Episode: 301 "Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks!” 4/4/20
Starring: Huey Duck, Violet Sabrewing, Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack, Dewey Duck, Della Duck, Webby Vanderquack, Louie Duck, and Donald Duck
Costarring: Lena Sabrewing, Bradford Buzzard, Gandra Dee, and Black Heron
Featuring: The Twitter-till Bird of Knowledge
Introducing: J.W. Guidebook, The Nandi Bear, Indy Sabrewing and Ty Sabrewing
Appearances by: Doofus Drake, B.O.Y.D. Drake, Mr. Drake, Mrs. Drake, Funso/the Phantom Blot, and Bentley Buzzard
Setting: Woodchuck Island
“If I’m not the best Junior Woodchuck, who am I?” Huey, the least serviced of the triplets, is suffering an existential crisis. Huey has been characterized as the overachieving nerd who values Woodchuck’ing above all else. But what if there’s someone else whose achievements and ambitions surpass even his own? That’s what he must contend with while competing against Violet Sabrewing to become the lone candidate to reach the lofty status of Senior Woodchuck. Also on Woodchuck Island, Scrooge leads an expedition to find the lost treasure of Isabelle Finch.
During the Junior Woodchuck Wilderness Challenge, Huey and Violet must contend with various obstacles such as lightning rain, a bedraggled bear, and a rickety bridge suspended over hot lava. And even though Violet is seemingly one step ahead of Huey at every checkpoint, it’s his own insecurities and selfishness that prove to be the most difficult hurdles to clear. A Senior Woodchuck is expected to go “above and beyond to make themselves and everything around them better.” This where Huey fails. When presented with the opportunity to help Violet, he chooses to use her setback as his chance to gain an advantage over her. However when Violet faces this same scenario, she helps Huey. Realizing that he’s failed both the challenge and his oath, Huey admits that Violet is the better Woodchuck and graciously declares her the winner. He then proudly accepts his Failure Badge from Launchpad.
Before discovering Finch’s lost Adventure Journal, Scrooge pontificates that “adventure is not always about the treasure that awaits us at the end, but the journey…” This couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the contents of her lost journal are so thrilling that one can hardly recall that “vexatious bird" that leads them to the treasure or any other details from their aforementioned journey. What’s most exciting about their discovery is the promise of a season filled with DuckTales’ trademarked Scrooge-led-family-treasure-hunts (like we get here). As crazy as it sounds, we didn/’t get one such hunt that occupied an actual A-plot of an episode in Season Two. Anyway, the search for the Missing Mysteries appears to be the main throughline of Season Three. And the McDuck family is going to have some competition as F.O.W.L. will also be in hot pursuit of the “most mysterious relics lost to time.” “The race is on.”
Della has been added to the opening credits which means she is a permanent fixture going forward… for better or worse.
The building where the Woodchuck graduation takes place bears a striking resemblance to the Camp Woodchuck Kitchen from Tokyo Disneyland.
It’s great seeing Launchpad in a leadership role again as the Woodchuck Leader. He’s been so dumbed down, it’s nice to see him act as a fully functioning and capable adult. He even manages to impart some mildly profound wisdom in his speech on “legacy... passing the torch to a new generation. The knowledge of the old mixes with the discoveries of the new into that flavorful gumbo called tomorrow.”
We learn that Donald was kicked out of Junior Woodchucks as a child because, s Della puts it, he has a “bad attitude about nature.” Della, on the other hand, is a very accomplished Woodchuck and can even still fit into her uniform.
Unlike Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Woodchuck’ing is gender inclusive. In fact, we learn that it’s most celebrated member is a female named Isabella Finch.
Finch, along with being Scrooge’s boyhood idol, co-founded the Woodchucks with pioneer and Duckburg founder, Cornelius Coot. Her roles were chief of Woodchuck exploration and Chronicler of the Unknown.
Since we last saw her, we learn that Lena has been adopted by the Sabrewing family and even refers to Violet with the clever moniker of her “sister from two misters.”
It’s also nice to see that B.O.Y.D.’s integration into the Drake family looks to be going well. Even Doofus looks to be on his best behaviour as he and his brother are in attendance of the graduation in their full Woodchuck regalia.
Another Woodchuck that caught my eye is a chubby Asian duck that resembles Russell from Up.
Donald's fanny pack that says "PARTY FOUL" was first seen in "The Town Where Everyone Was Nice!" (S2, E4).
According to her pulp novel, “The Collected Adventures of Isabella Finch,” she bested the Fever Beast of Tibet and swatted the Swiss Army of Microbeesia. These moments are chronicled through the familiar method of evoking the famous oil paintings done by Scrooge creator, Carl Barks.
At the trailhead, there’s a signpost with many locales from the DuckTales universe represented. They include:
During Huey’s hike, he’s joined by J.W. Guidebook: the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook in your mind. The folksy, know-it-all figment of Huey’s imagination is best described as a cross between Clippy, the advice giving paperclip of Microsoft Word fame, and the Bill from the School House Rocks! segment “I’m Just a Bill.”
Although use of the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook wasn’t allowed during Huey and Violet’s competition, we still got a bevy of rules dropped on us:
Dewey’s meta declaration of “let’s rewrite history” is met with silence and eye rolls.
Violet’s middle name is Apollonia.
The Nandi bear is an animal of cryptic lore that is reported to have lived in East Africa. It was large, ferocious, and rumoured to have been known to scalp humans.
The bird that made Scrooge so angry he could no longer alliterate turned out to be the Tittertwill Bird of Knowledge - the legendary mascot of the woodchucks and descendant from the pet of Isabella Finch. Although, a version of it first appeared as the Tri-Crested Tittertwill in the Donald Duck comic book “Assignment Birdwatch” (1988).
The few Missing Mysteries that are visible in Finch’s journal will likely be the subjects of future episodes. They are the Stone of What Was, the Lost Harp of Mervana, the Fountain of Youth, and the Third Eye Diamond.
The mosquito that was irritating Donald the entire episode is revealed to be a F.O.W.L. spy drone and the method by which they also now know about the Missing Mysteries.