Disenchantment series premiere recap: A Princess, an Elf, and a Demon

DISENCHANTMENT -- Image credit: Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center
DISENCHANTMENT -- Image credit: Netflix -- Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

Matt Groening has returned to animation with his new Netflix series Disenchantment, which hit the streaming service today. Here is a recap of the first episode of the new comedy series.

The series premiere of Disenchantment will feel familiar to fans of Groening’s previous work, but there is an overall sense that something is missing. Though the signature animation style and comedic wit hold up, the special ingredient that made Futurama and The Simpsons so great feels lost. However, this is based on the first episode alone and there is still a lot or promise here.

Disenchantment begins with our protagonist, in the kingdom of Dreamland, Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson) gambling in a bar as she avoids the reality that she being married off by her father to Prince Guysbert. Bean clearly shows great disdain for her father and wishes to be in control of her own destiny.

In a distant forest known as Elfwood, we are introduced to a community of elves singing jolly songs about being happy all day long. One elf named Elfo (Nat Faxon) does not share the same feeling of happiness and yearns to one day see the real world. One day, he makes the decision to leave Elfwood forever and sets off toward Dreamland.

While wandering around the castle at night, Bean comes across a mysterious wedding gift. When she opens it, she discovers her own personal demon Luci (Eric Andre) contained within it. Luci is a mischievous creature and connected to Bean for eternity. His goal seems to be mostly causing as much chaos as possible.

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On her wedding day, Bean spends the last few moments before the ceremony drinking with her newly discovered demon. After seeing into her husband-to-be’s eyes, Bean rejects the marriage and knocks the ring from Guysbert’s hand, which causes him to be impaled on a throne made out of swords.

After the Prince’s untimely death, the King decides that the alliance must be preserved and declares that Bean marry Prince Merkimer, the younger brother or Guysbert. Bean tries to argue with her father about the decision, but before she can Elfo interrupts the ceremony. Since elves haven’t been seen outside of Elfwood for centuries, the crowd is ordered to seize him.

This sets off a chaotic series of events that end with Bean, Elfo, and Luci running from the King’s army.

DISENCHANTMENT — Image credit: Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center
DISENCHANTMENT — Image credit: Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

After meeting a fairy with an interesting occupation in the forest, the trio sets off to find the Wishmaster to have their dreams become reality. Sitting around a fire, they talk about what kind o wishes they will make. Bean hopes to control her own destiny for once, Elfo ignorantly wishes for what Bean wished for, and Luci wishes to plague all of humanity.

In the morning, they discover the Wishmaster’s home. Unfortunately, someone confused the details about his “powers” and it turns out he is really called the Washmaster. Before disappointment has a chance to set in, the King’s knights and Merkimer arrive to retrieve Bean.

With no where left to run, the trio have their backs to a cliff. If she chooses to return with Merkimer, she loses her free will and the ability to control her own life. So, rather than give up her life the three friends take a leap of faith off of the cliff.

The episode ends with the trio falling together into an unknown future below. It’s a fitting end to the first episode, in a way, because the series has finished setting the stage for the audience and the leap signifies a launch into the world of these characters.

Overall, Disenchantment utilizes a simple story framework and mixes it with the creative mind of Matt Groening to create an interesting series idea with a lot of potential.

DISENCHANTMENT — Image credit: Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center
DISENCHANTMENT — Image credit: Netflix — Acquired via Netflix Media Center /

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The first episode was only a small taste of what Disenchantment has to offer, but so far there is a definite lack of Matt Groening magic. The potential is there for the show to improve as the series progresses, or even into the next season which has already been ordered by Netflix.

Some of the jokes don’t quite land and the pacing seems a bit slow, but it possible to chalk all that up to growing pains in the early stages of the show. After all, it is hard to immediately recreate the worlds of Futurama or The Simpsons that most fans fell in love with in past. I believe that if given time to work out its problems, Disenchantment can prove itself to be a worthy animated series.

What did you think of the first episode of Disenchantment? Will you be sticking around to follow the adventure of Bean, Luci, and Elfo? Comment bellow. All ten episodes of the first season are available on Netflix now.