Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Fifty-Five: "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. McDuck"

The title card uses an ampersand, but the back of the DVD case spells out "and." I just don't know who to trust anymore!

Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde--it was probably only an abridged version, but still--terrified the shit out of me when I was small. The idea of a guy losing his identity like that really did a number on me.

Nobody would describe this episode as "terrifying," though the opening sequence does up a pretty okay late-Victorian-style fog-and-gaslight ambiance. And then, the evil "Jack the Tripper," appears and we're off on what is, on balance, not a bad episode, though solidly on the goofy side.

Scrooge and the kids are at an auction, and nobody is willing to bet on an old chest--Scrooge is actually rather dickish about the undesirability of owning this chest--'til Gladstone shows up and accidentally bets a fiver on it; unsurprisingly, it turns out to be full of riches and Scrooge, apparently not understanding the nature of Gladstone even a little, bets big cash on the next chest, which turns out to contain the effects of Dr. Jekyll (who, we see, looks exactly like Scrooge, just 'cause). Long story short, he invented a cologne that makes you give away your money like a maniac and is triggered whenever you come into contact with money (you snap out of it when sprayed with water, in a vaguely Ranma-esque touch) but Jack the Tripper steals it so as to rob people more easily and the ducks go after him to London to try to find an antidote for Scrooge. They are aided by, um, "Shedlock Jones," who is also after his archnemesis--it pains me a little to write this--"Professor Moodydoody." And then they find the antidote and blahdy blah.

The definitive "Scrooge gets nuts with giving stuff away" is and ever shall be Barks' "Thrifty Spendthrift," but it's kind of okay to watch him go nuts here; his concentric-circles crazy-eyes and puffed-out whiskers are good, and there's a cool scene with him quickly vacillating between normal and generous that works. Moodydoody (DID YOU GUESS THAT HE WAS THE SAME PERSON AS JACK THE TRIPPER?!? YOU'RE SO SMART!) ain't much as archvillains go, and HDL grate a bit, but eh. I've seen much worse.

Stray Observations

Scrooge just cavalierly sprays hundred-year-old cologne on his face without testing it or ANYTHING. Great idea!

-When Scrooge is first "infected," before anyone knows what's going on, he tosses some bills to passersby. HDL: "Unca Scrooge! What are you doing?!? That's our inheritance!" A remarkably dickish and out-of-character reaction from them, I must say.

"While I was thinking, I got to thinking."

Hey, a six-hour time difference between Duckburg and London that means the kids have more time than they thought to use the antidote. That…actually works out perfectly, somewhat amazingly. Amazing how the show can be slapdash in so many ways yet so on-the-ball about something like that.


  1. Does anyone else wonder about the pig couple who got sprayed? Did the gang remember to give them the antidote in time, or did they just run home to Duckburg?

    And HDL have a very American non-reaction to seeing the Queen in her bathrobe, don't they?

  2. It pleases me to imagine that they intentionally left the pigs charmed as part of an anarchist assault on the class system.

  3. Isn't the auction scene with Gladstone buying a box that turns out to be full of riches taken from a Barks story?

    BTW -> It's a shame Gladstone & HDL never interactet on the show :(