Rewatching DuckTales! We’re time-traveling again in episode 52, “Duck to the Future.”
Here’s what happens: Scrooge gives his nephews business advice on running their lemonade stand, he ponders what will become of his business empire if they inherit it. Magica DeSpell is in town, and she poses as a fortune teller as a plot to send him into the distant future. With him gone, Magica hopes to steal Scrooge’s lucky dime.
Scrooge ends up in a Jetsons-style high tech shiny future, where everything is run by Magica-McDuck Enterprises. He sneaks into the business office to find that Huey, Dewey and Louie have become 80s-era jerk executives. They reveal that Scrooge disappeared in the past the same day Magica stole the lucky dime and somehow Scrooge’s fortune with it. Scrooge goes to an elderly Gyro Gearloose in hopes of using Gyro’s time tub to get back home. After a chase through the city, the robot police arrest Scrooge.
In jail, Scrooge is visited by adult Webby and Doofus, who are married (!). They bail him out of jail and then it’s off to Magica’s castle, where Magica reveals she’s been waiting for Scrooge to reemerge in her present. She locks up Scrooge, Webby, and Doofus in her dungeon. Doogus sends a message to old man Launchpad for a rescue. Then it’s a lot running around and chases in and around the castle in an attempt to steal Magica’s time-traveling hourglass and get back to the past. Magica reveals to the nephews that she’s why Scrooge disappeared so long ago, and they turn on her, helping Scrooge. Then there’s another chase through various timelines, as Scrooge and Magica travel to Ancient Rome, medieval times, and the Old West. To keep them from being lost in time, Magica agrees to hand over the time so Scrooge can get them both home.
Humbug: Is Scrooge a rich jerk? He begins this episode by encouraging the nephews to use smarter business practices, and ends it with him telling them not to cheat and overcharge their customers. The moral is… unclear.
Junior Woodchucks: This is the first we’ve heard of Scrooge planning to leave his fortune to the three nephews once he dies. Are we to assume this is a recent development, based on the adventures they’ve shared since they came to live with him?
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad is a befuddled teacher in the future, and a chance to be a hero again gets him out of his doldrums.
Maid and maiden: Scrooge compares grown-up Webby to Cinderella, a possible throwback to previous episode “Scroogerello” when they bonded over Cinderella’s story.
Great gadgeteer: Continuity! Gyro’s time tub from “Sir Gyro De Gearloose” makes a return, and this time it can fly around as well as travel through time.
Do the doo: At the kids’ lemonade stand, Doofus makes the lemonade by crushing lemons in a big tub, as if crushing grapes for wine. Disgusting.
Foul fowls: We’ll just have to suspend our disbelief that Scrooge is so easily fooled by Magica’s fortune teller disguise, or the fact that Scrooge would go to a fortune teller at all.
Down in Duckburg: The opening shot of the episode shows Scrooge’s mansion and the money bin being on opposite sides of town, and not next to each other as seen in previous episodes. Maybe it’s just the angle of the shot.
Reference row: The title and the time travel theme would seem to evoke Back to the Future, but this episode is really a stealth remake of The Wizard of Oz, with several shots and character designs taken straight from the classic film.
Thoughts upon this viewing: Not much of a story to this one, just an excuse for a lot of running around and Wizard of Oz jokes. I’m left with the thought that so much more could have been done with this idea.
Next: The original Jungle Cruise.
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