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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Disenchantment returns to Elfwood and reveals Zøg's true motives in a muted episode

Queen Dagmar and King Zøg
Queen Dagmar and King Zøg
Image: Disenchantment (Netflix)
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“Chapter IX: To Thine Own Elf Be True” takes place immediately after the events of “Chapter VIII” with Bean, Elfo, Luci, and Sorcerio returning to Dreamland with the Eternity Pendant. The one problem, because of course there’s one problem? It doesn’t work. Sorcerio takes a drop of Elfo’s blood and places it in the pendant, and though it looks like Zøg was about to turn into a God, he remains an unhealthy man. They try it on Prince Guysbert, who has mercifully stayed alive by eating rotten food scraps in the compost despite the sword in his head, but the pendant does nothing and he finally, finally dies. If the Eternity Pendant is real, and the Elixir of Life only requires two ingredients, then the problem must be with Elfo.

“Chapter IX” features two new revelations about our heroes. The first involves Elfo, who turns out not to have pure elf’s blood. After Zøg banishes him from Dreamland, Elfo returns to the forest, only to be joined by Bean and Luci, who escape from Dreamland’s meat vault with the suspicious help of Odval. They return to Elfwood to find out more about Elfo’s origins, and though Elfo’s father tells him he’s only half Elf, he doesn’t learn the full truth because Dreamland’s knights storm the kingdom. It initially looks like a route, but Pendergast and his team is no match for Elfwood’s battle elves. They use swords encased in candy canes, rainbow bombs, and razor-edge lollipops to force the knights to surrender.


Though undoubtedly a “mileage may vary” situation, Elfwood mostly amounts to a one-joke premise in which the joke isn’t all that funny. Yes, the elves are a cabal of conformist candy enthusiasts. Yes, they’re cute. Yes, they all have Smurf- like names. That’s about it, and the brief glimpse we received of the kingdom in Disenchantment’s pilot felt like more than enough. The second go-around exhibited nothing new to counteract that assessment, except their military might, which is a fairly predictable bit of contrast. The return to Elfwood isn’t a bad sequence by any means, but it mostly presents different versions of the same idea and it takes up roughly half the episode.

But what follows deepens the Disenchantment lore nicely. In short, Elfo dies from an arrow in the back protecting Elfwood. Distraught and heartbroken, Bean and the rest of the party return to Dreamland with his body. Bean lashes out at her father, arguing his insane quest for immortality is responsible for the death of her friend. Zøg, genuinely remorseful, explains that the Elixir of Life wasn’t for him, but for his wife Queen Dagmar, whose stone body has remained in the Dreamland kingdom for 15 years. You see, one fateful evening, Dagmar was poisoned with wine meant for Zøg, but Bean, playing around, switched the glasses just before they drank. Zøg has shouldered the guilt for years and has saved Bean from sharing it. He’s tried to bring her back to life, but his efforts have been futile.

What Zøg doesn’t know, and what Bean doesn’t realize, is that Dreamland is in possession of elf’s blood. When Bean first entered Elfwood, her human weight on the drawbridge door caused one of the metal chains to snap, hitting Watcho, a judgmental elf, in the face and making his nose bleed. Bean wiped off the blood from his face with her handkerchief and now can bring either Elfo or her mother back to life with the Eternity Pendant. Though a difficult decision, Bean chooses her mother and the episode ends with their embrace and Bean’s guilty expression as she stares at Elfo’s lifeless body.

“Chapter IX” raises a variety of questions just in time for the first season finale, mainly who was trying to poison Zøg. Given that Maru created the magical stone potion in the first place, it only makes sense that someone in Dreamland has been acting as a double agent, trying to bring the kingdom down from the inside. Was it one of Zøg’s cabinet members, like Odval or Sorcerio, or was it an unknown assailant trying to break up Zøg’s family? Plus, we don’t know anything about Queen Dagmar (voiced by Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan), so it’s entirely possible that she doesn’t resemble Zøg and Bean’s rosy memories. But now, Dagmar is back and Elfo is dead, and Maru’s Cloyd and the Enchantress are still at large. What could possibly go wrong?


Stray observations

  • The episode’s funniest joke involves Old Man Touchy, a blind creep whose power to identify everything he touches has led him to touch anything, which is why he’s been locked in the dungeon. He’s apparently never felt anything like Elfo before, but he is soft and velvety.
  • Kissy, Elfo’s previous girlfriend, has moved onto a new guy named Shrimpo, who’s into watching Kissy and Elfo fool around if that’s something he wants.
  • Luci brought some weed to Elfwood called Twinkletown Giggle Bud, the smell of which led the knights to the kingdom’s location.
  • The elf with the sleeping kitten under his hat is a pretty cute gag.
  • On his way out of Elfwood, Turbish gives Elfo a present that Pendergast gave him in case he ever got in trouble: A note that just reads, “Kill Me.”
  • “We lost him, but we cured his headache.” “I should never have let you tape stars to your dunce cap.”
  • “Hey, hey. Slow down champ. Oh my God. I’m turning into my bartender.”
  • “We can’t vanish with the door open! It would violate the laws of physics!”

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

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