“Don’t interrupt me unless something exciting happens...” Dewey’s lament to Huey after being pulled from the shower to observe a tree stump’s vascular cambium could be seen as meta commentary for an episode devoid of any substantive plot or character development. Even so, there’s still plenty for the boys to glean from their “needlessly dangerous adventure” with the forgotten-but-not-gone Fethry.
Huey and his cousin Fethry* appear to be kindred spirits. They both share a fascination with science, they each wear red caps, and also know the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook like the back of their feathers. While it’s true that Huey can sometimes rub his brothers the wrong way with his fastidiousness, they still remain close and appreciate each other’s company. Meanwhile, Donald wants nothing to do with his “cuckoo bananas” cousin where Scrooge has literally marooned him to his out-of-date and rundown underwater sea lab. Then we get the reveal that Fethry isn’t even a scientist, he’s just the lab’s custodian!
This really may be the darkest episode thus far. Sure, learning the fate of Della Duck in “The Last Flight of the Sunchaser” was sad but the shared grief and despair also speak to a deep sense of love and humanity. Fethry receives no such consideration. He’s been merely discarded and forgotten by Scrooge like so many of society’s oddballs and half-wits. With little to no interaction with the McDucks and Ducks, Fethry has been left to make various creatures of the deep his family, including a jar of krill. And, while he was a weirdo to begin with, the isolation and varying degrees of artificial air pressure have taken him to the brink of insanity.
On the surface, this plays like a Huey episode - and it is. But it’s Dewey who stands to gain the most. Like Scrooge and Donald with Fethry, Dewey can grow weary of Huey’s fits of oppressive myopia. However, Dewey takes to heart Fethry’s metaphorical and cautionary words regarding MItzy; “just because she’s a little different, doesn’t make her bad.” Going forward, it will be Dewey’s responsibility to keep Huey in the fold - no matter how annoying he gets. He won’t let him spin off his axis and get distracted to the point that he squanders his potential by becoming less than what he’s meant for. Thanks to Fethry, Dewey will succeed where Scrooge and Donald have failed.
(*) Fethry first appeared in the Italian comic Topolino in 1964 (hence the year the sea lab was built). He didn’t appear in American comics until 1966 but was much more popular in Brazil. This was his first on-screen appearance.
Scrooge’s phone lines include a Money Bin phone, a Cape Suzette radio, a Great Written phone, and a tin can for Fethry.
The Cape Suzette old timey looking radio matches the 1940s motif of TaleSpin. With a CS reference seemingly every other episode, you’d think we’ll eventually get an episode there, right?
Great Written and the William Drakespeare bust is a call back to the DuckTales ‘87 episode “Much Ado About Scrooge.”
This is the second time Launchpad has had an off camera adventure with a former flame. In Macaw (“The House of the Lucky Gander!”) it was Ziya, who had issues with the local crime family. And, here it’s Oceanika who seems to be some sort of mermaid.
The “dewfish” is actually a real fish. It’s an eel-tailed freshwater catfish.
Junior Woodchuck Rule #2: All Junior Woodchucks must be open to the unknown in their quest for truth.