Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - The Last Leprechaun

In honor of the fact that this month has a relatively small holiday, I'm going to do a cartoon about leprechauns and chipmunks.

It's been a while since I last talked about this show, which is odd, because I blab about Darkwing Duck all the time. I guess I'm just biased towards waterfowl or something. But fear not, rodent lovers. I will not let this show suffer from my petty injustices for any longer!

That being said, there's an unspoken rule that, among the many Disney cartoons that have made their way on various channels throughout the years, pretty much every major holiday is accounted for and has at least one special made in its honor. There are Halloween episodes, Valentine's Day episodes, Christmas episodes, and I'm sure if I looked hard enough, I could even find an episode that talks about Arbor Day or Yom Kippur. 

And sure enough, one of the Disney Afternoon cartoons had something to do with leprechauns, bad Irish accents, and Guinness. Leprechauns needing help from talking chipmunks in Hawaiian shirts. Irish folklore making an appearance in the same show that has some Australian mouse named Monterey Jack. Voice actors trying and failing to imitate Irish accents while another voice actor has to have their voice digitally sped up. This is truly a recipe fit for the gods. It is a great honor I can even share this with you.

In addition to being St. Patrick's Day related, this cartoon, ironically enough, actually aired one day after the previous episode I talked about, Chocolate Chips. Wow, I have half a mind to say that that was totally intentional. (It wasn't.)

But I've been stalling for too long. Waiting for us is a tale of enslavement, betrayal, and squeaky voiced rodents trying to find oversized pots of gold. I shall weave a tale that involves Irish folklore, from terrifying specters renowned for being the omens of death to stereotypical cereal mascots with phoned-in voices. Hopefully you'll learn something from what I'm about to tell you, for it involves fairy tale creatures that are chipmunk-sized and carry racially insensitive names. 

This is...

The Last Leprechaun

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Airdate: November 21, 1989

Availability: On DVD

When I last talked about the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, they had, with the help of some racist Mexican caricatures and Dale being the only one with actual competence, managed to thwart Fat Hitler's evil scheme to control all of the chocolate in Brazil. It was a thrilling adventure in the Amazon rainforest, and the fact that it didn't talk about evil logging companies won major brownie points from me, but surely they can do better than that.

So, what's in store for this episode? Well, for starters, it turns out the Rescue Rangers are in England (because they want to find Monterey Jack's ancestors, but this plot point is quickly discarded in a couple seconds), flying over what look to be storm clouds while all of the occupants of the vehicle voice their uncertainty on whether they can land their aircraft safely. I see we're going to start the episode on a high, cheery note here.

And here's a fun thing to think about. The Rescue Rangers live in North America. England is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Air travel is a pain in the ass when you're in a nice, insulated airplane with bathrooms and in-flight movies and music, but these furry little animals honest to god flew a plane made out of a bleach bottle and a tiny balloon all the way over to another continent without any protection from the cold, unforgiving temperatures at their altitude. Their plane doesn't have any means of illumination, nor does it have seatbelts. On top of that, that aircraft can't be all that fast either, so it's reasonable to assume that they've been flying to discover Monty's roots for, oh, about a week. That takes dedication.

"You'd said there'd be parking, Gadget!"
After flying around in pitch black darkness and thick mists that they can't properly navigate through (and I hate to criticize Gadget's handiwork here, since I can't build a plane out of bottle caps and kitchen supplies, but you'd think she'd give her aircraft safety features for conditions like this), they crash into a tree, fall to the ground, and somehow not die in the process. Man, chipmunks and mice are durable.

While everyone is checking for broken bones and still recovering from the shock that they managed to survive that, Gadget informs her friends that they need to find wood and cloth to repair the plane. I love how absolutely bleak this looks. Everything, from the foreboding trees, the low-hanging mist, to the fact that it's in the middle of the night all scream "horror movie" and now I'm half-expecting characters to get picked off one by one. I really hope one of them gives Monterey Jack a hard time (and maybe a fist to the gut) for being responsible for why they're stranded here in the first place.

I'm so waiting for an owl to just swoop down and carry two of them off.
They walk around for a moment, everyone oblivious to the fact that a small cluster of delicious animals would be an easy meal for some of the many nocturnal predatory animals that exist in forests like this one, and then we get one of the most bizarre lines ever. For that's when Monty finds a random plant off the ground and excitedly tells his friends this golden nugget of a line.

"Look! A shamrock! We must be in Ireland!"


I'm going to take a moment and let the sheer stupidity of that line sink in. It's hard to sum up just how this line made me feel, mostly because I haven't figured out the onomatopoeia of me slapping my forehead. I'm sorry, Disney, but I have shamrocks in my backyard. That doesn't mean I live in Ireland. The plant that this dumbass of a mouse is holding can be found on pretty much any continent because it's a widely spread plant. Monty's logic is terrible and he should feel bad.

"This very common plant will tell us exactly where we are!"
In case you chose to stick around after hearing that bizarre leap in logic from one of the main characters, we're confirmed that we're in Ireland when a horse walks up to then and starts talking in a really thick and fake Irish accent. Her line is, and I apologize in advance to anybody of Irish descent reading this, is "And would it be askin' too much for you to get out of me way, then?" This causes Monterey Jack to say "Yep, we're in Ireland, alright!" to his friends, because clearly Irish accents and shamrocks only exist in Ireland. It's almost adorable how none of this dialogue is meant in an ironic fashion. They're being completely serious.

And how the hell did that horse get that bonnet on her head without any opposable thumbs?

"Top o' the morning! Potato famine! Luck of the Irish! Police stereotypes!"
Turns out the reason the horse and a bunch of animals are leaving this area and taking their silly accents and antiquated headgear with them is because there's witchery afoot! Or, more specifically, there's a banshee loose. Now, I like it when children's programs such as Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers include more obscure mythology just as this, because back when I was a kid devouring these cartoons like a form of sustenance it helped me learn new things. Therefore, this show having an actual banshee instead of just going with the stock "leprechauns are little trickster assholes and you better watch out for them" stock plot for St. Patrick's Day is nothing short of amazing.

