Saturday, September 21, 2019

REVIEW: 'Disenchantment' - Bean and Elfo Stage a Heist to Steal Money from Zøg for the Elves in 'The Dreamland Job'

Netflix's Disenchantment - Episode 1.16 "The Dreamland Job"

Learning that the elves are starving because of Zøg's excessive taxes, Bean plans a heist with a passing band of circus performers to recover the money.

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 Dreamland Job" was written by Jeny Batten & M. Dickson and directed by Ira Sherak

The more episodic stories of this show haven't always been great. Because this season has struggled with the more serialized elements though, it actually makes an episode like this one more delightful to watch. Sure, there are still some big questions the show is refusing to provide any reasonable answers for. Why isn't Bean continuing her search for the source of Maruvian magic in Dreamland? Why does Elfo not ask any follow-up questions with his father about his lineage? Instead, the focus is largely on the sudden poverty of the elves because of the extreme taxes King Zøg has put in place. It's a concern that is only introduced here and quickly finds its resolution by the conclusion of the 22 minutes. And yet, it's a story told in a heist format that adds a lot of unpredictability to the proceedings. Bean immediately trusts this band of circus performers. She sees them as elves and elves can always be seen as trustworthy. They are always optimistic and make for great company. In fact, it's nice and charming to know that Luci now owns a bar. That can become a new but vital location to set stories when the action remains in Dreamland. This episode brings the story back to the fact that Bean is constantly drinking which does cause problems between her and her father. That has always been a core part of the character and their specific dynamic. The show may not have a whole lot of nuance in the situation. But it's something it can reliably go back to from time to time. Bean can also be incredibly trusting. She goes on these wild adventures knowing that things will more or less work out for her and her friends in the end. Sure, there was the sense that she may change her ways after Elfo was killed and she learned about the murderous impulses from her mother's side of the family. But she's still going on these wild misadventures with her friends. Someone dies during this heist and it's nothing more than a simple moment to highlight the absurdity of it all. The ringleader showcases the skills of his crew. They put on an entertaining show for Zøg and Derek that does a phenomenal job in distracting them. It is impressive to see a tiger get incorporated into a trapeze act. That is fun and delightful. But this story wishes to paint elves in a significantly new way. That comes from the main twist that these circus performers aren't really elves at all. They are trolls in disguise who are conning their way into a fortune. It's all apparent from the start with the ringleaders name being Grifto. That immediately relays the idea that he is grifting people in service of his own selfish desires. There may be the sense that Bean is on a righteous mission to steal back what rightfully belongs to the elves. They don't deserve to be taxed at such high rates. Sure, the show still hasn't provided a good enough explanation for why the elves continue to live in Elf Alley. No progress has been made on Leavo's journey to find his elf treasure in Dreamland. That hasn't even been mentioned since the first episode setting this new reality up. That too is a core part of this world. It doesn't always have to track logistically. Bean is rolling downhill in a barrel in order to be taught a lesson about her drinking. And yet, she ends up right back in the throne room of the castle to confront her father. He is a bad guy because he is harming the elves. But he has nice impulses. He sees the error of his ways and wants to make things right. It's just more accessible when it's Luci who is doing the deceiving because it's clear he truly does cherish his friendships with Bean and Elfo. He's the one who ultimately gets the last laugh by swapping the money with chocolate coins so that elves really do prosper from this sudden change of heart from Zøg.