DuckTales Season 2 Episode 17 Review: What Ever Happened to Donald Duck?!

After this DuckTales episode we dig deep into Donald Duck's character and our newfound love for him.

This DuckTales review contains spoilers.

DuckTales Season 2 Episode 17

Sometimes all it takes is one scene to make it all click into place. There were some great bits all throughout this episode but it wasn’t anything that stood out, at least for DuckTales. Dewey and Webby trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Donald was cute and Donald getting into zany situations was fun.  But then… the reveal of Donald’s anger management counselor.

First off, just knowing Donald went to a counselor is a great little bit of character building. It demonstrates that Donald’s anger isn’t just being used for laughs. It’s a serious flaw he realizes he has and is actively working on. That alone enriches Donald, plus it normalizes the idea of therapy. The kids don’t laugh about this and even Scrooge, always down for getting a good back handed comment in at Donald, treats it seriously.

I have no doubt DuckTales will continue to use Donald’s anger to great effect but now it has meaning. The question asked by the title of the episode, “What Ever Happened to Donald Duck?!” isn’t just about where he’s been. It’s also… what happened to him in the past? What made him like this?

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The source of Donald’s anger is the fear the world is out to get him and that no one understands him. That’s… huge. Something big to deep into. Obviously it’s drawn from the characters long history in comics but it also works brilliantly with what we’ve seen in this new DuckTales series so far. Everything seems to go wrong for Donald. After getting into one zany (and deadly) situation after the other, you might get jaded to the world to. While some would internalize this, Donald lets it all out. He screams and swings furiously at anything and everything.

Yet no one can understand him. This could be taken literally; after all he is nearly impossible to understand at the best of times. On the other hand, maybe Donald feels like no one else understands his anger. No one else is unlucky like him, how could they possibly know? It’s no wonder Donald was living on a boat by himself, when the world is seemingly out to get you and no one understands you anger about it, of course you’d isolate yourself.

Then DuckTales takes it another step forward and dives deeper into Donald’s history (all while he’s fighting Lunaris, to keep it from feeling too exposition-y.) When Donald learned about the boys being born  he wanted to be the best family member he could… so he channeled all his anger somewhere new. It sounds silly when you write it out, but every outburst became about protecting his family. His anger became focused on anything that kept him from being a good uncle.

Donald realized his flaws and was able to channel them into something more positive. It isn’t a perfect solution by any means but he’s doing his best. Instead of being angry at the world he’s angry with anyone who might hurt his family.

I think I… love Donald Duck now??? Donald’s been great in this show up until now but this episode? Man, what a guy! Not only has he sacrificed everything to help the boys but he turned his whole life around because of them! He went to therapy for them!  This is a character that realized a serious flaw in his personality and is actively doing something about it. I have nothing but respect for you, sir.

A scene like this recontextualizes everything that’s come before with Donald. I have no doubt if I revisited past Donald scenes I could trace all of his anger to what we learned in this episode. DuckTales continues to play the long game! This is a solid reveal and demonstrates how much thought and care have been put into this cast since the beginning. I don’t just have respect for Donald now, I’ve got even more respect for the DuckTales crew.

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Plus we’ve got more set up for the moon people getting ready to attack the Earth. The way Lunaris is stoking fear against the Earth with misinformation feels intentionally close to what’s going on in our own world and I can’t wait to see how DuckTales tackles this. The series has handled these kinds of topics with razor sharp commentary and I know this won’t disappoint.

DuckTales is back and we are all the better for it.

DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better

– “Now that Della’s back we’re hungry for a new ethically complex multipart family mystery to solve!”

– “I’ll take that neck spasm as an Earth yes.”

Keep us with all our DuckTales season 2 news and reviews here!

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


3.5 out of 5