Episode: 13 "McMystery at McDuck McManor" 5/25/18
Starring: Huey Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Louie Duck, Dewey Duck, Ma Beagle, Mark Beaks, and Flintheart Glomgold
Costarring: Betina Beakley, Webby Vanderquack, and Donald Duck
Featuring: Duckworth and Nik Nokturne/Black Art Beagle
Setting: Duckburg (McDuck Manor)
Plot: Scrooge’s birthday party quickly turns into a mystery party after the duck-of-the-hour suddenly disappears into thin air.
Duckworth is dead… thus, solving one of DuckTales’ lesser mysteries. However, the context under which this reveal occurs is what’s truly fascinating. It’s Scrooge’s birthday and he’s lost the will to celebrate ever since the passing of Duckworth - his longtime friend, butler, and party planner. The subtext here is obvious; Scrooge is old (in his nineties at least) and his birthday is just another reminder that his friend is gone and he may soon be as well. Scrooge has all the reason in the world to mope about and wallow in his own McMortality. Instead, he rebounds from his doldrums by pranking the overzealous Huey (with the help of Duckworth) in orchestrating his own disappearance. *
While Scrooge’s looming transience is the spine of the story, it’s Huey’s fastidious party planning and ensuing trainwreck of which dominates the action. As the sweetest and most well-intentioned of the nephews, Huey is determined to get his uncle into the birthday spirit. Both Donald and Mrs. Beakley’s** annual flying of the coop should’ve provided him with a harbinger of things to come but it only strengthens his resolve to throw “the most epic party ever.” As Huey’s first lieutenant, Louie manages to invite only three guests – who also happen to be three of Scrooge’s archenemies in Ma Beagle, Flintheart Glomgold, and Mark Beaks. Even the hired entertainment turns out to be an occult dabbling Beagle Boy in Nik Nokturne*** a.k.a. Black Art Beagle. And, once Scrooge “disappears,” Huey stubbornly, albeit enthusiastically, sallies forth in shifting the proceedings to a “mystery party.” Yet, it’s not until things really fly off the rails (being chased by an axe wielding demon) that Louie**** calls out Huey on his myopia and, in a moment of self-awareness, finally admits that he “made the party about himself.”
As usual, Scrooge wins the day. He takes Huey’s offering of lemons and makes sweet lemonade by stirring in some old fashioned hi jinx and tomfoolery. Nothing is more rejuvenating to an old soul than getting one over and out-mischiefing a bunch of kids. Granted, Huey’s overachieving and earnest nature make him an easy mark, but it’s this conflict of personalities that usually make for the best victims. And, Scrooge proves that the best way to combat an unwanted party is by gleefully ruining said party. In what starts out as Scrooge looking the old and cantankerous sort turns into him munching on some popcorn and doubling over in laughter as he shows the boys and some villains that he still has plenty left in the tank.
(*) Ironically, it isn’t the trio of nemeses, an evil spirit, or even the butler who is responsible for Scrooge’s disappearance. If anyone is to blame, it’s Huey who is the most guilty.
(**) I’d love an episode that goes into more detail revealing Beakley’s mysterious and colourful past as well as Webby’s training on the secret island.
(***) Despite his best efforts, Nokturne does manage to give Scrooge the best present of all in conjuring up the spirit of Duckworth.
(****) It feels like the show is confusing Louie with Dewey. Louie is the quirky weirdo who should’ve been under the Daft Duck helmet while Dewey is the show’s emotional center who would be the one to call out Huey. It’s jarring to see Louie actually care about something. It’s reminiscent of some of the same problems with characterization between the two nephews that plagued "The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!" (S1, E7)
The villains’ nefarious intentions are as follows:
Daft Duck is a parody of Daft Punk who is some sort of robot DJ from the future.
Scrooge’s security system is called DT-87 – a reference to the original DuckTales which premiered in 1987.
Perhaps the most loaded and shocking moment of the episode occurs with its final line where Beakley confronts ghost Duckworth and icily says “I preferred it when you were dead.” Woaaah! These two have a past and here’s hoping that we get an episode dedicated to their rivalry.