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Recap / DuckTales (2017) S1 E20 "Sky Pirates...in the Sky!"

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Feeling ignored, Dewey finds a new family: a band of singing and dancing pirates looking to rob Scrooge blind.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Donald and Mrs. Beakley are both absent in this episode.
  • Acoustic License: The Ducks can perfectly hear the pirates' musical number, despite being performed up in the air, mid-flight, over the sound of plane engines, without any visible sound amplifier.
  • Actor Allusion: Playing a hammy, egotistical actor isn't exactly a stretch for Jaime Camil.
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  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Apparently, Dewey's hat is made of the wool of a rainbow-colored alpaca.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • The characters can walk and dance around on the wings of their moving airplanes without having to worry about air resistance.
    • The Iron Vulture and the Sunchaser both have their hulls penetrated in mid-flight, with no explosive decompressions occurring whatsoever.
  • Attention Whore: Dewey, Don Karnage and the Sky Pirates all fall victim to this trope in this episode. Justified with Dewey who has been ignored by everyone until he met the pirates.
  • Behavioral Conditioning: Don Karnage has trained his pirates to go into a song and dance routine by blowing on a dog whistle. This comes back to bite him in the last few minutes of the episode when Dewey has the whistle and uses it to initiate a dance number that allows him and his family to escape.
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  • Book-Ends: Dewey spends the start of the episode trying to get someone from his family to get to listen to the story of how he got his hat. In the end of the episode, Scrooge sits down and asks Dewey to tell him the story of the hat.
  • Brawn Hilda: One of the pirates, Hardtack Hattie, is a buff woman who can be easily mistaken for a man with long blonde hair.
  • Breather Episode: After the emotional roller coaster of the previous episode, this adventure is much more whimsical, especially because of the hammy antagonists.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Huey just happens to get sprayed with blue hydraulic fluid while Scrooge is looking around for Dewey. Upon seeing Huey, Scrooge mistakes him for his brother and thus never realizes Dewey ran off.
  • Cool Hat: Dewey's rainbow-colored hat with an awesome story behind it that the audience only partly hears.
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  • Crossover: With TaleSpin by way of Don Karnage and the sky pirates.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • For Dewey, who is starved for attention at this point.
    • In-Universe, the Sky Pirates all seek it in a more literal manner.
  • Death Glare: When the pirates decide Dewey is unfit to be their captain and prepare to throw him and the others overboard, everyone else glares angrily at Dewey.
  • Disney Death: Played with. Don Karnage takes a crew member and throws him off his airship, just for speaking out about how they got the treasure instead of worrying about being late in the song. It later happens to Don Karnage himself after The Mutiny. Thankfully, both were wearing parachutes. It seems that falling off of the airship (or their airplanes) is something the Sky Pirates are accustomed to and prepared for. Which Makes Sense In Context.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The title. It's about Sky Pirates... in the sky!
  • Ear Worm: The pirate's song gets stuck in Launchpad's head.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Inverted. The Sapphire of Souls that Louie holds is supposed to show someone his truest darkest desires. But Louie's natural greed and manipulative tendencies makes his dark self get creeped out instead. Though it turns out the gem was fake and he was really just talking to his reflection.
  • Expy: Other than Karnage himself the rest of his crew kind of resemble his crew from Tale Spin but are different characters. Stinky Boot is Dumptruck, Ugly Mug is Mad Dog, and Peg Leg Meg is a female version of Gibber.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Louie somehow managed to miss the price sticker on the gem he's been carrying the whole episode.
  • Floating Platforms: Don Karnage uses the other pirates' planes as steps to enter the plane.
  • Furry Reminder: Don Karnage's crew consists entirely of anthropomorphic dogs, and he initiates the Villain Song with a dog whistle.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Two of the background pirates, One-Eyed Linda and Two-Toothed Jack, are twins who look identical apart from their gender and the number of their eyes and teeth.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • When Huey points out that the compass in Launchpad's plane is just as sticker, Launchpad corrects him: "Adults call it a decal."
    • In disguise, Don Karnage refers to himself as a "plant scientist" and gets upset when Huey asks whether he means "botanist".
  • Karma Houdini: Don Karnage and the rest of the Sky Pirates don't receive any comeuppance for plundering Scrooge's plane. They even get to keep most of the treasure. Except they do crash into a mountain at the end of the episode.
  • Laughably Evil: The Sky Pirates are silly, comical villains who sing musical numbers while plundering.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Don Karnage distracting his victims with musical numbers is considerably softer than his Tale Spin days, when he regularly attempted to shoot down Baloo with armed aircraft. note 
    • The episode itself is a Breather Episode with Laughably Evil antagonists, light-hearted musical numbers and very little drama, between the terrifying "The Other Bin of Scrooge McDuck" and the drama-heavy "Secret(s) of Castle McDuck".
  • MacGuffin: Dewey's hat. It gets stolen by the Sky Pirates which leads him to board their ship. The story of how he got it (which he has been unsuccessfully trying to tell his family at the start of the episode) is what charms the Sky Pirates into appointing him their newest captain. And it's very practical to wear in the sky too!
  • Made in Country X: The "Sapphire of Souls" has a tag that says "Made in Macaw", which was established to be an East Asian city with tacky tourist traps in "The House of Lucky Gander!".