But mostly I'm just amused by the fact that this scene is implying that we're seriously going to see these five little varmints take down an honest to god banshee, an ephemeral being with powers no mortal can comprehend, using only their wits and their ability to spout off action-filled but nonthreatening catchphrases. That's badass, and not something I would expect from wee little rodents in goggles and hats.

"Banshee? That's no way to talk to Gadget!"
Dale is confused by the Irish horse's mention of little people, so that's when Monterey Jack explains about leprechauns. And, since it's impossible to talk about leprechauns without mentioning the cash reward, he then casually mentions that if you catch one, you get to keep his pot of gold. This causes Dale to freak out, shout "Gooooold!?" in his best Scrooge McDuck impersonation, and bug out his eyes in a way that looks very detrimental to his eyesight. Uh oh. Looks like we've found out which of Dale's character traits are going to be grossly exaggerated for our amusement. The last episode was Gluttony, and now he suffers from Greed, for contained within his brightly colored shirt are all of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Sure enough, once this cartoon established that there are leprechauns, we get to see some goddamned leprechauns. With Irish music overpowering the air like a bad smell, we see a suitably leprechaun-ish leprechaun doing all the things leprechauns are expected to do, like hide pots of gold, speak in funny little accents, and have out-of-date clothing with buckles in them. Leprechauns like to stick to traditions, you see.

And our little facial hair-toting little pixie, after he somehow shoves a pot of gold into a tree trunk using only elbow grease and manpower (because using actual magic is for pussies), starts complaining about how hard it is to hide his iconic pot of cursed fairy gold when he's all alone. Oh, how he wishes he had someone to talk to. I wonder if this is going to somehow involve Dale.

"Ah yes, soon the price of gold will inflate and I'll be rich beyond my wildest dreams!"
While some mythical creature is setting Irish representation in cartoons back a hundred years, the Rescue Rangers are MacGyvering their plane back to normal. Say all you want about the Rescue Rangers; they get stuff done. Our daring little woodland creatures been flying for hours in their plane, it's dark, and they're probably all suffering from major jet lag, but instead of setting up camp or building a shelter to protect them from wild animals or Celtic monstrosities such as the banshee, they get right to fixing up their plane just so they can get out of this frightening hellhole as soon as possible. That, my friends, is the very definition of the word "badass", especially when you see that Monterey Jack has a serrated kitchen knife as a saw. I'm beginning to see why this show still has an active fanbase, because who wouldn't want to fangirl mice with giant cutting tools?

If Crocodile Dundee taught me one thing about Australians, it's that they know their knives.
Sadly, not all of them are rugged adventurers willing to laugh in the face of the unknown. Instead of helping with the plane, Dale's running off in search of leprechauns in antics so clearly meant to be hilarious that I can almost picture the sitcom-style laugh track. I've noticed from watching these episodes of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers that, with a large group such as the Rescue Rangers, each character in the group has episodes where they're awesome and episodes where they're unbearable asswipes that you wish would get their heads caught in a mousetrap. The writing was so flexible (or inconsistent, depending on how kind you want to be), that one morning you can watch an episode and think Monterey Jack was the coolest thing ever, and then, in the afternoon in the very same day, watch another episode and suddenly hate that fatass's guts. This is exactly what's happening to Dale. After all, with the banshee not making an appearance until much later, the audience needs something to hate.

And in the next episode, it turns out Dale is also incredibly narcissistic! Oh, that wacky Dale...
After he gets spied on by a very off-model leprechaun (who instantly selects him as a target for fun and games, because I guess Ireland is utterly devoid of such rare, unique animals such as mice and chipmunks), Monterey Jack and Chip discourage the Hawaiian shirt-toting vermin from searching for gold by saying there's no such thing as leprechauns. While this is a very mean thing to do (because I've so been there when people I knew told me that certain fairy tales didn't really exist), they're being a lot nicer about it than in Chocolate Chips. Chip's not chewing out his brother (are they related?) and calling him a worthless piece of ass for dare succumbing to his many, many character flaws; he just lightly discourages Dale and then continues onto more important manners, like doing his actual job as a Rescue Ranger. I sure hope this was the norm, and not the "I'm going to whine and moan excessively about how I'm on vacation and go to hell Dale for eating sweets!" I saw in the last episode. 

However, as much as I praise this outcome, what I would've liked to see is Chip point out to Dale that, since they're rodents that get most of their supplies from trash left over from the human world, they really have no use or need for gold. I mean, seriously, how in god name's would they even carry the gold back? Bleach bottles aren't known for being structurally sound.

...and the whole "what would animals want with gold or money" thing kind of rips a huge plot hole into most of Fat Cat's schemes now that I really think about it.

Poor Dale. Sometimes it's hard being the comic relief.
Right after Dale's dreams are hopelessly crushed under the thick army boots of reality, a leprechaun teleports next to him (hey, comedic timing!) and then, in that ever-annoying fake Irish accent of his, starts messing with him by teleport spamming and inappropriately grabbing the poor chipmunk. I'm not sure how I feel about this scene. See, one of the reasons we allow this sort of tomfoolery from leprechauns normally is because they're small and therefore their dupery is almost charming. However, the leprechaun in this show is as tall as our heroes and he's touching them in places that makes them feel uncomfortable. What kind of sick animals animated this atrocity?

And man, that bush's placement is worrying me. I'm thinking back to the time when the little midget said that he wanted some company and now I'm silently weeping.

...and why the hell didn't any of the other Rescue Rangers hear any of this? Worst friends ever.

What happens in Ireland stays in Ireland.
After having his personal space violated by a complete stranger, Dale somehow captures the little rapist, grabs him by the throat (wow, Dale's pissed!), and brings him to his friends so they can properly take legal action. There's a great bit where basically the skepticism and distrust of Dale's wacky schemes, which normally takes way too big of a chunk in a given episode, is shortened down to Chip quickly saying "Just ignore him" off-screen before the cartoon moves right with the plot. No "Oh, Dale, you let us down! Now we're going to be angry and mopey for five minutes!" like in Chocolate Chips.

Yes, as you might guess from the way I keep praising this episode while simultaneously putting the previous one down, Chocolate Chips pissed me the hell off. That episode sucked and it doesn't deserve to share the same DVD space as this one. I don't care if it had someone named VonSugarbottom in it.

