Monday, August 22, 2011

Ducktales, Season Two, Episode Five: "Time Is Money," part five: "Ali Bubba's Cave"

SO. Bubba's safely back in the past, and Scrooge, Launchpad, and HDL travel to the island to grab a diamond to pay off Glomgold (once again, the whole thing hinges on this nonsensical plot twist. Bah, I say!).  Anyway, oh no, Glomgold and the Beagles have, um, constructed a barricade in front of the diamond cave! What to do! Well, first, we could step back and contemplate the fact that we're expected to swallow the idea that Glomgold can engage in all of this blatantly illegal stuff, right out in the open, and nobody's gonna do anything about it. He can get away with all that, no problem. But his contract with Scrooge, boy--that's iron-clad, and it has to apply no matter what and if Scrooge is late by ONE SECOND with the payment, Glomgold gets everything he wants absolutely no question THE END. I'm reminded of the Phoenix Wright series of "lawyer simulators" on the Nintendo DS, where obviously-guilty witnesses are absolutely free to wildly change their stories as soon as they're caught in a contradiction as many times as they want to until they're absolutely stuck. Only…those games, goofiness aside, generally have ingenious and tightly-plotted stories. Ducktales, not so much.

So anyway, our heroes have to try to find a back entrance to the mine, evading an admittedly pretty damn cool-looking cave monster in the process; meanwhile, big surprise, Bubba in the past wants to return to the present, so he flits around in the time machine, which apparently literally works by magic, if the fact that him drawing a crude picture of Scrooge and pointing a dial at it allows him to immediately hone in on Scrooge at exactly the right time is any indication.

Anyway, they fail to pay off Glomgold in time, but they win anyway, due in no way to effort on their part, as all (that's right, ALL. DO NOT QUESTION IT.) of the diamonds from Flintheart's awesome island rocket over to Scrooge's crappy island. Thanks, again, to magic. Bah. Bring on the accountant with the secret superhero identity, PLEASE.

Stray Observations

-"I'm tired of walking around in the dark." "You should be used to that!" Um...burn? I guess?

-So what, Bubba has no tribe? No family? No nothin'? I suppose that makes it easier to justify transplanting him like this, but to just have this be the case with NO explanation seems kind of dubious.


  1. Did Scrooge really think that it would be O.K. to leave the the time machine in the past? Even without bombastium, wouldn't the presence of highly advanced technology mess up the past as much as taking Bubba out of the past?

    I firmly believe that the government and courts of Duckburg are highly corrupt (A judge fining people multiple diamond mines? The mayor forcing Scrooge to pay for the damage caused by the mayor's own stupidity and negligence? Police officers slapping victims of crimes with fines?) I would have loved to have sene Don Rosa write an exposé of the graft and institutionalized lawlessness that plagues the city. It is for this reason that I have decided that Glomgold is never punished for his crimes because he bribes officials and judges left and right. Either this, or the writers decided to just overlook a major plot hole.

    I did really like Scrooge springing for an animatronic dinosaur for Bubba, though.

  2. I've often thought the same thing about Duckburg, Christopher. There is an element of lawlessness that pervades (especially) the DuckTales' version of Duckburg, where bad guys are ceremoniously put behind bars, only to routinely escape, where a prominent businessman wallows in obvious corruption...

    To me, it's almost Barksian in its cynicism of local officials and government. Especially in these Season Two, Three, and Four episodes, where everything is more domestic-based, you get a glimpse of a Duckburg that doesn't love Scrooge, no matter how beneficial he is to the economy, and is eager to see him catapult toward his demise. It really enhances the sense of the world being against Scrooge and Scrooge having to fight to survive.

    Suddenly, it becomes Darwinian in nature... Appropriate for the Bubba eps, I suppose, lol.

    I wonder how this shaped me as a kid, and if it contributed to my (present) cynicism towards all things law enforcement...

    GeoX, oftentimes, these Bubba eps play like an episode of "24." Not everything makes sense and there are huge logic gaps, but man, do they keep the plot (such as it is) moving. There's really not a dull moment in any of these five segments. If you accept what Christopher and I have said about Glomgold being in cahoots with the law and Scrooge being subject to it, then that explains how Flinty can run amuck like he does.

    If you hate the DT Beagles as much as you indicate, I'd better warn you to brace yourself. They're very prominent in (probably) 50 percent (if not more) of the Seasons Two, Three, and Four episodes...and they don't get any smarter. In many ways, though, they do get a lot more fun. They form their own rock group, Ma Beagle fakes a marriage to Scrooge, you meet their Klondike brothers AND female cousins, they become Glomgold's go-to goons on an even more frequent basis, etc.

    You mentioned the "obvious-disguise" element in Disney cartoons...there's some hilarious use of this gimmick in "Super DuckTales" where both Scrooge and the Beagles come off as "Super Dumb."

    Joe has maintained that the biggest mistake with Bubba is that he stayed at the end of "Time is Money." I've always been torn about the character. I kinda liked him, but I also felt that the writers had no clue what to do with him after the initial five-part miniseries (which awesomely aired on Thanksgiving night...always thought that was cool when I was a kid).

    Unfortunately, these episodes (and the Fenton episodes) aren't on DVD. You'll have to get them off YouTube. Don't let Disney know, though... :)

  3. There's another plot hole... Apparently Scrooge owns the tiny little island of nothing outright... whether or not he pays the $10 million... even though there are no ancient dollar sign markings on that barren hunk of rock... I must have missed the clause in the contract where Scrooge gets that island and all that lands on it.

  4. Yeah. The "Time is Money" eps have numerous of plot holes, as GeoX has pointed out. That's why "24" jumped to mind. Those plots didn't always make sense and sometimes, they could be insulting to the viewers' intelligence, but they knew how to keep you engaged. I think "Time is Money" does the same thing--insulting if you think about it; enjoyable if you don't.

  5. I suspect that you are the first person ever to compare 24 to Ducktales. Maybe the next time the Beagle Boys are hatching a cunning plan to nab Scrooge's money, some "enhanced interrogation" would be in order.