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Recap / Duck Tales S 1 E 4 Where No Duck Has Gone Before

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The nephews and Doofus are wild over Courage of the Cosmos and are thrilled when Scrooge gets the studio (as repayment for an overdue loan) and they get to meet the lead actor. But when they, "Courage", and Launchpad find themselves literally launched into space, they find that the real hero may be much closer to home.

This episode includes the following tropes:

  • Actor/Role Confusion: The boys don't seem to recognize that Major Courage is a TV character and the actor's stunts on the show are no less fake than the scenery. They get a hard lesson on this when they see "Major Courage" in actual action, and he's nothing like the heroic character he portrays.
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  • An Aesop: A person's public face isn't necessarily what he's like, and not all celebrities should be hero-worshipped.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: It takes the nephews and Doofus a substantial part of the episode (and "Major Courage" most of it) to realize that they're really in outer space with real aliens instead of on a set. Launchpad discovers it after inadvertently dumping himself into outer space.
  • Artistic License – Film Production: No one on seasonal television has contracts that last longer than the life of a given series, presumably to avoid situations like Major Courage's at the end of the episode.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Launchpad, the only person aware that a field of asteroids is real and deadly, has an absolutely terrifying time trying to keep the Phoenix from running into them. Ultimately, he brings it "right through without a scratch", but the toll the experience took on him is clear as he staggers upstairs to inform the others.
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  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Launchpad accidentally dumps himself into outer space when he opens the wrong door. Not only can he breathe, but he can also talk.
  • Broken Pedestal: Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Doofus idol worship Major Courage, hero of the TV show "Courage of the Cosmos." The boys go on the show and are blind to the fact that their hero is just a vain, egotistical actor. When they realize that they have really been launched into outer space and real aliens have captured them, Courage panics, and the boys see what a coward he really is ("real heroes just do their jobs!").
    Courage: What happened? What's going on?
    Huey: We're going home!
    Dewey: No thanks to you!
    Louie: Yeah!
    Doofus: You've been saved by a real hero — Launchpad McQuack!
  • Captain Ersatz: Major Courage is a copy of William Shatner's Kirk, in all the wrong ways. The "major" continually talks in the same odd rhythm that Kirk does when he gets excited, and is equally hammy, but in reality, he's got none of the courage of the original.
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  • Cassandra Truth: No one believes Launchpad when he says that they're in space.
  • Death by Transceiver: Subverted. Scrooge is angrily watching Courage over the "radio" when the Kronk ship goes chasing after him and eventually catches the Phoenix, which disrupts the transmission again. However, given that it's Launchpad driving the Kronk ship, Courage doesn't get anything more than a bad scare.
  • Dirty Coward: Courage abandons Launchpad and the others on the alien spaceship after realizing that they really are in space.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Courage's wig falls down when Launchpad starts calling him out.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Literally. "When it comes to courage, I'm full of it!"
    • And again:
      Doofus: Launchpad says he wouldn't know an asteroid from a...
      Nephews: Shhh!
  • Glad I Thought of It: Seconds after Launchpad suggests that one of them should play sick as a distraction, Courage announces that they'll use "the old sickness ploy" to escape. Notably, Launchpad doesn't say anything, but his smirk indicates he knows Courage did not come up with that idea on his own.
  • Gone Horribly Right: To increase the budget for Courage of the Cosmos as part of a way of reinventing it, Scrooge has Gyro build a new spaceship that he wants to be as realistic as possible. Gyro's response? Make it an actual working spaceship.
    Scrooge: [dumbfounded as the rocket blasts off] What did you...do?
    Gyro: [nervous] Well, you said make it as real as I could so...I did.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Launchpad gets antagonistic around Courage out of jealousy.
  • Humiliation Conga: "Courage". In the climactic battle with (unbeknownst to him) real aliens in (again unbeknownst to him) real outer-space, he gets taken down easily. Then he realizes they are in space with real aliens and abandons the others. Exposed as a Dirty Coward, he loses the admiration and respect of the boys. When the failing show is canceled, with their blessing, and the studio becomes a museum, Courage is forced to work as a candy vendor. When Scrooge reminds him of his five-year contract, in front of a crowd of demanding bratty ducklings, Courage looks ready to bawl.
  • Idiot Houdini: Gyro Gearloose. True, Major Courage was kind of obnoxious and he did leave Scrooge's nephews and Launchpad behind on an alien ship, but Gyro, who caused the whole incident because of his Literal-Minded interpretation of Scrooge's orders for a real-looking set, got off without a scratch.
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: When Launchpad inadvertently dumps himself into outer space and sees the Earth far below him, he exclaims, "If I wanted to see the world, I would have joined the Navy!"
  • I'll Kill You!: After Major Courage refuses to go back for the triplets and actually has the nerve to gloat about escaping the Kronks, Scrooge tells Gyro that if he makes it home in one piece, he'll kill him.
  • Improvised Weapon: Launchpad appropriates a custard-maker from the Kronks' robot and uses it as a non-lethal weapon against them. (It probably helps that it looks like a gun.)
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Launchpad intuits how to operate an alien space ship, a vehicle he had even expressed doubts about his ability to control. He flies it like he's been doing it all his life.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Courage cuts off Launchpad's appeal about returning to Earth, saying they never go home before encountering aliens. Launchpad says aliens don't exist — and then the Kronk ship appears.
