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Recap / DuckTales (2017) S2 E2 "The Depths of Cousin Fethry!"

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Is it really better down where it's wetter?

Huey and Dewey are led on an adventure by their distant cousin Fethry, who takes them to the depths of Scrooge's deep-sea laboratory.

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The City of Duckburg!

In the Manor's study, Huey excitedly shows Dewey a sample of a tree their Uncle Scrooge discovered that, according to Huey's knowledge of Dendrochronology, experienced three leap years in a row! Dewey is...decidedly unimpressed, as well as unamused that he was dragged out from the bathroom during a soak for the sake of his older sibling's nerdy hobbies and would rather deal with something he actually finds exciting.

Their discussion is interrupted by the "ringing" of a Tin-Can Telephone on Scrooge's desk caused by an unknown caller. Scrooge and Donald enter the room with a frame for the wood sample and identify the caller as Fethry Duck, Donald's cousin who is stationed at Scrooge's top-secret deep sea lab. Huey and Dewey are eager to know about this newly-discovered relative and where he works, but Scrooge (somewhat more considerate than Donald) advises them against consorting with Fethry, as their previous endeavors with him usually involve going on some perilous and life-threatening adventure for the sake of seeing something Fethry considers interesting like an unusual barnacle formation. Nonetheless, the boys are enticed by the opportunity to go on an adventure with their "cousin" and rope Launchpad into giving them a ride to Fethry's location in Scrooge's submarine.

En route, Huey assumes Fethry to be a marine biologist and expresses his excitement to see what Fethry has discovered while Dewey is anticipating the chance to name some undiscovered sea creature after himself. Once they reach the lighthouse where Fethry is stationed, the boys leave Launchpad to meet their cousin while Launchpad is drawn to the calls of his "old love" Oceanica.

Reaching the top of the buoy, the boys find Fethry hanging upside down, decompressing from being in the deep sea. Of course, the silly part is that he was holding a water glass upside down so when he flips back down, the water falls out. Introducing himself as Donald's favorite cousin, Fethry agrees to take them both down to the undersea lab to see the wonders of the deep.

"The Tropes of Cousin Fethry!"

