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Galavant - Completely Mad...Alena + Dungeons and Dragon Lady - Review

Things are really getting interesting on Galavant. We are nearing the final hour of this musical mini-series and these most recent two episodes have been the most interesting yet, throwing the audience a curveball that I personally wasn’t expecting. I’ve noticed that in this two-episode-a-night format, the second half hour is always the stronger one and tonight is no exception. While I enjoyed “Completely Mad…Alena” it, like the other odd numbered episodes, seem like set up towards the more satisfying even numbered episodes. I’m curious now to see how Galavant will wrap up next week given all we’ve learned so far. The musical numbers this week were enjoyable and clever, though not as laugh out loud as past ones have been. I also think that some guest stars were under used. I feel as if we are rushing towards the finish and would perhaps have liked to see another hour installment in order to slow down the plot. That being said, I did very much enjoy “Completely Mad…Alena” and “Dungeons and Dragon Lady”.

In our first half hour, the focus is less on Galavant and his gang and more about the goings-on in King Richard’s court. Madalena is dissatisfied with the results, or lack thereof, King Richard has been getting on capturing the prized Jewel of Valencia and wonders aloud to whom she can turn to get said results. The answer comes to her in the form of a musical number sung by Madalena herself, with her reflections in the mirrors as backup singers. The song goes on to talk about how bodacious Madalena is and inspires her to take matters into her own hands. We haven’t really had a chance yet to see Madalena get in on the musical shenanigans and this musical number is a fun way to show just how egotistical and self-centered the queen is.

Meanwhile, the Chef has been courting Madalena’s handmaiden who is played by Sophie McShera aka Daisy from Downton Abbey. The Chef isn’t the greatest at wooing women and in return for some help getting Gwynne the handmaiden to go on a date, he provides Madalena with information as to King Richard’s plans. The Chef charms Gwynne with a song about how they could spend the rest of their lives together which showcases the rottenness of living in medieval times. This musical number is both sweet and kind of nauseating since they sing about the dream life together where they can compare each other’s sores and maybe one of their twelve children could survive childbirth. It takes refuge in audacity and that’s where most of the humor comes from. Madalena convinces the Chef to make a fancy dinner and even offers Bordeaux from her private stock.

While this is going on, Galavant and his gang finally arrive in Valencia. Isabella, still stalling, remarks on Galavant’s body odor, so the group heads to a monastery so they can rest and get ready to confront King Richard. Here is where we mean the monks of Valencia who have taken a vow of song. They are only allowed to sing to communicate, but luckily the joke isn’t worn out as Isabella threatens the monks each time they try to reply. They do get an introductory number in which is very peppy and allows guest star Weird Al to showcase his singing ability. Sadly, we don’t see much of Weird Al in this episode, though Isabella, still guilty about leading Galavant into a trap seeks his counsel and he incidentally causes her to realize that she’s fallen for Galavant.

Our heroes plan to sneak into King Richard’s court disguised with the monks who are that night’s entertainment, but Isabella sneaks away and confronts King Richard, telling him the deal is off. The King, however, threatens her parents once more and Galavant and the gang get caught, revealing Isabella’s betrayal. But there’s a twist! Galavant is being lead off to be hanged while Gwynne is off to meet with the Chef on their date. Only there is no dinner and Bordeaux set up and the man sent to the hangman’s noose is actually the Chef! Madalena has been manipulating things behind the scenes, taking the fancy dinner for herself as a treat for Galavant and sending the Chef to the noose in his stead. She has also sent out a mysterious letter to someone who will help her get rid of her “problems”. When Galavant is finally brought before Madalena she is dressed very much like an evil queen and we now know who the real villain on Galavant is.

There were some great running gags with this episode. I especially liked the “9 o’clock joke”, where someone would describe the hour of Galavant’s arrival to the kingdom in a very word, poetic way and the person they were talking to would deadpan “so……9 o’clock?” to which the first person would exasperatedly agree. The Chef was especially endearing this episode, so when the reveal came they it was he at the noose and not Galavant, the viewer was surprised. I actually thought “no, not the chef!” Galavant also expressed how much Isabella meant to him during his journey back to heroism, making the viewer wish one or the other would just express their feelings already. We really want to see this couple get together. And like I said, Weird Al was slightly under used. The gag with the monks and their vow of singing was fun, but more of a side note to the rest of the episode.

