Rewatching DuckTales! We’re going Down Under in episode 44, “Back Out in the Outback,” for cute animals and… UFOs?
Here’s what happens: There are strange occurrences in Australia, where strange lights appear at night, shearing and abducting sheep on land owned by Scrooge. Scrooge and the family head to the Outback to investigate. Webby is along for the ride, as she’s interested in seeing Australian animals.
Launchpad’s airplane is attacked by the strange lights and crashes. She chases a kangaroo off into the wilderness, and Huey, Dewey and Louie look for her. All alone, Webby befriends kangaroos, koalas, and more. They help her survive the wilderness. Scrooge leads the rescue mission, only to be attacked by the strange lights again.
In the morning, the nephews find a remote-control boomerang, which can spin so fast at night that they look like little UFOs. Elsewhere, Webby and her animal friends rescue a warthog fallen down a well, only to find the well full of precious opals. Scrooge also finds the opal wells, and he’s attacked again. Launchpad and the nephews fight the remote-control boomerangs with boomerangs of their own. Webby discovers that Duke, one of the ranch employees, is the culprit. She chases him off with her animal pals. She’s the hero, telling Scrooge that she defeated Duke thanks to teamwork.
Humbug: We’re told it’s been 12 years (!) since Scrooge has visited his Australian ranch in person. He is nonetheless buddies with the other ranch hand, Sundowner. Scrooge promotes Sundowner to manager at the end of the episode.
Junior Woodchucks: Huey, Dewey, and Louie act as Launchpad’s crew in this one, helping repair Launchpad’s plane after he crashes it.
Maid and maiden: Webby’s superpower continues to be her ability to befriend the local animals in any situation. She uses her doll to store jellybeans, which she feeds to the animals to gain their loyalty.
Foul fowls: Duke says he’s out to get Scrooge because he’s sick of Scrooge profiting off of employees’ sweat and hard work. The episode gives no counterargument to this.
Reference row: All the Australia references are as basic as it gets. More interesting is that the writers include a variation of the UFO cattle mutilation phenomenon, stories of which often occur in farms in Australia. In the US in 1979, the FBI opened an official investigation into cattle mutilations, concluding a year later that the cause was “common predators.”
Thoughts upon this viewing: This is meant to be a cute animal episode for the very youngest viewers, but the weird UFO plot is what stands out to me. So even though it’s a low-substance episode, there’s a lot to like in it.
Next: Don’t you harp on me.
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