Rewatching DuckTales! “Too Much of a Gold Thing” is the fifth and final part of the Treasure of the Golden Suns miniseries, all of which served as the show’s pilot. The animators really put their best webbed feet forward on this one.
Here’s what happens: Now that they have both halves of the treasure Scrooge and company are headed straight for the treasure of the Golden Suns, followed closely by the mysterious El Capitan. Scrooge keeps acting more and more erratic, which we learn is a sickness called gold fever.
The treasure is a bunch of giant coins, as in several stories tall each, surrounding a valley with a gold city in the center. The valley is booby-trapped, but Scrooge is too crazy for gold to notice. As the traps activate, the heroes are captured by El Capitan. He says he’s been hunting the gold for 400 years. He and Scrooge fight over the gold, when the traps go off, sinking the whole city into an underground lake of boiling molten gold.
Mrs. Beakeley talks some sense into Scrooge, and everyone flees the city. Those giant golden suns then direct the sunlight into the city, melting the entire valley floor into the molten gold. As Launchpad flies in for the rescue, Scrooge’s airplane get covered with liquid gold, giving him a little treasure to take home. El Capitan stays behind, desperately hoping to dig the gold back up from deep beneath the Earth… in another 400 years.
Humbug: Gold fever is described as becoming so obsessed with gold that you “lose sight of what’s really important.” This goes along with my hypothesis that the show’s series-long arc is about Scrooge learning his new family is more important than his wealth.
Junior Woodchucks: Huey, Dewey, and Louie start get their own cases of gold fever as the episode goes along, showing a connection they’ve already made with their uncle.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad gets the subplot, about him fixing up the cargo plane after crashing it in a nearby river. He’s menaced by a snake and says “I hate snakes! No, wait, that’s someone else.” He also makes a joke about Scotty from Star Trek, so let’s all lose our minds about how Trek exists in the DuckTales universe.
Maid and maiden: Mrs. Beakeley again proves she is more adventurer than nanny. She has knowledge about gold fever and she’s able to translate hieroglyphics.
Foul fowls: After learning that El Capitan is 400 years old, the audience is left only to speculate on his backstory. It’s hinted that he was part of the original crew of the sunken ship from the second episode, but this is never confirmed.
Reference row: A lost city made of gold is one of those things that can be found in multiple cultures’ mythologies. I believe the idea was popularized for modern times by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and the City of Gold in 1933.
Thoughts upon this viewing: There’s nothing about who built the golden city or why, which remains a question mark over the episode. Other than that, though, this is the animators firing on all cylinders. Everything is big and cinematic, and they make the gold look all shiny and alluring. This is the episode to show someone who has never seen DuckTales before.
Next: Season of the witch.
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