Even before the reboot of Ducktales, Della Duck was a bit of a mystery. She’s rarely appeared in any Disney stories, and the original cartoon never even mentioned her. So, fans were pretty excited when the reboot made it clear that it was going to show us who she was; even Nostalgia Critic got hyped.
The mystery behind Della’s absence was one of the biggest plot points during Season One. We got hints of what happened, but it took Scrooge’s bombshell revelation in “The Last Crash of the Sunchaser!” to give us the whole story. And what a sad story! When it looked like Della might be gone for good, the Season One finale showed us that Della was alive. Alive but trapped on the moon.
The Christmas Special “Last Christmas” gave us some insight into what Della was like as a kid, but she hasnt gotten a lot of on-screen time. Plus there are so many questions. How has she survived for ten years without food, water, or oxygen? How could Scrooge fail to find her on the Moon? “What Ever Happened to Della Duck” answers these questions, while laying the groundwork for future plot lines.
Right off the bat, the writers establish what kind of story this episode’s going to tell: after showing how Della crashed the Spear of Selene on the moon, the next scene shows her waking up with her leg pinned underneath the wreckage and no way to get it out. She knows what she has to do, and her response is classic Donald: “Aw, phooey”. The next scene is two months later, her leg amputated in favor of a robot prosthetic. Then the show’s title appears, no song, no credits. Perfect way to emphasize how serious this episode’s going to be.
It is indeed serious, but it also knows how to balance it with humor. For example, the show explains how Della’s survived without a spacesuit: Gyro’s Oxy-Chew gum. It gives her all the food, water, and air she needs. The bad news: it’s black licorice flavored. Yuck!
To pass the time, Della makes video logs a la Mark Watney. This gives viewers insight into what her boys got from her:
- Huey got her love of being a Junior Woodchuck
- Dewey got the love of adventure. And her recklessness
- Louie got her laziness and sharp mind.
Funny enough, she has Donald’s anger problems. But being stuck on the Moon doesn’t break her spirits.
Things will not go her way, though. She tries writing an SOS message, a creature called a Moon-nite eats it before one of Scrooge’s ships can see it. She tries rebuilding the Spear of Selene, she finds its powered by gold. When it takes her four years to remember she had a gold tooth in her mouth, the Moon-Mite comes back and eats part of her ship!
By the end of the episode, she makes peace with the Moon-Mite after learning it was just trying to feed its kid. The moment could have been a Disney cop-out, but Della’s heartfelt song ensures it’s not. The Spear of Selene’s beaten up real bad, though.
It’s here where things finally go Della’s way. After befriending the native inhabitants of the Moon, they let her stay in their giant city made out of gold. More than enough to fix her ship!
Things seem to be looking up for Della, but a comment from one of the Moonlanders gives the impression that they have ulterior motives. That can wait for another day, though.
This episode manages to go above and beyond answering it’s own question while giving us a great story in the vein of great survival stories like The Martian and Robinson Crusoe. Better still, it sets the show for events down the road. The best part, though, is that it finally gave fans a good look at Della Duck.
I Give This Episode a 4.8/5
- That Oxy-Chew was a really good plot device, but I wonder: was Della chewing the same piece of gum for ten years?
- If Della ever gets back to Earth, I think it’d be funny to see her punch Gyro for the gum flavor. “Best flavor in the world” my butt!
- Wait, how do the Moonlanders breath? There’s no air on the Moon!