Friday, September 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'Disenchantment' - Bean and Dagmar Travel to Maru After Causing Destruction in Dreamland in 'The Disenchantress'

Netflix's Disenchantment - Episode 1.11 "The Disenchantress"

Bean travels with Dagmar to her homeland, Maru, where she rescues an old friend and learns of a mysterious prophecy she's expected to fulfill. 

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Disenchantment.

"The Disenchantress" was written by Shion Takeuchi and directed by Albert Calleros

Part 1 of Disenchantment got off to a muddled mess. It wasn't exactly clear what was driving the narrative forward. It mostly just presented as a fantastic new world for series creator Matt Groening to explore. It was visually stunning. But the narrative didn't start coming together until the very end. That was unfortunate because it felt like there was so much potential that went untapped. And now, Part 2 picks up immediately with Bean and Dagmar fleeing Dreamland after the Queen turned everyone to stone. It's refreshing that Bean realizes that her mother is evil in this premiere. It's not a story that is prolonged any further. As such, everything is allowed to be much more upfront about what is truly going on. But it's also frustrating how the show explains that Dagmar's motivation for all of this is some prophecy regarding Bean that remains very cryptic and vague. That is the entire thing that is fueling the ruling class of Maru. That's where Dagmar is from. Her brother and sister are revealed to be Cloyd and Becky who sent Luci to corrupt Bean in the first place. That too feels like a satisfying piece of resolution that was largely ignored in the previous episodes. Now, there is the sense that things are coming together. But again, the show is much more intrigued by the idea of Bean freaking out that she has some wondrous destiny being forced onto her by her family than trying to explain why everyone believes in that so fiercely. This prophecy was the entire reason why Dagmar married Zøg and had a child with him. She always knew that Bean would go on to do great things. But that remains a very vague concept. Before any explanation can come, Bean is willing to burn the entire world down. An entire new country is introduced here and the characters barely explore any of it. The action is mostly confined to the castle. That's where Dagmar, Cloyd and Becky operate. Of course, it's much more delightful and joyous to spend time with Jerry. Sure, it's ultimately a tragedy because he is killed trying to help Bean. But he's also the person trying to reassure her that she isn't going insane. Sure, it's important for the show to reckon with its murderous impulses. Bean has always been very cavalier about that. Losing Elfo may force her to have a new perspective on life and what she is willing to do to have a good time. She doesn't want to be just like her mother. She sees Dagmar for exactly who she is. Bean understands that it was her mother who attacked Dreamland, the only home she has ever known. And now, she is willing to subject her to more torture for some mysterious reason. Dagmar may present as indestructible at the moment. She survives an explosion that happens right in her face when Bean feared that actively causing it would ensure a self-fulfilling prophecy that Dagmar and her siblings go on about. It is exciting that Dagmar is still alive because she will remain a threat that exists in this world who wants Bean for a specific purpose. But Bean is doing the right thing in running away from all of that with the hope that it can lead to salvation elsewhere. She may be going to Hell with Luci but it's to potentially save Elfo. She views that as the only way she can bring her best friends back together. With that in place, they can accomplish anything in this world. They can deal with any threat they may face. That is inspiring and certainly gives the narrative some direction. It will just be interesting to see if the show explores hell in a more meaningful way than it did with Maru and its mysterious leaders. Meanwhile, all of the beats with King Zøg being all alone in Dreamland and not knowing what to do weren't all that necessary. It mostly showcases how people always coddled their leader and he was completely oblivious to what was happening right in front of him - as if that needed any more clarification at this point.