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Recap / Disenchantment - S2 E9: "The Electric Princess"

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A visitor from a technologically advanced nation visits Dreamland, setting up a cultural clash between magic and technology.


Elfo brings Bean and Luci to Elf Alley's only restaurant for dinner, but the dinner gets interrupted when a dragon attacks the town, setting a good part of Elf Alley on fire. While Dreamland's fire brigade (requested by the Elf King after an absurdly long ceremony) puts out the fires, Dreamland's knights and Bean set out to defeat the dragon. Bean manages to hit it with an arrow - only for the "dragon" to actually be an airship piloted by a man called Gunderson. The knights, however, believe Gunderson is some sort of dragon and arrest him.

The King and his advisors begin to interrogate Gunderson, with all of them convinced he's some sort of shapeshifting dragon, much to Gunderson's bemusement as he unsuccessfully attempts to explain himself. Zog, confused, decides to get rid of Gunderson. Meanwhile, one apartment gets unoccupied because its inhabitant died, and Luci decides to move in with Elfo as his flatmate. However, soon they drive each other up the wall because of their fighting.

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Bean comes down to the dungeon to talk with Gunderson, who requests she bring him his bag, his diary and several potatoes: with his supplies and the potatoes, he builds a radio that allows him to make contact with his people. Bean asks Gunderson to bring her with him to his land, fed up with the world of magic. Gunderson accepts the offer, and sets off an explosion with some gunpowder so he can escape. That night, a submarine arrives in Dreamland's port, and both Bean and Gunderson get into it. Gunderson teaches her how to drive the submarine, and soon they arrive at Steamland.

Gunderson leaves Bean in his house for a time, while she becomes amazed with the lamp and easy chair, but soon she gets bored and, after discovering there's a city outside, decides to sneak out to investigate. Apart from the many mechanical wonders, she is also surprised by the fact that women are equals in Steamland, something that appeals to her since her gender usually gets her shafted in Dreamland. Finding that Gunderson has an airship workshop, she goes there, much to Gunderson's consternation, since he had asked her to stay in his shed for her protection.

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Then, a woman called Harriet arrives, and while eavesdropping on her conversation with Gunderson, Bean realizes the latter attacked Dreamland intentionally with the aim of ensuring Zog was killed or dethroned. Harriet recognizes her, and Gunderson grabs a gun to kill Bean. Bean pushes the gun away and escapes on an airship, setting direction for Dreamland. Gunderson manages to grab onto the airship and opens it after breaking a window, and the two start to fight. The fight ends up causing the airship to tilt, and Bean falls out only to save herself because of Gunderson's bag. As Gunderson tries to reach the bag, Bean throws a potato in his face, making him fall off and allowing her to regain control of the airship.

As she arrives at Dreamland, Bean tries to tell the locals not to attack her, but they think her airship is the shapeshifter from earlier and shoot it down, making her crash on the building where Elfo and Luci live, but manages to get to the castle to warn them someone is trying to kill Zog, showing them the revolver. Odval orders Prendergast to take the revolver (thinking it's some sort of whistle), but Bean is unwilling to let anyone else take it, and in the struggle the gun fires off accidentally, shooting Zog.

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Tropes:

  • Bait-and-Switch: When Pendergast struggles with Bean to take the revolver off her hands, it fires off, initially making it look like it's shot Pendergast. It shoots Zog instead.
  • Calling a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Gunderson calls his submarine an "electrofish".
  • Cassandra Truth: No matter what Gunderson says, the ruling council of Dreamland are too dumb to believe him.
  • Continuity Nod: Bean goes to the thieves from "The Princess of Darkness" to buy some potatoes.
  • Disney Villain Death: Gunderson gets kicked out of an airship already in flight.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Bean manages to be in the right place, at the right time, to overhear Harriet berate Gunderson for the failed attempt at killing Zog.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: Elfo and Luci get more and more on each others nerves as roommates, and argue a lot. But when Elfo calls Luci little, the demon is done arguing and attacks Elfo.
  • Magic Versus Science: The Dreamlanders are so used to magic that with the exception of Bean, they can't even grasp the concept of technology.
  • Meaningful Name: The former occupant of Elfo and Luci's apartment is (or was) "Combusto".
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Bean is fascinated for a good long while by a simple electrical lamp.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: In a setting that's mostly medieval fantasy, what looks like a context-appropriate dragon turns out to be a Steampunk airship, piloted by a scientist carrying a revolver. Turns out he was sent from a downright futuristic city by a mysterious employer to deliver said revolver to an equally mysterious assassin in Dreamland. Most Dreamlanders think that he is a shapeshifter, and the revolver is some kind of wand or dragon-summoning whistle.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Bean, who refers to Zog as "Dad" or occasionally by his name, shouts out "DADDY" when he's accidentally shot.
  • Poke the Poodle: Elfo's idea of revenge for Luci throwing a wild party and not inviting him is to bring some geese into the apartment and eat pancakes with them. Luci's more baffled than annoyed that this is his way of getting back at him.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The Dreamlanders have no idea what a revolver is, leading them to be extremely cavalier with the one they find in Gunderson's satchel. This gets Played for Drama later, because, lacking knowledge of how dangerous guns are, Pendergast has no problem in trying to take the gun off Bean's hands - accidentally causing her to fire it.
  • Running Gag: Bean keeps saying "stience" instead of science.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: When Elf Alley on flames, which can be seen from the castle, Rulo, Odval and Zog insist on following royal protocol to the letter, even when it's wasting everyone's time (such as Odval checking to see if Zog is there, when he quite obviously is).
  • Steampunk: The appropriately named land of Steamland, which is full of steam-power technological wonders and lots of goggles.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Not that anyone in Dreamland was exactly a genius beforehand, but in this episode they're all particularly stupid.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Odval's sexism gets ramped up a notch for this episode.
  • Wham Line:
    Harriet: You had three simple tasks. Fly to the castle, deliver the weapon and get the hell away without being detected. [...] That big, dumb fat-ass is still on the throne.
  • Wham Shot: When it looked like Bean shot at Pendergast on accident, everyone sees that Bean instead had accidentally shot her father with the gun.
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