Rewatching DuckTales! Don’t lose your marbles as you watch episode 25, “Pearls of Wisdom.”
Here’s what happens: Modern-day pirate Sharky sets his sights on a giant pearl located on a small island peopled with primitive islanders, successfully stealing it. In Duckburg, Scrooge’s nephews and Webby are excited about a marbles tournament, while Sharky shows up in disguise to sell the pearl to Scrooge. Sharkey takes the money and runs, only to learn that the pearl is the magical Pearl of Wisdom, which grants great intelligence to its owner.
Webby wants to learn to play marbles with the nephews so of course she mistakes the Pearl of Wisdom for a marble. Scrooge learns that the Pearl must be returned to the island in order for the owner to receive infinite wisdom. He then discovers Webby switched the pearl for a marble, and she joins the nephews at the competition. There’s a lot of comedy shtick as Sharky swipes the pearl and leads Scrooge on a chase through Duckburg before escaping.
Now we’re out on the ocean as Scrooge pursues Sharky’s submarine in his shipping fleet’s flagship. Everybody reunites at the island, where Scrooge and Sharkey are fighting over the pe as the sun rises and they are both zapped by the pearl’s magic. Sharky realizes that stealing is wrong, and Scrooge realizes that pearl belongs on the island with the native islanders.
Humbug: My hypothesis of DuckTales is that the series long arc is about Scrooge learning his family and friends are more important than his money. This episode, sadly, goes against that. After achieving perfect wisdom and returning the treasure to the indigenous people, Scrooge then turns around and makes a business deal with them.
Junior Woodchucks: This is a real standout episode for Huey. He’s the one with the world championship-level marble skills, which he uses to deflect a torpedo away from Scrooge’s ship.
Maid and maiden: Webby is all about emulating the others. She mimics Scrooge after seeing him on a business call, and then she wants to learn to play marbles so she can hang out with the boys.
Foul fowls: Sharky is based on Disney go-to villain Pete, so much that the Disney Wiki alleges that this is Pete playing the role of Sharky. Sharky’s sidekick is Yardarm, who acts as a voice of reason to Sharky’s schemes.
Down in Duckburg: The Duckburg Explorers’ Club is back! Scrooge consults with Lord Battmountain, last seen in the episode “The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan,” about the treasure. If the club and its members are recurring characters, then why do they not have an entry in the Disney Wiki?!?
Reference row: There are a lot of conflicting stories on the internet about what is or isn’t the most valuable pearl in the world. The most likely candidate is Palawan Pearl of the Philippines, which is 26 inches long, 12 inches wide, weighing 75 pounds, and is valued at approximately $10 million.
Thoughts upon this viewing: A real substance-free episode, more interested in corny slapstick than any of the more interesting ideas present. Just because it’s a kids’ show, that doesn’t mean it has to be dumbed down.
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