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Disenchantment sails back to Dreamland in an uninvolving episode

Illustration for article titled Disenchantment sails back to Dreamland in an uninvolving episode
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“The Very Thing” places the finishing touches on resetting Disenchantment’s status quo, which means our three heroes have to return to Dreamland and unfreeze the kingdom. Credited writer Andrew Burrell accomplishes this through a combination of smart plotting and a surprise new character, which would be enough if the episode didn’t so frequently feel like a stall. It takes a bit for Bean, Elfo, and Luci to travel to Dreamland from Mermaid Island (that’s who picked Elfo’s corpse out of the water, by the way), it takes a needlessly longer bit for Zøg to trust Bean again, and then it requires taking a detour to Elfwood to unfreeze Dreamland. “The Very Thing” doesn’t contain nearly enough jokes to make the narrative mechanics more exciting. By the end, however, it’s a relief that Disenchantment has finally returned to its old self.

As much as “The Very Thing” focuses on Bean, Elfo, and Luci trying to make things right, it also provides space for Oona to leave the ensemble on a positive note. Portrayed mainly as a drug-taking, opportunistic stepmom up until the end of part one, Oona rediscovers her girlhood dream of becoming an amphibian warrior after she’s pulled aboard a dysfunctional pirate ship. It doesn’t take long for her to whip the crew into shape, especially since their mysterious Elf captain holes himself in his quarters and refuses to boss them around. After raiding a wealthy merchant’s ship of fine lace, gold coins, and exotic spices (“A king’s ransom in paprika!” “We’re gonna make so many deviled eggs!”), they set sail for Dreamland where Oona can rub her success in Zøg’s face.


The episode also introduces Leavo, the only known elf besides Elfo to leave Elfwood. As a pure plot function, he exists to retrieve enough elf blood to revive Dreamland, but Burrell also hints at another vague mystery. Leavo gets one look at the turrets in Dreamland and strikes a deal with Oona to give up her Eternity Pendant, which she stole from Dagmar, in exchange for a look inside the kingdom. He’s even more intrigued by a secret message on an old skull in the basement. When Leavo brings Zøg, Elfo, Bean, and Luci to Elfwood, he convinces the Elfwood king to help Dreamland because they have something they want. Disenchantment plays too coy with these types of secrets. My guess is that it will eventually dovetail with Bean’s prophecy and the survival of Maru, but as of now, it scans as too thin and uninvolving for it to have any power.

Meanwhile, Elfo still holds a grudge against Bean and Luci for leaving him for dead, despite elves’ natural tendency to forgive and forget. While it made sense for him to feel that way down in the bowels of Hell, it’s a little rich for him to still complain about it when he’s sailing to Dreamland with his rescuers. It’s clearly going to be a runner for the rest of the season, but I can’t help but sympathize with Luci’s command: “Appreciate our goddamn sacrifice, you stubborn little nimrod!”

In the end, Oona and Zøg amicably divorce so she can become a powerful pirate queen while Zøg re-enters the dating pool. (“There’s plenty of fish in the sea, Dad,” Bean comforts him. “Like hell am I gonna marry another fish woman!” he retorts.) Bean and her father reconcile, Dreamland is back up and running, and Leavo stays behind because it’s where the true destiny of the elves lie. It’s a pleasant moment for everyone, even with the stinging irony that Oona sailed away with the keys to kingdom.

Stray observations

  • On Disenchantment Signage: “Take a Skull, Leave a Skull”; “These Are Human Remains, Not A Xylophone”
  • The episode’s slack pacing is almost entirely worth it for one of the season’s best gags: Derek, still in the tower, killing birds with jolly precision. “Seagulls taste better than pelicans,” he informs his parents. “Pigeons are too chewy but they’re really easy to catch.” Zøg wants him to stop with all the bird talk.
  • All Derek wants while his mother sails the seas pirating other ships is a harlequin outfit. “Sure,” she says, “If we attack a ship of clowns, I grab one.”
  • Apparently Dreamland has a fun pier where they tried to make Merkimer into a corndog once.
  • Fun fact: Bean likes her earlobes bitten.
  • The Jester returns! He’s immediately dropped into the ocean for relying too heavily on goat jokes.
  • Given how he reacts to their potential deaths, Zøg prefers Vip to Vap. “I killed Vip?” “And Vap!” “Ah, my poor, sweet Vip.”
  • Luckily, Vip and Vap survive, and they now use Merkimer as their horse.
  • “Thanks for oiling my corpse everyday!” “That was a marinade! We were going to eat you.” “Yes, that was a merry day. It was nice to meet you! Hey, why are there olives in my ears?”
  • “Man, I can’t help but think this is kind of my fault. I mean, I’ve allowed Vikings to take over the kingdom, stolen my grandma’s jaw, and drunkenly switched all those babies in the nursery, but this takes the cake.” “Hah, remember when we wrecked your dad’s cake? Good times.”
  • “We barely know each other. I want to spread my wings.” “Oh, you got wings? Wow, I guess we really don’t know each other.”
  • “It reeks of despair. Tis not but the shambles of the spartan life of a single man.”
  • “That’s a good sky chicken.”

Vikram Murthi is a freelance writer and critic currently based out of Brooklyn.

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