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A Trip to the Shadow Realm

Ducktales, “Friendship Hates Magic” Review

What’s a good way to help a reboot stand out from the original? By adding a well-written, never-before-seen character. Enter Lena De Spell, Magica’s shadow turned sentient “niece” who became Webby’s best friend. At the end of last season, Lena sacrificed herself to save Webby, but she survived as Webby’s shadow.

I thought that was the end to Lena’s story for the foreseeable future, but in this episode of Ducktales, we get to see the return of Lena. Also, the title’s a clear reference to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Two of the greatest cartoons of the decade for the price of one!

Ever since the Shadow War, Webby’s been researching a way to bring back Lena, who’s been following her around ever since, and making unheard but sassy remarks about her routine. When she runs into this other girl named Violet Sabrewing and strikes up a friendship, she ends up inviting her to McDuck Manor for a sleepover. Lena doesn’t take it very well.

What I like most about this episode is that it really gives Lena a chance to show off her character development. When we first met her, she only befriended Webby so she could get in with Scrooge, but then she actually became her friend. And in this episode, she proves how possessive she is of Webby.

If there’s one thing that I have learned, it’s that jealousy in cartoons can lead to disaster. I think we can all understand where Lena’s coming from, though: she doesn’t want the one person who cares about her to forget her in the end, and she sees a lot of her old self in Violet. At least, that’s what she thinks.

Turns out, Violet wasn’t trying to do anything wrong; she just wanted to satisfy her curiosity about the supernatural. I liked that the writers decided to go with the simple, straightforward route. Giving her ulterior motives would have just been a repeat of Lena, which would have been uninteresting. Instead, Lena ends up being the cause of the problems, as her negative emotions release dark shadows called Tulpas.

By the end of the episode, Webby, Lena, and Violet combine their powers to banish the darkness, and through the magic of friendship/plot convenience, the friendship bracelet Lena made for Webby restores her to the physical world.

Great, now they have to make sure that they continue to use Lena and Violet. If done right, they could be a great addition to the show’s cast.

Also, I really like the sub-plot involving Mrs. Beakley and Launchpad bonding over their shared love of heroes. And that means… DARKWING DUCK!!! That show has been teased time and again since Ducktales started, and if you missed the news, Darkwing Duck will get its own episode this Friday!

So, this episode, while a little bit creepy at times, turned out to be a heartwarming experience for all, and proof of why Ducktales is one of Disney’s flagship shows right now. When Star vs. The Forces of Evil ends this Sunday, Ducktales will be the most suited to take its place. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I give “Friendship Hates Magic” a 4/5.

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