Screenshot from “The Depths Of Cousin Fethry!”
Photo: Disney (Disney/ABC Press Site)

I’m certainly not opposed to a Dewey/Huey driven episode. Dewey’s adventure-driven, adrenaline-rush-loving energy contrasts nicely with Huey’s more low-key, detail-oriented, book-smart weirdness. Both love that sense of adventure, of discovery–they just come at it in different mindsets. The title “The Depths of Cousin Fethry!” works on two levels, both as the physical direction of their current predicament as they delve deeper into the ocean, but also the amount of craziness that Fethry is displaying, and the amount of it the boys are willing to put up with. But maybe it’s too much. DuckTales, in its current iteration, is playing fast and loose with its concept of adventuring, with characters wanting to take on the thrill just for the sake of it. But that approach really hurts this episode, which feels somewhat forced and chaotic narratively, but not in that controlled way that contributes to the show’s best episodes.

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Scrooge gets a call on a can on a string from Cousin Fethry, a character he warns is cuckoo bananas (well, that’s from Donald, but Scrooge doesn’t object), who tends to lead them on various adventures that ultimately lead nowhere. But Dewey and Huey just hear “adventure,” and soon the eager twins are off to said cousin, stealing a sub and ripping out its radio so they can roll with it sans interference. As Launchpad goes off once again on a side adventure, Dewey and Huey meet with Fethry, a wildly eccentric guy who is indeed as “cuckoo” as mentioned. He seems oblivious to dangers (which is really on par for the course with this family), but also he befriends krill and giant worm creatures, lives alone, and expresses interest in comparatively lame stuff. He attempts to lead Huey and Dewey down into the undersea lab but typical crazy obstacles occur (the line is cut, there’s hydrothermal vents everywhere, also there’s a monster).

The episode tries to parallel Huey and Fethry, which Dewey points out multiple times. Huey and Fethry even are fellow Junior Woodchucks! But… I don’t know. I don’t buy it. I like the idea of Huey seeing himself in who he assumes to a future version of himself, a somewhat-nutty scientist who loves to explore the minutia of the world. It would explain why he gives Fethry’s antics so much leeway. But I feel like it misses something crucial when it’s revealed that Fethry is only a janitor. (I could see that being a somewhat disappointing reveal to Huey, but the episode never quite explores that.) It also kind of feels like the boys take a really long time to recognize Fethry for the kind of person he is. This episode has visual delights for days-the lighting effects of the spotlight, the spooky, almost Dead Space/Bioshock-esque interiors of the observation deck, and, most impressively, the billowing plumes of the hydrothermal vents–which were particularly gorgeous. But the narrative never congeals. Huey and Dewey do what they do best when they face the monster, which turns out to be a mutated krill that Fethry lost years ago. But while Huey accepts Fethry there at the end, it’s a wash whether that’s a good thing. It’s not clear if Huey and Fethry grow closer, or if Huey accepts that this could be in his future, or even the extent Huey sees himself in Fethry. There’s an adventure here, but it lacks… depth.


Stray observations

  • Sorry for the late, short review. I’m actually kind of sick right now, and I’ll try to fix any typos or mistakes a bit later. (Also, lots of Kinja issues.)
  • I loved all the old time-y phones and communication devices on Scrooge’s desk. It works cause we know that Scrooge also has a cell phone.
  • To be clear, janitorial work is one hundred percent okay and there’s nothing wrong with it. I guess I was expecting the episode to lean more into how Huey would accept, in whatever way, he and Fethry were alike, even within that job, and how one can still express scientific wonder at what’s out there in this world (as lame as those rainbow krill seemed on screen, I figured Huey of all people would still appreciate that sight).
  • Sometimes you can feel an episode just not clicking together, even in the writers’ room, and I definitely get those vibes here.

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