Rewatching DuckTales! Time to get our classical literature freak on again in episode 56, “Duck in the Iron Mask.”
We begin at a softball game, where Dewey is up to bat, frustrated that the cheering audience thinks he’s Huey. (“I’m the one in blue-y!” he says.) He’s frustrated with everyone not knowing which triplet is which. He’s also enamored with a girl in the crowd named Becky Waddle, only to learn she doesn’t know which brother he is as well. Back at the mansion, Scrooge and Launchpad are investigating a country so small that it doesn’t appear on any maps, the tiny kingdom of Montedumas, run by old friend of Scrooge’s Count Roy. The two of them had many shwashbuckling adventures in their younger days. Scrooge wants to visit his old pal to make a business deal.
As everyone prepares for the trip, Dewey shows up with a whole new look. He hopes his outrageous clothes will stop everyone from mistaking him for his brothers. Upon arriving in Montedumas, Scrooge discovers the people are living in an oppressive regime that taxes them mercilessly. He demands an audience with Count Roy, who acts as though he has never met Scrooge. For not paying the local taxes, Scrooge and Launchpad are locked up in a tower, while the nephews are locked up in a separate cell.
Inside jail, Scrooge and Launcpad meet the Duck in the Iron Mask, the country’s most feared criminal. Turns out Iron Mask is the real heir, and one on the throne is his evil twin brother. In the other cell, Dewey comes up with an escape plan, but one that requires the three boys to look alike. Using some conveniently-placed mirrors, Dewey tricks the guards into all three boys are in the cell, while Huey and Louie sneak out a chimeny.
Donning musketeer outfits, Huey and Louie help Scrooge, Launchpad, and Iron Mask escape from the tower. They rescue Dewey, and the whole group confronts the fake Count Roy and his guards. After much slapstick swordfighting, our heroes win the day. Count Roy yields, and Iron Mask retakes the kingdom as the Count of Montedumas. He provides Scrooge with a generous financial reward in hopes that Scrooge will invest it wisely. Huey and Louie praise Dewey for his ingenious escape plan, telling him, “You’re one of a kind.”
Humbug: The flashback to Scrooge’s younger days shows him during a time when fun and adventure were more important to him than his vast wealth.
Junior Woodchucks: In addition to his being fed up with being an identical triplet, Dewey is also portrayed as the smart one of three nephews, an expert in coming up with escape plans. The other two also have their own personalities this time. Louie is the heroic leader type, while Louie is the laid-back wisecracker.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad’s helicopter has “L-11” painted on the side. I’m assuming that the “L” stands for Launchpad. A big dollar sign on the front of the helicopter, however, suggests that the copter is owned by Scrooge.
Foul fowls: Count Roy is a generic villain, overtaxing his people to make himself rich. More interesting his enforcer Pietro, played by go-to Disney villain Pete. This is Pete’s fourth appearance in DuckTales. Either there’s a whole family of Petes in this universe, or Pete is some master of disguise type.
Down in Duckburg: According to the Disney wiki, this is the only appearance of Becky Waddle, the girl with a crush on Huey (or maybe Dewey). It’s left to the imagination how this romance might have played out.
Reference row: Contrary to popular belief, author Alexandre Dumas never wrote a novel called Man in the Iron Mask. Rather, he wrote that story as the third part of his novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne, which itself was the third part of his Three Musketeers trilogy. Or, The Romances of D’Artagnan, if we’re being truly accurate. This episode is all about both the Man in the Iron Mask and the Three Musketeers overall.
Thoughts upon this viewing: It’s not often that that the show gives the three nephews distinct personalities, let alone an episode that emphasizes this. That alone makes this one a standout. All the Three Musketeers stuff is also a lot of fun. I would have liked the final swordfight to be more action-y and less jokey, but that’s DuckTales for you.
Next: “Jack!” “Rose!” “Jack!” “Rose!” “Jack!” “Rose!”
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