Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ducktales, Season Four, Episode One: "Ducky Mountain High"

I basically liked the portrayal of Goldie in the Ducktales' "Back to the Klondike." She's appeared two times since then, but neither of them is really what you'd call "canonical:" as a faerie-tale princess in "Scroogerello," and as a dubious punchline at the end of "Till Nephews Do Us Part." So I was all for a real repeat appearance, if only they could make it work.

The idea here is that Scrooge, smelling GOLD! on his stationery, heads up to the origin of the paper at a mill in Alaska to see what's what. Turns out there are gold trees up there--Scrooge reasons that they "must be growing over a rich gold deposit that the roots have soaked up over the years" (???). But it turns out he doesn't actually own the land with the trees, as he'd thought; that belongs to Goldie ("your old girlfriend?" HDL ask, demonstrating why this can never quite be on a Barksian level). So he plots to buy the land from her, but FUCK! Glomgold wants the land, too!

Now, I do have to say this: I really have a hard time imagining Scrooge being quite so willing and eager to cheat Goldie by buying up her gold trees with her all unawares. But apart from that…

…well, I have to admit it: this episode totally got me. Maybe it wouldn't have if my expectations hadn't been severely lowered by innumerable episodes prior, but whatever the reason, it did. I was all prepared to give it a scathing review, but then we reach the denouement, in which it is revealed--spoiler!--that the trees are secondary, and that Goldie had been plotting all this time (successfully!) to get Scrooge's land, which contains the real gold. "I've been workin' on a way to get your land for months; now I've got a gold deposit and you've got a lousy bunch of tree stumps!" This set me to grinning madly, and it made me retrospectively like the episode a whole lot. Don Rosa would probably gone with something more sentimental, but based solely on the original Barks story, this is a reasonable extrapolation. There's a bit early on when she's going out with both Scrooge and Glomgold and she gets gussied up with a blond wig and makeup in a way that's absolutely fucking grotesque, but you get to the end and you realize, huh. That was just to help in manipulating the boys. Well played, madame. Well played.

Certainly the best Bubba episode yet; that's damning with faint praise, admittedly, and Bubba's role in it is NOT a high point (there's this annoying running theme of him being obsessed with sports and therefore doing sports-related things to stop Glomgold and his Beagle assistants). But, even if it's not the all-time best, I really did like it! If the worst Ducktales episodes were half as good, there would be absolutely no cause for complaint.

Stray Observations

-…okay, I also kind of liked the ostentatiously Canadian Beagles that appear here, if only for their aggressive bizarreness. One of them's a pig. "He had a bad case of swine flu." I like how that non-explanation is just sort of left dangling there.

-"The only other restaurant in town is Yak-in-the-Box."

-"You wouldn't know a good deal if it was behind door number three!"

-"Goldie--you're a dirty deal-maker!" "I learned from the master!" Still devoted to the concept of "earning it square?" Just asking.

-…also, in spite of the ending's welcome tartness, they just can't resist tossing in a little sugar: Goldie kisses him and he blushes and winks at the camera as we go out with a heart. Hmph.


  1. This is one episode that is a completely different experience watching it the second time around, once you know the twist ending.

  2. Scrooge and Glomgold as rivals over Goldie strongly remind me of Donald and Gladstone fighting over Daisy...