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: How the Sapphire of Souls apparently works.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Dewey falls hard for this trope in this episode which leads him leave everyone behind, sneak on the Sky Pirate's airship and eventually overthrow Don Karnage, thereby becoming the captain of the Sky Pirates. For a while a least.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The reason Don Karnage's crew decides to form a mutiny.
  • Musical Assassin: Or rather Musical Pirates. Their MO is to sing and dance their way to a plane and plunder it while its crew is stunned by disbelief.
  • Musical Episode: With singing and dancing pirates!
  • Musical World Hypotheses: The episode strictly falls into the Diegetic Hypothesis, as the pirates are shown to rehearse their song and dance numbers, and it greatly confuses the ducks.
  • The Mutiny: Feeling frustrated with Don Karnage hogging the spotlight, and being charmed by Dewey's hat story, the Sky Pirates overthrow Don Karnage and appoint Dewey as their captain. Sadly, he is very inexperienced in handling a crew which leads to an Anti-Mutiny later.
  • Never My Fault: After Dewey explains why he ran off, Huey tries deflecting any blame for it by claiming that Dewey has poor communication skills. Scrooge promptly hits him to make him stop and apologize.
  • Not So Harmless: Don Karnage is such a charming and hammy guy. He sings and dances and... holy crap did he just throw a crew member off his ship just for speaking up?!
  • Noodle Incident: The story of how Dewey got the hat. The audience only gets to hear small parts of it, but it apparently featured a rainbow-colored talking alpaca looking for The Chosen One.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: After The Mutiny, Don Karnage attempts to fool Scrooge and the kids by wearing a roughly-cut piece of his parachute and using a caterpillar for a mustache. Everybody except Launchpad and the pirates sees through it. Scrooge only lets him on-board because, as Huey points out, he's their best chance of finding the Iron Vulture.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Apart from plundering the skies and not the sea, the Sky Pirates are classic swashbucklers Dressed to Plunder, in modern times.
  • Pirate Girl: There are at least three female pirates in Don Karnage's crew, named Peg Leg Meg, Hardtack Hattie and One-Eye Linda.
  • Pirate Parrot: The sky pirates appear to have a pet parrot called No-Name the Nameless Parrot.
  • Pirate Song: The song Don Karnage and his crew sing during the raid shows all characteristics of this trope, with a sea shanty-like melody and lyrics about plundering, including a lot of pirate lingo.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How Don Karnage and his crew conduct their raids. Instead of attacking their victims, the crew performs a musical number as they board the ship. While they're distracted, the pirates take the treasure and skedaddle before they even realized what's happened.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Upon looking Dewey, Don Karnage asks what they've got and one of his followers answers.
  • Running Gag: Once again, Launchpad is completely fooled by a villain's Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • Peg Leg Meg, Don Karnage's first mate, keeps losing her hats.
  • Shout-Out: Like TaleSpin took inspiration from Studio Ghibli, with the original "Iron Vulture" being inspired from both the "Goliath" and the "Tiger Moth" in Castle in the Sky, the sky pirates' airplanes shown here resemble the plane of Porco Rosso. With the exception of Karnage's plane which is a slightly redesigned version of his iconic black tri winged fighter from the original series.
  • Skewed Priorities: Don Karnage is more concerned about a perfect performance than the fact they caught the treasure.
  • Sky Pirate: Don Karnage and his crew, who rob the Sunchaser midflight. It's even in the title!
  • Stealth Pun: Carried over from TaleSpin. The sky pirates are anthropomorphic canines specialized in aerial combat, making them "dogfighters".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Don Karnage first meets the ducks, he calls himself a "plant scientist" and gets mad at Huey for trying to correctly call him a "botanist". On the sky pirate ship, one of the pirates call the disguised Karnage some kind of plant scientist.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: The Sky Pirates, naturally; the first line of their Villain Song is "avast ye lads who be faint-hearted".
  • Twin Switch: Initially, a wholly accidental one: while trying to help repair the plane, Huey accidentally sprays some blue liquid onto his clothes, causing Scrooge to think he's Dewey. Later, with dark lights making their outfit colors non-obvious, Huey, Louie, and even Webby provide a distraction to the pirates, pretending to be Dewey.
  • Villain Song: The Sky Pirates sing one while they rob Scrooge's plane - which confuses their victims so much that they just let the pirates run away with the loot. The song gets reprised with alternative lyrics when Dewey becomes the pirate captain.
  • Walking The Plank: The cargo door of the Iron Vulture serves the same purpose as a plank.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dewey rightfully calls out Scrooge and the rest of his brothers for not noticing he left them and boarded the pirate ship. Later when Dewey is trying to untie everyone, Louie sarcastically asks if he is trying to toss them off himself.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Louie is in possession of the Sapphire of Souls, a gem that shows one's true self and darkest desires. Subverted hard later when it's revealed that it's just a cheap gem Webby bought to trick him into learning something.
  • Who Is Driving?:
    • At the beginning, Launchpad gets distracted by the pirate musical number and leaves his post, causing the plane to crash in the jungle.
    • Later, Dewey triggers a pirate musical number to cover their escape, which causes the pirate steering the plane to desert their post and the pirate plane to crash.

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