Monday, January 2, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Seventeen: "Bearskin Thug"

An oddly-structured episode, this. The first third concerns Drake's efforts to get ready for a camping trip in spite of the extremely recalcitrant Gosalyn's resistance. The second third is them out there in the woods engaging in various low-level hijinks. There's a giant killer bear around that's scared off all the rangers, but that doesn't really feel like a central conflict or anything. Then, the Muddlefoots (seriously, I have to force myself not to write "Waddlefoots." This may be because Gosalyn's original last name was Waddlemeyer, but really now, how long should a minor thing like that be sticking in my head…?) show up, for no particular reason. And then, finally, Steelbeak and a few FOWL agents show up out of nowhere with a fiendish(?) plan to hide missiles in trees. Drake doesn't turn into Darkwing until the last three minutes of the episode.

It's kind of jumbled, really. I kind of prefer the earlier bits, where it's just a bunch of slapsticky dicking around (though the opportunity to say anything interesting about Drake and Gosalyn's relationship is pretty much squandered). The entire bit with Steelbeak feels extremely rushed and perfunctory, as well it might when it only has five or six minutes to play out from start to finish, and I cannot help but note that DW never actually foils their plot, per se.

The episode has its moments, sure, but I think there's a danger here of writers using the fact that the show is so much more malleable than Ducktales as an excuse not to bother building even minimally cohesive stories, which is not to the viewer's benefit.

Stray Observations

-I think this is the first Launchpad-less episode.

"Let's see…bear…trees…Steelbeak…Gosalyn…nuclear missiles…more trees…"

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