In the seventh and penultimate episode of the first season of Galavant, Galavant makes some bizarre decisions in order to prove he’s a hero, and Chef Vincenzo tries to woo Gwynne. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Galavant.
OH NO, EVERYTHING IS A DISASTER.
A Moment in the Sun
Gods all bless the running joke of this song, first of all. I love it so much, and I love that in the end, when he does get his moment, it’s deeply, deeply underwhelming. But that’s sort of the point. Instead of listening to the people around him—AGAIN, Y’ALL!!!!—Galavant takes the lesson his father instilled in him and focuses on that instead. I’d argue that Galavant as a whole engages with the complicated notions of what it means to be a hero, and it routinely undermines and subverts expected tropes. In most fantasy narratives, the hero does push his feelings and emotions beneath the surface to make the courageous decisions.
Yet here, the courageous decision not only isn’t made, but Galavant actually misses his opportunity to save everyone because he’s so concerned with his status as a hero. First, he doesn’t listen to Isabella when she tries to explain to him that her cousin Harry (A LITERAL CHILD) is coming to “save” them all. Oh, and there’s that inconvenient truth that she’s already been “promised” to Harry? YEAH, WHOOPS, LITTLE DETAIL THERE SHE FORGOT TO REVEAL. But these things are inconsequential to Galavant, who is certain that fighting in a duel against Gareth will free everyone! Which is such a TERRIBLE idea, y’all. It’s so awful! Why not just free everyone yourself, Galavant? You’re talented enough! But it’s this whole “honor” thing that gets in the way, and HE REALLY NEEDS TO LET IT GO. Because he had a chance to kill both Richard and Kingsley and free the Valencians, and yet? He dropped his sword on the ground (AGAIN!!!!) so he could have his romantic moment with Isabella. Which was nice! But come on, dude. Sid got much further than Galavant did!!! OH MY GOD HE’S SUCH A MESS.
Well, he got his moment, and he pretty much confessed his love for Isabella, so… yay?
What a weirdly romantic subplot, y’all. I’m a fan of dark humor, and lord, this was grim, but also sweet? I’m impressed that these secondary characters actually got a story, too, one that makes fun of the fact that they ARE secondary while also containing more depth than I expected. Chef and Gwynne are the kind of archetypes that exist just to provide extra comedy or tension for the primary characters. (Sort of like the jester and Sid, who also joke about this very idea in “My Cousin Izzy.”) So why bother starting a relationship? People of the underclass in fantasy narratives are always collateral damage. If Richard remains king, he’ll probably kill them. Kinglsey will definitely kill them. Madalena… yeah, she’s likely to kill them as well. Prince Harry is an unknown variable, but the outcome of his arrival? Oh, it’s death. So why care about anything?
So Gwynne’s final request is one of pure joy: she wants to reverse the narrative. And why not? Why not take out everyone who is responsible for all the poor and the downtrodden suffering so repeatedly? And it’s such a tantalizing idea, y’all. They’ll poison the food for the pre-competition feast, all the royals will die, and everyone who has been a servant will be free! Except that’s a little easier said than done, and Chef ends up balking at murdering everyone. He can’t actually do it, and instead, he just inconveniences them all by feeding them food that they’re allergic to. So, Gwynne is both disappointed but also still enamored with how nice the gesture is? And it’s still kind of affectionate??? I’M VERY CONFUSED.
The Final Showdown
It’s clear that Kinglsey’s presence is meant to utterly disrupt any attempt by Richard to gain control or to win over Madalena. Yet this goes in such a spectacularly disastrous direction that I can’t possibly imagine how Richard is ever going to save himself. It was bad enough that Galavant and Gareth were going to fight. Honestly, I couldn’t have predicted which one of them was going to win, as they’re both incredibly talented and motivated. But with the arrival of Harry, a complication is set in motion that ends with Gareth fighting his king. The irony, of course, is that Richard finally gains the courage to stand up for himself, but he does so in a way that pits him against his only real friend. Did Madalena plan this? No, of course not, but she sure does benefit from it. It’s all she really wanted from Kinglsey! He acts as an agent of chaos, not a dependable suitor or a compatible partner. As far as I can tell, she only enjoys him inasmuch as he can provide her yet another means to gaining more power.
So how the fuck is this supposed to work? Is Richard really going to fight his most loyal friend? Or will this change again through some wacky circumstance? Seriously, Galavant was SO CLOSE to victory, and yet? It’s all a mess. A TERRIBLE MESS.
The video for “My Cousin Izzy” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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