It’s been nearly three months since the previous episode of the excellent current DuckTales reboot aired on Disney XD, and during that hiatus we learned that the beloved series has regrettably not been renewed for a fourth season. That news feels extremely bittersweet, since it will be incredibly sad to see this show say goodbye, but it will also certainly make these next four weeks’ worth of new episodes feel like a celebration of everything showrunners Matt Youngberg and Francisco Angones have accomplished over the past several years.
Case in point: the rollicking new installment which premieres today– “Beaks in the Shell!”– which charmingly shifts DuckTales’ focus for half an hour to the character of Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera (AKA Duckburg’s local robotic-suit superhero Gizmoduck), as voiced by the multitalented Broadway and Disney darling Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Mary Poppins Returns).
After Gizmoduck thwarts another malfeasance committed by the criminal organization known as F.O.W.L., we discover that Fenton is secretly dating F.O.W.L.’s resident tech geek Gandra Dee (Jameela Jamil of The Good Place) and the covert couple are working together to construct a secret virtual-reality universe called the Gizmocloud– though they haven’t quite agreed on the name just yet. In the Gizmocloud, inventors can experiment with science without the fear of their projects running amok and harming any innocent bystanders, but the system is glitching and its creators are afraid to ask anyone for help lest their star-crossed partnership be discovered. Enter Huey (Danny Pudi of Community fame), who stumbles upon Fenton’s VR goggles and learns of the clandestine relationship, only to be sworn to secrecy– and let’s face it: it’s pretty tough for Huey to keep a secret as juicy as this one.
Several other interested parties want to know what’s going on with Fenton’s personal life as well: his police-officer mother María (Selenis Leyva from Spider-Man: Homecoming), his boss Gyro Gearloose (Pudi’s Community costar Jim Rash), and the devious tech industry CEO Mark Beaks (Josh Brener of HBO’s Silicon Valley). Since his last appearance, Beaks and his company Waddle have fallen so far out of favor with the public that he’s desperate to steal some new ideas from the minds behind Gizmoduck. He breaks into Fenton’s house and enters the Gizmocloud uninvited, imprisoning Crackshell-Cabrera and Gandra Dee and making himself at home with the software. Fortunately, Fenton is able to send a message to Huey using Morse code and Huey is thrilled to learn that in order to save his friends, he must spill the beans on the secrets he’s been guarding. He enlists the help of Officer Cabrera and Gyro and united they’re able to beat Beaks at his own concept-cribbing game inside the virtual world.
“Beaks in the Shell!” is a terrific showcase of DuckTales humor and animation, with some highlights being the creative superhero costumes each character comes up with for themselves inside the Gizmocloud (reflecting their own personalities and desires), clever in-joke references to Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and previous iterations of DuckTales, and hilarious gags like Beaks riding his own hoverboard while already donning the unicycled Gizmoduck suit and Louie (Bobby Moynihan from Mr. Mayor) reprising his spot-on impression of Huey in an effort to conceal the truth from the other concerned adults. This installment exemplifies what this show can be when it’s firing on all cylinders, and though it features a largely self-contained story, the episode also helps further the season-long F.O.W.L. plotline and– I’m assuming– sets up part of what we’ll see in the sure-to-be-momentous series finale next month. With only three more weeks remaining, we fans are going to have to savor every minute of DuckTales we get between now and then, and today’s episode made for a great way to kick off that countdown.
New episodes of DuckTales premiere Mondays 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.