DuckTales is back! And luckily, it’s pretty great. I’m a big fan of the original series, and even watched the sort-of-a-reboot, Quack Pack, that came out in the mid-90s. So, let’s dive in! This week’s episode had Webby and her new friend crashing Ma Beagle’s birthday party, and was the first misstep of the series.
1. They can’t all be winners!
This episode was a bit rough. There were multiple scenes where I was wondering why characters were acting the way they were, because it was so out of left field. Huey, Dewey, and Louie have always bickered, but it always felt organic. This episode, I think they broke out in full out brawls in every scene they were in. Webby could still have figured out how to get the Beagle Boys to start fighting, without having to beat us over the head with the lead-up. Another scene that had me scratching my head was when Lena thinks that talking in an English accent will somehow fool some Beagles into letting them escape. I mean, the rouse ended up working with Webby’s help because plot reasons, but there had to be a better way to give them an inside joke to reference later. I know this is an all-ages show and I shouldn’t expect everything to follow strict logical rules, but these scenes in particular pulled me out of the episode, and weren’t worth the plot payoffs.
It’s a shame that this episode was the first misfire, because it looks like Webby is starting to be the series’ focus, and this was her first real solo episode. (It didn’t even have Scrooge in it.) Kate Micucci is still killing it as Webby, and really shines in the little moments of the episode. Listening to her explain why she brought “hot dog costumes” on a boating trip, or awkwardly trying to make friends with Lena is a joy, especially with the perfect pairing of Micucci’s vocal performance and the way it’s animated. I just hope that future spotlight episodes will give her more to work with.
3. “All the best parties are at burnt out junkyards!”
I’m loving the expansion of the Beagle Boys. I think I could watch a series just focusing on them. I hope they introduce even more sub-groups, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty great. My favorite (and perfectly timed with It in theaters) group was the Tumblebums, the clown Beagles that only creepily whistle. But of course, they get taken down by banana peels, in a groan-worthy moment that mirrors my other complaints. During Ma Beagle’s roll call, the second time that the Déjà Vus got introduced was genuinely funny until they did it again and killed the joke.
4. Margo Martindale!
Speaking of Ma Beagle, we got a little more time with her this episode, and I want even more. Margo Martindale is hamming it up in the role, and playing the pitch perfect cartoon villain, while still imbuing Ma Beagle with just the tiniest bit of motherly love. It also makes me think that Martindale would make an excellent Granny Goodness, whenever she makes an appearance in the DCEU. As an original DuckTales fan, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a surprise file hidden in Ma Beagle’s birthday cake as it got shoved in her face, but I’m sure we’ll see one sooner or later.
5. Doubling down on the nostalgia!
I’m curious how this series is playing for new viewers. I feel like it’s a solid show by itself, but they are also doing a lot of fan service for older viewers. The new theme song doesn’t do anything to offend fans of the original, and is in fact a great take on it. The last two episodes have ended by teasing classic Ducktales characters. And adding to the nostalgia this episode, is the fact that it was a riff on 80s adventure movies. Webby and Lena are the kids sneaking into someplace they shouldn’t, and then running around trying to escape the trouble they found themselves in. I hope they continue to strike that balance of