Daniel Ketchelos – Staff Writer
Most stories about the Middle Ages involve crusades, knights, and kingdoms. While these are all elements of Disenchantment, this isn’t the typical kingdom story. With a buck-toothed drunken princess, a green elf, and a cat-like demon as the three main characters, things are bound to become strange.
Season three of the Netflix Original, Disenchantment, continues the satirical plot around the kingdom of Dreamland. More is revealed about Princess Tiabenie’s (Bean’s) evil mother and her plot against her daughter, while new plot elements arise—such as King Zog’s health decline.
Disenchantment features a wide array of social commentary while remaining in the realm of the Middle Ages. Subtle references to modern life are found throughout season three while satirical elements critique the culture of the middle ages. Hypocritical priests, failing sorcerers, and the mystics of magic fill Dreamland.
Bean continues her search into understanding the events that surround Dreamland. Diving into the complex relationship with Bean’s mother is a continual motif for Disenchantment, and this particular plot element is starting to feel old. Each season this theme is explored, but after a few episodes, it tends to be forgotten. If season three had further embraced the mother-daughter relationship and fleshed it out more, it would have made the season more interesting.
Another kingdom, Steamland, is brought back from season two. The integration of a modernized world full of motorcycles, blimps, and other technological advances found in the industrial revolution acts as a foil to the kingdom of Dreamland. The dynamic between the advanced ‘Steam-Punk’ city found through Steamland and the more traditional Dreamland creates an interesting commentary as concepts from the industrial revolution—manufacturing plants, electricity, and steam engines—edge their way into the Middle Ages.
Disenchantment follows many of the satirical and social commentary elements that are found within other animated series such as The Simpsons and Futurama, which is no surprise since all share the same creator, Matt Groening. Despite this, Disenchantment offers a different viewing experience compared to Groening’s previous works.
The main difference between The Simpsons and Disenchantment is how the storyline is structured. The Simpsons follow an episodic approach where every episode offers a different plot in the same setting, while Disenchantment features a serial approach with every episode building off the previous. This allows viewers to invest more into the storyline; individuals are drawn towards this series because of its overall story arc instead of relying on individual episodes to be satisfactory in the plot.
When the viewer is looking carefully, many modern cultural Easter eggs can be found throughout season three of Disenchantment. Highlights include a reference to another Netflix Original series, The Crown, Little Seizure’s Poison Shop (A play on words of Little Caesars), and a reference to When Harry Met Sally and Nine Inch Nails.
This infusion of absurd characters and a nonsensical story structure creates another enjoyable show to complement his other work.
Overall season three of Disenchantment continues previous social commentary and reflection on Middle Age society, offering a new experience while sticking to the formula that makes Disenchantment what it is: strange, but enjoyable.