Rewatching DuckTales! Things are getting creepy in episode 59, “Nothing to Fear.”
Here’s what happens: During a freak rainstorm, Huey, Dewey, and Louie play a video game instead of doing their homework. Characters from the game Ducks of the Galaxy come to life and trash the mansion. Similarly, Duckworth the butler is working on Scrooge’s limo in the garage, only for the limo to turn into a giant panther and attack Duckworth. Doofus shows up at the mansion, and is terrorized when the banana he was about to eat comes to life and chases after him.
Scrooge shows up and demands to know why everyone is acting so strangely. He can find no evidence of everyone’s outrageous stories. He believes everyone is imagining things, until monstrous bill collectors appear to menace him. Then we get the big reveal: Magica Dispell has cast a spell over the mansion, causing everyone’s greatest fears to come true.
Everyone has more visions of their fears. Doofus is attacked by a bully, and the nephews by a demonic version of their teacher. Everyone travels from the mansion to Scrooge’s money vault, with the rain cloud following them, only for Scrooge to find the vault empty of money. The nightmare characters pursue everyone around back to the mansion. Then things get really dark as the boys have a nightmare vision of Scrooge, who says he never wanted them there and threatens to kick them out of the house. Scrooge then has a similar vision, where the nephews are little hoodlums who are only there for his money.
The real Scrooge and the real nephews meet outside the house and compare notes. They forgive each other, and Scrooge deduces that someone is making them see things that aren’t there, and that only Magica could do such a thing. Magica appears, and says she’ll undo the spell in exchange for Scrooge’s lucky Number One Dime. Scrooge refuses, and tells the boys it’s time to face their fears. The fight off the monsters, and the spell backfires on Magica. She runs off, and the rainstorm is replaced by a pretty rainbow.
Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is Scrooge learning that his newfound family is more important than his money. In this episode, he fears the nephews are out to get him for his money, and he’s relieved to learn that’s not the case. I guess it’s a mixed message.
Junior Woodchucks: The covers of Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s school books are color-coded to match their shirts.
In the Navy: Huey, Dewey, and Louie have a framed photo of their uncle Donald on their dresser.
Do the doo: Every joke and line of dialogue featuring Doofus is about how he’s fat and he loves food. Is this the best the show’s writers could do?
Duck in Duckburg: This is another episode where the Money Bin is located across town from the mansion, instead of right next door. Are there two Money Bins?!?
Foul fowls: When Magica’s spell backfires, her greatest fear is… her spells backfiring! Talk about meta. Meanwhile, Doofus’ bully is named Bully Beagle, suggesting he’s related to the Beagle Boys.
Reference row: Making characters live out their greatest fears is a well-worn fantasy trope, but I’m unclear on what origin it might have. Instead, let’s go with Dani Moonstar from the New Mutants.
Thoughts upon this viewing: A surprisingly great episode. What begins as a haunted house parody ends up getting to the heart of Scrooge and his nephews and they see (or potentially see) each other.
Next: The duck-ality of man.
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