Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Forty: "Raiders of the Lost Harp"

In an opening scene that parodies the opening of The Exorcist, workers uncover the entrance to the ruins of Troy; there, Scrooge and HDL find a whole bunch of treasure, the pi├Ęce de resistance being a magic harp that tells when people are lying, which is in a casket held by a giant minotaur statue. They take it and go. Magica (making her first appearance in a while) finds out about it and is filled with harp-lust; meanwhile, the statue comes to life and plods across the ocean to recover the stolen harp.

This is a pretty classy episode, I've gotta tell you. It's packed full of incident--maybe slightly too much so; I can easily see this working as a two-part episode--and the character's reactions to the harp are well-done. It had a decidedly Barksian feel, and the implacability of the statue is genuinely frightening. Magica has never been better, either; she's not interested in the dime here, but that's canonically acceptable, if you recall "Isle of the Golden Geese," and she makes a variety of neat transformations as she pursues the harp. She also has a cool goblin chauffeur and a sweet raven-monster-thing helicopter.

There is one thing that doesn't make sense: Scrooge locks the harp in his desk and tosses the key in his vault for safekeeping, but…for some reason he can open it just as easily with HDL's "skate key?" Wuh? We're supposed to believe that Scrooge is so cavalier about security that he'd have a desk that any key fits? Also: "Bruce Springchicken." Please, no. But these are more or less quibbles. This episode is the first unqualified success the show's seen in a long time.

Stray Observations

-The title is appropriate, given that the Ducktales title-logo is a takeoff of the one from Indiana Jones.

-"Achilles' Golden Chariot." "Hector's Golden Spear." As in any number of videogames, I question what exactly the writers think gold is like, if they imagine it would be useful for weaponry.

-The show has pretty clearly forgotten that Ratface (sorry, "Poe") was originally supposed to be Magica's transformed brother.

HDL, cramming stuff into their closet: "Whose bright idea was it to leave the air mattress inflated?"

-Magica subscribes to something called Tomb Magazine.

-"Beautiful ladies who want to meet me don't need an appointment." It always feels very strange when Scrooge displays romantic and/or sexual interest in women who aren't Goldie.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this episode, but I always wondered what happened after the minotaur statue got back home. It smashed the box that held the harp, plus it smashed its way out of the cave... Unless the statue spends some time making repairs before it goes all immobile again, I'm guessing that the harp wouldn't be all that secure...