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Recap / DuckTales (2017) S2 E7 "What Ever Happened to Della Duck?!"

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We know what happened to Della Duck and the Spear of Selene. But what actually happened to her?


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Neither Donald, Mrs. Beakly, Launchpad, Webby, or the triplets appear in the episode. note  Scrooge only appears at the beginning, trying to steer Della home. Donald appears on a picture, but not in person.
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  • Action Girl: Della is not afraid to take on the Moon Mite at any point.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The Moon Mite is revealed to be stealing metal to keep her baby fed. Considering the Moon Planet's inhabitants were actively hunting her (and thus cutting off her ability to forage properly), the Moon Mite was probably worried her baby would starve to death.
    • As time passes, Della becomes more stressed in part because she realizes she's missing some of the most important years of her sons' lives.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Della has no trouble understanding the moon people, despite never encountering them before.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Lunarians. Lt. Penumbra hates Della both for being an Earthling and for taking care of the Moon Mite peacefully. While General Lunaris comes off as a Nice Guy Reasonable Authority Figure, his private remark to Penumbra that Della could be "useful" comes as sinister compared to the rest of his dialogue.
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  • Animation Bump: During the lullaby, Della is noticeably more fluid than the rest of the episode.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A subversion. Della leaves various videos of her chronicling her time on the moon and her numerous failed attempts to inform Scrooge of her whereabouts or fix the Spear of Selene and go home. While she does survive her ordeal (for now), it's obvious she won't get out of this unscathed both in the physical and the mental sense.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Gyro's Oxy-Chew provides Della with food, water and oxygen. Fair enough. How does it provide her with heat? Or allow her to speak audibly?
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The reason why Della is able to breathe on the Moon as seen in her previous appearances is because she has been chewing on Oxy-Chew, a special gum invented by Gyro that allows anyone to breathe in a place without oxygen with just one piece.
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  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Moon Mite is an insectoid alien that is almost as big as the Spear of Selene.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Della realizes she's trapped, she uses her brother's "Aw Phooey!"
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Della puts on a Scottish accent when she complains about Scrooge not including backup gold on the ship.
  • Call-Back: Della makes a cake for the boys and uses a flare as the candle. When she's unable to blow it out, she turns it over and stuffs it into the cake. Donald does the exact same thing in the short "Donald's Birthday".
  • Cerebus Call Back: At first Della going Leeroy Jenkins and jumping off the Moon while screaming parts of the iconic Moon Theme seems like a very silly Mythology Gag to the Ducktales video game. And then it turns out the theme is part of a lullaby she used to sing to her boys before they hatched.
  • City of Gold: Gold turns out to be the most plentiful resource of the Moonlanders, so their entire city is mostly gold.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with Della running into town to get gold for her ship while Lunaris makes a comment behind her back that implies he's just planning to use her to the Moonlanders' ends.
  • Continuity Nod: The Spear of Selene is a model DT-18. Given that the security systems before were labeled DT-87, a nod to DuckTales (1987), the DT-18 denotes the current series, Duck Tales 2018.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Della packed one of Gyro's inventions in case of emergency. It comes in handy when her helmet cracks on the moon.
    • In one of her transmissions, Della calls Scrooge out for not being this, pointing out that since the Spear runs on gold, he should have brought some spare gold. Then a gold tooth filling falls out and Della realized that her trips to the dentist were Scrooge providing her with backup gold for such an emergency.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This episode is the first to focus solely on Della, showing her struggles and efforts to try to find a way to get back to her kids on Earth.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After the Moon Mites leave, Della sees what's left of her ship and acknowledges she can't fix this level of damage on her own. She gives up hope of ever getting home again, though it gets better for her in the final scene.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • As we see by the look on Della's face, she really didn't think through flying on her own into a cosmic storm, stranding her on the moon with no oxygen and a few injuries. Della to her credit has some resources, but still.
    • Similarly, her first plan to get home was to jump back to Earth. It did not work.
  • Distress Call: Della has apparently sent numerous but none of them reached Scrooge. Her attempt to make a signal showing she is on the moon is also thwarted by the Moon Mite at the worst possible moment.
  • Driving Question: How did Della Duck survive on the moon for ten years, without anyone realizing where she was? And how will she get back to Earth? The first question is answered here, the second one isn't.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The Moon Mites live on a diet of metal, but gold appears to be their preferred food. Even small quantities seem to satisfy them longer than any other metal.
  • The End... Or Is It?: As Della marvels over the city, Lunaris remarks in a questionable tone that she could be useful, while Penumbra thinks she's dangerous.
