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! In this week’s episode, Scrooge, Launchpad, and the kids go searching for an ancient mummy, but find a mummy-worshipping cult instead.
1. What time is it? Adventure time!
Oh wait, wrong show. But in all seriousness, I’ve been waiting for an episode like this since the premiere. Queue Stefon voice, “This one had everything!” Scrooge and the gang finally did some real adventuring to explore an ancient tomb, and the results were extremely entertaining. My hopes were high as soon as Scrooge popped out of the sand wearing safari gear. I think the most compelling element of the episode was the repeated subversion of expectations. This is a show where running into mummies wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, but these mummies were just a bunch of religious zealots wrapping themselves in bandages by choice. And then, when it looked like everything was wrapping up in a logical and funny conclusion with Louie impersonating the puppet Toth-Ra, the incomplete prophecy that had been referenced a few times got fulfilled, and Toth-Ra became the mummy we were expecting in the first place.
2. Living mummies are a great analogue for religious zealots.
“Living” mummies are a new take on depicting a cult that I haven’t seen, and thought worked pretty well. It also provided a bunch of great comedy bits. I kind of wanted more of that sand marketplace, and the bandaged livestock was a great way to illustrate how separated from reality these people were. I also liked that Scrooge was unable to convince the living mummies what they were missing out on with just logic. Now, if only other cults could be convinced to rebel against their leaders with burritos.
3. I am also motivated by burritos.
The burrito gags running through the whole episode are an example of another area that this episode really worked where past episodes didn’t. The payoffs for little moments or gags earlier in the episode all felt organic, and we’re genuinely funny. The fact that Launchpad’s burrito convinced the community to rise up against their master worked well enough on it’s own because of the absurdity of being converted via burrito. It was even reinforced when they were learning to wrap giant burritos instead of fight. But then it came full circle when that seemingly random skill was used to capture the reanimated Toth-Ra. Another great payoff was when Toth-Ra’s scarab spy warned him of a sneak attack, which then lead to Toth-Ra using his eye lasers. When Amunet was theorizing about those abilities earlier, it was completely unbelievable after spending some time with the living mummy community. So that was a nice comedic beat, and another great subversion.
4. “Don’t pull a Louie.”
It feels like the writers like Louie the most out of the three boys, because he’s getting the most development. This is further cemented by all the characters using Louie’s name as a colloquialism for trying to bullshit out of a bad situation. The events of “The House of the Lucky Gander!” obviously didn’t have any lasting effects, because he’s still trying to take the easy way out of everything. However, I’ll forgive this reversion since the rest of the episode was stellar.
5. More of these pop culture references, please.
This episode was full of pop-culture references, and it worked, unlike the Silicon Valley riff last episode. While the Toth-Ra reveal was definitely a great homage to Wizard of Oz, the villain “behind the curtain” felt straight out of a Scooby Doo episode. The difference here, is that even though those references were a large part of the plot, they served the story instead of driving it. “The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!” felt like they wanted to do something with Silicon Valley culture, and constructed an episode around it. This episode’s references worked within the story already being told. Another great moment was the brief Thriller dance number, and especially the way Dewey’s face was animated during it. The episode even had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to the Bible, with Scrooge yelling, “Let my children go!” This is most definitely a version of Moses telling Pharoah in Exodus, “Let my people go.“