  • Absentee Actor: Louie doesn't appear at all, with Huey and Dewey planning on blaming the whole thing on him at the end. Webby and Mrs. Beakley are also absent from the episode, while Scrooge and Donald only appear at the beginning.
  • An Aesop: Just because someone or something is strange and different, doesn't make them bad.
  • All for Nothing: Both Dewey and Huey have this feeling when Fethry reveals that his discovery is rainbow krill and he is not a scientist as they thought, especially since they went through near-fatal encounters just to get to it.
    Dewey: Krill? We stole the sub for krill? We almost DIED for krill?!
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The illustration of the dewfish Huey shows Dewey looks more like a common catfish than the real animal. It doesn't even have the eel-like tail the species is named after.
    • As usual, the blobfish is based on its squashed form on land rather than its natural form underwater. Its body also doesn't look like that of a real blobfish.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Giant glowing krill! And it isn't even malicious; it's just trying to save Fethry and the boys from the volcanic vents.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Dewey asks Fethry if they can go back to the surface, Fethry rather darkly tells them they are not going anywhere...because a giant monster is gonna eat them!
  • Becoming the Mask: Fethry pledges to become a scientist "for real" after the base is destroyed.
  • Blatant Lies: After discovering Fethry was a Junior Woodchuck (while having been trying to refute Dewey's teasing about how similar they are), Huey claims that he's not that into the club and it's more of a side hobby.
  • Call-Back:
    • The last time the nephews went to meet a cousin, Launchpad also went on his own mysterious journey.
    • Huey's paralyzing fear of being unable to see what's after him in the dark, established in "Terror of the Terra-Firmians!", is on display again here: he is visibly nervous when the lights begin flickering on and off prior to the worm attack, and has a full-on panic attack when his scuba facemask fogs up while fleeing the sea monster through the vents.
    • Huey's (and Fethry's) JWG-endorsed reasoning for always wearing a hat was earlier mentioned in Huey's "Thirty Things" video.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The volcanic vents and the bioluminescent krill.
  • Clingy Aquatic Life: When Launchpad comes back from his adventure with Oceanika, he is covered in seaweed and has an octopus and a starfish latched onto his back and a moray wrapped around his arm.
  • Companion Cube: Fethry made a scarecrow to scare pirates away from the aquavator and named it Arturo.
  • Crying Wolf: Scrooge has stopped paying attention to Fethry's calls since they're always about seeing something he thinks is interesting instead of anything of scientific importance. Indeed, when Dewey and Huey follow him, it turns out he was just looking at some rainbow luminescent krill, which he thought looked pretty. Then they're attacked by a giant krill that Fethry was unaware of until then.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Fethry unorthodox methods turn out to be useful, whether it's complimenting a mutant deep-sea worm into letting them go or singing to a giant krill to calm it down.
  • Ditzy Genius: Though he may be goofy and isn't an actual scientist, Fethry is pretty good at marine biology.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "The Depths of Cousin Fethry" can refer to both his job in an undersea station and to the fact that he's not as featherbrained as he seems.
  • Foil: Fethry, to both Huey and his (absent) cousin Gladstone Gander.
    • Like Huey, Fethry is a (former) Junior Woodchuck with some rather esoteric interests that he tends to get rather obsessively caught up in. Where Huey is organised, methodical and controlled, however, Fethry is scatter-brained and eccentric.
    • Like Gladstone, Fethry summons his nephews to an emergency that isn't all it appears to be, and it's implied by Scrooge and Donald has done this before. Unlike Gladstone, who only wanted to exploit his family's willingness to help for his own selfish ends, Fethry just wants to share his interests with his relatives (and, it is implied, is a bit starved of affection and company).
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The giant mutant krill is actually Mitzy, one of Fethry's pets.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Down in Fethry's lab, there's a ripped sign on the wall for a split second. On it is written, "Signs of Ocean Madness / Pressure of the deep ... ever after / Isolation for long periods of time"
  • Generation Xerox: There are many similarities between Huey and Fethry, as Dewey points out. Fethry is even a former Junior Woodchuck. to emphasize the similarities, both wear red jackets and a hat.
  • Gentle Giant: Mitzy the krill becomes this after Huey sings to it.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Fethry may or many not have gone loopy from years of little contact with other people. He does comment that sometimes he just contemplates the endless emptiness and darkness of the deep ocean.
  • Good All Along: The gigantic krill is actually one of Fethry's pets. And it was the volcanic vents that wrecked the undersea lab, not her.
  • Halloween Episode: This episode premiered right before Halloween, and was advertised as one of these. While not taking place on the holiday, it does have all the elements of a classic horror episode with dark hallways, underwater monsters, a chase, and a potential to be Alone with the Psycho. Of course, given the tone of the series, many of these cliches end up being subverted.
  • Hero of Another Story: Launchpad is off on an unseen adventure involving mermaids while the others are away.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Scrooge and Donald strongly advise the boys against involving themselves with Fethry's antics since whenever they do that, it ends with them going on some "fool's errand adventure" of extreme peril just to have Fethry show them something he finds interesting. This is exactly what happens to Huey and Dewey when they go through all the trouble in the episode just to see some glowing krill Fethry found.
  • Jumped at the Call: Literally; Huey and Dewey take a flying leap towards Fethry's tin can phone when it sounds like adventure is promised.
