This DUCKTALES review contains spoilers.
Family is a core part of DuckTales. It always has been and always will be. That subject can go a lot of different ways. Some people adore their family, some people hate them. DuckTales has given us several different views of different families but generally it skews to family being a good thing, however you find it. The McDuck family in particular, for all its flaws, usually comes out pretty warm and fuzzy at the end of the day. The goal at the start of the show was bringing the family together so that’s understandable.
‘The Fight for Castle McDuck’ however gives us a more negative look at the shows favorite family and I really appreciate it. Sure we aren’t learning any horrific family secrets but just seeing the whole family break down into petty squabbles was arguably necessary to keep the show grounded in some kind of reality. They aren’t perfect and getting several of family members together brings out the worst side in them, especially Scrooge.
I loved seeing him bounce of Matilda, another fantastic addition to this show. For all of his accomplishments Matilda is easily able to get under his skin, prodding him about his wealth and not being at home to take care of their parents. Their interplay back and forth is both funny and relatable and if the whole episode was just filled with this kind of bickering it’d be a fine outing.
Webby’s reactions to it though are what make this story all the more appealing. While it’s easy to forget after three years of her being one of them, Webby grew up as a fan of this family. She had an idolized version of what they’d be and to see them act well, human, is tough for her. She thinks that because they’re arguing now they’ll never stop.
But that’s just what family is. As Scrooge points out at the end of the episode, sometimes families fight. It wasn’t solely Webby’s fault that this happened; family just isn’t always fun happy times. I’m so happy DuckTales is acknowledging the flaws families can have. They don’t have to be giant, like Lena and Magica’s issues, they can be simple ones like Scrooge and Matilda’s parents taking sides or even Huey and Louie arguing. It’s okay these things happen and honestly are necessary.
As Scrooge also points out, the mark of a great family is one who can work through these petty differences and become stronger because of them. You need to be able to air your problem out loud and work through them or, as we saw in the episode, things will get worse.
Along with this fantastic A story (which easily continued the season’s theme of legacy) there was a lot of other great elements at work here. The B plot with Huey and Louie going after the bag pipes was solid, with my favorite bit being Downy just casually showing them where the bagpipes were. I adored the more comedic side to Phantom Blot, especially with Pepper at his side. Pepper’s motor mouth was the perfect compliment to Blot’s more sinster machinations and, as I feel like I say about 95% of DuckTales characters, we need more of her.
For all the hardcore fans out there it was also a blast to learn so much about the McDuck history and of course you can’t go wrong with Michelle Gomez as Matilda. While it was glorious stunt casting to have her and Tennant together (a former Master and Doctor respectively from Doctor Who) Gomez was a delight all her own. Just with her voice alone she was a match for Scrooge from the second we first heard her.
Also, how fantastic is it we got an episode dealing with family squabbling right before Thanksgiving? Could this be better timing? DuckTales does it again.
DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better
“Why are they saying mean things in a nice way?”
“Scroogey, flip this over this table you bought me for emphasis.”