DuckTales S01E01 Part 2 Review
Created By: Matt Youngberg
Starring: David Tennant, Bobby Moynihan, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz
A review by Cameron Kieffer
**Mild spoilers for DuckTales S01E01 Part 1: “Woo-ooo!” **
DuckTales premiered last week on Disney XD with an hour-long episode that not only set the tone for the series but gave us a glimpse into the type of stories we’ll be seeing. S01E01 Part 1 introduced us to our main cast and, in its final moments, our first villain: Flintheart Glomgold.
In Part 2, Glomgold seeks the Lost Jewel of Atlantis. In typical villain fashion, he’s hired a group of mercenaries to help him find it. This includes the hilariously named Gabby McStabberson, twins Hack and Slash Stabnikov and our very own Donald Duck. Donald had a prior career as a sailor, apparently, which makes him an ideal candidate for such a mission.
However, Scrooge, also seeks the jewel, but his goal is different. It’s more about taking his new family out on their first real adventure together. Thus we have our first DuckTales conflict, as well as the catalyst for a valuable lesson about trust.
Scrooge takes his grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, along with Webby and Launchpad out to sea via his own personal submarine. They aim to find the underwater city of Atlantis and procure the famed jewel. There are jokes aplenty, including several gags of the gang having to fight various perils on their way to Atlantis.
There’s also a fun running joke involving Louie persuading Webby to call her grandma (and Scrooge’s housekeeper Mrs. Beakley). He convinces her it would be better to lie and say she’s staying over with a friend than not say anything at all about her whereabouts. At the same time, Dewey becomes increasingly frustrated with Scrooge’s way of doing things. He believes his sense of safety and efficiency is deterring them from having any real fun.
Once the two teams reach Atlantis, the struggle becomes real for them all. Donald discovers Scrooge has endangered the kids by bringing them along. Donald constantly has to jeopardize his reluctant double-agent status to rescue the kids from certain doom. Scrooge and Dewey get cut-off from the others and eventually have to set aside their differences to save themselves.
Without giving too much away, both sets of aforementioned characters learn that trust goes both ways and that honesty really is the best policy. Donald subsequently learns that Scrooge only has the family’s best interests at heart. He learns the kids are better off getting into trouble under his supervision than alone.
The ending of the episode also establishes a new status quo for the characters. Donald and his nephews move into McDuck Manor full-time. This sets up the audience for the family’s next adventure (one with pretty dramatic implications).
While both parts of DuckTales S01E01 are fairly stand-alone, the ending of Part 2 plants seeds for a story arc that may very well carry out through the whole season. This narrative structure has a lot in common with another Disney XD series: the fantastic, yet over-too-soon Gravity Falls, a show that featured mostly one-and-done episodes that became part of one overarching story. This is a bold take and one that I certainly hope will pay off.
Much like DuckTales S01E01 Part 1, in Part 2, we get a lot of fun moments with our characters. Dewey, in particular, definitely sees some growth by episode’s end. We also get more of Launchpad this time around. In the first part, he’s introduced as Scrooge’s driver who just so happens to be a pretty good airplane pilot when the opportunity arises. It also seems he’s a bit of a transportation jack-of-all-trades. He ultimately ends up “piloting” the sub as well. It remains to be seen what other vehicles he can handle. I’d love to see him at the cockpit of a starship at some point.
The villains were quite a bit of fun as well. Glomgold should be a familiar character for fans of the original series, and this new version isn’t much different. He’s still Scrooge’s equally rich, equally Scottish arch nemesis. The aforementioned mercs are fairly one-note, but their awesome names more than makeup for any other shortcomings.
Watch it! DuckTales is off to an amazing start with plenty of genuine humor, sharp characters and an engaging last minute reveal that sets up where the story may be taking them. It shares more than a few things in common with the previously mentioned Gravity Falls while still being its own thing. It’ll take a lot to fill the void left by the Pines family, but this show is definitely up to the task.