Saturday, September 21, 2019

REVIEW: 'Disenchantment' - Derek Makes a New Friend That May Have Sinister Intentions for Dreamland in 'Love's Slimy Embrace'

Netflix's Disenchantment - Episode 1.17 "Love's Slimy Embrace"

Despondent because Bean dislikes him and his mother's away, Derek makes friends with a slimy sea creature. Zøg tries to contract a rich man's disease.

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.

"Love's Slimy Embrace" was written by Eric Horsted and directed by David D. Au & Ira Sherak

Derek has been a relatively minor character so far. He is Bean's half-brother through Zøg and Oona's marriage. He is the heir to the throne simply because he is a boy. He also continually comes across as the annoying child no one in the family actually likes or wants to be around. In fact, both of his parents completely forgot about him when Dagmar was attacking Dreamland. He has essentially been disposable. As such, it's admirable that the show devotes an episode to delving more fully into who Derek is and the relationships the other characters have with him. This is the episode that actually details how jealous Derek and Bean actually are of each other. She sees him as getting to do all the fun stuff she actually wants to do. Meanwhile, he views her as actually having fun with her carefree life while he is shunned away in the castle. That leaves him in the perfect headspace to befriend a monster in the sea. It's understandable that he would project friendship onto a baby octopus. It's also just as likely that whatever he fed Slimy from the secret corner of the castle he discovered with Elfo accelerated the creature's transformation into a complete monster willing to kill anyone it perceived as hurting Derek. This story has the sense that it will put Derek's life in jeopardy so that the other members of the royal family realize just how much they care about him. Of course, the show doesn't dramatically change things all that much. Zøg and Luci are off in their story that is almost completely separate. Zøg becomes absolutely obsessed with developing gout in his foot simply because he is envious of another ruler who views the disease as the thing that allows him to be superior to the king of Dreamland. It isn't desirable though. It is incredibly painful with huge complications as well. Zøg doesn't have to work too hard to contract the disease. He just requires Luci to constantly feed him with unhealthy food. That's all it takes. It's good for a couple of jokes. But it also seems incredibly likely that Zøg will return to being the same out-of-shape king he has always been. There isn't any sense that this gout will actually have lingering consequences for him. It just means he is incapable of turning around or slaying the beast once the octopus takes Derek. That means it all relies on Bean and Elfo. Now, the episode puts more effort into making Elfo sympathetic to Derek. He wants to reach out and actually get to know this person. Bean may have nothing but disdain for her half-sibling but Elfo wants to be nice to everyone. He can have fun with Derek too. He is more than capable of doing that as well. It creates a new sense of urgency when Derek is eventually taken. He may not be conscious to witness everything Bean and Elfo are willing to do for him. But it is a precarious adventure nevertheless. Sure, it doesn't end with the slaying of this octopus. That creature still roams the seas. That may present as an interesting complication at some point in the future. Or it could be just as easily forgotten about. That remains the chief way this show tells its main stories. Bean notes that two things can be true at the exact same time. She may love Derek and want him to die. She just doesn't want him to be one of the victims of the latest threat in Dreamland. That shows that she does care. It is special and meaningful. It just comes with the realization that things may not change all that much. It will still likely be Bean, Elfo and Luci battling against the world. They will be the ones dealing with the numerous threats. It's significant that Derek misses his mother. He doesn't have anyone he can talk to about potentially not wanting to be king. That too is a serious thought the show should put more emphasis on moving forward. Is the future of the kingdom secure? Or will Bean have to step up in the way that she always does even though she too may not want to be its ruler?