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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Della Duck finally returns home in an emotional, adventurous, Mother's Day DuckTales

Illustration for article titled Della Duck finally returns home in an emotional, adventurous, Mother's Day DuckTales

By the very nature of this “all at once” new episode release format–the “bomb”– it’s naturally going to blunt the emotional impact of Della’s arrival and first encounter with Scrooge and her children in years. We only have one day and one episode to take it all in before the show jumps into the next adventure, and if the episode/production order is any indication, the show is airing some things out of order, so expect some tonal whiplash this coming week. Still, the very moment of this encounter is something to behold in and of itself. Della is back home. Everything has led to this.


I have no qualms to admit I teared up several times in this episode, especially in the first five minutes of the first act. Seeing Scrooge hug, argue, and hug Della again was beautiful, as were the reluctant but eventual embraces shared by Huey, Dewey, and Louie with their newly returned parent. Everyone’s reactions felt true and right, and it’s hard not to feel the emotions shared among everyone. Louie, in particular, had the most nuanced and “realistic” reaction, whose character always seemed aloof, confused, and extra-sensitive in regards to any information about his mother. The writers and animators do a good job with keeping Louie guarded–his calmer, low-key reactions contrasting with Huey and Dewey’s overly-excited ones. I wrote before about keeping an eye on the green triplet; his reactions here, from refusing to believe Della is actually real to his honesty about not being sure how to act with a new mom in his life, gives “Nothing Can Stop Della Duck!” its most resonant point.

The core thematic throughline works, too, although it has to work up against the very nature of the show. It’s about watching Della struggle with being back in civilization, among people, and, in particular, her family. Her wild and adventurous ways don’t quite work within a family unit (gory bedtime stories, cooking with illegal ingredients, skateboarding indoors on a shield), but DuckTales itself has established that being around dangerous events is all par for the course. So it doesn’t quite track that Della is coming off too much for the family, which in effect makes Mrs. Beakley appear weirdly uncaring and inconsiderate (the kids’ reactions make sense, at least). That Scrooge seems to be the only one who grasps the concept that Della has been around for just one day, and that it will take some time to adjust and cope, is a tricky line that the episode teeters on a few times. The episode uses Della’s leg as a symbol of that idea: Scrooge remarks on Della’s ability to quickly adjust to new situations in the first act; by the third, the mom removes said leg to rescue Louie just in the nick of time.

Della surely knows how to be an adventurer, but is she ready to be a mom? For DuckTales, the two really go hand in hand, and the title of the episode is any indication, Della will do everything she can to make it happen. Della makes a perfect fit within the world of the show, one of the better new characters that the creative team has added to the roster (in terms of the show I mean, since Della existed in the comics before). There’s still more coming, too, with Donald now captured by the Moonlanders, a plot point that’s hard to judge at this moment. I am heavily invested to see those two reunite, so I’m a bit sore on that contrivance, but I’m confident that DuckTales can provide a proper, intense endgame involving these upcoming moon invaders, while also providing the perfect, emotional reunion between Della and Donald–“Nothing Can Stop Della Duck!” is proof of that.

Stray observations

  • A perfect Mother’s Day episode, too!
  • Not that it particularly matters in an episode like this, but I get the feeling that the writers aren’t particularly sure what to do with Duckworth.
  • The episode almost falls into an “Idiot Plot” moment when Della runs off during the meeting among Scrooge, Beakley, and the triplets before hearing the rest of Scrooge’s speech. It works if because it allows for Della to voice her insecurities and renewed determination (as well as literally kickstart the third act when she kicks that golden statue it life), but still... Idiot Plots will be Idiot Plots.

Contributor, The A.V. Club, with a clear preference for all things cartoons; check out his main blog at http://www.totalmediabridge.com.