After a season of self-exploration and dynamic worlding building in Part 2, Disenchantment has finally returned to Netflix. With the release of Part 3, the story picks up immediately after Bean, Luci and Elfo have fallen underground. After confronting her evil mother Dagmar and her army of Trogs. Bean and her crew must somehow escape and clear her name in order to reclaim Dreamland.
Similar to previous seasons, Part 3 continues to follow Bean’s journey of self-discovery. With an impeding war coming and her father incapable of leading, Bean is pushed out of her comfort zone as more responsibility falls upon her. Spending less time in Dreamland than ever, Bean’s journey gives her the opportunity to get to know the outside world more. However, at the same time, she also learns more about herself, becoming a more confident person. In doing so, this season is able to lean much more heavily into Bean’s ever-expanding role in Dreamland. Suddenly having to take the throne from her father, Bean’s transition to queen also sees her facing potential doom from both Steamland and her own mother. As Bean unlocks her magical powers, the danger continues to build, potentially leading to a climatic showdown similar to other hero stories.
Spending less time in Dreamland compared to previous seasons, Part 3 also greatly expands its world-building by exploring new areas such as Mermaid Island and continuing to develop previous cities such as Steamland. In doing so, this season allows the creativity of the writers to really flourish as each area’s citizens, species and environments are unique and vibrant.
Even so, what I found most disappointing was the sidelining of Luci and Elfo throughout the season. Once a major character, Luci sees very little growth in Part 3 and seems to just kind of ‘be there’ in the many scenes. In fact, he’s even become predictable in the way he acts. By merely saying something evil or helping Bean with her tasks, Luci now feels like a one-note, robotic pet. Similarly, Elfo’s character sees little growth as well. Getting a new girlfriend ever couple of episodes, it’s seems as though he’s been religated solely to comic relief as the stereotypical ‘hopeless romantic’. (At one point, he’s even in love with a ship…)
Despite its medieval setting, Disenchantment continues to tackle modern, real-world issues. Set in a time where female opportunity and mental health were at societal lows, the Bean we’ve grown to love is usually portrayed as a tough, confident fighter. However, in the episode “Last Splash”, we get a very different look into Bean’s psyche and her view of herself. In a therapeutic rant, we get to see how Bean’s difficult journey has taken its toll on her mentally, especially her parents’ toxic relationship. She believes that, over time, Dreamland has enabled her own self-abuse as she self-fulfills the toxic opinions of her mother and the town about her. Ultimately, in the end of her rant, Bean completely dismisses her own feelings and reinforces her belief that she is her own worst problem. By reinforcing her metaphorical emotional wall, Bean subsequently refuses to acknowledge the pain within her that is caused by others, choosing instead to lean once again into the culture’s poisonous worldviews about women and power. This moment of openness and honesty shows the toxic effects of abusive family relationships, especially in a culture of power. Powerful and moving, this is easily one of the best moments of the new season, and one of the many gems throughout Part 3 that dives deeper into the characters of Dreamland.
Overall, Part 3 is a great addition to the Disenchantment story. Filled with eye candy in its world building and some solid progression in the larger narrative of Dreamland’s survival, the season works well. Meanwhile, Bean shows some tremendous growth in the spotlight as she tackles more complex issues regarding her own self-image, helping her to develop as a leader and hero. A fun ride that is worth watching, Part 3 proves that Disenchantment still knows how to cast a spell on its audience.
Disenchantment Part 3 begins its journey on Friday, January 15th, 2021.