Episode: 320 "Beaks in the Shell!” 2/22/21
Starring: Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera, Gandra Dee, Mark Beaks, Huey Duck, Officer Cabrera, Gyro Gearloose, and Lil’ Bulb
Costarring: Manny the Headless Man-Horse, Louie Duck, Bradford Buzzard, and the Eggheads
Setting: Duckburg (the docks, the Money Bin, Gyro’s lab, the GizmoCloud, Joe’s, Fenton’s house)
While literal birds of a nerdy feather, Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera and Gandra Dee are also star-crossed lovers who find themselves on opposite ends of the McDuck Family/F.O.W.L. conflict. Though Gandra has already all but switched allegiances and is just biding her time before she can extricate herself from the fiendish clutches of Bradford Buzzard’s “fiendish organization” once and for all. But in the meantime, the two science geeks have created a place all their own, where they have the freedom to lock beaks and push the boundaries of their imaginations with no repercussions or judgment.
The GizmoCloud was built on their shared love for science and each other. However, as with all collaborations, intentions and expectations can blur and evolve. Where Fenton is more optimistic about their creation, wanting to “share it with the world,” Gandra is cautious and firm in her belief that they “can’t tell anyone about this place.” At times, it’s difficult to tell if their squabbles are about the GC or their relationship itself. Is Gandra projecting her insecurities and fears in what she has with Fenton onto their creation? And, while Fenton talks a big game in espousing the benefits of bringing more people into their world, he still hasn’t told his dear M’Ma about him and Gandra. These too still have a lot to work through.
Gandra has been through it. She’s not a bad person but the lack of support and positive reinforcement she’s received as a scientist (could this be from some not-so-subtle sexism? Hmmm...) has left her jaded and untrusting. It’s pushed her to join F.O.W.L. because the “only people who would fund her work are villains who don’t care how much destruction I cause (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since Bradford is all about reigning in the chaos).” On the other hand, even though Fenton has been called a “dangerous crackpot” multiple times and has received very little recognition from his boss, Gyro Gearloose (until just recently when he hired him full-time and gave him the title of “Dr.” in “Astro B.OY.D.!” (S3, E6)), he still has a very strong network of friends and family who bolster his enthusiasm and joie de vivre. Plus, it doesn’t hurt his confidence and emotional state when he’s a literal superhero while poor Gandra is a mere goon in a crime syndicate
It’s not until Mark Beaks infiltrates the GizmoCloud that both their hands are forced, resulting in the GC and their relationship going public. Fenton’s belief in “the more minds, the merrier” manifests itself when his aforementioned support system helps fend off the attack from Beaks. Then Gyro even goes so far as to fix the GC’s glitches. And, despite Gandra’s shady and less-than-desirable-affiliations, Fenton’s M’Ma, a cop(!), still accepts her with open arms because, above anything else, she trusts her son. And, with that, the two love birds no longer have to “keep this (their) little secret” because, in the end, “great science is worth sharing.”
The episode’s title is taken from Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese manga/anime franchise with various incarnations strewn across multiple decades from the 90s and into the present day. From the best I can tell, the series is best described as a post-cyberpunk, futuristic telling of a world where professionals, who may-or-may-not-be cyborgs, solve and prevent crimes using their cyberbrains of which allows them to interface their biological brain with various cybernetworks (whatever all that means…).
It seems crazy irresponsible for Gizmoduck to allow a minor (Huey Duck) to accompany him on his middle-of-the-night, crime fighting escapades. Then again, you could say the same thing for all the crazy adventures Scrooge takes the kids on.
I missed the part where Gandra had been experimenting on herself to the point she’s now considered a “cyborg.”
I love how Huey refers to Fenton as his “best friend.” It’s like how Launchpad considers Dewey to be his bf as well.
Add Louie to the looong list of people who know Gizmoduck’s true identity:
In Fenton’s room, he has a poster of a stylized black and orange “D” hanging above his bed that looks a lot like the Philadelphia Flyers’ (of the NHL) logo.
Mark Beaks and Waddle have fallen on tough times. WIthout having anything left to steal and bereft of any original ideas, he’s left giving Ted Talks to near empty spaces.
While in the GizmoCloud, Mark Beaks conjures up a Hoverboard that looks strikingly similar to the one from Back to the Future II (1989).
Beaks evokes some more movie nostalgia with his finger-wagging “Ah, ah, ah. You didn’t say the magic word” computer prompt that’s a clear homage to Dennis Nedry’s bit from Jurassic Park (1993).
Mark Beaks’ transformation into a literal “big head” is an in-joke in regards to his voice actor, Josh Brenner, who played a character named “Big Head” in Silicon Valley (2014 - 2019).
The “Lost Library” that Bradford is banishing Gandra to could be an allusion to the famed Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge Comic, “Guardians of the Lost Library” (1993). In Rosa’s story, Scrooge and his nephews set out on a globetrotting adventure in search of the fabled library that also ties into the history behind the Junior Woodchucks and Duckburg itself.