After Disney gave us a daily dose of DuckTales in midsummer, they’re back to a similar schedule for the remainder of its second season. One episode a day is an ideal rate for me; I just wish it was more consistent. Big gaps between seasons may be necessary, but big gaps within a season are frustrating. It is an improvement from it taking over a year to finish season one. This one wrapped up moderately sooner. Now let’s get to spoiling the remainder! Woo-oo! Duck out now if you’ve not seen ’em.
First here are some musings from random episodes that I didn’t recap fully. Donald Fuckyouup Duck has prehensile tail feathers. Glomgold went full Arnold Wesker/Arthur Penn at Doofus Drake’s birthday party with Sharkbomb. Launchpad is basically Hal Jordan if he wasn’t awful. I loved the mine cart race.
Not only did she storyboard it, the superlatively surreal “A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!” was the first episode written by Emmy Cicierega! Lena made a friendiversary song & cake for the slumber party! Louie dreams of being a Garfield, whereas High School Musical Dewey (whose love interest is a terrifying amorphous concept) is grossed out by Huey’s Adventure Time-y legs. (Llewellynfield strips would’ve fit right in with last week’s purrfect piece.) Phooey Duck, the quantum nephew who may just be a mustard stain in the real world, manifested during the dream montage! (The secret origin of Phooey has yet to be reprinted in English.) Monsterized Lena resembles Demona. Magica De Spell’s technology-empowered spell over Lena is broken when Webby cries into Lena’s bill. (It’s like they’re daring me not interpret them as soulmates…) Webby has more faith in her than Supergirl does in the equally staunch Lena Luthor. Magica’s green pallor is not her real feather color, although there is a green newscaster.
Not only were the Beagles cheated out of the town deed, they were also vanquished in frontier times. Now their descendants live in a junkyard. Are Ma & the Beagle Boys meant to evoke the US’s disenfranchised minorities? Dog-people are certainly a minority Duckburg, with the oddly named Duckworth being the barely heroic exception to Ma Beagle’s copious litters of career criminals. Why aren’t we supposed to root for them over the rich ducks? They’re so inept & poor that it feels mean-spirited to pit these literal underdogs against the white-coded birds with the most resources. The Beagles being villains seems like institutionalized speciesism. (We never see any hybrids.) It’s odd that the reboot is more direct about this injustice without really saying much about class warfare. It’s almost as if the kept the poor villainous to indoctrinate kids into not rising up against Disney when it monopolizes the planet…
The season’s overarching plot (aside from the Moonlander ivasion) is the idiot contest between Scrooge & Flintheart over who’ll the world’s richest duck, with the winner absorbing the loser’s assets. While the deranged Glomgold winning would be a mess, there’s still the question of why it’s necessary for Scrooge to be the richest. Even with his wealth depleted attempting to rescue Della, he still had far more than a normal Duckburger could spend in a lifetime. What exactly are McDuck Enterprises’ enterprises? It ran a film studio like a tax write-off. Gyro’s & Fenton’s research is undoubtedly expensive, but does any of it get sold to the public? Emily Quackfaster has to work multiple jobs to ensure her retirement, so he’s not paying his employees well. He’s not even covering Donald’s debts. Now Scrooge’s wealth primarily funds his treasure hunting for his egomania & thrill seeking. Even then he’s being stingy, as Launchpad literally rebuilds the Sunchaser with gum each time it crashes rather than commission professional repairs or a new plane. His miserliness constantly puts his family at risk before they even get to the tomb raiding! So what is the point of all his wealth if he barely uses it to support the family he supposedly loves? Most of his treasure goes straight into his private horde rather than museums. When will the esurient McDuck be satisfied? Zan Owlson would be more responsible than any of Duckburg’s dueling trillionaires at managing their money for the greater good.
Louie Inc.’s scheme to steal missing relics before they become lost is ingenious. Were they only missing because he’d already nabbed them from the timestream? It doesn’t seem much more unethical than Scrooge’s finders keepers approach to acquiring antiquities in the present. Too bad The Time Tub isn’t powered by bombastium popsicles. Although not referenced in “Timephoon,” there’s confirmation that the skeleton in Dewey’s room is Bubba’s. Duckburg’s ducks may have evolved from dinosaurs. Laissez-faire Della grounds Louie for potentially erasing his siblings from existence, but he retorts he learned being selfishly reckless from his absentee mother. (Their relationship was so strained that he earlier recruited Goldie O’Gilt to pose as his mom to scam Doofus.)
