Disenchantment Part 5: The Good and the Disappointing
When it comes to Matt Groening’s animated fantasy series Disenchantment, it’s evident that it falls short compared to the creative heights of The Simpsons and Futurama. However, there are certain aspects of the show that are worth applauding. While the characters and subplots may not be the strongest, the construction and portrayal of Dreamland as a rich and multi-layered world is commendable. Both fans of Groening’s previous work and fantasy enthusiasts can appreciate the complex lore that is introduced throughout the series. In its fifth and final part, Disenchantment continues to build upon the world it has created with its signature silliness and offbeat humor. While it may not necessarily win over skeptics, those invested in the story will find satisfaction in the conclusion.
Despite its strengths, Part 5 of Disenchantment feels somewhat diluted. There is a lot happening, with Queen Dagmar tightening her grip on Dreamland and Princess Bean preparing for their inevitable confrontation. However, the sharp and witty dialogue that was once a trademark of Groening’s work is noticeably absent. Even the visual gags, which are usually a staple of his shows, feel more haphazard in this season. What remains is the story itself, which, unfortunately, fails to captivate as much as it has the potential to.
To the show’s credit, the narrative leading up to this point has been well-crafted and purposeful. The foreshadowing of Dagmar’s transformation began back in the first season, and the creative team has remained faithful to that arc without any notable misdirection. However, the issue lies in the fact that the trajectory of the story lacks excitement, intrigue, and a sense of stakes that resonate with the audience. For a story to truly matter, the characters need to be likable and leave a lasting impact.
Regrettably, very few characters in Disenchantment achieve this. The inhabitants of Dreamland simply don’t possess that likability factor. King Zøg, with his eccentric behavior and acceptance of his daughter’s unconventional romance, stands out as an exception. However, his reduced role in Part 5 means that the show’s strongest character takes a backseat to the other plotlines. Zøg’s character growth, from emotionally distant monarch to devoted father, is one of the few redeeming aspects of the show’s sometimes clumsy storytelling.
In the end, it’s hard to greet the final episodes of Disenchantment with anything more than a half-hearted chuckle and a shrug. Groening’s latest creation has always received lukewarm praise, being occasionally amusing but never truly funny, and sporadically interesting but never truly thrilling. Part 5 does little to fix the shortcomings of the previous seasons. Nevertheless, as a conclusion to a story that has been carefully laid out, it serves its purpose.