high pitched songs might be a fate worse than death.
  • Patton Oswalt as the Dutch Liliputtian, Franz, was awesome. Even if all the other Liliputtians were thrown into cliches to sound exactly as their nations' representations (the pirates spoke using 'yar' expressions, for example) and Patton Oswalt sounded like himself - not very Dutch.
  • I'm not so sure I am on board with W - Neck shirts as the latest fashion trend.
  • Pacifica's pronunciation of "sharing" sounded very much like the name of one of my favourite bears on TAY.
  • Big Henry was the true star of this episode. A moment of silence, please.

So Gravity Falls fans, did you catch the episode? Did I miss anything? Am I off on the whole Pacifica thing in that we already know they know? Or is there something more to come from the Northwest family? Please let there be more! Because more Nathan Fillion (who did a guest voice as Pacifica's dad) is never a bad thing.

Gravity Falls airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT on Disney XD. At least, that's what it seems the scheduling is looking like for now. Will update this information if necessary.

Thanks to GBD for the gif burn. Ohhhhhhh!!!

All images property of their respective owners and were found on the Gravi-Team Falls Tumblr!