I’m a sucker for supervillain team-ups, so
Duke Baloney Flintheart Glomgold assembling his own evil family to counter the McDucks was what I’d been waiting for. He even sings a delightful rendition of the title song, “GlomTales!” (We need Don Karnage’s version next!) The running gag of both sides only being impressed by Magica was appropriate. Mark Beaks is discount Glomgold recruited for his tech prowess who is instantly defeated because Scrooge doesn’t consider Gyro Gearloose family. Louie saves the day by outwitting Glomgold so that he loses his wager against Scrooge on a technicality & swiftly fragments his nefarious family. A two-parter could’ve been more satisfying as this beats out even Gotham’s Legion of Horribles for shortest-lived supervillain team-up. Louie doesn’t hand over the villains’ assets to his uncle out of spite for being grounded during the hobo-quest to Big Rock Candy Mountain. (I’d quibble about a minor having access to those resources, but this universe undoubtedly has laws that serve the comedic plot.)
It’s a pity that cliffhanger was followed by such a weak episode.”The Richest Duck In The World!” is the rare installment that utterly squanders its premise. We discover the world’s richest being is cursed to be pursued by a relentless
Solomon Grundy Bombie. Louie inadvertently unleashes it upon himself by turning off its island prison’s magic wards to reduce company costs. The Bombie is supposed to be a curse showing that money can’t solve every problem, yet Scrooge contained it for decades by paying for magical protection. (It’s also an ineffective metaphor if he represents the anger of the poor.) If the company could afford that magic even when he was searching for Della, why is it a financial burden when its funds have doubled? With a monopoly on the city’s top three companies plus ill-gotten gain, one exorbitant Ottoman should barely register in the ledger. The Bombie is just very strong, which also makes it uninteresting obstacle. (The original iteration seems … problematic, yet its shrinking doll gimmick was more imaginative.) Seeing more of how Louie’s family reacts to the new status quo would’ve been more satisfying. Louie does learn humility, which is more than Scrooge did while cursed, before relinquishing his new fortune.
I thought it was a nice change of pace to have Lance Reddick’s majestic voice be for a wise leader, but Lunaris turned out to be an obsessed villain all along. There’s something about this surprise heel turn that feels off. It he’s felt aggrieved by Earth for decades, why not encourage xenophobia among his subjects long before Della’s departure? Bellicose Penumbra despising Della Duck felt more organic to developing as the big bad. I guess they wanted Penumbra as an example of how prejudice can mellow.
“Moonvasion” is actually two episodes smushed together. It’s the kind of season finale I like where everybody pitches in & the least essential episodes become relevant. In addition to his Black Watch battle kilt, Scrooge dons disguises as both Darkwing Duck & the hated Santa Claus. The big casualty is Gyro & or some of his clones.
Fleeing Della & the kids accidentally discover Donald has crashed on a tropical island & grown a Tom Hanks in Castaway beard. (Are ducks’ beards hair or feathers?) He’s been living on a diet of sand & seawater rather than eat the watermelon he’s fashioned into a talking Mickey Mouse’s head. The navy certainly didn’t teach him survival skills. (Now I understand why Tootsie the triceratops & Gladstone Gander are eating a watermelon wearing a hat on the SDCC poster. We have to wait until season three to meet a bunch of other characters shown. Will we see the triplets’ dad too?) Mickey Melon’s manic hallucination voice fit perfectly with the Disney figurehead’s chaotic energy (when he’s allowed a personality).
By realizing who the series’ protagonists are in advance, Lunaris has nullified all of Scrooge’s defenses. Glomgold uses Legends of Tomorrow-style thinking to thwart Lunaris’s planetary engine. (Kudos to Lunaris having an unconventional motive & scheme himself.) It involves sharkas, Mrs. Beakley firing a humongous slingshot, & Launchpad’s Newton Pulsifier-way with technology. He tricks Scrooge into returning Glomgold Industries too! He even wins the public’s acclaim. After watching him utterly fail so often, it’s rewarding to witness Glomgold’s big win. (The McDucks & Penumbra cripple Lunaris’s ship, leaving him trapped in orbit around the Earth.)
The teaser for next season reveals FOWL, which appears to be be run by McDuck Enterprises’ board of directors. Steelbeak debuts in addition to Black Heron, Gandra Dee, & John D. Rockerduck in suspended animation of some sort. The Funso Fun Zone walrus is The Phantom Blot? (Since the Rescue Rangers will appear, I was expecting Fat Cat as well.) My body is ready.
In my opinion, the sophomore season’s best episodes are “Whatever Happened to Della Duck?!,” “The 87 Cent Solution!,” “Nothing Can Stop Della Duck!,” “The Duck Knight Returns!,” “A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!” & “Moonvasion!” Since it’s my blog, I get to be right! I could easily be persuaded to bump up my estimations of most surrounding episodes as well. There were a handful of clunkers, but I glossed over them since their main failing was not being as overwhelmingly enjoyable as the rest. This show continues to give me everything I need out of a reboot. Supposedly season three starts in October. Maybe Phat Mojo will get the second series of toys out by then? (In the meantime you can sate your sweet-tooth for magical family adventures with Hilda on Netflix.) Perhaps they’ll figure out how to air the whole third season within a respectable six months?