DuckTales rewatch – Money to Burn

Rewatching DuckTales! Now that we’ve met Gizmoduck, how will he fit in with the show on a regular basis? That’s the question in episode 75, “Money to Burn.” This is the fifth and final part of the “SuperDuckTales” five-parter than originally aired as a prime time made-for-TV movie on ABC.

After the Beagle Boys tricked Scrooge into moving his money bin, increasingly ridiculous misadventures ended with the bin and all of Scrooge’s money lost into the ocean. Scrooge has also hired a new accountant, Fenton Crackshell, who got hold of a high-tech suit of armor and has been helping (or trying to) as the superhero Gizmoduck. This episode begins with the water full of treasure hunters hoping to stake a claim on Scrooge’s fortune. This includes Ma Beagle on a boat, and Scrooge, Launchpad, and Gizmoduck in Scrooge’s personal submarine. Gizmoduck links with a satellite to find the money bin. The same satellite draws the attention of alien spacecraft. Back in the ocean, Scrooge’s sub is the first to find the money bin, only to get caught in Ma Beagle’s fishing nets. Then the alien ship descends, and it steals the bin.  

Cut to later, when Launchpad has acquired the U.S.S. Jumpstart, the cheapest spaceship he could find on short notice. Scrooge, Launchpad, and Gizmoduck follow the spaceship’s trail to an all-metal planet. It’s an all-robot planet, as we see in a message from the Master Electronic Leader, and that all non-robots must be destroyed. Gizmoduck learns that the robots plan to melt the bin so they can use the gold to make more robots.

Launchpad escapes back to the ship, while Scrooge and Gizmoduck are abducted by the robots and taken before the Master Electronic Leader, or “Mel” for short. When Gizmoduck tries standing up to him, Mel removes the Gizmoduck armor, revealing to Scrooge that Gizmoduck was Fenton all along. Mel has Scrooge and Fenton taken prisoner, with plans to turn them into axle grease (!). Fenton gets away and challenges Mel to a duel. It’s a counting contest, where Fenton’s skill at counting manages to outperform the giant computer. Mel short-circuits, and Fenton gets the Gizmoduck armor back, just in time to rescue Scrooge and Launchpad. Gizmoduck fights the robots to get the money bin back while Scrooge and Launchpad get the spaceship up and flying again. Then the robot planet explodes (!) apparently taking Gizmoduck and the money with it.

Scrooge and Launchpad then meet up with the alien ship from the beginning. It’s now piloted by Gizmoduck, who barely survived the battle and now has the money bin on board, safe and sound. Except there’s five minutes left in the episode, so we need a last-minute complication. Launchpad accidentally jettisons the money bin. Scrooge leaps into space to ride the money bin all the way back to Earth. The money bin lands on the exact spot it originally was, destroying the fraudulent freeway construction the Beagle Boys started. Further, the destroyed freeway flies through the air and lands on Ma Beagle’s cabin, destroying it.

Scrooge is knocked out in the crash, but gets his mojo back when reunited with his money. And Gizmoduck is no longer fired, as both he and Fenton are back on the job as Scrooge’s accountant and top security guard. With newfound confidence, Fenton then stands up to his domineering mother, and even gets a date with the lovely Dandra Dee.

Humbug: Scrooge is a rich jerk in this episode. He constantly bemoans the loss of his fortune, saying that he’d rather die than not have money. There’s no some-things-are-more-important-than-money moral anywhere near this one.

Junior woodchucks: Huey, Dewey, and Louie show up at the dig site for some exposition about the money bin coming in for a landing.

Fasten your seatbelts: There’s a joke that Launchpad’s ship, the Jumpstart, is the only spaceship with a clutch. This then becomes a plot point later, when popping the clutch is key to getting the ship up and flying again.

Pro-rata: The status quo as of this episode is that Scrooge and Fenton’s mother (whose name is just “M’ma”) are the only ones that know his secret identity.

Your move, creep: We see Gizmoduck unleash a lot his weapons at once, and it’s really something. There’s a bazooka, bow and arrow, baseball bat, a slingshot, and an ordinary handgun (!). There’s also a live skunk and a live lobster, further raising questions about how the armor works.  

Foul fowls: How is the goofy Fenton able to out-compute a supercomputer? Mel is shown acting crazy and erratic throughout the episode, so we can speculate that robot society has grown creaky and is falling apart by the time we meet it.

Reference row: Scrooge riding the money bin back to Earth is totally a reference to Slim Pickens riding the bomb at the climax of Dr. Strangelove.

Thoughts on this viewing: And so SuperDuckTales ends with an outer space bang. While a lot of the robot planet designs are fun, the meat of the episode is Fenton coming clean with Scrooge about his past mistakes and his secret as Gizmoduck. In the end, it’s Fenton and not his armor that saves the day.  

Next: The duck gods must be crazy.

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About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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