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Recap / Disenchantment - S1 E1: "A Princess, an Elf, and a Demon Walk Into a Bar"

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Our "heroes".

"And so, the demonic binding begins."
The Enchantress
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Today is a great day for Dreamland! The princess Tiabeanie is getting married to Prince Guysbert of Bentwood, thus forging an alliance between both kingdoms. However, when Tiabeanie's lady-in-waiting, Bunty, goes to wake her up, she's missing from her bed.

Turns out that Tiabeanie, or "Bean", is a girl who likes to leave the castle to go to the local taverns, get drunk and play cards for money - and this day is no different, starting a fight with the guy she was playing against before being caught by her father's Prime Minister, Odval, and brought back to the Royal Palace. As she is readied for the wedding under the orders of her father, King Zøg, Bean wonders if there's a place where everybody's happy.

Cut to Elfwood, a land where elves live and sing jolly songs while they make candy - with the exception of Elfo, an elf that is wholly bored with a life that is constantly happy and wants to be able to feel other things.

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While checking on the presents the guests have brought, Bean finds a strange box that moves around while she's not looking, and a voice entices her to open it. When she does, a small black demon called Luci appears, appointing herself her own personal demon, in charge of drowning out her conscience.

Elsewhere, two mysterious figures (Cloyd and the Enchantress) look on Bean and Luci through a magical fire, stating that she's given the first step towards something sinister happening.

In Elfwood, Elfo and Kissy, a female elf he likes, are smooching in her bed when Kissy's father, the Elf King, catches them on the act, and sentences Elfo to death by hanging.

Bean attempts to get rid of Luci, but is unable to as it recovers from all punishment and can teleport himself, so she resigns herself to having him there.

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Elfo's hanging's not going so well: Elves are too light to hang,so the king tells a soldier to stab him. Kissy cuts the ropes off, and Elfo and Kissy escape towards a gate that leads to the outside world. The king offers Elfo to forgive and forget if he will abide by the Jolly Code, but Elfo decides to leave, abandoning his homeland with no seeming chance to return. As he gives his first steps in the strange world, an eagle suddenly grabs Elfo.

At Luci's suggestion, Bean plays a prank on her father by rearranging the letters in the wedding cake.

Elfo decides to speak with the eagle at large about candies, until it decides to drop him in the middle of a clearing, right as a battle between small gnomes and large trolls takes place, with Elfo in the middle as both armies brutally massacre each other. Elfo grabs a few things and accidentally leaves the only surviving troll completely blind.

Queen Oona, Bean's stepmother, tries to have The Talk with her, but Bean's not really keen on having it with her - nevermind that Oona is from a different species.

Elfo continues to walk, when he gets hungry, and luckily for him, a humble couple of farmers invites him to have lunch. Elfo, unused to the new flavors, declares the food they give him to be wonderful, angering the couple - who are apparently too humble to accept any kind of praise, and kick Elfo out.

Now at the church - of the very new religion of Dreamland - Bean complains to Luci that, in the day of her wedding, she was supposed to be surrounded by people she likes, but she doesn't have anyone - not even her mother, Queen Dagmar. Luci shares a bottle of (ceremonial) wine with her, and the two get drunk, right on time for her father to arrive and drag her into the ceremony.

Elfo arrives to Dreamland, first thinking it is small, until he realizes that he is far away.

The wedding begins, and Guysbert accepts to marry Bean, but Bean rejects him and slaps the wedding ring away, which rolls close to a throne made of swords. Guysbert leans to grab the ring and stabs his head into one of the swords - but somehow he's still alive. King Zøg and Guysbert's parents rapidly agree to marry Bean to Guysbert's brother, Merkimer to salvage the alliance. Bean complains about being forced to marry, but Zøg doesn't care. Before Merkimer and Bean can be pronounced man and wife, Elfo opens the church's door and greets everyone, much to their surprise - elves haven't been seen in centuries, and their blood is said to have magical properties.

The King offers a gold coin for whoever brings him Elfo, and chaos ensues as people pile up to grab the elf. Bean takes advantage of this to escape through a window, and Elfo joins her and Luci as they run away.

Cloyd and the Enchantress look gladly as the wedding is ruined, but Cloyd points out that Elfo could be a complication - and gets burned.