"Alright, buddy. Hand over the cereal, and no one gets hurt."
Like anyone who finds themselves standing next to a creature that should not exist, the little furry fandom icons make with the inquiries and ask the little gnome what his deal is. That's when the leprechaun, taking his kidnapping in stride since he can always just teleport away if he gets too bored, introduces himself as Darby Spree, King of the Leprechauns. Yeah, didn't you know? Leprechauns have a monarchy. What, you never learned that in your mythology class?

To be honest, once I learned that our leprechaun was not just any leprechaun, but an honest to god king, I suddenly became very disappointed in his wardrobe choices and the overall way he carries himself. Oh sure, the buckled hat and the green just scream "leprechaun", but you'd think he'd at least have a crown or some golden rings or something that marks him as more than just a mere, run-of-the-mill leprechaun. I guess it's nice that this ruler chooses a life of little opulence to live the same life as the people in his dominion, but come on, Darby, make with the kingliness!

Buuuut I shouldn't be complaining too much. I'm just glad that the leprechaun's not named Lucky.

Even magical creatures suffer from male pattern baldness.
What's the first response he gets when he says that he's King of the Leprechauns? Gadget, the supposed genius of the group, utters "Are you really a leprechaun?" No, Gadget, he's merely some other type of mouse-sized human with magic powers that frequently appears in Ireland. Dumbass!

However, instead of laughing in Gadget's face for asking such a stupid question, Darby pinches his jacket, gloats about his leprechaun-ness, and poses like a boss. Smug little jerk, isn't he?

Although, to be fair on Darby, I don't think there's any member of the Rescue Rangers that can claim that they have ever been the King of the Leprechauns. Save for when Monty gets really drunk during St. Patrick's Day, but that's mostly the Guinness talking.

Darby, the first male leprechaun stripper.
However, despite the pleasant attitudes, Dale is sick of this stupid fairy flapping his gums instead of coughing up the goddamn gold, so he demands that Darby hand over the goods. This causes the leprechaun to insist that he'll do so after he takes them to the Grand Hall of the Leprechauns, a magical and wondrous place full of magical and wondrous sights and magical and wondrous magic and wonder that no mortal eyes have never beheld it in its true majesty. Chuck Norris himself would fall to his knees and weep in joy if he ever entered the Grand Hall of the Leprechauns, Darby insists. True story!

...yeah, if you know anything at all about fairies, especially trickster fairies like leprechauns, you should know where this is going. Too bad chipmunks and mice aren't known for their knowledge in Celtic mythology, so they fall for it completely. Because a leprechaun said it. What rubes.

And I might as well point this out, but frequently throughout this episode, the animators draw Darby with these really odd diamond-shaped eyes. I'm not sure if it's a stylistic choice or a way to make him as an ephemeral sprite beyond our mortal comprehension, but seeing as how everyone else has the classic Disney-style eyes that take up 80% of their face, it just makes Darby look like he's perpetually squinting and totally not something I would trust. Those eyes have killed before.

"Of course I trust you, scary bucktoothed demon man!"
So all of the Rescue Rangers, the little furry dumbasses that they are, follow the little leprechaun through the spooky, mist-covered forests now devoid of any other signs of life save for their group. You know, instead of the alternative, which is continue fixing their plane so they can get out of Ireland like they had planned on doing in the first place. Forget the compliments I gave the Rescue Rangers earlier; clearly they can only get stuff done as long as there's no distractions in the way.

And just in case you're not creeped out by Darby yet, his method of bringing everyone inside the Grand Hall is to make some weird strangulating magic cord that wraps around the entire group and drags everyone down into the dark, untold reaches of the Earth. Yeah, seems trustworthy enough.

Also, am I the only one surprised by everyone's willingness to follow Darby? Surely someone in the group was suspicious, right?


"There's no way this can possibly go wrong!"
We then get to see the Grand Hall of the Leprechauns and, boy, let me tell you, it's like Duke Nukem Forever in terms of failing to live up to its hype. The little asshole in the beard was so excited to talk about this place that he had to do the wiggly fingers and yet, from what I can tell, the Grand Hall is just a cavernous hole in the ground that contains long-lost Irish treasures that the leprechauns stole. Readers, I officially declare this set piece to be A Disappointment, complete with capital letters. I guess the little pellet-crapping vermin were supposed to bask in the glory that is Darby's mystical silver harp!

Luckily, Dale doesn't give a crap and recognizes that he's been duped. He just wants the gold. I'm torn between finding Dale's incessant demands annoying (all of his dialogue since he met up with Darby has contained the word "gold" in it) or commiserating with him and saying that I'd probably do the exact same thing.

Yeah, definitely the latter. Darby's obviously stalling for time, the little crapnugget. Give the little rat his gold already!
It's not like the humans would like any ancestral thrones or swords from their ancestors or anything...
Instead of, you know, Dale getting his damned gold from the annoying imp, we get to see instruments play magically and the leprechaun do a little jig.

...I'm beginning to see why leprechauns haven't been romanticized the way mermaids and vampires are.

They haven't suffered from this much disappointment since they visited California Adventure.
However, turns out the Lucky Charms mascot just randomly dicking around with rodents was a bad idea, because while the Disappointing Hall of the Assholes plays music, the horrendous thing I have ever seen in this cartoon appears, which appears onscreen with a sound that can drive a knife through anyone's eardrums. Looks like we finally got our banshee!

Banshees are not the most recognizable of mythical creatures, but most people know them for their defining trait; their scream that heralds the death of a family member. Sure, this cartoon decides to do away with the whole "heralding death" thing, what with it being a children's cartoon, but oh geez, this banshee scream is pretty intense and actually pretty scary. The best way to describe this ungodly abomination to your ears is to imagine if someone screamed in one of those dollar store voice-changers, and then Satan somehow recorded that sound and modulated it in AfterEffects. The result is one of the reasons why I really didn't like watching the Disney Channel around March when I was a kid because I knew there was a chance that I'd tune in and accidentally run into The Scream.

But hey, at least it makes Darby look less frightening, even if it's just by comparison.

What's a Disney cartoon without a little nightmares?
And then the hideous screaming creature floats through the air merely by utilizing her own hatred of gravity and then steals the magic gold of King Darby. Ladies and gentlemen, our driving plot point for this cartoon.

