A few months ago, I wrote this as a Tumblr post, but the good folks here at DuckTalks are letting me post it here, too. And with the Season 3 premiere just under a month away, it seems like a good time to review everything the Buzzards have done in the show so far.
- Bentley Buzzard informs Scrooge business is expanding in the Spoonerville and St. Canard markets.
- Bentley informs Scrooge they are cutting funding to “unnecessary departments,” including Historical Research, Experimental Tech, and Deep Sea Exploration.
- Scrooge, devoid of all enthusiasm, sarcastically replies, “Fantastic…”
In one of the earliest scenes in the show, we see Scrooge isn’t making the financial decisions in his own company. The Buzzards were cutting funding from departments for things he once cared about, and he raised no objections. Once he got his family back though, he also regained his enthusiasm for adventure and life in general, and those departments became necessary again. Within a few hours of meeting his grandnephews, he decided to take them on a deep sea exploration adventure, and I’m sure the Buzzards didn’t like that at all. They would have had to come up with a new strategy to maintain control of his company since his grief as a bereaved parent wasn’t enough anymore.
“The Great Dime Chase!”
- The Buzzards call an unscheduled meeting with Scrooge shortly after his nephews move back in.
- Bradford informs Scrooge that, as he knows, revenues are down in several international markets. He lists four of them and says, “We feel that…” before Gyro bursts in.
- After Gyro’s spiel, Bradford asks him how he plans to ensure Li’l Bulb won’t achieve sentience and turn evil like all his other inventions.
- Li’l Bulb shakes its fist and runs a finger under its throat (or where a throat would be if it had one) to threaten Bradford. Bradford asks what it’s doing and Gyro says, “Waving. It likes you.”
- Bradford shares a glance with each of his colleagues and then denies Gyro’s request for funding.
- Scrooge tells Louie his board are the only people cheaper than he is, and he trusts them completely to make good financial decisions.
- Bradford interrupts Scrooge and says they are calling the meeting “to discuss cutting your unnecessary spending here at the… money bin.”
- The first cut they propose is on Scrooge’s $15,000,000 he’s spending on magical defense, to which Scrooge replies, “Do you have any idea how many vengeance curses I have on my head?!”
- Bradford asks Scrooge how he can justify spending $5,000 on a velvet pillow for a dime.
- Scrooge calls them “ya penny-pinching Buzzards!”
- Scrooge says if they can find him 3,000 gallons of silver polish for cheaper, he’d love to hear about it. Bradford replies by saying this is getting them nowhere, and if Scrooge refuses to make cuts, they’ll be forced to fire bin employees to save money.
- Bradford says the obvious first choice is the archivist. Scrooge argues Quackfaster has kept his archives secure and orderly for 50 years. Bradford says, “Fine, Quackfaster stays.”
- Bradford then says Gyro is “definitely unnecessary.” Scrooge argues Gyro is one of the most brilliant minds of their time.
- Scrooge sarcastically says if they’re going to fire all the employees, why not shut the whole bin down? And Bradford points out he does have a perfectly good office downtown before asking:
Scrooge tells the Buzzards if they fire his crazy employees, they’ll definitely seek revenge. Bradford asks for a vote: “All those in favor of keeping the bin and everyone in it far away from our offices?” The other two reply, “Aye.”
Isn’t it interesting that once Scrooge’s nephews moved back in, the Buzzards held an unscheduled meeting to try and get him to cut funding to his defenses and/or fire Quackfaster and Gyro? And possibly even shut down the money bin? The Buzzards knew exactly what they were doing in asking Scrooge to cut funding on magical defense. They knew there was something dangerous he was keeping locked up on an island somewhere. They also likely knew he had vengeance curses on his head and they wanted him defenseless. When they questioned him about the velvet pillow under the dime, it’s possible they were fishing for information about his dime, which we now know is more than just sentimental.
Then they tried to get him to fire Quackfaster, who keeps Scrooge’s records; even any existing records of the Spear of Selene. They probably figured since Scrooge’s family was back in his life, the event that drove them apart was bound to come up again. And after they failed to convince Scrooge to fire Quackfaster, they tried to get Scrooge to fire Gyro, who built the Spear of Selene and would definitely have information to spill to the nephews if they thought to ask him. Then the Buzzards tried to get the whole bin shut down, and deep inside Scrooge’s archives at the bin is the shrine he built in Della’s memory to process his grief in his own way.
Fortunately, with Scrooge’s family back in his life, we see a drastic change from the bored, depressed, broken, and submissive man he appeared to be in the pilot episode. With his family back, he has the strength to fight back against how the Buzzards want to run things. He said he trusted them completely to make good financial decisions – a sign they’ve had him under their thumb for years – but this was his first meeting post-reunion, and he’s not the doormat they’re used to anymore.
- The Buzzards called to say Scrooge’s adventures were causing costly damages to Duckburg.
- They also had Beakley pass along the message that they had set up a television interview for Scrooge with Roxanne Featherly to help boost his character.
Either they really did want Scrooge’s reputation to get a boost because that’d be good for the company (and therefore good for them if they could regain control), or they knew Scrooge would make a fool of himself and they hoped he’d come to the conclusion again that he needed to listen to rely on them completely.
“The Last Crash of the Sunchaser!”
