Rewatching DuckTales! Episode two has a lot of what the show is famous for, “Wronguay in Ronguay.” But it doesn’t have characters from Spongebob.
Here’s what happens: Picking up mere minutes after the last episode, the mysterious El Capitan partners with Uncle Scrooge’s rival Flintheart Glomgold with another plot to steal Scrooge’s antique ship model. The nephews deduce the model contains a code to a long-lost treasure. Glomgold buys Scrooge’s candy factory, which has half the map embedded in chocolate (long story), so the race is on to find the treasure.
The search leads our heroes to the small country of Ronguay, which is about to get hit by a massive rainstorm, the “Mon Soppies.” They find a full-size shipwreck that the model was based on, and it’s filled with gold. Glomgold and El Capitan try to steal the ship, only to destroy it as they fight with each other. The ship sinks, Glomgold loses, and El Capitan promises to return…
Humbug: This episode is filled with references to Uncle Scrooge’s many adventures in the past, firmly establishing him as a globe-trotting adventurer. We learn he’s an expert deep-sea diver and… a pilot? Even though we’re one episode away from a certain infamous pilot joining the show.
Junior Woodchucks: At one point, Scrooge believes he’s lost and is on the verge of giving up. The nephews give him a pep talk to get the treasure hunt back on track. This reaffirms my hypothesis that show isn’t about Scrooge’s wealth, but about his learning family is more important than his wealth.
Foul fowls: Glomgold is another character originating from the original Uncle Scrooge comics, although he’s been extensively re-designed for DuckTales. His deal is that he’s the second-richest duck in the world, and he’s obsessed with taking the top spot from Scrooge. This includes pulling a gun (!) on Scrooge during the finale.
Down in Duckberg: Scrooge tests an experimental underwater “sand-sucker” in his mansion’s swimming pool. We also get our first look at the mansion’s huge library.
Reference row: A lot of people believe El Capitan says the name “Squidward” in this episode, leading to conspiracy theories about how the character from Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants was created by Disney years earlier. Thanks to the DVD’s subtitles, however, we now know the actual line of dialogue is, “Swim out there.”
Thoughts upon this viewing: This high-adventure treasure-hunting stuff is what DuckTales is famous for. The tone is light overall, but there are nonetheless real stakes for the characters. When Scrooge and the nephews sail to freedom on board the newly rebuilt shipwreck, it’s a beautifully animated and genuinely exciting moment, a cut above most other TV cartoons of this time.
Next: Prepare for crash landing.
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