DuckTales Episode 21 Review: The Secret(s) of Castle McDuck!

We examine the power of secrets and how they drive wedges between family in a thought provoking DuckTales.

This DuckTales review contains spoilers.

DuckTales Episode 21

Secrets. They often seem like they won’t hurt anyone. We keep people from harm; stop them from learning something they shouldn’t. By doing that we end up not only hurting the people we’re trying to protect but also their trust in us. We also hurt ourselves by carrying a weight alone that could have been shared by others. It seems noble on the surface but deep down it pushes others away. Double this in families, where secrets can quite literally hit home.

All of this is shown in the incredible confrontation between Huey, Dewey, and Louie when it’s discovered Dewey’s been keeping secret what he’s learned about their mom. For Huey it’s rage. How dare Dewey not tell them about this? He accuses Dewey of not even feeling truly sorry, just “you’re only sorry cause you got caught!”

It’s an understandable reaction. He sees the worst in Dewey at that moment, lashing out at with everything he probably thinks sometimes but doesn’t say. Dewey’s secrets have Huey unleash all the bad thoughts he has about his brother and you can see the hurt in both their eyes.

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Louie’s reaction however really nails the pain and hurt of Dewey’s secret. He just quietly says, “you kept a secret about mom? That is not okay.” It’s not rage but sadness. That Dewey wouldn’t share something so important crushes Louie. Gone are his sarcastic quips and we see the Louie who, like his brothers, just wants to feel some connection to his mother. 

All of this is accomplished in a scene that lasts just over a minute. Obviously some of this works because of the build up in previous episodes but it’s still an incredible accomplishment. The writing is damn good but perhaps even more incredible is the animation. Dewey desperately trying to explain why he kept the secret is effortlessly fluid and expresses so much about what’s going on deep inside him. 

Dewey has probably been building up excuses in his head for months now, just in case this happened. Now he finally has to use them and they aren’t coming out right. He jumps from excuse to excuse but no one is buying it. This sequence is incredible and once again raises the bar for the DuckTales animation team. Everyone who was involved in the creation of this scene, from the writing to the board artists to the animators? My hats off to you. It’s a series best.

DuckTales is so good with these strong moments that really bring home exactly what the episode is about. It perfectly ties into the Scrooge and Fergus plot and the secrets they kept. Like Dewey, Fergus never told Scrooge about the dime and this drove a wedge between them. Scrooge also refused to tell Fergus why he was really there and this again, caused conflict.

The McDuck family is filled with secrets and only now, as the secrets become revealed, can they all finally start to grow closer. Fergus thought his secret would help Scrooge and it did… but also caused pain throughout the family.

It’s telling that the only character not burdened and genuinely happy within the main family is Downey. I’m sure we’ll see more of her in the future but she’s just having a delightful time and the reason for that? No secrets. Same for Launchpad, who also does a perfectly imperfect impression of Donald. Great little detail that Fergus’ blowup also mirrors Donald’s frequent bursts of rage. 

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DuckTales not only tells a fantastic moral tale about the power of secrets and how they hurt us but also shows that bringing them out into the open can heal us. Especially in families where the secrets can cut very deep. It may take some time, but once the secrets are out we’re all the better for it.

DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better 

– “Your parents are alive?!”“I can’t believe YOU’RE still alive!”

– “She’s having a joy overload!”

– “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Quack.”

– “You avoid us like the plague.”“Oh come on now, that’s unfair to the plague!”

– “Eh, greed beats fear every time.”

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Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!  


4 out of 5