Sunday, September 22, 2019

REVIEW: 'Disenchantment' - A Tragic Accident Sends the Kingdom of Dreamland into Hysteria in 'Tiabeanie Falls'

Netflix's Disenchantment - Episode 1.20 "Tiabeanie Falls"

With King Zøg incapacitated, Odval makes a power play, assisted by the Arch Druidess. Luci and Elfo try to help Bean.

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 season finale of Netflix's Disenchantment.

"Tiabeanie Falls" was written by Patric M. Verrone & Josh Weinstein and directed by Peter Avanzino

This season wasn't all that cohesive in the slightest. Only in the last moment of this finale does the show return to the threat from Dagmar and whatever mysticism she brings with her from Maru. Sure, that does allow Bean, Elfo and Luci to be saved from burning at the stake. But is that a rewarding or intense place to finish the season? It feels like so much of the storytelling is intrigued by the ideas of what is possible in this world without really exploring it in a meaningful way. It enjoys the teasing of the audience along so that we stay tuned in order to get some of these answers. And yet, these episodes provided no resolution as to what the prophecy about Bean is that is so important to Dagmar. There is no clarity on the magic that lurks within Dreamland. There is no conclusion to Leavo's search for an elf artifact. All of this is at its most staggering when it comes to any answers about Elfo's lineage. The first part of the season established that he wasn't a true elf. He was unlike the community of people he spent so many years with. He has found new friends in Bean and Luci. But they have mostly allowed him to forget about this almost entirely. It's important when Pops is on his deathbed. He shares his life story with Luci. But there has simply been no urgency for Luci to relay all of that information to Elfo. In fact, he continues to be a character who enjoys keeping secrets to himself. He doesn't let his friends know that he is mortal and can die until they are engulfed in flames. That's because he wants them to die just having received some bad and depressing news. He still has those demonic impulses even though he notes he is no longer as good a liar as he used to be. He traveled through hell with Bean and Elfo in order to save them all. And yet, that adventure is now used to paint a bleak portrait of Bean as a witch and assassin who has long plotted to kill her father. All of this comes across as nothing more than a power move by Odval. He didn't plan this. He doesn't know what a gun is and how it can be used as a weapon. He just jumps onto the mass hysteria in order to hoard as much power as he can. He was actively planning for the day in which King Zøg would die and Derek would need a regent in order to help him rule. Derek comes across as the perfect puppet to use so that Odval's influence can be spread across the kingdom. But Odval is not all that smart. He is just an effective tactician in this specific story. It's easy for him to turn public opinion against Bean. And yet, Zøg isn't dead. In fact, it seems like all it takes for him to recover from a bullet wound to the gut is simply removing the bullet. The show delights a little too much in pointing out just how disgusting health care could be in this particular time. Sorcerio has rats running around Zøg's body. That makes it seem like he is an active participant in trying to kill the king. Meanwhile, the players who wanted Zøg dead and sent an assassin to do the job are no where to be found. Steamland was a fascinating addition to this world that destroyed the premise of what was possible. And yet, they were mostly just the convenient way to set this plot into motion for the finale. Bean needed to be in awe of science but at the brutal expense of this technology. She doesn't know how a gun works. She shoots her father by accident. She saves him too. The people in the castle only want to see her as a killer though. That's what she becomes despite her pushing back against that narrative. That's what she fought against when her mother wanted her to be a lethal and cruel individual. But now, it seems like the only journey the show has gone on this season is saying that Bean once again has to rely on Dagmar because she's the only person who accepts her. Even that isn't true though because Dagmar is constantly trying to make Bean into someone else. And so, it's just a convenient plot point to create a cliffhanger that still allows Bean, Elfo and Luci to escape their dire circumstances. It just doesn't feel satisfying because it comes at the expense of other mysteries that had previously been established.