Rewatching DuckTales! Episode four, “Cold Duck,” is a Webbigail-centric one. Had to happen eventually.
Here’s what happens: At the end of the previous episode, Scrooge took off on a raft, following an ocean current to the second half of the map of the treasure of the Golden Suns. Back in Duckberg, the three nephews plot mischief against their new nanny, Mrs. Beakley, and her granddaughter Webbigail. Webby worries that the nephews don’t like her. Launchpad McQuack arrives to get provisions for Scrooge, with the nephews, Webby and Mrs. Beakley accidentally (or not?) stowing away.
In Antarctica, Scrooge is missing. A walrus ran off with his tracking device, and Webby befriends a little penguin. The team investigates, exploring an ice cave. They find a lost civilization of intelligent penguins (!) who arrest Launchpad and the nephews. The penguins value anything of color, since they live in a world of black and white. It’s now up to Mrs. Beakley, Webby, and Webby’s penguin friend, named Skittles (!).
Beakley stages a jailbreak, while Webby and Skittles go for the treasure map. They are pursued by penguins in snowball-throwing ice tanks (!). The escape attempt also frees a giant prehistoric walrus. The heroes escape with a copy of the map – drawn by Webby – and leave Skittles behind with crayons, a colorful scarf, and a colorful parachute. (Does this make Skittles the penguins’ new leader? This question goes unanswered.)
Humbug: Inside Scrooge’s mansion, there’s a quick shot of a photo with Scrooge and two other ducks. The Disney Wiki has missed this detail, so I’m on my own. Could it possibly be Scrooge, Glomgold and Gladstone Gander (whom we’ll meet in future episodes) when they were younger, in happier times?
Junior Woodchucks: The nephews use a tuning fork for both their prank and their escape from jail. This tuning fork creates vibrations so powerful that it can knock down walls. Do we just accept this as cartoon logic, or is this some far-out tech developed by one of Scrooge’s businesses?
Fasten your seatbelts: There’s some real continuity problems with the one, as Launchpad is already friends with the nephews, Mrs. Beakley, and Webby. I suppose the previous episode must have had an unseen passage of time between Scrooge hiring McDuck and them leaving on their expedition, allowing Launchpad to get to know everyone.
Maid and maiden: Webby is loosely based on the original comics’ characters of April, May, and June, triplets who often squared off with Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Producers allegedly decided that two sets of triplets were too many characters, which led to Webby’s creation.
Mrs. Beakley was created specifically for DuckTales. If the Disney Wiki is to be believed, she’s given very little back story, and there is ZERO mention as to who Webby’s parents were.
Foul fowls: This week’s villain is the unnamed penguin mayor, who’s only the bad guy because he steals anything colorful from the heroes and then throws the heroes in jail. But then, Scrooge and company retaliate by trashing the mayor’s whole city, so who’s the real villain?
Down in Duckberg: The nephews have a different bedroom than they did in the first episode. Instead of their cool apartment-like attic bedroom, they’re now in a more normal-looking one, albeit with triple-decker bunk beds.
Reference row: Given that color vs. black and white is a theme of this episode, could the penguin Skittles be intentionally named after the famously colorful candy?
Thoughts upon this viewing: When watching a show with anthropomorphic animals, suspension of disbelief is required. But when the talking ducks are shocked at the existence of talking penguins, that’s a step too far. On the plus side, this episode is all about Mrs. Beakley and Webby earning their spots in the ensemble, showing they’ve got the adventuring/treasure-hunting chops.
Next: Gold! GOLD!
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