    Penumbra: Watch your back, Earther.
  • Establishing Character Moment: This is essentially an establishing character episode for Della, who had previously spent eighty years in the background as nothing but a name to explain how Huey, Dewey, and Louie are related to Donald.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Della's attempts at signalling for help or finding her own way back all end the same way because of the Moon Mite always showing up at the wrong time.
  • Fantastic Racism: Lieutenant Penumbra has a negative opinion on Earthlings, as she acts hostile towards Della and bets that she will die fighting the Moon Mite.
  • Flashback Cut: Della tells the camera that she made efforts to get off the moon. We cut to her attempting to jump off the moon's gravity while humming the iconic Moon Theme.
    Della: It did not go great.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The Oxy-Chew package reads "Now with 1 flavor", and under Black Licorice, it reads "The Best Flavor!"
    • After repairing the rocket's manual, the page opposite the rocket model design is fully legible, detailing the propulsion system, telemetry system, tracking and range safety system, and the propellant management and attitude control system.
    • The page on Gold Tech in the rocket's manual includes Gyro's thoughts on the power source: "looks impressive!" "Scrooge never runs out!" "hasn't turned evil... yet". It also mentions the equation E=AU79 (Au is the chemical symbol for gold, and 79 is its atomic number.)
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Della is clearly losing her mind from being all alone on the moon for years.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Apart from the fact that getting stranded on the Moon is her own fault, there are quite a few instances where Della's impulsive and prideful nature directly sabotages her effort to escape the moon and/or waste precious time:
  • The Greys: The Moon-people's design is clearly inspired by this trope, as they are noseless, bug-eyed aliens with grey or dull green skin and have three digits on their hands. However, they are taller than ducks and wear clothes.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Moon-people's city, named Tranquility, is hidden under the Moon's surface on the far side of the moon.
  • Humble Pie: An interesting subversion in that it's not public but the character is forced to change nonetheless. When Della decides to fix the Spear of Selene and get back to Earth on her own, she grabs Gyro's instruction manual saying "How hard can it be? It's only rocket science." Gyro's note "Even Della could do it" causes her to go into a fit of rage and rip the manual to shreds. A montage then plays with an orchestrated version of the iconic Moon Theme where she attempts to fix everything on her own without instructions. It doesn't go well. Cue Della swallowing her pride, sticking the shreds of the manual together and attempting to read it in order to fix her rocket properly.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Before looking at the manual, Della remarks that even Donald could do this. Then she sees Gyro's note and proceeds to have a Donald-like fit of anger.
  • Insistent Terminology: Penumbra and Lunaris insist on calling it Planet Moon.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Penumbra declares the trope name word for word, but she meant it in a Stop, or I Will Shoot! sort of way.
  • Leit Motif: The Moon theme from the DuckTales NES game. Della even sings and hums it throughout the episode.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: It's implied Della had to cut off her left leg to escape the large debris, before replacing it with a metal one.
  • Lunarians: Turns out there were natives on the moon, the Moonlanders, living in a hidden city on the far side.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are only seven characters—Della, the Moon Mite and her baby, the two Planet Moon cops Lieutenant Penumbra and General Lunaris, the pig pilot that is trying to find Della, and Scrooge, who is relegated to a cameo in the Cold Open.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: At first, the Moon Mite seems antagonistic, as she continually destroys Della's attempts to escape or contact Earth. Then comes The Reveal that she's not hurting Della on purpose; her species eats metal, and when she wrecks Della's projects she's just trying to feed herself and her baby.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Offering the Moon Mite some metal to feed her baby already calmed it down a bit, but Della singing a lullaby to the baby mite is what sealed the friendship between Della and the alien beast.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A couple of big ones, both referencing the DuckTales video game:
      • Oxy-Chew was first used in Remastered to explain how the characters could survive on the Moon level. The main difference is that while in the game it only provided air, here it also provides water and nutrition. Its flavour is still bad though (although Gyro likes it).
      • The Moon Theme now gets a full-on reprisal. And it turns out it's a lullaby Della used to sing to Huey, Dewey and Louie before they hatched.
    • The metal-eating mite is a reference to the episode "Attack of the Metal Mites" from the 1987 series, although in that episode the mites were bioengineered animals rather than alien life forms.
  • Noodle Incident: Della mentions a cursed idol that turns into a demon. Given her other example is the one she's currently living, it likely isn't a hypothetical one she's listing.
  • Not So Remote: Turns out there was a whole city on the far side of the moon, while poor Della had to survive in the lifeless surface on the other side.
