Reatching DuckTales! Season two begins with a multi-part episode debuting a new main character in episode 66, “Making Time.”
What’s all this, then? Season two of DuckTales was a mere ten episodes, telling two five-part stories. Both originally aired as a two-hour “movie,” and then later as five episodes. The first, which we’re dealing with today, aired in syndication under the name “Time is Money.”
Here’s what happens: After some tense negotiation, Scrooge buys one of Glomgold’s private islands for $20 million. Scrooge pays $10 million cash (!) and Glomgold gives him 24 hours to deliver the second $10 million. Scrooge tells his nephews that although the island might look worthless to the outside, it contains old caveman paintings, and more importantly, a diamond mine. Glomgold listens in on this via a spy camera. He hires the Beagle Boys to set off an explosion, separating the diamonds from the rest of the island.
Scrooge returns to Duckburg and asks Gyro Gearloose for help in reuniting the two islands. Gyro says it’s an impossibility. Gyro, meanwhile, tells Huey, Dewey, and Louie that he’s discovered a new element named Bombastium that has time-travel properties, and he’s gone ahead and invented a time machine. Scrooge wants to go back in time to stop the explosion, and Launchpad is recruited to fly the time machine. They arrive three days in the past, about to crash into a plane. Launchpad resets the time machine to avoid the crash, and they end up in dinosaur times.
Also in the dinosaur age, we meet a child caveman who uses his survival skills to outwit a pursuing T-rex. When he sees Scrooge emerge from the time machine, the caveman introduces himself as “Bubba” and worships Scrooge like a god. Scrooge wants to take advantage of being in the past by searching for the diamonds, but Bubba’s constant devotion of Scrooge gets in the way. That is until Louie deduces that Bubba’s cave home is the diamond mine. It’s also here that we meet Bubba’s pet triceratops, Tootsie. Scrooge leaves markers in the cave to stake a claim on diamonds in the future while also bringing home a valuable dinosaur skeleton, everyone discovers that the time machine is missing.
Bubba then reveals he has bloodhound-like tracking skills, and he picks up the scent of the time machine. The trail leads back to the T-rex, who is keeping the time machine in a nest, like a big egg. They defeat the T-rex by making it slip on banana peels (!). The boys want to bring Bubba to the present with them, but Scrooge says he belongs in his own time. There’s a sad goodbye, only for the T-rex to attack again. The nephews dump the dinosaur bones to chase off the T-rex, which also gives Bubba and Tootsie an opening to sneak on board the time machine. The time machine takes off again, to parts and time unknown.
Humbug: Scrooge just happens to be walking around with $10 million cash hidden inside his hat. Could stuff like this be setting up his need to hire an accountant in the near future?
Junior Woodchucks: The nephews have boom box and recordings of a shouty rock n’ roll DJ, which gives Bubba some taste of modern times. Bubba enjoys the rock and roll.
Fasten your seatbelts: The time machine has been built into helicopter form, so Launchpad is able to fly it.
Everybody walk the dinosaur: Welcome to the series, Bubba the Caveduck! You’d think there wouldn’t be much story potential in having a neanderthal join the main cast, but Bubba makes a good case for himself. He’s depicted as resourceful and quick-thinking, able to help out in a fight, while also being fun and friendly and fascinated by cool 20th century stuff.
Great gadgeteer: See if you can follow this. Gyro accidentally discovered the time-traveling Bombastium when trying to invent a new flavor of popsicle. This gives the episode a ticking clock, as the characters can only stay in the past so long as the time machine’s frozen popsicle fuel doesn’t melt.
Foul fowls: Glomgold doesn’t know his personal island has a diamond mine, but he does have the place outfitted with secret cameras? Whatever. The Beagle Boys in this episode are the classic trio of Burger, Big Time, and Bouncer.
Reference row: Although the titular vehicle in 1960’s The Time Machine wasn’t a helicopter, it nonetheless appears to be an inspiration for the one in this episode.
Thoughts on this viewing: For a go-back-in-time-and-meet-dinosaurs story, this one is surprisingly plot-heavy. But it does the job of telling us everything we need to know about our new hero. It’s also a good-looking episode. The second half of DuckTales is famously not as visually impressive as the first half due to changes in animators, but this one is a big step forward. I don’t know if the budget got increased or if everyone was simply inspired to put their best feet forward, but it shows.
Next: King me.
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