The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks! has done it, readers. Unfortunately, what it has done is manage to be the first episode of the new DuckTales that has left me feeling underwhelmed. I may have had my issues with Terror of the Terra-firmians!, but as a whole it was a better package than this week’s offering—in the end, Terror at least felt like, well, DuckTales. The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks! misses that particular mark, though the episode does have its moments.
The episode opens in the Duckburg billionaires’ club, where Scrooge McDuck and Flintheart Glomgold—the club’s only members, of course—sit alone and glower at each other. Their solace is interrupted when Mark Beaks, a young tech mogul and CEO of Google-esqe company Waddle, barges in and declares that he is nearly the billionaires’ club newest member. Beaks’ attempts to schmooze Scrooge and Glomgold (including a singularly awful bagpipe techno remix) only prove to be insufferable to the old ducks, who it seems are only too wrapped up in loathing each other. When Beaks leaves, however, they come to rare agreement: the new guy is terrible and must be dealt with.
Huey and Dewey, who meanwhile have been cordoned off in the club’s “kid drop off” zone, encounter Beaks as he exits. Huey knows exactly who Beaks is and is thrilled to see the hip and successful CEO in person. After inadvertently stroking Beaks’s ego, he and Dewey are offered after-school jobs at Waddle by the spurned almost billionaire. What Huey and Dewey find the next day, however, is that there is only one internship opening. Huey, of course, wants the job on its own merits. But Dewey is enticed solely by the perks of the job—trampolines (in high, low, and no-impact, of course), slides, snow cones, and mandatory dance breaks.
Oh, and this doesn’t even include the episode’s tertiary component: professional corporate saboteur Falcon Graves, who kidnaps Beaks—more or less—in order to steal Waddle’s next big thing, the enigmatic Project Ta-da.
There are a lot of moving parts in The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!, though truthfully only Huey and Dewey’s quest to obtain the Waddle internship and Beaks’s dealing with Graves mesh in any meaningful way. The episode only cuts to Scrooge and Glomgold for the occasional comedic break—which, in fairness, are very funny—Glomgold has a flair for overly elaborate evil schemes—but they don’t contribute to the emotional core of the episode.
Said core is the competition between Huey and Dewey for the Waddle internship. Huey has been firmly established as the most practical and straight-laced of the triplets, and this is only reinforced by The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!. What’s more interesting is what we see from Dewey. He competes via charisma, which at first blush is fairly similar to how Louie operates. The difference, however, is that Dewey wants to succeed at something. Or, more precisely, he wants success in order to help define himself. Dewey as a character feels a bit rudderless, especially compared to Huey’s rigidness, Louie’s laid back confidence, or Webby’s desire to belong, and I think that’s intentional. Dewey wants to find his place in the world, whether it’s by faking it to make it—as he admits to Huey at the end of the episode—or by discovering something deeper about himself, as we’ve seen with the search for Della Duck.
Mark Beaks clearly serves as a cautionary tale for Dewey, once we realize that Project Ta-da is nothing but a fraud designed to fleece his investors. Beaks is presented as insufferably egotistical and controlling, and while he is no doubt shrewd, his cunning only provides a hollow sort of success. Beaks is adored by millions yet all alone. Not once in The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks! do we see the CEO have any meaningful interactions with anyone, online or otherwise. Beaks actually does double duty in this regard, as we see when we return to Scrooge and Glomgold’s final interaction of the episode.
Scrooge realizes, after listening to Glomgold finally complete his long-winded evil scheme (in slide show format, of course, as the best evil schemes are), that focusing so much on someone he doesn’t like has been nothing but a waste of time and effort. Well, that and Glomgold was going to double-cross him, which really shouldn’t have been a surprise. But still, it’s telling that in the end, Scrooge, Huey and Dewey return home to their family, leaving Beaks and Glomgold to suffer together.
All of these things work well on their own. But the problem with The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks! is that, as a whole, it is not greater than the sum of its parts. The character moments between Huey and Dewey were well executed. The zeal of Glomgold attempting to teach Scrooge how to properly execute an evil plan was great humor. Mark Beaks and Waddle were excellent fodder for lampooning Silicon Valley tech bro culture. But those disparate pieces didn’t quite align into a cohesive whole—perhaps the premise needed more work. Why, for example, would Scrooge bother routinely attending the billionaire’s club? If Waddle’s latest success was nothing but a fraud, how did Beaks build Waddle into a successful company in the first place?
In the end, despite my misgivings, I’m glad we got The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!. Something any reboot worth its salt should do is expand on the world presented by the original, and this episode did that. It only makes sense in 2017 that a competing billionaire would come from the tech sector, and while Mark Beaks was little more than a stereotype, he is at least another antagonist the show has added to its roster. I’m glad we got a little more insight into Dewey as well.
Next week’s episode is titled The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!, and with a name like that, I’m hoping this episode pivots from corporate dealings in Duckburg to far-flung high adventure.
Race Cars, Lasers, Aeroplanes: 1 no-impact trampoline out of 4
This episode didn’t have much to get excited about in the way of action and adventure, dealing primarily with corporate shenanigans. That said, I did at least enjoy the overly dramatic fall Mark Beaks takes in pursuit of his final backup phone.
Might Solve a Mystery (or Rewrite History): 1 disgruntled corporate saboteurs out of 5
Again, we’ve had another episode that didn’t touch at all on the season’s ongoing mysteries with Della Duck and Magica de Spell. Aside from the ultimate fraud that was Mark Beaks, there weren’t really any interesting twists or turns this episode. This is the first episode of the DuckTales reboot that didn’t really lace the mundane trappings of Duckburg with something unusual or supernatural, and it showed.
Smarter than the Smarties: 2 introspective triplets out of 3
I appreciated the focus on Dewey this episode, as he’s the last of the kids to really get some solid character moments. Still, it wasn’t as deep as we’ve been lucky enough to get with, say, Webby or Louie. Not to mention that Mark Beaks was hardly a character at all. Still, he was a good foil for Dewey and Scrooge, which did at least serve a character development purpose.
- “Quiet! I’m in the middle of a vision-based battle of wills.” “So it’s a staring contest?”
- “Sliding my way to billions? Licking other peoples’ stuff? It’s everything I never knew I always wanted!”
- “Ooh, task lists! This is a place of dreams.”
- “You do realize you’re in quite a lot of danger right now.” “I know! I’m going to be trending online for days. Hostage selfie!” Note Mark’s post is appropriately tagged #killingit and #killingme.
- “Where did the sharks come from?” “I’ve got a great shark guy.”
- “Dude, not cool! That’s my last backup phone!”
- “My…face…looks…like…a…butt. Aaand, sent.”
DuckTales airs Saturdays on Disney XD.
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