Friday, September 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'Disenchantment' - Bean Searches for Magic While Zøg Quickly Falls in Love Again in 'The Lonely Heart Is a Hunter'

Netflix's Disenchantment - Episode 1.14 "The Lonely Heart Is a Hunter"

Bean dreams about her mother and finds mystical Maruvian symbols around the castle. Zøg falls for an unusual woman he meets in the Enchanted Forest.

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 Lonely Heart Is a Hunter" was written by Ben Ward and directed by David D. Au

Dagmar sends Bean off on an adventure to find the source of magic within the Dreamland castle. It's a search that highlights how this castle has so many secret passageways and rooms that its residents don't even know about. There are secrets that exist in everyday life for the king and his family. They just need the right push in order to go exploring. However, Bean should be wary about anything her mother tells her to do. She understands that Dagmar is evil with some mysterious agenda. Bean previously stated that she wants to be nothing like her mother. And yet, she is very intrigued by the Maruvian symbols around the castle. Most of them really don't amount to much though. They are mostly just empty teases that say something is near. It's a search that takes up the entire episode for Bean. It doesn't even come to a satisfying conclusion. Instead, it mostly ends with her discovering a new corner of the castle only to run back to her room after the fire is blown out. It's understandable that she would be furious with the song from the music box that keeps playing over and over again. It feels as if it is haunting her. She can't escape it. Even when she throws it away, it magically returns to her. That is eery and suspicious. It proves that she may not be able to escape her fate. She will have to embark on this journey not knowing exactly what her mother wants with this kind of magic. Of course, that also calls into question why Dagmar left Dreamland without securing this in the first place? Was she in too much of a rush because King Zøg and Luci discovered the truth about her? Was getting Bean out more important? These are important questions that need to be answered. But instead, it continues to feel like the show is setting up engaging stories without really pulling the trigger on exploring any of them in a meaningful way. The rest of the episode deals with romantic relationships. Luci and Elfo compete for the affections of the same elf. Elfo warns Luci that Kissy is only going out with him in order to create jealous in others. It certainly works. But it's not the most exciting or original of stories. In fact, it feels like the plot that has been seen a million times. It doesn't add any kind of personal agency or understanding to Kissy either. It should be a big deal that she chooses herself and analyze why she is always drawn to the bad boys of the world. And yet, that too mostly presents as this empty idea that allows for quick resolution to the plot in this specific episode. It means that this won't be an ongoing concern even though the elves are staying in Dreamland for awhile. There isn't a good enough reason for why they have taken over part of the city. They came to Dreamland for a specific purpose. Leavo also believes there is buried treasure that will be important to the elves. But does that require all of these magical creatures to put their lives on the line when they could be much safer back in Elfwood? It seems a little forced. The same goes for Zøg's new romance with Ursula, a bear who can transform into a woman when she removes her skin. It presents as a new type of romantic dynamic for Zøg. But it mostly just ensures that his spirits are lifted after a depressing start to the season. It may not be a complete cure for his aches in this world. It just allows him to experience something new. That too can be very encouraging. But it may not last because Ursula also runs away the moment that Zøg returns her bear skin. She simply doesn't belong in this castle even if she could be the Queen of Dreamland. All of this presents with the sense that the show doesn't quite know how to balance its stories in a way that keeps the audience engaged with these characters and what could happen to them in the future.