...yeah. Probably should've hid that magic gold in that Grand Hall of the Ruined Expectations there, King Talks-To-Chipmunks.

Darby, there's a lovely invention the mortals have created. They're called "banks". Perhaps you've heard of them.
After this happens, we get to check back on our furry little heroes, who are gradually growing uncomfortable (to the point where no one's making eye contact) by Darby and his wanton use of magic. Using their patented super sleuthing skills (aka, everyday logic) they notice that the Not-So-Grand Hall seems to be totally lifeless save for them, and that they haven't actually seen any other leprechauns when Darby's a supposed king. This causes them to finally gain enough courage to ask Darby what his deal is, all while hoping that by doing so, they don't set him off and cause him to go on a murdering rampage.

Fortunately, instead of angering him, Irish O'StereotypeName makes with the sad backstory and tells them that he's the last of the leprechauns. Turns out he got to see all of his friends and family get hunted down by the banshee. You gotta imagine how it was to hear this as a kid. They sort of leave the whole "hunted down" definition ambiguous here (you later learn that she merely captured them), so I seriously thought Darby was telling some chipmunks and their mice buddies that he saw everyone he knew and loved messily slaughtered by something that speaks purely in night terrors. I guess that would make anyone turn to kidnapping and random molestation.

Oh, and right after he gains their pity, he casually mentions that when you enter the lair of the little people, you're trapped there forever and become his little fun slaves. Hey, just because he's got a tragic past doesn't prevent him from being a douche!

They're taking this rather well...
When hearing that Dale's going to languish, away from his home and everything he's loved, in some magic cavern in Ireland forever (and, judging by how there's no food and water in the Grand Hall, when I say "forever", I mean "about three days until everyone dies of starvation"), Dale gets pissed off with Sir "Shamrocks Mean We're In Ireland!" (aka Monterey Jack) and starts yelling at him for telling him about leprechauns in the first place. No offense, Dale, but maybe you should try redirecting your anger at the buckle-wearing jerk responsible for your entrapment. Darby may be magic, but he definitely won't see a foot to the crotch coming.

Random, but I've noticed that Zipper (the little fly in all the group shots) has said absolutely nothing, contributed absolutely nothing, and is really only visible to reassure us that he's still alive. I'd be a little more insulted if I actually gave a crap about the character.

"Pull my finger, damnit!"
But then, while he watches woodland critters yell at each other, Arby Darby Farby senses that his powers are getting weaker. That can only mean one thing; someone's after his lucky charms messing with his pot of gold. It turns out a leprechaun's magic is directly connected to their pot of gold. Bet you didn't know that either. This episode is like a documentary on leprechauns from the way it keeps informing the audience on little-known facts about these amazing creatures.

And oh god, the perspective when he flies through the air in order to check on his pot of gold (I bet you didn't know that leprechauns could fly either! I'm learning new things from Disney!) just defies all words in the English language on how ridiculous it is. I really doubt the animators kept a straight face while drawing this work of art.

Leprechauns are a majestic, dignified race.
When he finds that the stump containing his cleverly hidden pot of gold, it just steams the King of the Leprechauns' britches. Our unlikeable little asshole is pretty ticked that the source of his power is now in the hands of his worst enemy. In fact, Darby's so mad that his pot of gold is gone that suddenly he turns on the Rescue Rangers and thinks that the mortals were sent by the banshee to distract him.


Yes, Darby. The banshee sent a chipmunk in a hat, a chipmunk modeled after Magnum, P.I., an overweight mouse with an Australian accent, a female mouse in purple spandex, and a useless fly to distract you. Because that makes a whole lot of sense. She's a powerful witch woman who can scream in a way that can physically destroy anything in her path, but her big plan was to send small mammals your way.

Yeah, this show is full of idiots, I've noticed. This jump to conclusions isn't as bizarre as Monty saying that shamrocks mean they're in Ireland, but it's pretty up there.

"Oooh, that cunning witch, coming up with an elaborate plot involving American tourists!"
Meanwhile, the Rangers use the brief time they have where they're not surrounded in Irish stereotypes to try to escape from the Fortress of The Moles Grand Hall of the Leprechauns. Yeah, you know that whole "mortals can never leave the Grand Hall" thing? Turns out that really doesn't mean anything magical; it's just that the only entrance and exit is a tiny hole in the ceiling and it's really goddamn inconvenient. Good thing the Rescue Rangers can fashion ropes out of bits of string and bobby pins and have a fly at their command (hey, Zipper was actually useful!) or else they'd really be screwed.

I've noticed that Chip is a lot more fun to watch in this episode. His complaints towards Dale are limited to friendly taps on the head, and he seems to be smiling a lot more often. Maybe Chip was just having a really bad day back in the Amazon.

...and okay, this is the last time I'll bring up Chocolate Chips. In my defense, my therapist said that it's harmful to keep all of this pent-up frustration bottled up inside. I know crap when I see it.

"Hah! Leprechaun magic, my ass!"
But their escape plan is thwarted when Darby appears, sets their rope on fire, accuses them of tricking him, and then suddenly turns into a regular badass because he starts wielding his magic like nobody's business. While the Rescue Rangers are confused by their host's sudden mood change, he summons a magical rope and squeezing them until either they confess, they die from lack of oxygen, or they projectile vomit all of their internal organs. Why Lucky didn't think of doing this to those little brats in his Lucky Charms commercial is never explained; I guess his contract won't allow it.

And that's when we get our fade to black with dramatic music while cutting to commercial transition. Only when it's used here, it honest to god makes it look like the Rescue Rangers are losing consciousness. I would feel bad for the little guys except for the fact it sort of is their fault for trusting a freaking leprechaun in the first place. Even my cats would know better, and I've seen them eat bits of string off from the floor.

Oh, and Darby? Maybe there's a reason why you don't have anyone to talk to. From the looks of it, you've done this before. You keep accusing your house guests of betraying you and then you strangle them to death. That would make anyone a bit lonely.

Suddenly I've gained a new respect for Darby.
Luckily, this won't be the first nor the last Disney Afternoon show that shows an impossible, seemingly bleak situation before it cuts to commercial, only to have a giant cop-out for the heroes to escape from said impossible situation once the commercials are over. In this episode's case, Darby's powers just happen to fizzle out right before any of our heroes slip into an oxygen-deprived coma and suffer from permanent brain damage.

