The Life and Crimes of Scrooge McDuck!
DuckTales Season 3, Episode 21 Review
When you spend your life accumulating enemies, you have to wonder: is it them, or are you part of the problem? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a cartoon make a famous hero deal with this dilemma. The Batman:TAS episode “Trial” did a great job with this concept. Still, given how many enemies Scrooge McDuck’s made, you have to wonder if he’s egging them on. That’s why this episode sees Scrooge taken to karmic court. Is he responsible for making his worst enemies? Spoiler alert: they were all jerks before he met them.
The Villains vs. Scrooge McDuck. Or, Doofus Drake Strikes Again.
So, remember the reboot’s version of Doofus Drake? He’s the richest kid in Duckburg, but also a complete sociopath who has it out for Louie? Because Louie “ruined his life” by making him share his money, the little freak teams up with Scrooge’s worst enemies to take him to court. A supernatural karmic court where they accuse Scrooge McDuck of making them evil. If he loses, Doofus and the others will get everything he owns, so Louie has to defend his Uncle.
I’ll be honest, while I think that this concept is as interesting as it was for Batman, they don’t really take it as far as they could. That is, the villains don’t do a good job of justifying their Freudian excuses for hating Scrooge.
First, we have Glomgold, the one with seemingly the best reason to hate Scrooge. McDuck short-changed him as a kid in a failed attempt to teach him about self-reliance, and he dedicated his life to getting even. He also upstaged him during a treasure hunt in 1987 and left him stranded amongst sharks. This could be sympathetic, but then you remember that Glomgold based his whole life around beating Scrooge. He was always going to make himself miserable.
Then we have Ma Beagle, who watched as Scrooge won the deed to Duckburg from her pappy in arm-wrestling. Her pappy who resorted to cheating to win, until Scrooge outwitted him. In hindsight, I knew her case wouldn’t hold water either way. By her own admission, her dad stole the deed to Duckburg from its people first. Scrooge took it back from them. Simple as that.
Then, we have the villain who I never expected to have a genuine gripe with Scrooge McDuck, the evil Magica DeSpell.
Poe the Raven: Nevermore
I almost forgot that Magica has a twin brother, Poe DeSpell, but she does. In the original series, Magica accidentally turned him into a raven and couldn’t change him back. As we learn in this episode, the same thing happened to Poe, but thanks to Scrooge, it becomes a lot more tragic.
We learn through flashbacks that Poe was the only one capable of reining in Magica’s psychotic tendencies, and the two genuinely cared for each other. But when they accidentally dragged Scrooge into their midst, a fight broke out, which ended with Poe taking a spell that would have hit Magica. As a result, he gets turned into a raven and flies away leaving a tearful Magica all alone. And what did Scrooge do? Nothing. He just took their loot and left, even when Magica genuinely begged for his help in saving her brother.
Magica was, and always will be, a horrible person who’s caused untold suffering to others. But I have to admit, even I think what Scrooge did was a dick move. Hell, Louie’s aghast at how callous his Uncle Scrooge was. Even Scrooge himself realizes that he went too far with this. Having seen the consequences of allowing a life-long rivalry fester, Louie does the mature thing and apologizes to Doofus, who actually backs off. Granted, I don’t think Louie had to apologize to Doofus, but if it means getting him off his back before its too late, I’m all for it.
Oh, and because Scrooge is willing to admit his screw-ups in the past, he wins the case. Because, as Louie argues, the villains ended up turning him into hero and family man that he is today. Go figure.
Scrooge McDuck: An Amazing Man
This was the final episode of DuckTales before the big, movie long finale next week. And since the finale’s going to focus on fighting against F.O.W.L., the show needed to give Ma Beagle, Glomgold, and Magica a proper send-off. And what better way to do that than by looking back on why they hate Scrooge McDuck so much.
Like I said, most of their cases don’t hold up water. Hell, while I still feel bad for Magica, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a horrible person. If anything, the lesson that Scrooge should take is that just because his enemies are jerks doesn’t mean he should stoop to their level.
The episode also serves as a milestone for Louie Duck’s growth as a character. All he wants is to become rich and successful like his Uncle, but as we’ve seen, he’s his own worst enemy. Fortunatley, he’s aware of this and is trying to actively fix it, while also ensuring that he doesn’t make the same mistakes as Scrooge. It’s a shame that the series is ending and that we may not see these incarnations of Scrooge and his family for some time. I would love to see how they continue to grow and develop even more. However, all good things must come to an end, or they become The Simpsons.
Next week, we have the 90-minute series finale movie, and I intend to make my review of it extra long. Until then, go do yourself a favor and enjoy the DuckTales marathon on Disney XD.
Wait! There’s More!
I don’t know if you guys know this, but I’m now a writer for The Game of Nerds! I’ve been writing stuff for them for close to a month now. Why am I mentioning this now, though? Because starting tomorrow, they will be publishing posts that I’ve written to help hype up the series finale of DuckTales! Go check them out when they come up.
Click here if you want to read about the best episodes of DuckTales.
Click here if you want to read about the amazing guest stars on DuckTales.
Or click here if you want to read about the references DuckTales makes to the Disney Afternoon Block.
I Give “The Life and Crimes of Scrooge McDuck” a 3.5/5
Click here to see my other animation stuff.
Animation, Blog Posts, Disney TV, Ducktales! (2017 Reboot), TV Shows
It was great seeing Poe and I have to hand it to the show for having the guts to make a Doofus so different from his ’87 self. It worked very well, so much I think I like this version more than the original.