Episode: 217 "Whatever Happened to Donald Duck?!" 9/3/19
Starring: Donald Duck, Captain Penumbra, Webby Vanderquack, Dewey Duck, General Lunaris, and Scrooge McDuck
Costarring: Huey Duck, Zenith, Gibbous, and Palus
Introducing: Mr. Jones
An Appearance by: Roxanne Featherly
Setting: Planet Moon (Tranquility) and Duckburg (McDuck Manor and Mr. Jones’ Office)
While Dewey and Webby are attempting to conjure a mystery from thin air, Donald is in the thick of an all-too-real adventure on the “planet” Moon. This is our first time checking in on Donald since we last saw him hurtling toward the Moon in its sister episode, “The Golden Spear” (S2, E11). Now as a prisoner, we get that aforementioned Donald/Penumbra team-up we predicted in attempting to thwart Lunaris’ plot to invade Earth.
But the highlight of this episode is a very on-the-nose diagnosis of Donald’s psyche from his therapist/anger management counselor, Mr. Jones:
“Donald’s anger issues stem from a fear that the world is out to get him and that no one understands him, quite literally. His tendency to lash out was wildly unfocused, until you kids came along. He came to me wanting to be the best parent he could. So we channelled that anger into protective instincts. Every outburst is Donald trying to protect his family. He loves you so much, the thought of anything bad happening to you infuriates him!”
This kind of clarity and bluntness is refreshing. Still, this doesn’t get into Donald’s issues with Della nor does it touch upon his decree to quit adventuring since her disappearance. Even so, it re-centers him as a character and gives him purpose after his inclusion in the show has been so sporadic and unfocused. This isn’t really a criticism either since it fits with Donald’s general mood. He’s been broken and exhausted for a while now and it would be strange to see Donald willfully galavanting about on treasure hunts anyhow.
Donald’s sojourn on the moon is short lived though. With the help of Penumbra he escapes his cell, navigates through a barrack of Moonlander soldiers, and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Lunaris (more than holding his own). But once again, he finds himself in an out-of-his-control rocket ship careening back toward Earth… just in time for the “bravest man on two worlds” to help fend off the presumptive Moonvasion in the Season Finale.
It’s not all bad news on the Moon. Penumbra got promoted from lieutenant to captain!
Dewey’s mention of Phooey is a callback to a long standing piece of fan-generated mythology. Back in the 50s and 60s, Phooey was a phenomena in Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics where, because of artistic error, a fourth nephew would occasionally appear in panels.
Dewey and Webby create a spin-off of “Dewey Dew-night” called “Dew-tective Dew-night.”
Dewey’s postcard to Uncle Donald is a picture of Calisota - a fictional state created by Carl Barks for his Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics. Duckburg, Mouseton, and St. Canard are among the cities mentioned in DuckTales that are located there.
Mr. Jones is based on Neighbor Jones who often appears as Donald’s ill-tempered next door neighbor in Carl Barks’ Donald Duck comics.
The Moon really is lousy with gold. Even the buckets are made of gold!
In Lunaris’s Secret War room, he has holograms of various earthbound buildings/locations (Duckburg, the Money Bin, the Doomsday Vault, etc.) along with “anyone who can threaten his invasion” (who coincidentally is entirely comprised of DuckTales cast members) including Scrooge, Donald, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Della, Djinn, Don Karnage, Flintheart Glomgold, Mark Beaks, Magica De Spell, and Gizmoduck.
It turns out that General Lunaris has been plotting the Moonvasion well before Della ever arrived on the Moon and is also an incompetent dolt who couldn’t even manage to build a ship capable of safely making its way to Earth.