Rewatching DuckTales! The five-part “Time is Money” tale comes to an explosive finale in episode 70, “Ali Bubba’s Cave.”
Here’s what happens: Picking up from after the last episode, Scrooge is on the run after the Beagle Boys took over his money bin and framed him, and he owes Glomgold $10 million for a diamond mine land deal. Also, he sent Bubba the cave duck back home to prehistoric times. Arriving at his newly-bought island, Scrooge finds Glomgold built a wall around the diamond mine. Glomgold and the Beagle Bous are on the other side, mocking Scrooge, Launchpad and the nephews. Scrooge and company return to their plane, which causes a cave-in, which sends them underground. They’re in caves that might connect to the mine.
Back in dinosaur times, Bubba and his pet triceratops Tootsie return to their time. Bubba misses Scrooge and his new family. He accidentally fires up the time machine, and goes on a romp through various time periods. In the present, Scrooge and the boys explore the underground caves, fighting off giant monsters who happen to live down there. Bubba uses a drawing to tell the time machine’s A.I. (in the form of a weird eyeball robot) where to find Scrooge. He arrives just in time to save everyone from the monster.
Bubba leads everyone to the diamond mine, where Glomgold and the Beagle Boys are waiting. They try burying Scrooge underground with a giant boulder, but Scrooge uses a natural steam vent to break free. Scrooge gets a huge diamond into Glomgold’s hands to pay for the land, but he’s too late. He missed the deadline, and now Glomgold owns the land, diamond mine and all. All Scrooge gets is the useless island off to the side. Then the natural steam vent blows a second time, blasting all the diamonds off Glomgold’s land and onto Scrooge’s island. Scrooge then has a recreation of Bubba’s cave built behind the mansion, so Bubba is here to stay.
Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money. This one ends when Scrooge gets the diamonds, but then we’re told he spent “a fortune” on creating a new home for Bubba.
Junior Woodchucks: The boys’ Junior Woodchuck guidebook reaches new heights of convenience by somehow knowing these specific underground caves are home to giant monsters.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad’s subplot in this episode is him bringing the plane in for a safe landing instead of crashing it. He wonders what went wrong, only for the plane to end up in the caves, giving him an opportunity to crash it through a wall to help everyone.
Everybody walk the dinosaur: Bubba shows a lot of problem-solving smarts in figuring out how the time machine works. His new home is located on the mansion grounds but not inside the mansion, which is a convenient way-out for all the upcoming episodes that he won’t be in. Where’s Bubba? In his cave.
Foul fowls: The Beagle Boys leave Glomgold behind at the end of the episode, suggesting they won’t be in cahoots anymore. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Reference row: The title refers to Ali Baba, a folk hero who to stole from the 40 thieves by snaking into their hideout with the phrase “Open Sesame.” None of that is in this episode, thought. It’s just a pun.
Thoughts on this viewing: The ongoing plot of the past five episodes wraps up simplistically, but that’s the type of show this is. Even though our new hero Bubba will appear in some upcoming episodes, this five-parter was his moment in the spotlight. His presence challenges Scrooge to dig deep and develop new levels of forgiveness and understanding. And he smashes stuff real good.
Next: DuckTales, as told by William Gibson.
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