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    Five Thoughts on DuckTales‘ “The Secret(s) of Castle McDuck!”

    By | August 6th, 2018
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    DuckTales is back from hiatus to finish out the first season of the reboot, and now it’s made the jump from Saturday mornings on Disney XD to the Disney Channel proper. So, let’s dive in! In this week’s episode, Scrooge and the gang pay a visit to his parents’ house, which only appears every five years and houses the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.

    1. The plot thickens… sort of

    Overall, I thought this episode was one of the stronger ones in the series, but I was a bit disappointed that the Dela Duck elements were mostly a fake out and we didn’t learn anything new. After everything that happened, the only new piece of information is that she hid a drawing of the Spear of Selene (the artifact the Dewey and Webby were searching for earlier in the season). I feel like the reveal at the end that the whole treasure hunt the boys embarked on was an elaborate prank for Donald was supposed to have more of an effect, but we still know hardly anything about Dela Duck or Donald at this point. So, the fact that Dela had a weird sense of humor doesn’t really mean anything yet. If Donald had been in some more episodes to act as a bigger emotional anchor, that moment could have been completely different because it’s relevant to their relationship.

    2. I’ll take what I can get at this point

    I guess if we can’t have more Donald, then Launchpad’s impression of him is the next best thing. Everything about it was great. Launchpad’s monotone delivery was the perfect way to show how ridiculous Donald’s speech and tantrums are. The only downside was that seeing Launchpad’s impression just reminded me how criminally underused Donald has been in this show.

    3. Defensive Scrooge

    DuckTales is an ensemble show, but Scrooge is the clear standout character. On the surface, this episode was about furthering the overarching Dela Duck mystery, but where it actually succeeded the most was in showing yet another side of Scrooge. Introducing Scrooge’s parents was a brilliant move. Up until this point, Scrooge hasn’t really ever been on the defensive. He’s either the smartest/most skilled person in the room, or at least on equal footing. Scrooge is extremely intimidated by his father, however. The reveal that the gang was about to embark on their latest adventure in Scrooge’s parents house was perfect. The way that Scrooge kept warning everyone how much danger they were going to be in was a nice, efficient bit of stage-setting for introducing his parents, and quickly established their relationship dynamic. It was also a great reveal since we now know that Scrooge is over 100 years old, so his parents are some of the last characters we’d expect to meet. Scrooge’s characterization throughout the episode was also perfect. We could see him trying to balance his lust for the treasure, his contempt for his father, but also his desire to impress and please his father at the same time. I love Scrooge, but I do wish some of the other characters got more of those complex characterizations, because it’s masterful when the show does it well.

    4. Suddenly empathetic Dewey

    Since the episode didn’t end up moving the Dela Duck mystery forward in any meaningful way, the main focus became the character development of both Scrooge and Dewey as they each are on a quest to uncover their family’s secrets. While Scrooge’s side of the story was extremely successful, Dewey’s was less so. The main issue is that the entire characterization was false. Dewey is a lot of things, but empathetic is not one of them. So, the fact that saving his brothers’ feelings was his justification for keeping everything that he had found out about his and his brothers’ mother just rings hollow. The only triplet that would work for is Huey, who has been established as being the least self-centered of the three. I thought the show would address this inconsistency when Huey calls Dewey out, saying that he would only keep this kind of secret to make himself feel special, but there was no meaningful resolution to it. Normally, Dewey’s acceptance that sharing these kinds of secrets is what family is for would be a great emotional beat for a character, but because it was built on such a contrived foundation, it felt empty.

    Continued below

    5. Like father, like son

    The part of the ending that did work was Scrooge and his Father working things out. His father explaining that he was trying to give Scrooge a good work ethic, but unintentionally distanced himself in the process made a lot of sense with what we know of Scrooge’s motivations. That then made the moment when Scrooge’s father became enraged at finding out that Scrooge’s grandfather hid treasure from his father all the more satisfying and meaningful. Scrooge understood where his father was coming from, and we can see the parallels with how he is raising the boys, so the moment becomes even more impactful.

    Afterthoughts

    • “Neither is satisfactory. A thoughtful son would know that.”
    • I was laughing right along with the boys at “Dirty Dingus McDuck.”
    • Webby’s joy overload at the prospect of learning more McDuck history was a perfect reaction for her (and a nice way sideline her to narrow the episode’s focus).
    • I wish Mrs. Beakley had been there to learn about Whiskers, the clump of hair. She would be the only one brave enough to tease Scrooge about it.

    //TAGS | DuckTales

    Justin Beeson

    Justin Beeson is a dad, husband, DevOps engineer, and comic book and Android enthusiast. He covers news, TV, and does the occasional review at Multiversity Comics, and can be found on Twitter at @thisJUSTin816.

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