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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Zøg rebounds with ursine love on a silly, sweet Disenchantment

Illustration for article titled Zøg rebounds with ursine love on a silly, sweet iDisenchantment/i
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“The Lonely Heart Is A Hunter” basically contains one joke, but it’s a pretty funny joke and it’s taken in just about every conceivable direction. Basically, Zøg falls in love with a bear. More specifically, he falls in love with Ursula (Jeny Batten), a Forest Selkie who turns into a beautiful woman when she sheds her bearskin. (For those unfamiliar with Selkies, like myself, they are mythological beings that can change from seal to human form by shedding their skin.) Hence, the episode mostly mines humor from Ursula’s ursine tendencies. She eats termites, she paws at the honey jar instead of enjoying the fabulous meal, and she loves Zøg’s distinctive scent of cigars and pickles. She’s a bear woman! What do you need a road map?

It’s a great showcase for John DiMaggio’s voice performance, which normally splits the difference between sputtering anger and outright exhaustion, but “Lonely Heart” allows for some moony passion into the mix. When he first meets Ursula, he had just been laid low by his own ill-fitting armor and crossbow, which sends an arrow directly into his foot, as well as a deer that steals his crown. It takes one sight of the snarling face of Ursula for all that frustration to wash away. “I feel all tingly inside,” he notes, “like a teenager with botulism.”


Zøg brings her back to the kingdom where she’s received warmly, despite Odval’s insistence that she’s not royal material. They eat, they dance, they have loud, bed-breaking sex. However, there’s only one way this story ends: Ursula must return to the forest. You see, she doesn’t turn into a bear when she wears her skin. She only becomes a human when she takes off the skin. Her body and soul lies with the animal kingdom. She can’t shake off the shackles of her woodland lifestyle.

It’s an obvious development, but DiMaggio and Batten really sell the heartbreak in such a doomed romance. Zøg impulsively steals Ursula’s skin and hides it away only to return it to her when he sees how uncomfortable she is living in the kingdom. He must set her free so she can live happily ever after, even if it breaks his heart. Maybe it was all worth it just to see Ursula balance on top of a ball. “Quick! Somebody toss her a fish!” Zøg squeals in delight.

Meanwhile, in less interesting subplots, Kissy decides to date Luci, much to Elfo’s chagrin. Luci believes that Kissy has really fallen for his bad boy antics, but Elfo believes that Kissy is only dating Luci to make him jealous. It turns out that neither one of them are correct. Kissy only dated Luci to learn about how bad boys tick and why she gravitates towards them. She eventually decides to fall in love with herself instead of fickle men. This news briefly brings Elfo and Luci together, which is nice, but the whole storyline never rises above inconsequential.

Finally, Dagmar returns in the form of a spirit who haunts Bean’s dreams as well as her music box. It’s a transparent attempt to remind binge viewers that they haven’t seen the last of Bean’s evil mother or her fiendish attempts to restore Maru to its former glory, but it mostly works in this context because of its spookiness. The creepy music box song plays like a version of Poe’s eponymous Tell-Tale Heart. Bean’s journey into the bowels of the castle only to hear that song in the darkness works pretty effectively. When she finally throws the music box into the water, it reappears, but with a new figurine of Dagmar with suspicious eyes. As Bean tries to forget her mother even exists, it turns out she’s watching her from everywhere.


Stray observations

  • On Disenchantment Signage: “Now Entering Enchanted Forest: Beware Of Small Squirrels With Big Hammers” / “Owl Orgy Friday Midnite”; “Welcome to Dreamland: Come For the Mortrew, Stay for the Frumenty”
  • Kissy’s ex-boyfriends: Luci, Elfo, Shrimpo, Bounce-o, Smoocho, Rhymo, Petey, Seamus, Cliff, Cliff’s brother (maybe Tom), the Garden Boys.
  • Elf Alley is filled with vendors selling their skills or wares. There’s a cobbler who will fill your shoes with cherry cobbler, a height guesser who correctly guesses the height of every elf (three feet), and the take a baby/leave a baby cart. It even has street toughs that will manipulate you with wordplay and then slap you!
  • Love that Zøg is so proud of his trapdoor. “It’s amazing how many people stand on it. I mean, look at it. It’s quite noticeable. I killed a lot of people that way!”
  • “Marriage is a sham. Everybody talks about happily ever after. You ever try to read about the after? You can’t! The book just stops!”
  • “I’ve never felt this way before, but I like it. I mean, I don’t know where this is going to go. A cave, a tree, a thicket of brambles? My money is on brambles, but I want to find out.”
  • “Wow. A witch, a lizard, and now a bear? God, are you building an ark?”

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

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