Merkimer decides to find Bean and bring her back for the wedding, and Zøg sends three of his knights with him, Pendergast, Turbish and Mertz. Bean, Elfo and Luci run away across Dreamland, with Bean grabbing the other two to make their escape at a faster pace, and Luci uses some of his magic to scare off Merkimer and the knights, allowing them to leave town on a cart - which they have to abandon when it's set on fire, by jumping down a slope.

The trio enters an enchanted forest, where they bamboozle Merkimer by jumping up a tree. The trio meets an old fairy, who says she doesn't do wishes, but points them in the direction of the Wishmaster. Bean, Elfo and Luci walk in the direction until it gets too dark, and they settle down for the night, sharing their personal wishes before falling asleep - along with King Zøg, Queen Oona, Cloyd and the Enchantress.

The following morning, Bean wakes up to find they had already reached the Wishmaster's palace - or, rather, a hand-cranked elevator that reaches up to the palace. When they reach the top, though, it turns out that it is the palace of the Washmaster, who cleans clothes. Merkimer and the knights arrive just then, and Bean sneaks out before they can catch her, but when she reaches the elevator out comes the troll Elfo blinded, having followed him with his scent. With no escape, Bean decides to accept that marriage to a prince is her destiny, but Elfo tells her that destiny is what one makes of the future.

When Merkimer asks for her hand in marriage, Bean decides to jump off the cliff - only to learn that neither Luci nor Elfo have magic that can be used to fly, and they scream as they fall.


Tropes:

  • Arranged Marriage: Zog is trying to force Bean to marry an inbred prince from Bentwood (first Guysbert, then his brother Merkimer) in order to establish a political/economic alliance between Dreamland and Bentwood. Bean wants none of this.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Bean's fiance Prince Guysbert manages to impale his own head on a sword, with no blood spilling whatsoever. Although later in the episode, the floor of the nave is seen to be run with his blood.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the episode we see a guy remarking on Bean's naked body when the king had warned everyone not to look on threat of beheading. Later in the episode we see his decapitated head impaled on a spike.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The village of Elfwood. Although this place does look invokedconstantly happy and cheerful, and bad things very rarely ever happen to its inhabitants, it's strongly implied that the happy atmosphere is forced and artificial. As Elfo finds out the hard way, questioning the saccharine status quo will make you ostracized. Oh, and if you piss off the Elf King hard enough, such as attempting to sleep with his daughter, he will have you sentenced to death by hanging from the Gumdrop Tree, all while your fellow elves sing another cheerful song for your execution.note  It's really no wonder why Elfo gets sick of this place, he wants the right to choose to be openly happy or sad, in a much more realistic way.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Cloyd has to be reminded not to touch an open fire.
    Enchantress: It's fire, Cloyd. It's meant to be hot.
    Cloyd: I know, I was there.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Turbish, the stupidest knight in the kingdom, suggests when Bean's tracks disappear in the forest that she's managed to climb the trees. Merkimer refuses to acknowledge this, but it turns out Turbish was right on the money.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each character gets one:
    • We see that Bean tied up a knight in her bed to create the illusion that she was sleeping while she was out at the town bar. Her scenes at the bar demonstrate her combat prowess, cleverness, and general apathy for her royal duties.
    • Luci is played up as an enabling jerk until later on, when he tries comforting Bean before the wedding, and then helping her escape the castle.
    • When we first meet Elfo, he's the only visibly dissatisfied elf, ignores his job, and then makes out with the King's daughter. After leaving Elfwood, his curiosity for the world outside of Elfwood is accompanied by gross inexperience, such as his ignorant reaction towards a nearby war between Gnomes and Ogres.
  • Exact Words: When Zog orders Bean to "take off those commoner clothes and come down looking like a princess", she gleefully responds by taking off her shirt before walking out of the throne room.
  • Eye Scream: During the deadly battle between the gnomes and ogres, one of the ogres suffers this injury twice. First, a gnome stabs out one of his eyes with a knife. After the battle is over, Elfo picks up a knife from a dead gnome and, by complete accident, pokes out the other eye of that same ogre. Despite seemingly being blinded in both eyes, that ogre decides to track down Elfo for revenge.
  • Fantastic Racism: Parodied when Bean, Elfo, and Luci sleep in a forest where a "racist antelope" lives. The antelope passes by, sees a human lying next to an elf, and expresses his disgust at what he mistakenly assumes to be an Interspecies Romance.
    Racist antelope: An elf with a human girl? That ain't right. (spits)
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Elfo incurs the wrath of the Elf King after he's caught sleeping in bed with the king's daughter Kissy. Elfo is sentenced to be hanged from the Gumdrop Tree afterwards.
  • Groin Attack: Elfo winds up underneath a Man in a Kilt while the wedding mob is trying to grab him, there's a clacking sound, and the kilted man starts screaming in pain.
  • It's All About Me: Zog demands the wedding cake be remade, and the wax figures replaced with one of him.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Bean defaces a cake early on, angering Zog. As she flees Dreamland, the chef's head can be seen on a spike.
    • As Zog's falling asleep before the wedding even begins, Oona nudges him awake. In response, Zog slaps Derek.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: The episode ends while Bean, Elfo, and Luci are still falling down a cliff.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • The elves of Elfwood sing a cheerful song about how great and happy their little village is, but at the same time they're really all just too stupid (and maybe even secretly miserable), and they just don't know any other lifestyle.
      It's a ha-ha-ha, and a hee-hee-hee,
      We're as happy as we can be!
      Elfwood is the place we'll never flee,
      Our minds are blank, but our hearts are free!
      We work all day, and we sing with glee,
      We drink all night uncontrollably!
      It's a ho-ho-ho, and a hee-hee-hee,
      Listen to us whistle adorably!
    • Also later in Elfwood, the elves sing another song with the same upbeat tune; but this time with creepy lyrics about Elfo's impending execution by hanging. It doesn't matter that a petty criminal is going to die a painful death, they treat the event with the same cheerful enthusiasm they do with everything else.
      Hanging Elfo from the Gumdrop Tree,
      A strangly-dangly activity!
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Netflix trailer made it seem like the wedding guests were fleeing because of Guysbert impaling himself, when in the actual show they're chasing after Elfo.
  • Nobody Could Have Survived That: Subverted for laughs when Bean, Elfo, and Luci tumble down a hill while fleeing Dreamland.
    Pendergast: Nobody could have survived that many tumbles.
    (Bean, Elfo, and Luci run off laughing)
    Pendergast: Oh.
  • Orifice Invasion: Luci leaps into Bean's mouth while explaining what he is. Bean quickly heimlichs him back out.
  • Plague Doctor: An apothecary appears early in the beginning when Bean is being carried through the city streets, and is dressed in the traditional costume of the plague doctor, beaked mask and all, despite not actually being one himself. He's seen selling plague medicine from his shop.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The priestess openly admits she has no idea if her religion is even true, or if there is a God listening, just stating that if she sounds like she knows what she's talking about, everyone will believe her.
  • Runaway Bride: Bean gets so frustrated with her wedding that, in the confusion following Guysbert's impalement, Merkimer replacing him, and Elfo's sudden entrance, she decides to escape the castle along with Elfo and Luci, eventually fleeing into the woods.
  • Sleep Cute: Cloyd and the Enchantress fall asleep on one another when Bean is in the forest.
  • The Talk: Oona tries to give one to Bean. Emphasis on "tries", since Oona seems to have no idea how human reproduction works, and obviously Bean wouldn't want to hear it anyway.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Guysbert. He bends down to pick up a ring... nearby a ceremonial chair adorned with swords. He impales himself on one and remains there - alive - for a long while.
  • Toplessness from the Back: After stripping her shirt off in public, the viewers only see her from the back.
  • War Is Hell: Not long after leaving Elfwood, one of the first things about the outside world that Elfo learns is war. He sees an army of gnomes fight to the death with an army of ogres. The only survivors of the ensuing battle are Elfo and a lone ogre. Elfo is rather confused and oblivious towards the whole carnage, having never seen anything like it before.
    Elfo: I like war... but I wouldn't say I love it.
  • Wedding Smashers: Well not so smash as it was "grab that elf", but Bean still used the confusion to escape.

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