Also, Darby knew that his magic is losing its potency, and yet he still tried to use it as a weapon? I guess having the little leprechaun pull out a knife and hold it to Dale's throat while threatening the other three wouldn't be as leprechaun-ish as the magic rope of strangulation, but still.

"Well, crap. I obviously didn't think this through."
The Rescue Rangers, no doubt suddenly disturbed by Darby's murderous mood-swings, decide to get the hell out of there before the little psychopathic hobgoblin changes his mind and tries killing them again. Luckily, with Darby's magic almost gone, they can finally escape the lair (the Grand Hall has another exit that's normally sealed shut by magic) and end up back in the forest. Maybe now they can get to fixing that plane so they can actually get to finding Monterey Jack's ancestors in England. Come on, Disney, don't leave that plot thread hanging!

However, that's when Darby, his fevered little brain suddenly using actual logic has regrets and realizes that he's been a bit of a dickweed to the Rescue Rangers. Why, those little rodents weren't a part of the banshee's plans after all! Boy, what a misunderstanding that nearly led to death. Darby feels so embarrassed.

That's when he decides to run after him and tries to show that he's really on their side. Because I'm sure the Rescue Rangers will instantly forgive him for the whole "lying about magic gold, stranding them in a magic cave, and then nearly killing them" thing he did.

Awww, it's so cute when he's murderously bipolar!
Since it's been a while since we've last seen our actual villain (who, despite the events from earlier, is not Darby), we get to see a shadow carrying a pot of gold to one of the most ridiculously huge castles I've ever seen in a cartoon. A banshee's native habitat is a massive fortress that looks like a high-security penitentiary, apparently. Being inconspicuous is for wimps!

This castle makes me wonder if everyone in the neighboring area just takes this whole thing in stride and just considers the occupant inside the massive Final Fantasy-esque dungeon to be a wee bit essentric and nothing more.

Nice sense of scale there, layout artist.
And that's when we finally see our villain in something other than mysterious silhouette for once. I really like how this character, this ghastly beast of a woman with her nonsensical hairband and her giant Jem-styled hair and her gratuitous use of eyeshadow, confirms the fact that I am in fact watching a cartoon that was made in the 80's. That certainly was nice of Disney.

With hair bigger than the state of New York, first thing our banshee woman does is talk to herself over how, at last, the gold of King Darby is hers! It's been a constantly proven fact that, when you turn evil, you become prone to narrating the absolute bloody obvious to yourself. I wonder if she shouts "At last! I have paid for my groceries with my debit card!" and starts cackling maniacally whenever she goes shopping.

There's nothing about this woman that doesn't scream 80's fashion.
And in case she gets bored with staring at a pot of gold while rubbing her hands in evil glee, she even has her own private mine that provides her with even more gold for her to gloat about. I wonder if she has her own money bin filled with gold nuggets and coins that she likes to swim in during her spare time. Uncle Scrooge is totally jealous.

...does she actually spend the gold? It seems kind of bizarre that the chipmunks are essentially going to fight someone who suffers from compulsive hoarding, even if she is a banshee. Hell, if anything, that just makes her mental illness that much sadder.

Oh, and the fact that the banshee has her own private mine should be a clue as to where the rest of the leprechauns went. Not to give away the plot or anything, mind.

After we journeyed into the psyche of an Irish fairy clearly suffering from an acute form of OCD, we then get to see another equally insane Irish fairy bother some talking animals, for Darby catches up to the Rescue Rangers and tries to act like that whole chipmunk-strangling incident never happened in hopes that he's dealing with animals with weak short term memories. Joke's on you, Darby, you Irish sociopath! You're dealing with Disney animals capable of human thought and speech here! wait. Do the Rescue Rangers actually speak English, or is what we're seeing here is being translated for human audiences? Because this scene where Darby is trying to be all palsy-walsy on the people he just tried to murder gets even more surreal if you picture them chittering like actual rodents.

"Oh come on, don't let a little attempted murder get in the way of our friendship!"
He sees that they need a little more convincing. That's when he, err...does this to Dale.

Yep, this is exactly what it looks like.
Yeeeeah. I'm not even going to attempt to describe this scene. Apparently Darby's trying to force Dale to capture him again, but the fact that Dale screams "Let go! I don't want you!" while the two of them are thrashing around on the ground makes this go into really creepy territory.

Okay, in all honesty, I know this show has a pretty big following on the Internet. I know of the fanart. So why isn't Darby/Dale a popular ship? Just look at these two!

Oh, I wish I could've seen the looks on the animators' faces when they heard just what they had to draw.
But here's the kicker. This somehow convinces everyone to go help the leprechaun, instead of the alternative, which is filing a restraining order against this asshole for violating their friend. Hey, I can understand. Everyone seems kind of afraid of Darby, and it's certainly better to appease the little rapist/murderer/abomination rather than to get on Darby's bad side again. They remember what happened in the Grand Hall. They remember how eager he was to strangle them all.

Oh, and also because he said that he needs help getting his gold back, which causes Dale to remember his character flaw from a long time ago. You gotta love how Dale will easily sell out in exchange for a few gold pieces. Oh sure, Darby's a repulsive savage who can't keep his hands to himself, but gold!

And Darby's eyes keep radically changing in style throughout this entire scene. I guess I'll just chock that up to "magic".

Who wouldn't trust that face?
So they enter the mansion (which is apparently really close by) through a conveniently sized hole in the wall and find the pot of gold just sitting on a pedestal within easy reach.

Hey, that was easy!

"I'd better grab the only part of this pot that's not a part of the background!"
There's only one minor problem. Turns out gold is heavy (and here I was critiquing the banshee for stating the obvious) and chipmunks aren't known for their heavy lifting skills. Man, I bet Darby wishes he was in a cartoon where the main heroes are more human-sized right about now.

I do love Chip's response to Dale vainly trying to drag away an entire pot of gold. Instead of flat out saying that he's being too greedy in a way that resembles the He-Man lessons at the end of each of their recycled animation-filled episodes, Chip just says "Dale, don't be a jerk!". Classic

"Hey, get your own!"
It isn't long for the old woman to catch them trying to steal her gold, and that's when she spins around like a top and turns into this thing. I...really have no words.

