In the third episode of Galavant, the team takes a detour and meets Sid’s family, who are… unexpected, to say the least. Meanwhile, King Richard comes up with a way to entertain the Valencians. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Galavant.
I HAVE LOTS TO SAY, LET’S GO.
The parallel here, of course, is that there are two celebrations thrown in “Two Balls,” both of which skirt the truth. They’re built entirely on lies! But Richard’s is demonstrably more horrible than Sid’s, especially since he tries to entertain the people he has conquered and slaughtered by… reminding them that he conquered him and slaughtered them. It’s a bit grim at times, but it felt like it was building off a very real practice where despots or dictators derive entertainment from this sort of teasing. The casual reminder of the brutality he enacted is portrayed a little differently, of course, because Richard is often clueless as to the ramifications of anything he does. He’s so lost in his interpretation of the world that he can’t empathize with anyone else. To him, there’s nothing more thrilling than a ball with dancing! With music! With food!
And then he systematically ruins each of these things. It’s important to note that he doesn’t do any of this with the expressed purpose of making the Valencians feel better. No, he’s more concerned with winning his wife over, which… historically has not worked? Ever? In any context? Literally nothing he’s ever done has made her even tolerate him for more than an hour??? So that’s one reason why his behavior is so careless and cruel! He doesn’t think about how setting all the remaining food on fire is probably a bad idea. (Seriously, is there going to be any food left in future episodes? Well, there certainly won’t be any vegetables.) Then, when he recruits the executioners to provide music, it isn’t objectionable to him that all they sing about is the grim future that’s waiting for all these people. For what it’s worth, their song was way catchier than I expected??? So there’s that? Even the dance they do (which I thought was a clever nod to The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is full of misery and despair.
In the end, it cheers up no one, at least not until Richard begs the Valencians to just tell him the truth. WHICH ALSO GOES AWRY IN LIKE 60 SECONDS WHEN THE EUNUCH REVEALS THAT RICHARD’S WIFE IS HOOKING UP WITH THE JESTER. Oh my god, everything about this plot was a disaster, y’all.
So, some repetition from what I said on video, but this is important to me. I’m used to characters like Sid being perpetual sidekicks, and I admit that I braced myself for more of the same here. On that not alone, I was surprised that “Two Balls” so quickly gave us an entire backstory and focused episode on Sidney, one that’s sweet, hilarious, and the sort of thing I wish other shows did as well. Right from the start, Galavant makes him a full character, and I appreciate that so much.
But I love this episode for another reason: this is probably the only transracial adoptee character and storyline that I have ever seen on a major network television show. Sid was adoptee by white Jewish parents, and none of this is portrayed as odd, terrible, or worthy of ridicule. As far as I could tell, none of these jokes were at the expense of these people, but rather, this all was an exploration of Sid’s loving and over-excited parents. The humor, for me, wasn’t about the conflict in the difference of cultures. For Sid, this is his culture. Instead, he’s worried that he’s woven too many fairy tales about his life and it’ll disappoint everyone in his village.
It’s a remarkably sweet story, and it helps that amidst this, Galavant learns an important lesson about what it’s been like for Sidney to be his squire. The role reversal trope is common, but I don’t know I’ve seen it done with such kindness before. I love the song that the squires sing, how reluctant Galavant was to join in, and then watching him realize that they’ve all been describing him. That realization leads to MY FAVORITE SCENE IN THE SERIES SO FAR. I love how Galavant both thanks Sidney and then encourages him to be himself. He’s proud of what Sid has done in his life, and surely Sid’s parents will feel exactly the same way.
I LOVED THIS EPISODE SO MUCH, Y’ALL.
The video for “Two Balls” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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