In the final episode of Galavant, this strange journey comes to an end. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Galavant.
Seriously, I don’t even have a frame of reference to compare Galavant to any show I’ve seen for Mark Watches. At times, this was an uneven experience, but it felt intentional in that regard. The show knew it had a limited time frame, and the writers also knew that they could kind of do what they wanted to??? Because lord, did this show ever commit to certain jokes mostly for the sake of it. (That damn unicorn, y’all.) The end of season one was a rush, and there are elements of this finale that felt the same, but it’s all still in the spirit of Galavant, a show that made fun of fantasy, of musical theater, and often times, itself.
The One True King
Of every plot hinted at in the series finale, I would have been most interested in what the future looked like for Richard. It was clever of “The One True King (To Unite Them All) to give us a flashback to his childhood at the opening of the episode. He made the most significant change out of this cast, and the flashback reminded us of that. Timothy Omundson has been a delight to watch as he portrayed Richard first as an oblivious but vicious and unforgiving king, and then it was all stripped away. He lost his wife, his crown, his kingdom, his sense of self-respect… and then what? What does a person become after that?
Well, for a short while, he was a hot fucking mess. Hesitant, reluctant, unsure of himself, desperate for validation, unable to think of others… most of season two has focused on how Richard had to rebuild himself alongside Galavant. (Who had to do some introspective thinking of his own, mind you.) It’s important to note that finding the Hero Sword didn’t solve anything; in fact, for a good long while, Richard didn’t even know that he had an object that basically predicted his destiny. He still had to work on himself the entire time. Of course, I can’t ignore that the thing that finally inspires him is an iguana named Tad Cooper. (EXCEPT IT WASN’T AN IGUANA, WHAT THE FUCK.) Yes, he confronts Wormwood, but once he thinks Wormwood has killed Tad Cooper, Richard CHANGES. He strikes Wormwood down in an awesome display that everyone witnesses, and he fulfills his destiny, uniting the Seven Realms against Madalena and Wormwood.
Sort of? And that’s the potential left hanging by this finale, one that I think would have been a whole lot of fun to experience. Exactly how does Richard become a king again? What does he do differently this time? What habits must he break a second time around? Will the people of his original kingdom (or any of the Seven Realms actually accept him after what he had done before? What does his relationship with Roberta look like, given that it is his first one? WHAT THE HELL DOES HE DO WITH HIS ACTUAL DRAGON TAD COOPER??? OH MY GOD IT WAS A DRAGON.
Galavant and Isabella
It is a subversion of expectations that Galavant is not the One True King; that’s usually what the hero eventually becomes in a story like this. Rather, Galavant decided to go a different route, and instead, this is about true love. Indeed, Galavant’s story from the beginning of the show was always about love. His infatuation with Madalena inspired him to storm Richard’s castle in the first place, setting in motion a tale of betrayal and deception, which is how Isabella got involved. Galavant learned that love is not what he thought it was. It has to be reciprocated for there to be true happiness. His time with Isabella brought him to a place where he discovered what it felt like to be loved back, only for him and Isabella to be separated.
So it makes sense that Galavant, while heroic, is not necessarily THE hero. His story needed a different kind of resolution, one where he was reunited with the woman he loved and where the two of them could build a life together. I do enjoy that I’ve now watched TWO shows this year in which the series finale shows the main love interest enjoying a home/vacation on the beach, far away from the life they once had. (MISS YOU DEARLY, SYDNEY BRISTOW.) They now have all the time in the world to work on that kiss! I felt like they also got an ending that didn’t necessarily hint at something to come, but I’m okay with that. They deserved to be happy after everything they went through.
It’s not often that I get to watch or read something with an antagonist as unapologetic as Madalena, which makes me wonder if there had been a season three, would she have come around to the good side? Or was her statement to Gareth the truth? Is this just who she is? It’s actually a fascinating question, and I respect that this silly-ass show is making me think about whether or not Madalena is good or bad at her core. Could she change? If not, does that mean that Gareth’s quest to bring her back from the dark side is a moot thing? Her goal this entire show was to collect more power, and she did exactly that, allying with Wormwood until even he couldn’t get her what she wanted. What could possibly be better than that?
I may be more fascinated by Richard’s redemption arc, but lord, do I love really villainous villains, and I bet her story would have been fun, too.
I am sure this isn’t surprising, but one of the more unfortunate tropes Galavant fell into is that of casting a black sidekick and then never letting them grow out of being a sidekick. I am not really here for stories that use this, and it doesn’t help that the writers lampshade this multiple times—by having Sid call attention to the fact that he’s a sidekick or that he doesn’t really get that many major songs—but then don’t really solve the problem themselves. You’re just perpetuating the same trope all over again, but in an “ironic” way. Even in the end, after Sid brought in an army of all the minor characters from season 2, his future is… being Gareth’s sidekick on a quest. MEH? Wouldn’t he have deserved something bigger after what he’d done?
I enjoyed this show, and I had a lot of fun watching it. It’s not my favorite thing I’ve seen, and if the writers had had more time to flesh out some of these storylines, I imagine this could have been AMAZING. That being said: it was nice to do a comedy AND a musical at the same time, something I don’t get to do too much of in the Mark Does Stuff world. Thank you for that, friends.
And with that, onwards we go to the next Mark Watches project: Steins;Gate.
The video for “The One True King (To Unite Them All)” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff