The Epic DuckTales Finale Was, in Fact, a Duck Blur

Illustration for article titled The Epic DuckTales Finale Was, in Fact, a Duck Blur
Image: Disney

The new DuckTales series is over, but it went out with a giant, epic finale that was wildly overstuffed, mostly satisfying, and contained one massive surprise that somehow wasn’t the reveal that Manny the Headless Man Horse With a Bust of Scrooge McDuck for His Head was actually Manny the Headless Man Horse With a Bust of Scrooge McDuck for His Head...of the Apocalypse.

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Illustration for article titled The Epic DuckTales Finale Was, in Fact, a Duck Blur

“The Last Adventure” is primarily Webby’s story—her origin story, in fact. She finally realizes her grandmother, Ms. Beakley, isn’t telling her something when the extended Clan McDuck and friends invade the secret FOWL headquarters only to discover it’s empty, except for two clones of Webigail color-coded yellow and light blue for the audience’s convenience. The clones, May and June, are just as confused as Webby about why they were made and abandoned, but when Webby confronts her grandmother about what’s going on, Ms. Beakley just storms off to take care of FOWL by herself.

Of course, FOWL left the clones to be found on purpose in order to steal the two Missing Mystery artifacts that have formed the vague overarching plot of the third season. They kidnap Webby at FOWL leader Bradford Buzzard’s mysterious request—but Webby cunningly ties up and gags one of the clones off-screen and trades outfits to go to the new FOWL base in disguise in hopes of getting some answers.

Of course, Scrooge, Dewey, Louie, Della, Donald, Launchpad, Violet, Lena, B.O.Y.D., Gyro, Darkwing, Gizmoduck, Drake, and Manny chase after them (Huey secretly stowed away on the plane with Webby). That’s a lot of characters, and they’re up against Steelbeak, May, Black Heron, Pepper, Rockerduck, Jeeves, the Phantom Blot, Don Karnage, a bunch of FOWL minions, and of course Bradford. The second and third episodes of the three-part finale are mainly a multitude of fights and characters repeatedly getting capture. It’s certainly epic, but it’s much too busy to leave room for the humor that’s made the show so wonderful.

There is a bit of room for some surprises, however. There’s the aforementioned reveal that Manny is the Man-Horse of the Apocalypse, voiced by Keith David when he sprouts his demon wings and yells “I live again!” in a clear nod to David’s role as Goliath in Disney’s ‘90 Gargoyles cartoon. Bradford’s big plan is to normalize the world by destroying all magical artifacts and heroes and villains and magically forcing Scrooge to give up his adventuring. In order to do that, he needs the last Missing Mystery, the Papyrus of Binding, which changes reality based on what’s written on it. And to do that, Bradford needs a direct descendant of Scrooge McDuck...Webby.

Yes, Webby is the first clone of Scrooge, created by FOWL with the explicit purpose of getting the Papyrus, but rescued as an infant by Ms. Beakley in her SHUSH agent days. Webby is hurt when she discovers her grandmother is not her grandmother, but is very excited to learn that she’s not just part of the found McDuck family, but part of the genetic McDuck family, too.

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It’s exactly what Webigail has wanted, but it feels like it undercuts the finale’s message that found families—the people who care for you and about you—are just as important, if not moreso, than families by blood. It’s why all the DuckTales protagonists band together to rescue Webby and stop Bradford. It’s why May and June are vaguely adopted into the McDuck family after the battle’s over. And it’s why Scrooge and his friends win the day, naturally. Still, “legitimizing” her place with the McDucks gives a sense of delegitimizing her role in the found family.

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All that said, there were plenty of great moments in “The Last Adventure.” The reveal that Webby had actually captured June was played perfectly. Launchpad gets a turn in the GizmoDuck armor to the cheers of all the people he’s inspired with his cheerfully incompetent heroism. I’m not sure Bradford can truly be blamed for Delia getting stranded on the moon simply by telling her about the Spear of Selene rocketship, but it gives him a big boost of villainy that raises the stakes of the final battle. And, after Bradford is defeated, Magica DeSpell, who isn’t pleased to learn she and the other villains were also going to be erased from reality if FOWL won, transforms Bradford Buzzard into a regular buzzard, which probably isn’t a callback to this moment but boggled my ding-dang mind yet again.

All in all, “The Last Adventure” wasn’t DuckTales’ greatest adventure, even if it was the biggest, loudest, and busiest. But if you’ve been watching this wonderful show, watching all these characters come together to fight as one giant, extended family is still satisfying and heartwarming. Even so-so DuckTales episodes are very good. So whatever problems the finale had, the biggest one by far is that it was the last DuckTales adventure we’ll get to see.

Assorted Musings:

  • Scrooge does sign the Papyrus and gives up his life of adventuring to save his family—but Huey manages to render the contract void by explaining that family is the greatest adventure of all. Bradford’s response, perfectly delivered by Mark Evan Jackson: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
  • Della using her robot foot as an axe was outstanding.
  • Is Webby now Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s aunt?
  • The final image of the series is a shot of Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby holding hands as they plummet to the ground with no apparent way of surviving, having accidentally been jettisoned from Launchpad’s plane. They’ll presumably be fine, but it’s a real weird way to end the show.
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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

DISCUSSION

ComradeDread

The final image of the series is a shot of Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby holding hands as they plummet to the ground with no apparent way of surviving, having accidentally been jettisoned from Launchpad’s plane. They’ll presumably be fine, but it’s a real weird way to end the show.

If Tennant McDuck dies, I believe he regenerates into an older Scottish fellow and gets himself some new companions.