This DUCKTALES review contains spoilers.
Launchpad has mostly been the butt of jokes in DuckTales. Sure, the guy has gotten time to shine in the past (especially in the Darkwing Duck episodes) but compared to the other main characters Launchpad is often left on the sidelines. Here though he takes center stage and while we don’t get much insight into the guy it’s mostly made up for in spectacle.
The bulk of the episode is given over to an elaborate James Bond spoof with an updated version of Steelbeak from the original Darkwing Duck. The great twist is that throughout the episode Launchpad and Dewey think they’re simply playing an AR game at Funso’s Fun Zone (where fun is in the zone.) Even when Steelbeak captures the two, Dewey thinks it’s all still a game. Launchpad however gets blasted with an intelligence enhancement ray and gets to play the cool suave spy. He even saves Dewey after a thrilling boat chase!
The spectacle of the episode was fun but I wish more had been done for Launchpad’s character development. At the start we see Launchpad taking the spy game very seriously because he wants to impress Dewey. That thread is mostly abandoned and is only brought up at the end when Suave!Launchpad reveals that all he wants is to be good enough for Dewey. It’s a great revelation and says a lot about Launchpad but it’s just thrown out there without feeling ingrained into the plot itself. I wish we had seen more of Launchpad’s desperation at trying to win the game but instead the episode is mostly focused on the spectacle of the Bond spoof.
That isn’t a bad thing, when DuckTales want to it can go big with its action scenes. It’s just that we got a little taste of something deeper with Launchpad and I wanted more of it. As is that end of episode revelation does give us a little to chew on when it comes to Launchpad. He may not realize how dumb he is but he does take his friendships very seriously and worries that he can’t quite measure up. It gives this mostly comedic character some welcome depth and I hope we’ll get to see more of it as the season goes on. Is Suave!Launchpad still inside our Launchpad somewhere? Will he emerge to fight F.O.W.L.?
Steelbeak was a fun addition to DuckTales’ rogue’s gallery, especially his continual anger at being called stupid. What is this guy’s deal? It seems he’s aware that he isn’t as smart as everyone else so he overcompensates by being loud, barreling ahead without thinking, and making fun of everyone around him. That’s some great color for the character and makes him more than just a reference to the Disney Afternoon past.
The same can’t be said for the Rescue Rangers. Gadget’s short appearance during Black Heron’s exposition about the ray was a nice wink to the old series but the two appearances of the full Rescue Rangers team felt forced. I guess it was supposed to be a gag that a whole team of small animals had been turned smart but it fell flat. I have no doubt this is set up for the future but in comparison to how the series first set up Darkwing Duck, this didn’t measure up.
The B plot following Scrooge and Webby was delightful diversion. Scrooge still needs to work on his greed, even when it comes to arcade tickets. The way he got completely engrossed and Webby had to keep in check was wonderful. The fact he only ended up with a comb was perfectly true to how these arcades work.
It wasn’t a deep plot or anything but not all of them need to be, sometimes it’s fun to just fun with these characters and I suspect that holds true for the A story as well. Sure this could have been a deeper exploration of Launchpad but as is, it’s still a great watch.
DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better
-“Heh heh heh, Rats are dumb right?”
-“I did it! I’m the richest duck in the arcade!”