Part two begins right where we left off, with Galavant and Madalena at their dinner. Galavant breaks out into song, expressing how much he still cares for Madalena, but the evil queen quickly turns his ballad into an incredibly catchy tango that expresses all the physical traits she adores about the knight and how much she loves wealth and material things. There is not a shred of romantic sentimentalities in Madalena’s body and Galavant is not getting the message. Meanwhile, King Richard is beside himself that his queen would betray him and almost cause the death of his favorite Chef. The King wonders out loud what is wrong with him that he allows people to treat him poorly. His Chef suggests that perhaps the king could use some Xanax. Not the drug, but help from the magician of the same name. I did giggle when the Chef admitted to buying “herbs” from Xanax, allowing King Richard to make the conclusion that they were for cooking. Right.

Madalena is on the warpath while this is happening, ordering Gareth to torture and kill Isabella, Sid, and the others in the dungeon. She also throws Galavant down there for good measure, saying she will come get him when it’s time. Madalena alludes that mysterious someone she wrote to for help. Isabella runs to Galavant’s side, but our hero isn’t so quick to forgive just yet. Sid has been helping out by “guilt-ing the crap out of her”. Isabella and Madalena get a funny exchange where the latter just repeats what the former is saying during their argument. The humor in this half is a lot quicker and more fun, particularly when Madalena refers to Galavant as her “leftover man mutton” with a completely straight face. Gareth goes along with all this and betrays King Richard because as Madalena puts it, he is dog who needs a strong master, not one that worries about tummy flowers.

While Madalena terrorizes everyone in a 10 foot radius, Chef and King Richard travel to a seedy part of town and find Xanax, played by guest star Ricky Gervais. This has to be my favorite guest appearance, everything from the delivery to the actual lines (my favorite being his "magic words") made me smile. Xanax is a bit of… well he doesn’t seem to be that reliable of a wizard. He lives in his mother’s attic after all. But King Richard is determined to figure out why he is the way he is and takes the potion Xanax brews, despite the fact that the workstation is filthy. Once properly “medicated”, King Richard and Chef are led in what appears to be a group meditation/medieval vision quest set to the tune of a psychedelic ditty sung by the wizard himself. Through these methods King Richard goes back to a memory of him as a boy, the day is father died. King Richard’s brother Kingsley, so named that he would be king one day, decides he does not want the crown, he wants instead to pillage and plunder and sow the countryside with illegitimate babies. Clearly we are meant to see Kingsley in a certain light. But when Richard steps up to take the sword that would declare him ruler, Kingsley steps in, stealing the throne. King Richard realizes that all of his problems have stemmed from this one moment, when he was made to feel like an afterthought. This explains a lot about King Richard and his motives. He has always been made to feel like a second choice, even when he tries his hardest to act like his favored brother, a person who takes what he wants without a second thought.

Back at the dungeon, Galavant is still going on about Madalena, wondering if she somehow does still love him. Isabella has had enough of this and tries to talk him down from his obsession with the evil queen, even though it does earn her the nickname “Princess Isa-babble” from Sid and Galavant. But Isabella has a point; when someone babbles they are speaking nonsense and here she speaks the truth. She and Galavant engage in an epic duet with an interesting subject matter; how gross and unseemly love is. But despite the lyrics seeming to denounce that special bond, these two grow closer with each note, the power of which flings the prison doors open. Or they were just unlocked and nobody thought to check.

Elsewhere in the castle, Gareth is confronting Madalena. We saw in the Xanax-induced flashback that as a boy Gareth swore to protect King Richard and stay by his side. And the bodyguard intends to keep this vow. King Richard returns, hopped up on so much Xanax, and is happy to hear of Gareth’s loyalty. The king orders his bodyguard to remove Madalena from the castle as they are no broken up, but the evil queen has one more trick up her sleeve. That letter she wrote? It was to Kingsley, King Richard’s evil brother. He’s going to help Madalena take over the kingdom.

I liked “Dungeons and Dragon Lady” a lot more than the first half hour of tonight’s Galavant because I felt like it was tighter. The jokes were more appealing to me, particularly those in musical form. My favorite type of joke that Galavant does is where they break the fourth wall and acknowledge that they are singing and dancing about. Galavant does this during his tango with Madalena, and Isabella makes mentions to all the “songs and asides” she’s had throughout the series’ run as proof that she really wanted to come clean to Galavant. This is where the humor in the show shines. With the introduction Kingsley, I’m nervous that the show will be rushed to a conclusion. Like I said, maybe another hour would be nice to wrap things up in a satisfying matter. Only time can tell though and I have to say, I’m actually disappointed that Galavant is almost over. On one hand, I wouldn’t want Galavant to wear out its welcome, but on the other I wish we had more time with these characters and their story. We’ll see how everything ends up next week.

Tune in for the finale of Galavant next week with “My Cousin Izzy” and “It’s All in the Executions”!

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
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