Criticism | ‘(Des) Encanto’ returns with 3rd season full of twists and old problems

‘(Des) Encanto’ returned last Friday (15) with his long-awaited third season – and he seems to have taken a step back when it comes to expanding his irreverent mythology.

The adult animation created by Matt Groening debuted in 2018 and threw several opportunities as he explored the forays of Tiabeanie (Abbi Jacobson), an alcoholic princess, and her circular adventure in Dreamland alongside two companions: an elf named Elf (Nat Faxon) and a demon named Luci (Eric André). Perhaps the big deal with the rookie cycle was the lopsided, anthological storyline that only started to take shape and pace in the later episodes, betting on certain moments of the comedy at the expense of story arcs strong enough to keep us stuck in the start to finish – which is odd considering Groening had huge success with “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”.

After dramatically improving for a fun, rebellious sophomore year with polished thematic complexities, the series began to take on an air of originality as the pieces fell into place (how can you forget Bean and Luci’s trip to hell? psychotic mother of the anti-heroine in her quest for immortality and power?). Now, with the arrival of a new year, “(Des) Encanto” gives way to new characters, new obstacles – and old problems. Bean now must face the consequences of being accused of witchcraft and being saved by none other than Dagmar (Sharon Horgan), who tries to convince her to join an insurgency that never sees the light of day.

The ten new episodes had a lot to tell us, and while constantly investing in the big picture, they left the subplots aside to offer some kind of abandonment to the protagonist – who, as we found out, becomes queen. from dreamland after a madness that affects his father, Zog (John DiMaggio). The main idea is to put Bean on her social rescheduling and return home, like a deconstructed prodigal girl who wants to do her best, but ends up stumbling over her own ambitions and a mentality marked by trauma and an extremely backward society. . Because of this, she invades the coronation of her younger brother, Derek (Tress MacNeille), and reveals the Arch Druid’s evil plans to end the royal family line and control the world.

At first, the plot is coherent in good measure to make audiences want to find out what will happen in the next chapters, especially when Bean and Elf return to the Strange Land of Machines, a realm driven by technology and social innovations that deny magic and all the superstitions that have spread throughout the world. The episode, one of the best of the new year, delivers exactly what it promises by saving the classic vibe of works like the “ BioShock ” franchise and architecting a microcosm that exudes mysticism no matter what. down to earth. The problem is when Bean reveals unimaginable powers, something never mentioned again and surrendered to so many other events.

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The themes analyzed take on a new dimension and move away from Bean’s simple outbursts of humor and irritability. As it matures it enters a cycle of self-discovery and empowerment that removes secular withdrawals from gender and sexual roles; she turns out to be bisexual having a brief love affair with Mora, the mermaid (Meredith Hagner), and realizes that love is much more complicated than it seems; she returns to face the wickedness of the men surrounding her family’s castle and ultimately ascends the throne as the first queen in history – facing a threat looming on the horizon; and even questions her friendship with Luci and Elf for greater good (and when she loses them, she falls into a whirlwind of guilt that throws her into the clutches of her mother for an inexplicable season finale).

The bean-centric arc is the highlight (perhaps the only one) of the new chapters, all the more so for the cunning with which Groening and his creative team play with the different layers lurking in their psyche – all of it. turned into a fun and unexpected game. lots of weird dialogue. The rest of the characters, formerly owners of their own inflections, are trapped in supporting explorations, related to Bean’s decisions and what matters to her. Luci and Elfo briefly shed these tiring formulas, but lose some of the sparkle that made them so unique in a world of endless possibilities; Zog finds himself between life and death when he is buried alive, giving in to a growing delusion that renders him unable to continue to rule the land of dreams – but this aspect only reflects an irritating and exhausted personality; Oona (MacNeille again) returns from her maritime adventures to help her ex-husband and leaves without further delay; even the Arch Druid is swept under the rug without any tangible explanation.

‘(Des) Encanto’ still has a chance to recover for the already confirmed fourth season, but it is undeniable to say that he tried to impress a forced aesthetic to hide his various slips. Tangential formulas that one would not imagine to find in a production of this type, there are few assertions which come out of a mediocre and conventional zeal.

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