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Galavant – Aw, Hell, the King + Bewitched, Bothered, and Belittled – Review

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A lot went on this week on Galavant and these recent episodes seem to be setting us up for a more plot-heavy fare this season. The first half of the hour, “Aw, Hell, the King” reminded me strongly of both Robin Hood: Men in Tights with a dash of Monty Python and the Holy Grail sprinkled on top, while the second half, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Belittled” was slightly more serious, delving in to the meaning of love for each character. I say slightly, because there were definitely laughs a plenty in both halves.

In “Aw, Hell, the King” Richard and Galavant return to find the king’s domain has converted to democracy. We even get a song about it and while it’s quite catchy, I waver on whether or not it’s a bit topical. I think I have to say no simply because the inequality of equality being poked fun at here has been the fodder for comedy for years. I did get a good chuckle out of it, especially the part where gingers were one of the groups excluded from voting. Galavant is focused solely on gaining an army so he may ride into Hortensia and save Isabella, while King Richard struggles with his purpose now that’s he’s not king. This season seems to be much more Richard’s story than Galavant, the king is getting much of the character development in these episodes and there are hints sprinkled throughout, such as that sword he liberated last episode glowing, that point to a higher purpose for this medieval goofball.

One of my favorite songs from this episode is Richard’s what-if number, where he imagines the kind of life he’d lead if he had a different trade. It’s simply hilarious as of course King Richard doesn’t know a thing about not being a king, so you get him describing planting cakes as a farmer, or “hitting the thing with the other thing” as a blacksmith. The witty lyrics steal the show and this is a fine example of what Galavant has to offer. The mood quickly shift to a more melancholy thought as Richard realizes he has no purpose, ending the song in a beautiful but sad way. Never the less, soon the spunk returns to the former monarchy, for when Galavant fails to drum up support for his cause, Richard steps in an speaks on his behalf. He’s not successful, save for one volunteer, but the king has a purpose: to be Galavant’s sidekick and help him reclaim his one true love! And you can be sure Galavant is less than thrilled.

Speaking of true loves, Isabella’s situation has somehow grown worse. The wedding planner hired for her arranged marriage has more designs on throne than the wedding hall and mind controls Isabella with an enchanted tiara. Suddenly, Isabella’s enthusiasm for her wedding goes from zero to a million and she joins in with the musical number built around planning her wedding. Isabella’s side of the story has plenty of funny gags, such as the princess indulging in that time honored tradition of sulking with sweets and soap operas to get over a break up. Only her version of soap operas are the jester acting out her break up with puppets. Just the Jester sitting at Isabella’s feet, doing the voices of each character, is enough to make you smile. We also got a royal conga line at one point during the musical number and it goes to show when actors really let loose and go for broke with this kind of material, the fun they have translates through the screen. And it’s not just the actions, but the writing that sells the lightheartedness of Galavant. My favorite lines are between the wedding planner and his assistant and the “Who’s On First” banter surround the wedding plan, the evil plot, and the color scheme.

Over in Madalena and Gareth’s part of the world, the newly self-appointed king is having nightmares about stabbing Richard in the back and stealing his crown. As in, he literally takes the crown and there’s a knife in Richard’s back in these dreams. Madalena bids Sid help Gareth get over these dreams so she can get a good night’s rest, and it’s a simple fix for the squire. Aside from some welcomed Gareth and Sid bonding, again the affairs of the royal court prove to be the least interesting part of the episode. This is remedied in the second half of the hour where we get an intriguing story for Madalena, but more on that in a moment.

In “ Bewitched, Bothered, and Belittled”, Galavant and Richard are still trying to gather an army to overtake Hortensia, but Richard, while well-meaning, constantly screws everything up. We also learn of King Richard’s impressive constitution as he smuggled the fist-sized Jewel of Valencia with him by swallowing and…passing it. What’s more intriguing is that Roberta, the sole volunteer from last episode, is in fact an old childhood friend of King Richard’s. She also proves to be an able-bodied swordswoman, as Richard picks the most inopportune time to get excited about this reveal. I enjoyed this episode a big more and I think that might have to do with the acing, as shown in this opening scene where daggers, both verbal and metal, are flung quite freely. The action doesn’t die down for the sake of the banter.

In an effort to get King Richard out of his hair once and for all, Galavant tries to set his new sidekick up with Roberta. And when Richard remains dense on the subject, Galavant launches into a song whose lyrics are essentially coaching the king not to screw up this date or he will die alone. It’s half morbid, half amusing and beautifully sung. You have to love Galavant simply for the fact that they can work the phrase “herpes simplex” into a ballad about not dying alone and still have the song sound so beautiful.

Over in Hortensia, Isabella continues to be under the thrall of the tiara, though people like Chef and Gwen are getting wise that something isn’t quite right with the princess. Her throaty shout of “MINE” when Chef tried to adjust her tiara was as impressive as it was funny. Chef has his own problems though. Being part of the upper lower class, or “big pimpin” as he puts it, isn’t agreeing with Gwen, despite their musical number lauding all the of the "fine" things they have in their life now, like high class leeches and burlap sheets. This musical number, while well performed and written, wasn’t my favorite simply because we already got a song like this last season with Chef and Gwen celebrating their terrifying medieval life with a glass half full mentality. The two characters sell it and I love seeing them on screen, but this number didn’t grab me like the others. In the end, Chef realizes that his love for Gwen is more important than having finery like two whole benches in their chamber, and the pair leave Hortensia. I wonder if they will come across Galavant and his group or if Chef and Gwen will have their own adventures. I can’t see the writers splitting the focus anymore, so hopefully we get a King Richard and Chef reunion soon.

Madalena had a very interesting adventure this time out. She was invited to a Sunday roast by some other royals whom she admired when she was a child. Too bad what she admired was their nastiness, of which she was the focus of. And as it turns out, these royal sisters did not grow out of their ways. Their Sunday “roast” was actually a roast of Queen Madalena. I do appreciate the nod to the Friars Club by having actual friar’s lend use of their meeting space. Madalena is humiliated and from this we get a stirring musical number to end the hour. It’s a remarkable, soulful song about how Madalena is developing feelings like a normal human being. This is the kind of Galavant musical number I like, one where if you just take in the music you might find a catchy or beautiful tune, but if you listen hard to the lyrics it causes you to pause and go “wait, what”.

“Bewitched, Bothered, and Belittled” was about the power of love without being obviously about the power of love. We see many different relationships put to the test or bloom, including what I’m taking as a hint towards and Madalena and Gareth union. It’s not every day a man presents you with the ears of your enemy. What the entire hour seems to be stressing, more with King Richard than Madalena, is a villain’s redemption arc, which always makes for good television. I feel as if we are already there with Richard, I mean who wasn’t rooting for him on his date, but the ice queen façade melting away from Madalena is unexpected and interesting. This is the kind of story I want to see when we cut to her, Gareth, and Sid. I really can’t predict with certainty where any of these stories are going, which will definitely keep me tuning in week after week.

Join us next week for “Giants vs. Dwarves” and “About Last Knight”!

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.
Recent Reviews by Ashley B (All Reviews)

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