  • Kaiju: Mitzy fits this image, being mutated to almost the size of Godzilla. She is also a heroic version of this trope, like Mothra or Gamera.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The mutant sea worms are shown to have these when they open their mouths.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Fethry encounters a green sea turtle right after he and the boys encounter a blobfish. Green sea turtles can only dive 500 feet, whereas blobfish can only be found in depths 600 feet at least. The leatherback sea turtle (capable of diving 1000 meters) would have been a more appropriate chelonian. Although given the blobfish looks like its squashed form taken onto land, it's possible that they are at 500 feet.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Huey sings a mangled rendition of the ditty Fethry sings to his "team" of krill in order to calm Mitzy down and get her back to saving them.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Fethry's first appearance in the comics had him reading a book while standing on his head. In his proper introduction to Huey and Dewey (and the audience,) Fethry is hanging upside down from the ceiling.
    • Fethry says the undersea lab complex was built in 1964, the year of the character's debut.
    • Fethry and Huey explain that they always wear a hat because the JWG says, "A warm head breeds warm, healthy thoughts." In an early comic appearance, Donald asks Fethry about his hat, and he says he got similar advice from a self-help book.
    • One shot in the episode features a bust of writer "William Drakespere" and states he was born in "Great Written." In the original series episode "Much Ado About Scrooge", Scrooge and the boys traveled to Great Written to search for Drakespere's lost play.
  • No Antagonist: There's no villain in the episode; the most antagonistic characters are some of the sea-life. The sea worms are malicious but quickly defeated and don't have much bearing on the plot; and the giant krill that seems to be the main antagonist is actually a Gentle Giant.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Scrooge says the last time Fethry called him and Donald down to the lab, it was just to see a barnacle formation that looked like a tractor, and they got mixed up an escapade with a tsunami and explosions presumably caused by Fethry's clumsiness.
    • Just how did Oceanika and Launchpad know each other? And what exactly did they do that ended with Launchpad in armor, with a octopus on his back, a moray around his arm, a conch shell around his neck and a trident in his hands?
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Once again, Launchpad goes on an epic off-screen adventure with a female acquaintance.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Fethry says he's Donald's favorite cousin. The only other cousin of Donald shown so far is Gladstone.
  • Pet the Dog: While his opinion of Fethry is as low as Donald's, Scrooge has the courtesy to try describing Fethry in a polite manner to Huey and Dewey.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Huey flips out when Fethry reveals he's not actually a scientist, forcing Dewey to restrain him.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Apparently, Scrooge sent Fethry to maintain his abandoned underwater station just to get him out of his hair.
  • Running Gag: Dewey wanting to name an ocean creature after himself.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Zigzagged
    Huey: You lured us down here to get devoured by a MONSTER! Thanks!
    Fethry: Oh, you're welcome- What?! No, I...
  • The Scapegoat: Huey and Dewey plan on blaming the whole thing on Louie at the end of the episode.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Huey and Dewey decide to leave when they become disillusioned with Fethry. Mitzy's arrival sends all three of them leaving.
    Dewey: Okay. Alright, cuz, this has been fun. Hope we never meet again. Now we need to get back to dry land, so can we get to it?
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Among the animals the trio encounter in the deep sea are a blobfish and a vampire squid. Krill also play a prominent role in the episode. The mutated sea worms are clearly based on the deep sea tube worm.
  • Shadow Archetype: Because of the similarities between them, Huey begins to fear that Fethry is one to himself. Fethry's a nice guy, but he's also someone whose quirks and failures left him branded the family oddball and someone that other relatives actively avoid.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dewey and Huey's jingle of 'Best Time Waste Ever' sounds almost in tune to the musical film Grease's "We Go Together".
    • Launchpad upon his return from his adventure looks remarkably like Kevin Sorbo from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
    • One might see a bit of Rapture in the deep-sea laboratory.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Hydrothermal vents do in fact release toxic minerals, as Fethry points out.
    • Huey refers to the mutant sea worm as a polychaete, the annelid class mainly consisting of marine worms. The mutant sea worms also bear resemblance to the deep sea tube worm, a member of the class.
    • Huey identifies the lab as being in the bathypelagic zone. He and Dewey then encounter a vampire squid, which is found in the bathyal zone.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Huey and Fethry share certain habits, such as carrying the Junior Woodchuck guidebook under their hats, and licking things that should not be licked. In the Cold Opening, Huey licks a slice of a tree for resin samples; on the lighthouse/elevator, Fethry licks rust off the machinery.
  • Tentacled Terror: Huey and Dewey get menaced by a vampire squid at the volcanic vents.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Dewey when Huey decides to sing to the giant krill under Fethry's advice while they're facing peril.
    Dewey: Well, Huey's gone sea-mad. We're dead.
  • Threatening Shark: Averted. While a shark does appear, it doesn't do anything except swim by the aquavator so Fethry can imitate it.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: Scrooge has one in his office that is a direct line to Fethry. Scrooge tries not to answer it.

And so once again, the day is saved thanks to... the Duck Brothers!

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