“Suffering builds character.” Disney XD’s consistently wonderful 2017 DuckTales reboot continues its third season this week with another episode that puts a unique spin on a tried-and-true trope of the adventure genre: the Lost City of Atlantis, represented here by Mervana– a sort of underwater hippie commune of the fowl-inhabited Disney Duck universe.
Scrooge McDuck (voiced by David Tennant) and family find themselves headed toward Mervana in their yellow submarine as part of their ongoing quest to follow through on the incomplete adventures of Isabella Finch thanks to the Junior Woodchuck founder’s newly unearthed journal, as first seen in this year’s season premiere.
The adventure-loving Huey (Danny Pudi) and Webby (Kate Micucci) are of course the most excited to explore Mervana, and the rest of the Duck family’s reactions range from Donald’s (Tony Anselmo) frustration to Della’s (Paget Brewster) utter refusal to even leave the submarine– she doesn’t care much for fish, apparently. Uncle Scrooge can barely conceal his disgust when the clan discovers that the subaquatic paradise is populated exclusively by peace-loving, possession-rejecting flower children, and Louie (Bobby Moynihan) immediately begins to suspect that the mermaid-like creatures are a bit too suspiciously welcoming to not be hiding some kind of dark secret.
While Scrooge, Donald, Huey, and Dewey (Ben Schwartz) make crafts with two overly helpful Mervanan representatives (prolific voice actors Hynden Walch of Adventure Time and Greg Cipes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Louie teams up with Webby and Mrs. Beakley (Toks Olagundoye) to investigate murmurings behind a strange waterfall. Eventually they come upon the titular living, talking Harp (played melodically by guest star Retta of Parks and Recreation fame) and learn the city’s true history. It seems the lost king Honestus (Enchanted’s Jeff Bennett) spent a little too much time under the sea– by the way, there’s a great offhand reference to The Little Mermaid early in this episode– and over time evolved into a blubberous monster.
Naturally, our protagonists must find a way to restore Mervana to its former seaside glory and defeat the threatening former-king beast with the Harp’s help. It’s a fun, funny outing that never quite reaches the highs of the best DuckTales episodes, but it does contain a number of memorable moments, with the running gag of Della not even being able to say the word “fish” without gagging being one of the highlights. We also get to see how the nephews have figured out how to put Donald’s temper tantrums to good use and are treated to a few good digs at hippie culture via that die-hard capitalist Scrooge McDuck. “The Lost Harp of Mervana!” may ultimately be a middling episode, but even those are worth watching when they feature our favorite feathered family.
DuckTales airs Saturdays on Disney XD.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.