Ahahahaha, WHAT.
Well, what do you know, that truly is the most ridiculous thing my eyes have ever seen, and I've seen a man get piranha DNA injected into his neck by half-naked shark mutants. I can understand doing something new to the long-established banshee lore in order to create a truly unique monster for your vermin-infested show, but for some reason, I can't seem to draw the conclusion between a fairy woman that screams when someone is about to die and some weird legless purple bat thing that's made up of like 90% hair. No doubt the real reason she needs her own gold mine constantly supplying her with money is because she spends most of her income on her rich, flowing locks.

But mostly I must apologize to Ms. 80's Hair here, because it's just hard to be scared by a creature that insists on wearing her headband and mosh pit bracelets when she turns into her monster form.

And, wouldn't you know it,  the Queen of the Banshees can barf out laser doughnuts that can tear you to pieces. I love cartoons.

While everyone is running away from her sonic death vomit, that's when the Queen of the Banshees gives some exposition.She tells Darby that for centuries, she's been hunting every last one of his people down until he was truly the last of the leprechauns, and now the Queen of the Banshees will be the wealthiest creature in Ireland!

Uh, no offense, Ms. CrazyHair, but I think Darby kind of knows all of that. He lived through it. None of this exposition is really needed because we heard all of this from Darby in a previous scene. I wonder if she normally does this. I can just picture her in a college classroom during midterms.

"Finally, after days of studying, I've approached this Midterm and used my ability to answer its puzzling multiple choice questions and its many short essay questions with ease! Now, teacher, I shall wait until I, Queen of the Banshees, gets at least a passing grade on this midterm on account it's a third of this class's grade!"

And then she spits out doughnut lasers. Because banshee.

She may be a terrifying bat woman, but inside that leathery exterior beats the heart of a rocker.
So the heroes run around aimlessly in the cartoon's first action sequence and everyone avoids banshee laser beams while crap is blowing up around them (hey, good job destroying your possessions, banshee lady!) until Darby and Dale hide behind the pot. Oh god, they're alone together. Darby's going to mount Dale again and turn this into a smut film, isn't he? Have you no decency, cartoon? Must you shove your bizarre little people fetish onto the poor unsuspecting viewers?

Actually, no. Darby's not going to shove his magic lucky charms into Dale's pot of gold. Instead, Darby turns Dale into the King of the Leprechauns in order to punish him for being greedy. I love that, at one point in time, someone seriously had to write "Dale turns into the King of the Leprechauns" and get paid to do it. Sure, Darkwing Duck has his gas gun and his more interesting villain roster, but when was he ever King of the Leprechauns?

Now, before you think that some transformation occurred where Dale suddenly mutated into an awkward-looking mini-human like Darby, all the leprechaun did was switch clothes. The cartoon even does a little lampshade hanging, because notice that Darby only switches all of his clothes from the waistline up. This is one of the few times that a cartoon with pantless characters has actually drawn attention to the fact that the characters don't wear pants. It's pretty surreal and raises too many questions.

And why the hell does Darby need Dale's shirt? He just can't get enough of that sexy rodent, can he?

"Say, Dale, can I also have a lock of your fur? It's for safekeeping."
As expected, it's right when they make the switch that the banshee woman grabs Dale. And, probably because banshees have incredibly poor eyesight and think that chipmunks and leprechauns look like the same damn thing, she is fully convinced that she's finally captured Darby. So, to celebrate her victory, she opens up a trap door in the middle of the room and throws Dale down to what looks like the pits of hell. It's a sight so appalling that the cartoon temporarily loses consciousness and fades to commercial.

Also, I'd like to see how the hell a house the size of Alcatraz Island can comfortably sit on top of a goddamn gold mine. Something seems amiss here. Maybe one of the reasons we never got to see more than one room of the banshee's lovely manor is because half of her rooms have already sunk beneath the earth and are now cavernous pits that belch out noxious fumes. Banshee Queen's lost more broom closets that way.

And wait a second, if the banshee's been doing this for centuries, why was the horse and all of those animals only started leaving a couple hours ago? Witchery's been afoot for a long time now!

I wonder if they just reuse the same piece of animation whenever Dale falls off of something.
Back at ground level, the rescue rangers are understandably pretty pissed by what has just occurred (and for all we know, they probably think that Dale is dead now, since that pit didn't have a visible bottom) and confront Darby about it. That's when he raps with them and tells them that he sort of kind of gave his clothes to their coworker so that the banshee queen wouldn't capture him and throw her in her giant gold mine, where he will slave away for eternity. Who the hell's going to miss one chipmunk anyways? Even if Darby's into bestiality, you gotta admire his honesty. 

"Alright, Shortie. Spill the beans. You're in league with the Keebler Elves, aren't you?"
So how can they help Dale? Well, they're going to need the asshole's magic back, but the only way they can recharge his magical batteries is if they hide the gold before sunrise. Otherwise, his magic will be gone forever, leprechaun magic will cease to exist, and Lucky Charms will have to change their tagline to just "They're normally delicious!". 

Then Gadget, tired of just standing around, actually says a pretty cool line. She describes moving the pot of gold using only their grubby little rodent paws as "Improbable". When Monty tries to correct her by saying that she really meant "impossible", she gets all indignant and says "Of course not Monty, nothing's impossible". It's a great line, even if it's completely false. Sure, Gadget. Nothing's impossible. Then why is it that when I'm willing myself to shoot lasers from my eyes in order to smite my enemies from afar, nothing's happening?

Minor complaints aside, I do like that the last couple of screenshots are basically "angry as hell vermin about ready to beat the crap out of a leprechaun". Disney has brought good into the world.

To be fair, his face does look pretty punchable.
After that bout of exposition, we cut back to Dale, who is somehow still alive despite surrounded in dangerously high temperatures and the five story fall. But steamy lines and the glowing fires of hell are not all there is to greet our furry little companion, for also down in the gold mines is all of the leprechauns the banshee has collected. Hooray for both cinematic payoff and cheap labor!

Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems with this setup. So basically this cartoon is telling me that every single leprechaun on planet Earth in the Chip and Dale universe was collected and placed in a gold mine in Ireland, where they slaved away for centuries without once seeing the light of the sun or feeling the wind on their skin. That's pretty grim. Yeah, sure, leprechauns are totally real; they've just been enslaved by a terrifying bat monster that can scream out lasers that can rip them in half! Happy St. Patrick's Day, kids!

But mostly, I have some major questions about that gold mine. Now, I did some research (ie. I googled it), and turns out there are gold mines in Ireland, but this is still a pretty big stretch to say that there's a gold mine with enough gold to last for centuries (even if the laborers are about chipmunk-sized, they're immortal, which means they can work at least five times as hard) that's just completely hidden underneath this old castle. So what, no one else has discovered this gold mine? Even if this was made in the late 80's, I'm sure by now, science has advanced to the point where humanity would've discovered the uncharted gold mine filled with untold riches and little enslaved Keebler Elves.

But more importantly, if the Queen of the Banshees is just living right next to a gold mine, why doesn't she sell the mine off to the humans and make more money than she ever could just having the gold? She could set her own price and everything. For a story about leprechauns and mice that build planes out of bleach bottles, this plot doesn't make much sense.

Celtic mythology is oddly materialistic.
But back to more important matters. While the flea-infested little pest is collecting gold nuggets and getting used to the life of the miner, he has an idea. Why, if they take pieces of gold, pound them into thin sheets, and attach them all together, they can create something that can reflect the banshee's scream back at her.

Sooo...the leprechauns were trapped in that mine for centuries and no one thought of this plan? The chipmunk thought of this idea after just a couple minutes! Boy, I bet every leprechaun in that really deep hole is feeling pretty stupid right about now...

"All those wasted centuries..."
Meanwhile, the other Rescue Rangers are raiding the banshee's shed (because just because she's a demon woman that can live for centuries doesn't mean she's exempt from yard work) in search of items that can move a pot of gold. It doesn't take long for them to open a cabinet and discover all of the banshee's stored fireworks. Yes, fireworks. The Queen of the Banshees, a terrifying immortal creature that has made it her life mission to turn every last leprechaun into her personal slave, has fireworks just lying around her house. What the crap. What, was she going to use them to celebrate the fact that she captured all of the leprechauns like a real Pokémon Master?

And that's when Zipper accidentally dropped his cigarette and killed them all.
That's when we enter the part of the cartoon that I like to call "The Finale With Lots of Back-And-Forth Cuts". As that unwieldy name should signify, what with the Rescue Rangers being effectively split up, all of the scenes are set up where we get a couple seconds of Group A and then a couple seconds of Group B so that we see both plans going into fruition at the same time. It creates a kind of neat effect, because it's basically letting us know that a bunch of crap is going down within the same time frame. I just wish they somehow worked in what the banshee was doing so that, while Gadget's setting up fireworks and while Dale is dicking around with gold sheets, we get to see whether the banshee is blow-drying her hair, making a delicious quiche, or taking a nap.

With that being said, it means we go back to the mines again, and see the giant plate of gold. This scene barely lasts a couple seconds and only exists to show that the leprechauns did indeed follow orders, so I'm not sure why they even bothered. I guess otherwise, I would've been eaten alive with worry as to whether Dale's suggestion was accepted by his fellow miners or if his voice of dissension was quickly squelched (like other voices in the past) and the leprechauns continued with their lives.

This scene was also extremely dark and hazy for some reason. I know it's a mine, but I don't go into a cartoon expecting realistic lighting.

It's sort of like one of those Magic Eye puzzles in a way.
While Dale is building the most expensive trap ever, his friends managed to rig up some rocket skis for the pot of gold, using the same skills that The Professor possessed in Gilligan's Island (only with a lot less use of coconuts). And, despite the fact that the banshee had a whole pile of firecrackers just lying around, they only thought to bring two of them. I'm a little disappointed that, instead of playing it safe and only stealing a few of the explosives, they didn't attach all of the rockets to their contraption and create something that can legitimately blow up half of the banshee's house and part of the surrounding country. That'll show her!

After they manage to get the pot of gold on the skis, (and don't ask how it stays in place or how none of the gold pieces fall out; I'm assuming the pot is sentient and is going to cooperate with the little furballs magically) they decide to lay out the plans. Apparently Monterey Jack is going to be the unlucky asshole riding on this death trap, probably because he lost at nose goes. Don't worry, folks. Thanks to contractual immunity, he'll live.

Also, I feel bad, but I actually had to pause this cartoon just to see if I could recognize the painting in the background. I couldn't, but now I can't help but wonder what other rare pieces of art the banshee has in her collection. Wealth isn't just measured in gold, you know.

I wonder, in a world where all rodents are this sentient and are capable of building rocket skis,
do they still fall for mouse traps and rat poison?
So two things happen at once during this climax. First, the banshee falls for Dale's trap, which happens to be a solid gold sousaphone that can somehow reflect banshee screams, and the leprechauns are all able to escape.

It is here that we see the entire population of all the leprechauns the banshee has captured throughout the centuries, which about twenty people. I know a crowd of several hundred independently moving people would be hard to animate, but this is still a little depressing. That gold mine must be littered with the tiny skeletons of leprechauns that died from exhaustion, and a race made up of only males can't really replenish their numbers.

"Eat brass instrument, demon!"
While the banshee is getting a taste of her own medicine, Monterey Jack shoots into the stratosphere, explodes, and dies a horrible, fiery death.

No, I'm just kidding. He "safely" lands in a tree completely unharmed, and the fireworks harmlessly blew up in the forests somewhere. Some branches broke his fall, and he "softly" landed on solid gold coins. you can probably tell from my sarcasm, I'm finding these events totally hard to believe.

I don't know about you, but a mouse can totally survive this!
The leprechauns face off against the banshee, but without their magic, they have to resort to just standing around, holding their hands in a spell-casting pose, and looking fierce in hopes that the banshee won't call their bluff and attack them before Monterey Jack hides the gold. You see, they kind of forgot to point this out, but apparently the leprechauns' magic is connected to Darby somehow. If Darby lacks his magic, all of the leprechauns lack magic.

