Launchpad McQuack is a deep and complex character, and this episode totally dives into his sordid, tragic past. When the gang arrives in Macaw in order to meet up with Donald’s asshole cousin Gladstone Gander and for Scrooge to see a mystical singing cricket that only awakens, like, every 100 years or whatever, Launchpad has unfinished business to take care of in the city. He has an old girlfriend who needs his help, and he’s going to take advantage of the hour he has between stops to right his past misgivings and settle his affairs once and for all. It’s a tumultuous and painful journey for Launchpad, who learns a lot about himself and how he needn’t be bound to his youthful mistakes just for the sake of a woman he’ll likely never see again. He has to live with those mistakes, but he need not have to relive them. And he may have baggage, such as a missing eye and a small child whose parentage is another unsolved mystery, but all of this will make him a better man.
Also, all of this is literally from two lines– one from the very beginning of the episodes, and one from the end– since we never actually see any of this go down. It’s all a wrap-around joke for the actual episode, which deals with said asshole cousin and the trouble he’s gotten himself into.
Gladstone’s holed up in a Macaw casino, seemingly living it up as the world’s luckiest duck. He wins cars left and right, hits jackpots, and pretty much has it made. The first half of the episode deals with him showing Louie a good time in the casino while Scrooge and the other kids try to find their way out of the labyrinthine casino floor layout. Yeah, if you aren’t experienced with these things, they can be just that. They’re laid out in such a way as to lead you through all the games in order to get to your room, and the paths will often turn back around on you if you don’t follow the signs and just kinda walk with the flow. I haven’t run into as many mystical monsters as Scrooge and gang do in this episode while in Vegas, but I know the feeling. The kids get distracted by a bunch of the “family friendly” aspects of Vegas. Huey gets taken in by Cirque du Soleil like show– Aquarioon. It’s very much like Bellagio’s O show, which I’ve seen– all water stunts and stuff. Dewey falls in love with a tiger– Siegfried and Roy in the making there. Webby almost doesn’t break, but then she sees the obscenely huge chocolate fountain in the buffet. Even she’s not immune to that casino indulgence culture. Only Scrooge manages to resist temptation and make it to the exit, but to no avail.
Yeah, the casino is a magical prison, and Gladstone is being held by a mystical luck god who feeds off of people’s luckiness. Now he has Gladstone and Scrooge in his clutches and won’t let any of them go. There’s an amusing game of “chance” that plays like one of those Ninja obstacle courses. The magic dude forces Donald to act as Scrooge’s rep, while claiming Mr. Lucky Gladstone as his champ. Whoever gets to the finish line first wins.
They do a pretty neat twist here with how they have Donald win. Yeah, sure, Louie gets a good line in about how ridiculous it is that Donald never gives up despite being so bad an unlucky at things, but they use Gladstone’s luck properly here. While it would be lucky for him to win the race despite simply strolling through it with ease like he does, what is truly lucky for him is to escape the villain’s clutches. So Gladstone happens across a $20 bill, bends over to take it, and allows Donald to crash into the finish line. That leads the villain to think that Donald is now the luckiest duck in the world, which Scrooge picks up on. Scrooge tricks the dude into taking Donald into his clutches, thinking he’s found an even richer font of luck to feast upon. About five seconds later, the dude’s nearly dead from being deprived of sustenance and tosses Donald out to his freedom. That’s real use of luckiness powers. It isn’t just “I always win,” it’s “the best thing happens.” It’s pretty clever for a kids cartoon.
Also, that cricket was a bust. Sucks to be Scrooge. But not really.