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Galavant – Giants vs. Dwarves + About Last Knight – Review

We had a few interesting developments in this most recent Galavant outing. Beside some great show stopping numbers, it seems like love is in the air for both our heroic and evil characters. I’m pleased with how the plot is progressing. Our characters are finally finding each other, however I’m wondering how much more time is going to be spent on the “Galavant needs to find an army” arc. Given the events at the end of “About Last Knight”, it would seem like Galavant’s plot is switching gears, but I’m itching to see him reunite with Isabella and their return to Valencia. Also, the lack of Chef was noticed in this episode, I hope he returns soon!

The first half of this week’s episode is the aptly titled “Giants vs. Dwarves”. We open on Richard and Galavant having yet another spat, but this time it’s the final straw. Richard has traded the Jewell of Valencia, their bargaining chip for army, for a “dragon” named Tad Cooper. Something about giving this lizard as ridiculous a name as “Tad Cooper” makes me love it though and I welcome Tad to the show. Steaming over his latest spat with Galavant, Richard launches into a musical number about his dragon pal. What makes this song so entertaining is the sparkly retro music video effects that take over as Richard prances around meadows with this tiny lizard in hand. The combined absurdity of the visual is what makes it.

Meanwhile, Galavant stumbles, literally, across a group of giants, who actually aren’t that giant at all, and promises to help them defeat their sworn enemies, the dwarves. The leader of the giants is played by guest star Nick Frost, who is an excellent addition. I feel as if last week’s guests didn’t bring as much to the table, but there’s something about Nick Frost’s delivery, whether he’s hushing his giant army or gently recalling one of his men who wandered to the wrong side, he not only fits in well in the world of Galavant, but adds to it.

Eventually the giants and dwarves meet in a war council to decide when their final battle will be and wouldn’t you know it, Richard has sided with the dwarves, who are also normal-sized. Pun based insults are exchanged between Galavant and Richard and a scrum breaks out, only for Roberta to ride in and end it. She seems to be a bit of an audience stand in as she is the most grounded person on the entire show. Not that she doesn’t roll with the singing and adventuring, but it is she who points out the silliness of the situation. I’m not sure how I feel about this as part of Galavant’s charm is that is immerses itself in this wacky world where you can break out into song and everyone acknowledges it and then moves on with their day. I’ll have to wait and see how much of this trait of Roberta’s pops up, though it doesn’t do much good in this particular situation as the war is still on.

And the great final battle of course is prefaced by a song, a fantastic West Side Story send up that had me snapping my fingers along. This is my favorite number of the entire season so far. It’s catchy as hell, but also showcases the cast’s talent perfectly, is extremely funny, and visually appealing in its choreography. Confusion in the similarity of the fighters on both side stall the battle, and Roberta’s brand of common sense shows the giants and dwarves that they really aren’t that different. She also points out that no matter what faults he may have, Richard has always been loyal to Galavant. And so, with the conflict solved, our heroes ride on to their next adventure.

Meanwhile, Isabella is still in wedding hell and thanks to the enchanted tiara, loving every minute of it. It’s also quite fun to see Isabella, usually so take charge, to be quite the airhead. It’s to the point where even the King and Queen of Valencia are picking up on it, so into the dungeon they go. I loved the call back to the confusion between the wedding plan and the evil plan. I’m glad to see this will be a running gag throughout the rest of the season. The juxtaposition of something as light, airy, and frivolous as extravagant wedding planning with a dastardly plot to take over a kingdom via brainwashing is one of the more interesting parts of this portion of the story.

Isabella’s conflict in “Giants vs. Dwarves” arises from Princess Jubilee has not answered back on Isabella’s RSVP, so Isabella travels to find out what the problem is. Jubilee is more of a rock goth-ish type of ruler if her décor and gloomy court are anything to go by and she immediately dives right into a rock heavy song about how she is the opposite of a princess, unlady-like, rough, and bids Isabella to kiss her royal ass. I thought ABC would chicken out on that line and there’s a pause that makes you believe another word will be substituted, but no, Princess Jubilee goes there. The song is short, but fun and I enjoyed the choreography. It also points out that Isabella herself used to be the kind of unconventional princess celebrated in this song and lucky for everyone, she finally comes to her senses thanks to a well-timed belch. It makes sense in context.

Over in Valencia, Sid and Gareth have a walk and talk. It turns out Gareth does have the hots for Madalena. How this developed makes sense in the context in these past few episodes, but I wouldn’t have bet money on this outcome last season. The problem is Gareth hasn’t actually told Madalena how he feels. Sid is really against their union and that disappoints me a bit. I know the evil queen has been dubbed the worst and I will concede that Sid is right and Madalena’s last few relationships have always ended poorly for her suitors, but this is Gareth we’re talking about; he and Madalena are perfect for each other. I do enjoy the more contemporary jokes, especially when Sid tries to explain the “Bro Code” and Gareth wonders if it’s a black thing. I prefer this much more than the Game of Thrones jokes, since those, as I’ve said before, seem to really cement the show in one point in time, whereas more general contemporary references contribute to the longevity of the show. Gareth doesn’t really respect the Bro Code though, and tells Madalena his opinion of her, so Sid is on the run. I will say that in a weird, evil way, Madalena and Gareth together are kind of cute. Maybe this will mellow them both out.