  • Ironic Echo: Scrooge obtains ownership of a studio that produces a show that Scrooge dislikes, and the star, Major Courage, constantly reminds Scrooge of his five-year contract, especially after he accidentally blasts off into space with the nephews and upon finding out he really is in space, finds a way out and leaves them behind, refusing to come back for them. At the end, Scrooge turns the studio into a space museum, where Courage is forced to do humiliating work as a candy vendor. He begs Scrooge to call it off, whereupon Scrooge reminds him of his five-year contract.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Major Courage is so confident that he can escape Scrooge's reprisal that he feels safe gloating about the fact that he's safe right after refusing to go back to save Scrooge's nephews. He gets a shocking dose of retribution when Scrooge has him employed as a candy vendor at the new space museum. Worst of all, since the contract doesn't specify in what capacity Scrooge is required to employ him for those five years, Courage isn't allowed to bail out!
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Subverted with Courage of the Cosmos. He has a heroic beak, but he's really a Dirty Coward.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Courage, who doesn't know that the danger is real for most of the episode, walks around making hammy heroic declarations and challenging the aliens to fights. Then he attacks Bulvan, gets smacked down, and realizes that this isn't an episode he's filming — and promptly takes off in the only ship, leaving the others behind.
  • Mind Probe: The aliens strip directions to Earth from Launchpad's mind.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: The actor who plays Courage of the Cosmos is an arrogant blowhard and a Dirty Coward.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Scrooge tells Gyro to make the set "as real as [he] can." He means to make it realistic-looking, but Gyro makes it a real spaceship. The boys, Launchpad, and Courage could have avoided their hair-raising encounter with the Kronks if Mr. Gearloose wasn't so Literal-Minded.
    • Upon discovering that everyone has actually gone up into outer space, Scrooge destroys the computer console in front of him in frustration. Unfortunately, it happens to include the only working radio, keeping him and Gyro from contacting Courage, Launchpad and the boys and warning them about what's happened.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Earlier, the aliens probed Launchpad's brain for info on Earth to plan for an invasion. When our heroes escape, the aliens planned to use what information they scanned to beat them back to Earth. Unfortunately, it was misinformation (directions are reversed, the sun orbits the Earth, etc.), resulting in the alien ship pin balling all over space.
  • The Nicknamer: Courage tends to nickname everyone. Scrooge, being his boss, gets a variety of ingratiating nicknames, the boys get called "little buddies" and he briefly calls Launchpad "L.P."
  • Papa Wolf: Despite his terror when he realizes everything's real and the pain he endures, Launchpad never strays far from his goal of keeping his "little buddies" safe. He attacks Bulvan with their only weapon (a food-creating device) to prevent him from re-capturing the boys and places himself as the rear guard during the retreat. This places him in stark contrast to Courage, who abandons the boys as soon as he realizes he could actually die.
  • Removing the Rival: Courage kicks Launchpad, toppling him down a staircase, so that he can have the boys' attention and adoration all to himself. He's notably displeased when Launchpad comes back to warn the others that they've actually been launched into space and any danger they encounter can kill them.
  • Show Within a Show: Courage of the Cosmos is a sci-fi show in the DuckTales (1987) universe.
  • Sick Captive Scam: The boys, Launchpad, and Courage are imprisoned on an alien spaceship and brainstorming ideas for getting out of their cell. Launchpad recommends playing sick, an idea which Courage likes enough to steal.
  • Space Episode: The story sees part of the cast get accidentally launched into space.
  • Straw Loser: Major Courage served as this for Launchpad; Launchpad may be a bumbler, but he's still a fairly competent pilot (bar some crashing issues). Courage, on the other hand, is a TV star first, with no actual experience flying, and furthermore, he lacks Launchpad's courage and protectiveness of the boys.
  • Stylistic Suck: The ultra-cheap set and props for "Courage of the Cosmos." Including the strap-on beak worn by the actor playing the villain.
  • That's What I Call "X"!: Near the end, when the aliens attempt to navigate to Earth with the data they stripped from his mind, Launchpad says, "Now that's what I call using my head!"
  • A "True" Hero: The triplets and their friend Doofus are major fans of a sci-fi show called Courage of the Cosmos. Circumstances lead to them meeting the main actor, and they're ecstatic, fawning over and hero-worshipping him despite Launchpad's objections that his derring-do isn't real and that legitimate heroes do their thing without cameras. Then Gyro's revamped sets for the show accidentally send the boys, Courage, and Launchpad on a trip through outer space. "Courage" reveals himself as a coward and Launchpad shows himself a hero in real life, not just in acting.
  • Unusual User Interface: The steering mechanism for the Kronk ship looks like a glowing ball. The pilot drives the ship by manuevering his hands around it.
  • Weld the Lock: Launchpad squirts custard from the food synthesizer on the lock to the transporter room door to make sure the Kronks can't open it. This works until they begin burning through the door.
  • Where No Parody Has Gone Before: The show Courage of the Cosmos is a reference/parody of Star Trek: The Original Series, down to the hammy acting, the low budget special effects, and having a Scottish engineer.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Kronks have no scruples against killing the triplets and Doofus.
  • You're Insane!: Launchpad asks Courage, "Are you crazy?" when he insists on fist-fighting the alien leader. The encounter proves enlightening for Courage.
  • You're Just Jealous: A third-person variation; the boys tell Courage not to pay any attention to Launchpad's criticisms as it's just because he's jealous. He is jealous, but he's also right about Courage not being a real hero.
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