Episode: 118 "Who is Gizmoduck?!" 7/14/18
Starring: Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera/Gizmoduck, Mark Beaks/Waddleduck, Huey Duck, Gyro Gearloose, and M’Ma/Officer Cabrera
Costarring:, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Big Time Beagle, Burger Beagle, Bouncer Beagle, Roxanne Featherly, Manny the Headless Man-Horse, Louie Duck, Dewey Duck, Flintheart Glomgold, and Li’l Bulb
Setting: Duckburg (the Crackshell-Cabrera residence, the Bank of Duckburg, Waddle Headquarters, and the Money Bin)
Plot: Fenton Crackshell fights for the identity of Gizmoduck with Gyro, Mark Beaks, and himself.
It all started with an unpaid internship… For better or for worse, Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera’s position under Gyro at McDuck Enterprises has propelled him to the heights of Gizmoduck while also making him vulnerable to the vapid flirtations of Mark Beaks. Without the security and structure that comes with a steady paycheck, Fenton has become a rogue and reckless vigilante. If "Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!" (S1, E11) was his plucky origin story, then this is where Fenton experiences a crisis of identity and asks himself, “Who is Gizmoduck?!”
Despite his most recent dalliance as a superhero, Fenton is existing in a state of arrested development. At work, Fenton’s enthusiasm and work ethic is often met with contempt and derision by Gyro. It’s even gotten to the point where Manny the Headless Man Horse has positioned himself as the intern-in-favour. Back at home, Fenton’s police officer mother has grown frustrated with his lack of direction, imploring him to figure out what he wants to be. It’s become clear that the twenty-something duck has outgrown both his job and his mother – he’s too old and full of potential to be languishing at home under the same roof as his Telenovela-watching M’Ma* while also spinning his wheels at an unpaid internship. The answer is simple: it’s time to take his act as Gizmoduck to the next level.
As luck would have it, Fenton happens to be at the bank (to open an account with no money) during a robbery attempt by the Beagle Boys. An out-of-control Gizmoduck thwarts them but not before leaving a half-destroyed bank in his wake. Back at the lab, Gyro wants to put the suit through some more testing, but Fenton is growing impatient. Gyro may be a jerk but he’s right – the core processor is still unstable which makes all Gizmoduck related hero’ing extremely dangerous.** Plus, he has the added pressures of Scrooge threatening to cut his budget if another “cockamamie invention goes haywire.” This leads Fenton to learn himself how to Gizmoduck on his own
Again… it all started with an unpaid internship. The episode even begins with Fenton lamenting the fact that he has no money while trying to open a bank account. His lack of cash flow, his low standing in the workplace, and his M’ma pleading with him to do something with his life all contribute to his careless and impulsive corner-cutting behaviour. This is what leads to him getting fired by Gyro, absconding with the suit, and falling into the clutches of Mark Beaks. At Waddle, Fenton gets everything he thought he ever wanted: a paid position as a hero, the approval of his M’ma, and his own 80s style montage.*** That is, until, Beaks strips Fenton of the suit and becomes Waddleduck himself.
Of course, Beaks doesn’t know how to use the suit either, resulting in an out-of-control Waddleduck brinking on self-detonation and putting the whole city of Duckburg in danger. This leads to Fenton springing into action and finally deciding who he wants to be: he’s not a “mascot, or an intern, or a fancy tool”… he is Gizmoduuuuck!!! (that is, after Huey uses his knowledge of robotics to sync up Fenton’s brain with the core processor). The suit is no longer Gizmoduck – Fenton is. And, after all that, Scrooge hires him to essentially become Duckburg’s very own superhero under the employ of McDuck Enterprises.
It’s specious reasoning to conclude that Fenton earned his new position or is even up to the task but that twice-forementioned unpaid internship really forced his hand. He was put into a situation where taking risks and making a TON of mistakes was his only path to success. That, along with his genuine and pure intent of wanting to help people really proved his worth. And, in Scrooge McDuck’s world, fortune favours the bold.
(*) Back in the 80s, Fenton’s M’Ma was a curler-wearing (which also helps explain Fenton’s natural proclivity towards hero’ing and helping people) but still enjoys her TV. Her Telenovela, “Patos de los Passion,” illustrates this while also evoking her Hispanic heritage.
(**) Remember back in "The Great Dime Chase!" (S1, E3) when Gyro ominously references "Project Blatherskite" and intimates that he may become Gizmoduck? It seems like that storyline has either been scrapped or shelved at this point. Not sure how much more run you get with someone else donning the suit when Mark Beaks already did it.
(***) The montage employs a parody of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” It also features Glomgold as well as Louie.
There’s a lot of small bits of continuity here that are rare for a cartoon. First, we learn that Donald’s boat is still broken from when it got destroyed four episodes ago in "J.A.W.$.!" (S1, E14). Also, Big Time calls Huey by name which calls back to their misadventures in "Day of the Only Child!" (S1, E16) Sure, the season features a few different story arcs but for seemingly small details like these to carry over really goes a long way in giving the show a real sense of being lived in.
Bouncer is wearing a mask that’s evocative of the logo from the Mighty Ducks movies and real-life hockey franchise.
Dewey keeps his streak alive as the only character to appear in every episode… albeit, with a very brief and dialogue-less appearance during the montage.
Gyro calling Fenton a “glorious fool” is reminiscent of Webby referring to Lena as a “beautiful idiot” in "J.A.W.$.!"
The running gag of Mark Beaks calling Fenton “chico” and “amigo” is a good example of race-based comedy that’s racial while not crossing the line into racism.
Huey is awesome here. Not only does he fanboy out on Gizmoduck and act as his conscience, but he also exhibits a knowledge of robots seemingly even beyond the grasp of Gyro’s. Not to mention, he accompanies his Uncle Donald to the bank in attempting to help him receive a loan to fix his boat.