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, the gang’s latest adventure is cut short and the boys finally discover what happened to their mom.
1. Epic reveal, terrible journey
I have lots of conflicting feelings about this episode. The whole season was building up to revealing what actually happened to Della Duck, but this episode had some of the worst wheel spinning we’ve seen from this show. The reveal itself was really great—it was unexpected and satisfying—but the time getting to it was so bad that it almost taints the effectiveness of it.
2. Maltese MacGuffin, indeed
When Scrooge introduced the latest bit of treasure that the gang would be seeking out, the Maltese MacGuffin, I thought the show would actually play with the MacGuffin trope in a creative way. Nope. It was literally just a plot contrivance in order to generate a conflict leading to Scrooge finding out about the boys and Webby’s quest to find out more about Della Duck. The whole first chunk of the episode was entirely worthless. The fact that Dewey was actively risking everyone’s lives just to grab a piece of paper stretched the suspension of disbelief to it’s limit. They wasted 15 minutes on tipping the plane back and forth to try and create tension, and then rush through the reveal of what happened to Della Duck and the fallout from it. That tension build-up was unnecessary since it’s been teased out the whole season. If nothing was actually going to come from their trip, the episode should have just started in media res and spent more time with the huge moment that the whole series has been building towards.
3. The Della Duck disappearance
What a heartbreaking reveal… and great for the world, characters and story. Now I’m just bummed that there’s only the finale to see how everything plays out until next season. For the world of DuckTales, it introduces space travel, which is an unexpected way to expand an already vibrant universe containing gods, magic, and super spies. It was easy to suspect that the Spear of Selene was just another artifact that Scrooge, Della, and Donald were after, but having it be a rocket ship that was the catalyst for Della’s disappearance was a nice way to subvert expectations. Besides the immediate fallout of Scrooge pushing everyone away at the end (which will almost certainly be resolved in some fashion by the end of the next episode), there are great new additions and reveals for the main characters’ interpersonal relationships. Donald just became even more sympathetic, and the boys and Webby’s blind admiration for Scrooge is taken down a notch. This is no longer a family that can avoid conflict like it has with everything out in the open now.
4. A reason for Donald’s absence
I’ve been lamenting the lack of episodes featuring Donald, but now it makes a little more sense. He has a very good reason for not wanting to be involved with Scrooge. His fallout with Scrooge over Della’s disappearance also brings to light how good of a father-figure he has been to the boys. He swallowed his pride to seek help from Scrooge because its what was best for the boys, and never talked bad about him so he wouldn’t taint the boys’ view of him. However, this better mean that Donald is more heavily involved in the show going forward.
5. Scrooge’s facade is cracking
The writers did a great job of setting up Scrooge’s grim turn at the end of the episode in last week’s “The Secret(s) of Castle McDuck!” In that episode, it was the first time we saw Scrooge on the defensive when confronted by his dad. He showed similar behavior this episode when confronted by the boys about his involvement with Della Duck’s disappearance. Scrooge has lived with the guilt of Della’s disappearance for years, so instead of empathizing with what the boys must be going through, he got defensive. His instinct is to push everyone away and just avoid the conflict. From the beautiful montage of his efforts to find Della, it’s clear that the boys didn’t have the full picture, but Scrooge just lets them believe that he didn’t care so that he doesn’t have to have that difficult conversation. That last shot of Scrooge telling himself that he’s happy was a harsh, but meaningful moment for that character, and extremely heavy for an all-ages show. It takes Scrooge’s stubbornness to its limit, and hopefully leads to a breakthrough for him. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the finale next episode.Continued below
- Giving Mrs. Beakley a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reference felt a little weird.
- “When we crash?” Oh Mrs. Beakley, you must be new here.
- If we’re going to be wheel spinning, listening to the Darkwing Duck end credits song isn’t a bad way to do it.