This DuckTales review contains spoilers.
DuckTales Episode 19
Trigger Warning for discussion of emotional abuse.
DuckTales has been a hilarious comedy from the jump and it’s even touched on little bits of drama throughout its first season. Here though we get a true blending of the two, with the main story all drama and the side story all comedy.
When DuckTales has touched on drama in the past, pretty much anything to do with the triplets finding out about their mom especially, it’s always been done with some jokes thrown in. It never gets too serious and they’ve always got one of those DuckTales quips ready.
Here though the Lena plot starts fairly serious but still has Webby being her over excited self. Then it takes a super intense turn. The moment they enter what we as the audience think is the real hiding place of Scrooge’s dime it becomes one of the scariest sequences done in a Disney series.
Magica takes control of Webby and turns her into a doll (one which looks like her 80’s counterpart). The staging of this scene is fantastic and calls to mind a similar sequence in the Aladdin movie when Jafar was using the Genie’s powers to manipulate Jasmine, Rajah, the Sultan, and Aladdin. It fills you with dread. Lena has no hope and the music, visuals, voice acting, and direction all sell it.
There’s no quips here. No one liners. No visual gags. It’s a deep exploration into the mind of Lena. Of course it’s all a nightmare but don’t use that to discount it. It shows us exactly what she thinks of herself. That she’s a monster.
It’s a painful reveal, especially since it can be heavily interpreted that the relationship between her and Magica is at least emotionally abusive. Magica is the cause of all this, from what we know, so Lena thinking SHE’S the monster here for being forced to betray Webby? It hurts.
But it all hints at a deeper story the show could follow. Is Lena responsible for all her actions? Sure, Magica is controlling her to an extent but she still could have said something before now. Is she at least partially to blame for everything that happened to Webby and her family?
As any victim of abuse can tell you (and for full context, I am one), these are the kinds of thoughts that regularly run through your head. That even if you aren’t at fault for what happened to you, you still wonder what the line is between blaming all your actions on your abuser and taking responsibility for them yourself.
It’s a tough road that I hope we get to see with Lena, although with Magica taking full control of her body and mind perhaps she won’t feel that weight of responsibility. I can’t wait to find out.
At the very least we got this exchange between Lena and Magica, showing that Lena has at least realized she isn’t the monster her nightmares portrayed her as.
“Family is supposed to help you, not hold you hostage.” – Lena“They’ll tell on you, call you a monster.” – Magica“You’re the monster here.” – Lena
Even if Lena isn’t in control now, at least she was able to stand up for herself. That gives us hope that she has the power to break through Magica’s control and maybe, someday, learn to deal with the abuse she’s suffered.
All of that is incredibly heavy stuff, especially in a comedy adventure series but thankfully DuckTales juxtaposes all that with a wacky Bigfoot plot. Louie’s frustration with the dude bro Bigfoot had me legit laughing out loud (which I normally never do when watching TV by myself).
It’s interesting to note what Louie found most annoying were all things he regularly does himself. It’s another great insight, demonstrating how the negative aspects we accept about ourselves? We often find them unacceptable in others. It’s a simple story but hilarious. Louie set up a fake charity? Scrooge’s acknowledgement Bigfoot made a delicious sandwich? Louie’s “totally REAL almanac”? Amazing.
Also, is the DuckTales animation just getting better as the series goes on? The fluidness of Magica’s shadow or even the lack of frustration on Louie’s face when he was looking for his PEP Select were killer. I can’t believe the things the series is about to pull this off on a TV budget. I’m sure Disney has given them a fairly solid budget but I still have to hand it to everyone on the animation team for taking it beyond anything on TV.
This show would not look out of place on a movie screen. It matches the biggest films in terms of visuals and emotional resonance.
DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better
– “I’m not yelling, I’m whispering harshly!”
– “I miss carnage!”
– “The fan club should start a blood oath!”
– “We thought we were saving him… but in a way he was saving us.”
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!