Rewatching DuckTales! There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on as we deal with earthquakes, mine cart chases, and weird blob monsters in episode 29, “Earth Quack.”
Here’s what happens: After a series of mysterious earthquakes around the globe, Gyro discovers a huge Faultline right under Scrooge’s money bin. Gyro’s solution is a giant underground shock absorber. Work begins on the project, but workers fear the underground tunnels are haunted. Scrooge investigates, riding a mine cart deep down into some undiscovered caves.
Lost in a massive underground world, Scrooge comes across spherical creatures called Terra-Firmians. Their rolling and bouncing around is what’s calling the earthquakes. Huey, Dewey, and Louie follow Scrooge’s path into the tunnels, befriending a young Terra-Firmian boy who wants to compete in the “great games.” Scrooge also makes his way to the great games, which threaten a massive earthquake.
Scrooge tries to stop the games, only to get locked up. The nephews rescue him. Scrooge plots to stop the games by stealing the Crack Pot trophy that the Terra-Firmians are competing for. The nephews’ new friend tries to stop them, only to accidentally roll down a hill and into the games, where he gets a perfect score. Then Scrooge uses the mine cart to steal the trophy, and the Terra-Firmians pursue in a crazy chase. Scrooge escapes, leaving his hat behind. The Terra-Firmians decide the hat will be the new trophy.
The Terra-Firmians start another earthquake with their games, opening a fissure underneath Scrooge’s money bin. Scrooge’s whole fortune falls underground. The Terra-Firmians have no need for money, so they send it all back to the surface. The Terra-Firmians then just up and leave, saying the next great games will take place beneath California.
Humbug: My thesis about DuckTales is that the series-long arc is about Scrooge learning his family is more important than his money. I don’t think that applies to this episode. The others say “We still have each other” to Scrooge when he thinks his fortune is gone, but he only responds with a weak smile.
Junior Woodchucks: The kid that befriends Huey, Dewey and Louie has no name other than “kid.”
Maid and maiden: When Scrooge and the boys return to the surface, we see Mrs. Beakley and Webby preparing a rescue mission to go find him.
Best brains: Rather than tinker away alone in his lab, Gyro has a whole team of guys working for him in this episode.
Fowl fouls: The Terra-Firmian king isn’t exactly villainous, and apparently has no idea the damage his games are having on the surface world. It’s likely he doesn’t even know there is a surface world.
Down in Duckburg: The episode begins with a dream Scrooge is having, where he’s nearly drowned in a tidal wave of his own money, and then confronted by giant Beagle Boys. That says a lot about his psyche right there.
Reference row: I just know there’s some folklore and/or an old children’s film about earthquakes being caused by creatures bowling underground, but Google is NO help on this one. Instead, I’ll just go with this:
Thoughts upon this viewing: I suspect every DuckTales episode about finding a lost civilization is written from one template, with tweaks added in here and there. There’s no ending to this one, as the underground creatures just leave on their own, without the heroes enacting any change. On the plus side, it’s terrifically animated, with the mine chase being thrilling and the creatures in the spherical forms feeling truly alien.
\Next: It’s Greek to me.
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