Episode: 115 "The Golden Lagoon of White Agony Plains!" 6/23/18
Starring: Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold
Costarring: Huey Duck, Dewey Duck, Louie Duck, Mrs. Beakley, Webbigail Vanderquack, and Launchpad McQuack
Featuring: Goldie O’Gilt
Setting: Duckburg (McDuck Manor and the Natural History Museum) and the Klondike
Plot: Scrooge rekindles an old flame while engaging in a deadly game of deceit and chicanery with Goldie O' Glit and Flintheart Glomgold while searching for treasure in the Klondike.
Scrooge McDuck is oooold.* And, when you have as many years under your frock coat as he does, there will always be elements from your past that will trip you up in the present. Whether it’s enemies (Magica De Spell), family (Della Duck), or shady business deals (ownership of Duckburg), Scrooge is lousy with baggage. But, perhaps, none is lousier or more impassioned or volatile than his history with former partner, rival, and “ex-everything,” Goldie O’Glit. More than an equal or a rival, Goldie may even be his better which explains his attraction to her
Incidentally, similar feelings lend to Flintheart Glomgold’s Ahab-like infatuation with Scrooge. Glomgold’s obsession is such that he’s hosting a gala celebrating the opening of an entire wing of the Natural History Museum dedicated to his achievements as Scrooge’s lesser. It’s these triangular dynamics of inferiority and longing that set the stage for the caper these three adventurers are set to embark on.
The second Scrooge lays eyes on his old flame at Glomgold’s gala, the unflappable billionaire’s feathers are sufficiently and immediately ruffled. This isn’t the Scrooge who shrewdly assesses the situation and acts accordingly. Nor is this the one who rolls up his sleeves and springs into action at the first sign of trouble. Nay, this is a Scrooge whose emotions are running the gamut from suspicion to wistfulness and even arousal. Goldie’s mere presence has knocked him for a loop; dulling his legendary acuity and leaving him vulnerable to her conniving ways.
After a deliciously flirtatious and expository** waltz/tango (I don’t know the difference), the “Ice Queen of Dawson”*** makes her move by absconding with Glomgold’s tamm’d mammoth skull which contains one half of a hidden treasure map for the titular Golden Lagoon of White Agony Plains. She then breaks into McDuck Manor**** in search of the second half of the map (which is in Scrooge’s top hat). Scrooge’s aforementioned past has come for him; bearing the fruits of deceit and failure. The maps evoke these shortcomings while also symbolizing the fissure of Scrooge and Goldie’s partnership. Back during the Gold Rush in the Klondike, the pair teamed up in search of the Golden Lagoon (a literal pool of liquid gold) where the two fell into an iceberg and became frozen in time for three years until Goldie eventually escapes and coldly abandons him. Recounting this memory prompts Scrooge to confront her as “loving gold more than you loved me“ with her replying “and, that’s why you loved me.”
And, here they are, back at the scene of the crime where Goldie is still conning and backstabbing poor, old Scrooge. Once they finally find the lagoon and seemingly make amends, Glomgold shows up to reveal that he and Goldie have been in cahoots all along (or, have they?). After this and during a thrilling pickaxe duel betwixt the two, Goldie surprisingly sacrifices herself to save Scrooge from plunging into the molten gold while falling in herself. Yada, yada, yada… she survives the fall and escapes with the gold, leaving both Scrooge and Glomgold in her wake.
Although not as big a part of the episode, Flintheart Glomgold’s rich and fiery one-sided feud (Scrooge ALWAYS wins) has been a persistent theme for much of the season. As a Scottish billionaire adventurer and businessman, Glomgold’s entire identity and ambitions are fueled by being Scrooge’s runner-up in just about everything – so much so that he celebrates this fact in exhibition with his wing at the museum. His goal isn’t to acquire wealth, fame, and fortune as much as it is to literally embody Scrooge as much as humanly possible. Hence teaming with Goldie in efforting to make Scrooge jealous and claim the two treasures that have most eluded him.
While not as myopic or consuming, Glomgold’s fixations do resemble Scrooge’s feelings for Goldie. The difference, though, is that Scrooge’s drive to compete and have his affections reciprocated with Goldie are points of joy and invigoration, albeit frustrating and painful at times. To Scrooge, this is a game where a hard-fought loss can be just a rewarding as a win. Nothing encapsulates the difference between the two Scotsman better than their conflicting reactions as they watch Goldie commandeer the cargo ship filled with gold thus, sealing her victory - Scrooge laughs, giving a knowing look of admiration and coos “isn’t she fantastic?” while Glomgold throws an incensed temper tantrum.
As with DuckTales best offerings, the story ends with a look toward the future with Goldie leaving Scrooge a package containing a photo of herself in front of an Aztec pyramid with a note reading “The next time you need gold in your life, come find me,” which opens yet another intriguing story thread.****** She may be gone but she’s left Scrooge a clue and invitation for more adventure and flirtation. Goldie will never truly surrender herself to her true feelings for Scrooge (which are pretty obvious) but she does value his irregular partnership and companionship… on her terms.
(*) The timeline of Mt. Neverrest suggests he’d have to at least be in his 90s but, with the real-life Klondike Gold Rush occurring between 1896 and 1899, that would put him closer to 150 range.
(**) We learn that Goldie’s timeless features are due, in part, to a fountain of youth she found in Wronguay (which is the location of the Treasure of the Golden Sun from the epic, four-part pilot of the 1980s DuckTales). It’s also revealed that Scrooge’s relative vigor can be attributed to his time spent in Demogorgana (a reference to Stranger Things???) – “a timeless demon dimension” where Scrooge stopped an uprising Goldie evidently started. This is also where Goldie acquired her Eye of Demogorgan amulet which makes her impervious to burns.
(***) This nickname is in reference to Dawson City, the real life Yukon, Canadian, town that played a huge part in the Klondike Gold Rush, where the character of Goldie originates from in both the Carl Barks’ comic books and the original version of DuckTales. There, she was a dancehall singer as well as a con-woman.
(****) Lest we needed more evidence, Goldie is one tough and capable broad. She single-handedly gets the jump on and ties up both Mrs. Beakley and Webby who are proven badasses themselves.
The nephews don’t have a huge part here other than hilariously mocking Scrooge’s crush on Goldie (in fact, they’re excluded from the adventure altogether) but Dewey does have a standout moment in espousing for his “playfully loose bowtie.”
Any true fan of Disneyland can’t help but notice the obvious similarities between White Agony Cave’s Rainbow Caves and the now-defunct, but legendary, Rainbow Caverns from Frontierland’s Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland.
As evidenced by its unmistakable “W,” Goldie owns a Waddle cell phone.
Scrooge can add “fluent in bear” to his already impressive resume.
Flinty’s pulpy version of their meeting and “GlomGoldie repartee” is a comical and artistic highlight of the episode.