Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Six: "Magica's Shadow War"

Tell ya one thing: this definitely has the most hardcore title we've seen thus far, by some margin.

We learn that Ratface's new name is "Poe," which would be more apropos if we hadn't learned in "Send in the Clones" that he's not a raven by birth, but rather Magica's transformed brother. Unless the writers have forgotten about that detail. Who knows.

In this episode, Magica uses a spell to give her shadow independent agency in order to do some dime-napping (her motivations for wanting the dime remain hopelessly vague). But the shadow rebels, and we get our second "gotta work with your enemy" episode in a row. I am not going to spend any time speculating about how exactly these shadow-things work--is there supposed to be a realm of shadow-people under our feet? Or what?--because that would be putting way more thought into it than I'm sure the writers did. Nor will I note that the episode appears to contradict itself, establishing that the shadows can only interact with other shadows after just having shown the shadow picking up some dude's wallet (I guess you could argue that wallet and shadow were close enough so as to make no difference, but I think it's just carelessness--the shadow isn't supposed to even know at first that it can't interact with "real" things). Okay, too late.

Be that as it may, the evil shadow is quite effectively creepy, and there's a bit where HDL scare it off with shadow-puppets that's pretty clever. On the other hand, I found the resolution, in which Magica needs Scrooge's dime to stop the evil shadows, pretty unsatisfying, as it feels very forced--there's not even a perfunctory effort at explaining why she would need the dime; it's clearly just a convenient way to make Scrooge feel conflicted. And that annoys me. Overall, I guess it was an okay episode; coulda been great if they'd taken a little more time to think about the mechanics and logistics of the situation.

Stray Observations

-Cute evil dance that Magica does at the beginning.

-After that, HDL receive from Gyro a gift, "a new kind of instant camera he invented." This is another dead-end-y plot point: it's not at all clear what's "new" about it (except that it inexplicably "bleaches" one of Scrooge's bills), and then it disappears until the end when it's used to take care of the evil shadow for good and all. More sloppiness.

-Customs officer to Magica: "Lizard tails, bat shrieks, pickled worms--no fruit! All seems to be in order!"

-"I am not through yet! I will have my revenge! When I catch my shadow, I will do hundreds of jumping jacks and she will be exhausted! Then, I won't go anywhere fun for a week, and she will be bored!" One has to wonder what kind of places Magica considers "fun."

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