  • Perspective Flip: Previously we saw Scrooge's take on what happened when Della "borrowed" the Spear and got lost in the cosmic storm. Now we see it from her perspective, crash and all.
  • Picky Eater: An example with zero humor to it: the Moon Mite's baby, as infants tend to do, stubbornly refuses to eat the metal from Della's rocket as it prefers gold, but thanks to being hunted by the moon cops the mother couldn't forage properly. You can see the despair in the mother's eyes as she desperately tries to get her baby to eat.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Della goes into full Unstoppable Rage when the Moon Mite destroys the ship beyond any repair chances.
  • Reality Ensues: After crashlanding, Della's leg is pinned under a large piece of the ship. After trying countless times, we flash forward a month later to see it's been replaced with a metal one.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Moon Mite has red eyes, suggesting that it's a dangerous alien. Both the mother's and child's eyes turn from red to blue when they befriend Della.
  • Sanity Slippage: Della seems to lose more of her sanity the longer she spends on the moon.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Della shows similar traits to most of the Duck family.
    • Most obviously, Della has the same quick temper as Donald. More than once, she sabotaged her own progress by getting angry.
    • She doesn't really think through of her plans and she was humming her theme song when she tried to jump back to Earth, much like Dewey when he went through the booby-trapped bridge in Atlantis.
    • She has a Junior Woodchuck guidebook and makes edits in it just as Huey has.
    • Much like Louie in the second season opener, she has noticed a pattern to her adventures. She tries to hurry her friendship with Penumbra, as Louie tried to skip to the "Wait, what?"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • As if devoted fans didn't already recognize the "Moon Theme" from the NES videogame based on the series, the closed-captioning writer even identified it exactly as such.
    • The crew actually worked with disability experts to figure out how to make Della's mechanical leg as realistic as possible.
    • There's also the way the moon's skyline is portrayed, as noted in Time Passes Montage below.
  • Space Episode: This episode takes place on the Moon rather than on Earth.
  • Special Edition Title: No title sequence at all, just the Duck Tales logo superimposed on the Earth as Della looks at it in determination.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Oxy-Chew only comes in Black Licorice flavor. Della is not amused, especially as the gum does not lose its flavor.
  • Tempting Fate: Whenever Della is sure she is heading home, something goes wrong. Usually, by the Moon Mite showing up.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Lunaris offering Della a place in their community.
  • Time-Passage Beard: In this case, hair for Della, but it still has the same effect as this trope to show how much time has passed for her.
  • Time Passes Montage: At one point, there is a shot of the Earth spinning and the sun going by to symbolize time passing. In a moment of Shown Their Work, the Earth doesn't move from its relative position in the moon skyline, and the sun arcs across the sky, accurately representing the moon's skyline.
  • Toothy Bird: An actual plot point; not only do ducks have teeth, but they can also have gold fillings.
  • Tomato Surprise: The shots of Della on the moon before this episode only showed her above the waist. This hid that she had lost a leg and replaced it with a prosthetic.
  • Unobtainium: The Spear turns out to run on gold, which, as Della notes, isn't easy to find on the moon. Until she meets up with the Moonlanders.
  • Unstoppable Rage: A trait Della shares with her brother. Once the Moon Mite destroys the ship, Della fights her to a standstill.
  • Wham Line: In the closing seconds of the episode, Lunaris has an aside to Penumbra that Della "could be useful", calling his motives for helping her into question.
  • Wham Shot: Della's artificial leg. Even with the actual moment kept offscreen, it's a level of violence beyond anything that could be expected of the show before.
  • With Lyrics: The Moon Theme from the video game exists in-series as a lyrical lullaby Della sang to her children before they hatched.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: This is the first episode of the series that takes place in a flashback. In-show, it's ambiguous when the last time jump takes place relative to the ducks on Earth, but Frank Angones' Tumblr says it's before the events of "The Shadow Wars!".
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Turns out gold is so plentiful the moon people built their city with it, and even have so much they have to throw some of it in the trash, which is itself made of gold.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: A particularly tragic one; one of Scrooge's rockets he sent to find Della flies near the spot on the moon where she crashed, but the Moon Mite comes by and eats Della's SOS - in the sign of a $. And in the ensuing scuffle, they create a dust cloud obscuring her from the rocket's line of sight, and the pilot thinks it's just a meteorite that hit the moon.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Della is not happy to find out that there was a Hidden Elf Village on the other side of the moon, while she's been slumming it in the desert for years.

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