Here’s a confession. I have no idea what episode I’m on in Ducktales any longer. IDMB lists Where No Duck Has Gone Before as the eighth episode. The Ducktales DVD episodes appear to be entirely out of sequence. The file I’m watching as list this episode as somewhere much later. I’ll go with IMDB. We shouldn’t be that worried about the out of sequence nature, though, because Ducktales doesn’t have a very intricate storyline and other than the pilot episode where Donald drops the kids off with Scrooge I could’ve watched everything out of order.
The episode starts with Scrooge in the middle of some type of exercise routine. Only Scrooge is exercising by pulling weights with a spring. One could make the argument that Ducktales borders on steampunk at times: there’s often 1920s culture mixed with futuristic ideas.
Then Scrooge gets a call from an indebted movie studio that he finances. The studio cannot repay Scrooge in cash and must give Scrooge the studio as a piece of tangible property. This situation raises a myriad of question about Ducktales. Is the Ducktales series a show that Scrooge produces? If not, Scrooge, the money hungry duck that he is, must surely sell the rights to his life story to the studio. In which case, is there a filmed version of Scrooge’s Ducktales adventures within the Ducktales universe? Also, if Scrooge is so shrewd with money why is he involved with a floundering studio? Why do Major Courage’s ratings stink?
And who, you might ask, is Major Courage? Major Courage is the Ducktales universe version of golden age era William Shatner. A very pompous duck who stars in a science fiction show. Doofus Drake and the kids are big fans of Major Courage. Who is Doofus Drake?
Doofus Drake makes his first appearance in this episode. I’ll discuss Doofus in more detail in later entries but he appears in this episode without any proper introduction. This appears to be the earliest episode where Doofus Drake appears. He’s the fat duck kid that hangs out with the kids and wears a Davy Crockett cap.
Scrooge decides to reboot Major Courage’s program and tells Gyro to design Major Courage’s ship, the Starship Phoenix. Major Courage takes Scrooge’s recommendation as advice to make an actual Starship Phoenix. Look, in the real world if you had a private freelance inventor and you told them to make a more “realistic” spaceship and they made you one that worked, you’d likely have a strong legal case against them. In Duckburg, not so much. Gyro designs a death trap that can go to outerspace and doesn’t even appear to get in trouble.
Launchpad, Major Courage, the kids minus Webby end up in outerspace with aliens. There are all sorts of troubling implications that aliens exist so readily in the Ducktales universe. The most troubling interpretation is that because Ducktales revolves around the ancient wonders of the world and these aliens, you could create all sorts of ancient aliens arguments to suggest how architectural monuments in the Ducktales universe were made.
Launchpad ends up being tortured by the aliens and Ducktales tries to just laugh it off. But think about that, Launchpad ends up abducted and tortured by aliens and that ends up nothing more than a one off joke. That’s absolutely disturbing.
Launchpad and Major Courage end up in a scuffle about how to respond to the aliens. Major Courage ends up having not that much courage and sneaks off in an escape rocket, which makes me wonder why he couldn’t just bring Launchpad and the kids with him. With just the kids and Launchpad left on the ship, Launchpad ends up trying to use a food synthesizer as a weapon against the aliens. A food gun as a weapon cause that makes sense. Launchpad ends up with the ability to only shoot a slimy food at the aliens, which makes them slip. I’m only really mentioning this escape sequence in detail so that I can discuss one point: as the kids and Launchpad attempt to escape they end up on a transporter. During the transporter sequence, it’s revealed that Launchpad is actually bald under his hat. This doesn’t make sense because Launchpad has a tuft of orange hair. Is that just dead hair that he’s glued onto his hat?
The TV show, Courage of the Cosmos, on which Major Courage stars ends up cancelled. The moral of the story ends up that: real heroes just do their job. Major Courage is meanwhile given a crappy job. It should be noted that this outcome for Major Courage is maybe the only accurate aspect of the story because William Shatner ultimately indeed did end up homeless after his role in Star Trek.
Did I like this episode? It was watchable but I remember Ducktales being much more enjoyable. On the scale, I’d place this episode better than Armstrong but less than Luck O’ the Duck.
One more note of importance, this episode was written by Len Uhley who has a bunch of credits on cartoons that you likely will only remember if you are a child of the 80’s or 90’s
And that’s it for now, fearless reader. Stay tuned for next week’s episode where I review Ducktales episode #9, “Nothing to Fear.”