Gravity Falls season 2 is rocketing towards a thrilling finale: S02E18 saw the town plunged into Weirdmageddon, and the next episode will only make matters stranger! S02E19, Escape From Reality, sees Dipper and the gang enter Mabel's prison bubble in an attempt to free her. But as the previews have revealed, this isn't going to be as easy as they thought! The second preview has just been released - check it out!
As usual, there's a lot of quick-fire footage that contains plenty of plot hints, but it's difficult to catch it all. Fear not though, because we've compiled all the important info for you! So here's what you need to know...
Dipper's Walking Into A Trap
One of the most notable things about the preview is how Bill Cipher describes Mabel's prison...
"Mabel's bubble is the most diabolical trap I've ever created!"
There's many things this could mean. At first glance, we can assume the trap is intended for Mabel herself, but that might not be the case. If Bill really wanted to keep Mabel locked away, the best way would be to hide her, keeping her out of sight. Instead, Mabel is displayed very obviously: the bubble is enormous and looms over the town of Gravity Falls. If Dipper needs to find Mabel, he definitely knows where to look!
With this in mind, maybe Bill wants to trap Dipper instead? This seems a bit more likely, especially as Bill left the key with Gideon: although there's no love lost between the two boys, if Bill wanted to make sure Mabel was never released, it would make more sense to keep the key himself, or hide it. But considering Bill already had Dipper right where he wanted him, back at the beginning of S02E18, it's unlikely that just trapping Dipper isn't what Bill has in mind.
Alex Hirsch actually shed some light on this, explaining that Bill doesn't necessarily want to defeat Dipper...
"Bill is trying to lay Dipper as low as possible. He sees Dipper as a very tiny pawn on a very big chessboard. Ford is the King and he’s already captured him. So Dipper means nothing to Bill at this point and Bill wants to really, really break Dipper’s spirit. It’s more fun for Bill to toy with his victims than to outright destroy them."
Bill is all about fun and games, though what he finds fun is downright terrifying to the rest of us. So this is probably what Mabel's bubble trap is all about: playing a frightening game with the Pines Twins, just because Bill can. So while Dipper thinks he's going straight in to rescue Mabel, the entirety of S02E19 may just be an elaborate trick...
The Bubble Is Just An Illusion?
Now we need to go a little more in depth, as the previews actually revealed a lot more than you'd think. Take another look at the first preview, and see if you spot any subtle hints!
There's plenty to unpack here, but let's focus on Mabel's jumper. Symbolism is absolutely crucial in Gravity Falls: Alex Hirsch has used symbols throughout the show to plant hints for future plot twists. Since the beginning, Mabel and Dipper have been associated with two specific symbols, the shooting star (on Mabel's sweater) and pine tree (on Dipper's hat).
Bill actually refers to Dipper as "Pine Tree" instead of his name, and obviously the shooting star is branded onto Mabel's bubble. This symbol is on one of her favourite sweaters, which she wears in the first episode and frequently later on. And we can see her wearing it in the S02E19 preview!
This shot is very brief but really interesting, as it shows Mabel levitating Dipper, Wendy, and Soos. This proves she's going to have a lot of power inside her bubble, and may be able to manipulate the laws of physics while inside!
She seems pretty angry too, so maybe she doesn't want to be released from her bubble? But back to the jumper. Mabel actually wasn't wearing the shooting star sweater when she was captured in S02E17! She wore a birthday cake sweater for Dipper & Mabel vs The Future, as she was excited for their birthday.
So what does this mean? Crucially, it implies that the Mabel Dipper and the others interact with actually isn't physical: the real Mabel, wearing the birthday cake jumper, might be imprisoned somewhere else. Or, more likely, when Dipper and the others enter the bubble they go into a weird realm where nothing obeys the laws of physics. Does this mean the Mabel in the bubble is a trick? Are the Mystery Twins (and Wendy and Soos) actually asleep and dreaming?
If that's the case then the entire rescue could be an illusion: Dipper, Mabel, and the others could think they've escaped the bubble, only to later realise they're still trapped and dreaming, unable to wake up their bodies!
Or maybe Mabel just changed sweaters. Either way, we'll find out next week!