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 Scrooge, Donald, and the kids visit their uncle Gladstone Gander at a mysterious resort in Macaw, on their way to to their first big adventure since the premiere.
1. Okay, now they’re just messing with us!
I was genuinely excited when Scrooge mentioned that they would be going to the Temple of the Golden Cricket within the first moments of the episode. The show was finally sending the characters on an actual adventure again. But of course it was just a feint, and everyone got stuck in Liu Hai’s casino. Then, to add insult to injury, once Liu Hai reveals himself to be a luck-feeding demon, Scrooge and the kids are sidelined for Donald and Gladstone. The race sequence between Donald and Gladstone was really good. It provided some great physical comedy for the two characters, and again showed Donald’s only competency is in adventuring. I’m just ready for some more of that, but with the kids and Scrooge in the lead again.
2. Closed captioning recommended!
Another episode with Donald means another reminder to watch with the captions on. As Nick mentioned in his recap of the premiere, Donald’s lines are almost unintelligible. The show is a quality all-ages show, so it works on a purely visual level, even without understanding what he’s saying (as pretty much all Donald Duck cartoons should). So the captions aren’t necessary, but then you would miss things like Donald screaming, “We’re all gonna die! I’ve wasted my life!” as Launchpad is crashing their plane. That line (and the awkward glances that follow) provided a good laugh for older viewers, but seems a bit dark for kids. I’m guessing that it only sneaks in because Donald is saying it, and no one will understand anyways.
3. The cast continues to be on point!
This episode introduces another supporting character in “Lucky” Gladstone Gander, the boys’ other uncle. Paul F. Tompkins voices the role, and that casting is pitch perfect. Gladstone is tailor-made for Tompkins’ usual upper-class parodying. Of course Tompkins was able to portray Gladstone’s entitled laziness with ease, but he was also able to give the character the much needed flashes of anger when his plan of having Donald siphon some of his luck didn’t work. Pairing Gladstone with Louie for the first part of the episode was also a nice touch. It makes sense that the triplet who sweet-talks his way to free fruit punch would idolize someone who gets everything handed to him. It was a nice payoff at the end of Donald and Gladstone’s race, when you could see the moment Louie realized the value of perseverance, something Scrooge and Donald have been continually trying to impart on the kids since the first episode.
4. “Why did I wear green? He always sees me in green!”
The jokes on the show continue to be really great. Louie stressing out about Gladstone seeing him in green again had me cracking up. There are a ton of funny one-liners in the show so far, and a lot of them are really quick, so this is another area where having the captions on helps. Also, having the group go to the Temple of the Golden Cricket (even after everything), was a great capper to the episode, with everyone too exhausted to care. It was a comical way to echo Louie’s pep-talk earlier to Donald about persevering even when it doesn’t make sense any more.
5. Another backstory tease!
While it worked really well as a one-off gag, I still want the backstory of whatever Launchpad got into with his ex-girlfriend. By the time he reappeared riddled with arrows and carrying a baby panda on his back, I had completely forgotten Launchpad mentioning he was going off to help an ex in trouble. The show continues to tease wild backstories for it’s previously one-note supporting characters, so I hope they eventually explore them at some point. If you’re keeping track, there’s now the mystery of the boys’ mom, Mrs. Beakley’s previous life as a spy, whatever is going on with Lena and Magica De Spell, and now Launchpad’s ex, who looks like she’s in trouble with some ninjas. Did I miss any?