In “About Last Knight”, we pick up right where we left off with a price on Sid’s head and the return of badass Isabella. Sid gets his own song trying to convince the peasantry to storm the castle and revolt against Gareth and Madalena, and while it’s very reminiscent of a Les Miserable number, the brutal honesty in the lyrics about the misfortune and maiming that will probably befall them all, scare off his troops one by one, leaving only Sid at the gates and the revolution crumbles before it starts. Again, it’s those dark lyrics poking out of the rousing, cheerful music that are Galavant’s signature.

Galavant and his crew have fallen once again on hard times during their journey. They are starving, having resorted to eating a family of hobbits, a ghastly image that is somehow hilarious as well. The joke works so well because it's within the general fantasy realm. Had they said "We ate Frodo". I feel the joke would have fallen flat. Tad Cooper might be next on the menu if not for the fact that our heroes have stumbled on to Galavant’s father’s estate, an occurrence that Galavant isn’t too pleased about. Richard smells back story and is delighted to know what’s going on.

In Valencia, Madalena prepares a surprise party for Gareth. The combination of such a sweet gesture and the scary threats she lobs at her servants tell us what kind of a romance these two are having. Unfortunately they come from different worlds and the surprise party just isn’t Gareth’s thing. What he really wants for his birthday is a new scar, so the pair go to the scummiest pub they can find where Gareth can get into a brawl and earn one. Unfortunately for Gareth, no one wants to fight him since he is king now. Gareth is disappointed, but Madalena manages to cheer him up by proposing they declare war on Hortensia as Wormwood the wedding planner shows up at the door.

How Wormwood gets to Valencia is pretty simple. Isabella returns to the castle, brainwash free, and banishes him. Wormwood leaves amidst threats and reminders about the groomsmen’s’ gifts, bringing back that duality of wedding planning and evil planning. It’s also interesting that He mentions that only the sword of the One True King (to Rule Them All) is the only thing that could possibly defeat him in the long run. That’s the sword Richard currently has in his possession ( we get a quick reminder via a humorous cut away gag to Richard using the fabled steel to crack walnuts) but I would bet the Jewel of Valencia that Galavant will change things up and Richard won’t be the one to deliver the killing blow, it will be Chef or somebody. Also, I am really missing Chef in this episode, his presence and delivery always add so much to the color of the story. Anyway, breaking off the engagement with Prince Harry is as simple as Isabella giving him her bra so he can show it off to his friends. I’m glad we’re at the end of the arranged marriage arc. It had its moments, but overall Galavant and Isabella are stronger when they are together, both within the story and from a comedic standpoint.

So Wormwood wanders in to the Forest of Coincidence, where everything you might need pops up if you only off-handedly mention it. There he runs in to Sid, who happens to mention the blood-thirsty nature of Valencia’s rulers. Wormwood likes the sound of this and goes off to incite a war. I loved the Forest of Coincidence. It just skirted the line of suspended disbelief by making an otherwise annoying cliché very funny. It also set our characters on the right path in a way that wouldn’t bog down the plot. The dramatic sound effect every time there is a coincidence as everything Sid needs to get the Galavant continues to pop up sells the joke.

Back to Galavant, where we learn his father isn’t the ice prince Galavant makes him out to be. Papa Galavant runs a swordsmanship school out of his home and is surrounded by children who love him. I hope we see these kids again in the final battle. The season seems to be spending a lot of time showing us Galavant meeting groups of people and then moving on, so it would be a shame if the guys from the enchanted forest, the dwarves and giants, the land pirates, and these kids didn’t all show up “Anchorman” style to help Galavant out in the end. It would be a tremendous missed opportunity.

We find out as Richard gets beaten up by a horde of children, that Roberta actually does care for him, something hinted last week. I hope their romance isn’t a slow burn one as I think that wouldn’t suit a character like Richard. Meanwhile, Galavant tells a story about his dad to the kids that paints his father as an awful human being. The kids don’t believe it, and in a musical number they explain how Papa Galavant was always there for them. A musical number carried by children is not my favorite thing, so I wasn’t as engaged in this song as the others, though the refrain of “He wasn’t there, he wasn’t there” from Galavant really sticks with you.

It turns out that Papa Galavant was there, as our hero comes across a room filled with tapestries depicting his heroic acts, all stitched by his father. Galavant’s father did are, he was just terrible at showing it. The reprise of Papa Galavant singing “I was there, I was there” in a softer, more melancholy way is wonderful, and I feel like the show would benefit from that kind of reprisal in the future. So Galavant and his father mend their bridges and are finally bonding. I love the swooping shot of Galavant reveling all this, an emotional moment, while Richard is being bullied by children in the background. And as if things couldn’t get better, Sid arrives and is reunited with his knight. In his excitement, Sid throws Galavant’s sword he found by great coincidence in the forest, only Galavant doesn’t catch it. He’s skewered by it instead. I definitely did not see this coming and I’m really interested where the show will go with this. Are they going to make this a serious turn of events, as it seemed as the episode ended, or are we going to get more of a The Princess Bride situation where Galavant will be healed by a ridiculous magician. I don’t 100% think that Galavant will kill off the title character, but this is the show that made the damsel in distress turn in to an evil queen over the span of eight or so episodes, so we will have to wait and see.

Tune in next time for “Love and Death” and “Do the D’DEW”

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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