REVIEW: Four Parts in and ‘Disenchantment’ Remains Unfocused

‘Disenchantment’ returns for a fourth part and sadly it seems that the Netflix series remains unfocused as ever.
disenchantment 4 review

The title might seem harsh but there’s something bizarre about Disenchantment. The fantasy series from the creators behind Futurama and The Simpsons tried to offer a different take on the fantasy stories we grew up with. We follow the ragtag team of Princess Bean, Elfo the Elf, and Luci as they embark on various adventures throughout the fictional country of Dreamland, Steamland, and whatever location they can smack the ending of “-land” onto. We’ve now gotten the fourth part – which seems to be the ending of its second season – and somehow the show still feels like it hasn’t changed much since the first episode.

To be fair, the series mostly explores new storylines with each episode. It adds some variety throughout the ten episodes that are given as Bean escapes from Hell, we explore Elfo’s past, she gets a new half-brother, and whatever the writer’s room could think of. The diversity that still feels like it’s part of this universe remains, and it does make for a fun watch. Yet, most of your experience will depend heavily on if you enjoy the core cast and their shenanigans.

That’s kind of the best way to describe the entire experience. It’s nothing more than shenanigans, as episode after episode things just seem to happen. There are teases of a core narrative with Bean’s mother Sharon Horgan‘s Queen Dagmar is always a delight when she appears, but the core narrative seems to just come and go however it pleases. There’s definite world-building at play, but it always takes a backseat throughout most of the adventure.

There’s a big emphasis on John DiMaggio‘s King Zøg finally recovering from the events from the last part as he lost his mind. He does end up recovering but pretty much ends up exactly where he was a few seasons ago. It just feels like characters yo-yo in their character development, especially when what they say simply doesn’t reflect their actions. Bean and her father pretty much repeat the same “lack of lessons” for the sake of comedy that downplays some more heartfelt moments throughout, especially with the return of Ursula.

Bean is affected the most, as while she’s certainly calmer than she was before, most of her actions are still the same. Abbi Jacobson gives a great performance as always but there sadly isn’t much to her character outside of her issues with her mother, who is always a few steps ahead of her. It gets to a point that it is way too predictable that you can see it coming from a mile away.

Elfo finally gets an origin story and it’s mostly what you could’ve guessed from the fact he was the only green elf. Not sure why as even his mother isn’t green but the revelation was pretty much what you expect from the first time it was hinted at some time ago. That’s kind of the thing, there’s nothing really surprising about any of the “major” reveals. They spent so much time foreshadowing it that the revelation is not something to sweep off your chair.

There’s a disconnect between building upon its mythology and the episodic nature of every story. We get introduced to concepts that end up not mattering later on, such as the whole plot point from the opening of the episode. The best part of this series so far is the romance between Bean and the mermaid Mora. Yet, even that isn’t explored outside of minor instances throughout. There’s the potential of a great story at play here but the show can’t decide what they want to focus on.

There’s still some fun to take from the story, as there are some great comedic moments, and it works well as something you can watch on the side. “Last Splash” still remains the best episode of the series and sadly nothing in these new ten episodes could hold a candle to it. While Mora still plays a central role in Bean’s development, it just seems like the season wanted to return to somewhat of a status quo rather than continue to push forward.

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