- In Scrooge’s flashback of the events following Della’s disappearance, we see the Buzzards telling Scrooge his spending on the search for Della has far exceeded its budget and every other area of spending in the company. This is followed by a clip of his own private funds from the money bin draining drastically.
- We see another clip of the bin draining again, followed by a clip of two of the Buzzards dragging a frantic Scrooge away from the control panel and out the door while the other stands in the background.
I and a handful of others on Tumblr believe the Buzzards may have known about the rocket before Della blasted off with it (based on a theory by Tumblr blogger alliterative-albatross). Perhaps they even wanted to use it to kill Scrooge (of course, this is speculation). But Della being missing and presumed dead gave them an even greater advantage. As Lunaris later said to Donald in Season 2, “the key to victory is to take the children out first, to break your spirits.” Perhaps the Buzzards had the same thought. With Scrooge a now bereaved parent, he was broken and easily manipulated.
The Buzzards would have known all they had to do was occasionally tell Scrooge he was spending far too much to look for Della when it was hopeless, knowing he wouldn’t listen to them, and only when Scrooge was “nearly bankrupt,” as Beakley said he was, would the Buzzards swoop in and put a stop to Scrooge’s search efforts, making them look like the heroes who saved his company and pulled him back from the brink of the abyss. From then on they had his trust and cooperation… until he reunited with his nephews.
- The Buzzards attended Scrooge’s first annual McDuck Enterprises Christmas Party in the 1960s or early 1970s.
- Duckworth pushes present-day Scrooge toward the Buzzards to talk business. Scrooge asks them if they are enjoying the party and they huddle up to discuss the question for a moment before answering him in unison, “No.”
- Bradford tells Scrooge with the economic downturn, having a Christmas that is both holly and jolly isn’t fiscally responsible.
Calling a holly jolly Christmas fiscally irresponsible should have convinced more fans of their evilness.
That aside, let’s look at the timeline a bit. This party took place after the events of the flashbacks in “The Confidential Casefiles of Agent 22!” Beakley was at the party, so she and Scrooge were already friends. Therefore Scrooge had already worked as a freelance operative on a S.H.U.S.H. mission where they thwarted the F.O.W.L. agent, Black Heron.
When present-day Scrooge arrives at this Christmas party in the past, we find out it was the first one for McDuck Enterprises because he’d just started his company. The Buzzards, who have since been revealed as the heads of F.O.W.L., have been stationed in his company since it began because he was already an enemy of F.O.W.L.
“The 87 Cent Solution!”
The Buzzards attended Scrooge’s staged funeral.
How much do you want to bet the whole time they were thinking, my gosh, the antics we have to put up with to play the long game…
“The Richest Duck in the World!”
- The Buzzards called a meeting after Louie spent $100,000,000 on an ottoman. Brandford asked him how exactly the ottoman benefits the company.
- Bradford tells Louie McDuck Enterprises is a business, not a bank account, and the money has to come from somewhere. Louie tells him to figure it out, since that’s what he pays him to do.
- Bradford brings up the money spent on magical defense that he tried to have Scrooge cut in Season 1. He says it’s spent on a dark, mysterious island. Louie, not knowing what’s on the island, tells him to cut that. Bradford pulls a device with a single red button right out of his suit jacket and presses it, releasing the Bombie.
- While on the island and trying to escape the Bombie, Louie calls Bradford and tells him to cut the funding to the McDuck satellite system immediately and drop them all on his location. Bradford asks him if he’s sure he knows what he’s doing, and he tells him he does. Bradford drops the satellites on the island and they explode.
- At the end of the episode, we find out the McDuck satellite system was a series of defense satellites, and once they went down, Lunaris was ready to invade.
Scrooge may have known all the ins and outs of McDuck Enterprises, but Louie did not. Scrooge knew that 15 million on magical defense was important and he knew why. Bradford probably also knew exactly what he was doing when he suggested cutting the funding to magical defense again, even though this time he didn’t bring up how much the company was spending on it and, if he had, Louie would have realized the 15 million wouldn’t have made up for the 100 million he just spent. It wasn’t about making up for the money he’d lost at all. They just wanted to get rid of Louie and get control of the company again, whether it was through becoming the heads of McDuck Enterprises themselves, or manipulating a grieving Scrooge once more.
They also would have known those satellites were defense satellites, and while they’re evil, they’re not out to destroy the whole world (as Bradford later said in the finale, “…without the world, who would we larceny against?”). Bradford asked Louie if he knew what he was doing and while Louie said he did, of course he didn’t. (“The ducks almost cost us the world today…”)
- We find out the defense satellites were also useful for communication.
- At the end of the episode, it is revealed the Buzzards are the head of F.O.W.L., and Bradford gives the following speech:
“This has gone too far. The ducks almost cost us the world today, and without the world, who would we larceny against? The pieces are finally in place. Time to come out of the shadows, take control, and end Clan McDuck. If the McDuck family wants an adventure… we’ll give them their last.”
Props to Tumblr blogger astrodances (formerly astroplasmius) for calling that the Buzzards were F.O.W.L. agents before “Moonvasion!” aired!
There’s a lot to unpack and unravel when it comes to enemy spies being planted in Scrooge’s company from the beginning. Little conspiracy theorist Huey will have his hands full, and so will the entire fandom!