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 Lena getting the gang into more mischief, as they searched for the mythical Terr-firmians in an abandoned subway tunnel.
1. More unique character pairings!
This episode continues the trend of splitting the group up, in order to focus on just a few of the characters and their relationships. This is in contrast to the original show, where it was mainly Scrooge and the boys most of the time. I prefer this new approach, since it’s now a bit easier to actually tell Huey, Dewey, and Louie apart. Dewey and Louie are pretty well defined at this point, but we finally focus on Huey, as he’s revealed to be the “nerdy one” of the triplets. It would seem like him and Webby should get along great, but it turns out that two passionate geeks can sometimes have an argument or two. And unlike the constant bickering last episode, these fights between Huey and Webby over what’s causing the earthquakes felt organic, and were actually funny. As a bonus, Louie pulling out his bag of popcorn any time Huey and Webby started getting into it never got old, and was a nice way to add in a third character to this grouping without taking away from the main dynamic.
The other character groupings in the episode also provided some entertaining moments. Even though it was the C-plot of the episode, Launchpad and Dewey probably had my favorite little moments. Launchpad’s escalating paranoia was played perfectly as he went from thinking everyone is a mole man, to accepting that he’s one himself, and then immediately realizing how ridiculous that could be when Mrs. Beakley points it out to him. The best part of those scenes was Dewey, who normally is the one charging head first into things, but this time was there to just react to Launchpad. He only had a few lines, but the real comedy was in his facial reactions to Launchpad; they were so great. The last group of Lena and Mrs. Beakley was the weakest of the bunch, but had some really great developments for Lena.
2. Lena has potential! But…
There are so many intriguing facets to newcomer Lena (we’ll get to the big one next), but the character arc they’re teasing for her is troubling since it’s a big storytelling trope. It really feels like they’re setting her up to be the bad guy that infiltrates the good guy team, only to be converted and eventually sacrifice herself in some way to save the group. One of the best examples of that kind of story is “The Judas Contract,” and makes me think that using “Terra” in the episode name was a nice little nod to it. Hopefully if the show does go that route with Lena, it has some nuance, like the material being referenced.
3. I have so many questions!
Before we get to Lena’s potential future, there were some huge revelations about Lena in this current episode, along with a ton of questions. Who raised her? What’s the deal with that amulet? Does it give her Magica De Spell’s powers? Is Lena possessed by Magica De Spell? Is Magica De Spell trapped in the amulet? Is it her version of a Horcrux? Is Lena actually Magica De Spell? That one, at least, seems like it has an answer since Lena referred to her as “Aunt” Magica last episode. This new iteration of DuckTales has been really great with seeding future events, and this has been the most effective tease so far. Magica De Spell was a really fun character in the original series, and her role seems like it’s going to expanded in this version.
4. Scrooge Who?
This was another episode without an appearance by David Tennant’s Scrooge, and he was sorely missed again. Not to take away from all the great work being done with the other characters, but Tennant is on another level with his portrayal of Scrooge. It already felt weird not to have him in multiple episodes, but the absence was felt even more in this particular one, since Magica De Spell is being voiced by Catherine Tate, who played one of Tennant’s companions as Doctor Who. I’m sure we won’t need to wait too long, but I can’t wait to see them play off each other in these new roles.Continued below
5. “Aren’t you supposed to be crazy adventure family?”
Speaking of Scrooge being M.I.A., there still hasn’t been a real “adventure” since the premiere. These last few episodes have the boys and Webby getting pulled into trouble, instead of actively seeking it out. It’s a subtle, but important change in the dynamic of the show. This could be just the kind of show we’re going to get, but it doesn’t feel true to the DuckTales brand. It’s not the swashbuckling adventure story that we’ve come to know and love yet. We’re still very early on in the show, and they’ve done so much other stuff right that I have to hope that it will soon deliver this last piece of the puzzle.