...which makes no sense, seeing as how up until when his pot got stolen, Darby was as magically delicious as a fresh bowl of marshmallow-filled cereal, and that means that all of the leprechauns in the mines had access to all of their magic and were magical for centuries. And yet they still chose not to do anything about the banshee.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the laziest supernatural beings in the history of the entire planet. They have the powers to levitate musical instruments, but if someone captures them, they're just going to sit around with their thumbs up their asses until a chipmunk does all the thinking for them.

"Insult fudge stripe cookies and Rice Krispies, will you?"
That's when the pot of gold gets hidden, it shoots out a rainbow that cloaks the little munchkins in a heavenly colorful light, and that's when they use the Care Bear Stare.

And that's how I learned the meaning of St. Patrick's Day.

The only reason Nelvana didn't take legal action is because Disney's lawyers are too powerful.
Then Gadget, fed up with just sitting around and doing nothing for most of the episode like she normally does, uses a knife and a chandelier to send the banshee to her very own gold mine. So, in the end, what really defeated the banshee was not Dale and not the leprechauns, but a person the banshee never really bothered with. Huh.

And while this does sound like they're setting up the banshee to get a taste of her own medicine by working in the very place she made her slaves work, I'm pretty sure the banshee died. For one, she fell in a Disney production; that's shorthand for death in these situations. Second, we never hear the banshee hit anything when she falls in her gold mine, and you clearly see the chandelier enter one of the fire-filled cracks scattered throughout the mine. I'm sure somewhere, in some animation studio in Korea, there's some cut footage of the banshee screaming in agony while lava melts all the flesh off her bones, sort of like Crocomire from Super Metroid.

But here's a chilling thought. This villain was the Queen of the Banshees. So, I'm guessing the rest of the banshees are not going to care one bit that the leprechauns slayed their ruler, right? We saw how the leprechauns handled one banshee; (ie, they let themselves get captured and they waited for centuries until some mortal solved their dilemma for them) let's see them handle the entire race of banshee, now pissed off and baying for vengeance.

Well, it was nice knowing Darby and the rest of the leprechauns. I'll be sure to put flowers on their inevitable mass grave.

That hair.
So everything looks about wrapped up. Darby hugs his friends, which is an event so happy that it conjures a magic shamrock in the air, he gets his clothes back from Dale, and the Grand Hall of the Leprechauns is once more filled with his subjects. Man, if the King of the Leprechauns wasn't such an asshole throughout this entire episode, maybe I'd be more moved by this plot development. I mean, for all we know, the Rescue Rangers probably made things even worse by unleashing Darby's folk on the poor unsuspecting people of Ireland and the banshee was doing the world a favor!

By the way, am I the only one wondering what the hell happens to that really nice castle the banshee used to own? She's not going to need all of her shiny paintings and giant gold nuggets now that she's dead. The Grand Hall could use a bit sprucing up, after all. Hell, they could live in the castle! I mean, which is a better place to live in; a giant hole in the ground, or some sort of grand chateau with thousands upon thousands of rooms and your very own gold mine?

At least he didn't jump on that one leprechaun and start riding him like what he likes to do with Dale.
And, just in case you were wondering what the Rescue Rangers' reward is, turns out the leprechauns fixed the plane. Yeah, sure, I guess that's a good reward. Too bad the leprechauns couldn't add a gold nugget or two (not too much so the plane can't fly, but just enough to make a decent reward) on top of that, since they did sort of kind of save them from centuries of hard labor.

I will admit, though, that bow is kind of cute. I bet Darby had a shamrock-looking ribbon just lying around for all of these years, collecting dust in his Grand Hall, waiting for the time when some mortal helps his people.

...wait a second. Why didn't Darby and the leprechauns use their magic to turn the Ranger Plane into some magical vehicle with the most comfortable seats, the best armor available to chipmunk-kind, and built-in radios so that the flights won't be as boring? Man, the Rescue Rangers really got ripped off now that I think about it.

"Thank you for saving my entire race of people. As a reward, I'm just going to fix something
you nearly had fixed already and do nothing more. Hugs and kisses, Darby."
And so our story concludes with the Rescue Rangers letting us know what the lesson for today is (don't be greedy) without any trace of subtlety while Dale craps on any character development he received in this episode by saying that silver is where the real money is, which causes Chip to shove the shamrock bow into his mouth in a vain attempt to choke his brother to death. Oh, Dale. Don't ever change.

"Silver's where the real money is because there's a lot less scary, mythical creatures attached to that precious metal!"
And with Dale proving that you really can't teach animals that live for only three years in the wild new tricks, let us conclude this venture into leprechaunland and take note of everything that St. Patrick's Day is really about, all while forgetting the fact that Monterey Jack never got to find his roots in England and, from the looks of it, the Rescue Rangers are just going to fly back home. Ah well. C'est la vie. 

The Moral of this Cartoon
Leprechauns are easily exploitable and are very affordable forms of labor.

Final Verdict

The Good
*The animation is really good. This is a Disney Afternoon show so I wouldn't ask for anything less, but there are some really great moments with lots of overlap in this episode.
*Even though Dale's the character out of the group with the episodic character flaw, they don't do it in a way that's annoying. Greedy Dale makes for some funny jokes and doesn't wear on the nerves.
*The other Rescue Rangers are not annoying and everyone has their moment to shine.
*The Banshee was suitably terrifying. But mostly I'm talking about that scream. You could kill babies with that sound effect. Seriously.

The Bad
"Look! Shamrocks! We must be in Ireland!"
*Darby, at times, is animated creepily, and on top of that, he can get a little annoying.
*Banshee is a one-dimensional villain and is completely uninteresting.
*So many fake Irish many...

The Final Decision
This is a pretty solid episode. It's not terrible, and it's not the best episode in the entire show, but it's passable and makes for decent entertainment.

I do like this episode a lot better than Chocolate Chips, but I don't have much more to say beyond that. This is one of those episodes that every show has where everything works, but there's nothing mind-blowingly spectacular that keeps me coming back.

Which isn't to say this is a bad episode. It's purely there to show me what would happen if the Rescue Rangers encountered leprechauns, and for that, I say that they did their job well.

I just wish there was more drinking or more corn beef and cabbage-eating in this episode. For god's sakes, they were in Ireland!