Saturday, January 10, 2015

Galavant 1.02: "Joust Friends"

“There’s going to be some pretty legendary hero-ing happening around here pretty damn soon.”

The second episode of any television show is always where we begin to get a sense of what that show is going to be like on a week-to-week basis. “Galavant” is a limited run show, so this is less of an issue, but it still provided some clues to what we can expect going forward. Galavant and his friends had to complete a specific task that would ultimately help him in his ongoing quest to win back Madalena and save Valencia from King Richard. I presume that’s how many of the episodes will be going forward, with Galavant working on side missions until the final confrontation. The episode was a fun watch, and I still appreciate that the show doesn’t take itself especially seriously. The songs were amusing, and so was Galavant’s predicament.

The episode opens on a dream sequence, although it’s not clear right away that it’s a dream sequence. Galavant, Isabella, and Sid are traveling through the woods when they are attacked. Galavant fights admirably and saves them all single-handed. Later in the episode, it will be even more obvious that this must have been a dream! Galavant himself realizes he is dreaming when Madalena and King Richard appear to taunt him. He wakes up to Isabella and Sid packing up camp so they can begin their travels for the day. As they travel, they sing a fun little song called “Off on a Hero’s Journey.” It is one of the catchier tunes of the show thus far, I think.

Meanwhile, in Valencia, we learn that King Richard is not even capable of feeding himself. Chef spoons the food into his mouth, baby-style, complete with airplane games. Madalena is disgusted and leaves the room without even touching her supper. Gareth tries to explain to King Richard that Madalena is perfectly justified in being disgusted. Chef sort of backs him up, but he doesn’t say much, I guess because he doesn’t want to end up dead at the hand of the King like all his ancestors. While I think Gareth has the right intention, I think he’s a bit wrong about the problem between King Richard and Madalena. Gareth things King Richard needs to act more manly. He shows the King his own bed chambers as an example, and talks about how much testosterone he has. The problem isn’t really King Richard’s manliness or lack of it. It’s that he is just plain gross and infantile. Either way, King Richard wants Gareth to teach him how to be more manly so that Madalena will be even more impressed when he finally kills Galavant.

Galavant and his friends want to spend the night at a tavern, but they have no money. Sid thinks he has solved their problem when he finds a flyer for a joust. Surely the celebrated Sir Galavant can win the joust! First, the group has no entry fee, but that problem is solved when Sid hands over the Jewel of Valencia as collateral. This really pisses off Isabella, by the way, because it’s her only ticket to saving her parents’ lives. The other problem is a long-time rival of Galavant’s, Jean Hamm (played by John Stamos) who has also entered the tournament. I thought the modern pop culture reference (to Jon Hamm, obviously) was a little on-the-nose. Anyway, Jean is a ladies’ man and seems to have a thing for Isabella. Isabella, for her part, just cares about getting the Jewel back, so she convinces the tournament organizers to advance Galavant to the final on merit so that he has an extra day to practice.

Because the Jewel is so important, Isabella also tries to train Galavant. At first, Galavant is dubious, but Isabella explained that her father had no male heirs, so he sometimes treated her like one (and taught her to fight). What follows is a parody of an 80’s movie training montage, complete with a song. Galavant does actually get better and stronger with practice, and eventually, Isabella thinks he is ready. Meanwhile, Jean advances to the final as well. Isabella wants to be absolutely sure there is no way Jean will win, so she visits his tent to seduce him. While she is there, she has him drink absinthe. Presumably, he’ll be too hung over to fight the next day.

Meanwhile, King Richard has taken Gareth’s advice to heart. He puts on quite a show for Madalena at dinner. He commands her to sit down, drinks ale, and burps. I think it’s kind of gross, but Madalena is impressed for some reason. They have a real conversation over dinner. King Richard remarks that he’s impressed by the way Madalena just eats whatever is in front of her, considering he’s kind of finicky himself. Madalena says it’s because her parents made her cook and eat her pet goat as a kid. King Richard also talks a bit about his childhood. He didn’t interact with his parents much – he mostly just talked to his servant, Pearl. There’s a kind of sweet duet with King Richard and Madalena and Galavant and Isabella called “Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever,” which features awesome lyrics like “you’re growing on me just like mold.” Madalena ruins the moment, though, by telling King Richard that Pearl didn’t love him; she was paid to spend time with him. Low blow, Madalena!

On a lighter note, the big joust is absolutely hilarious. Jean is indeed incredibly hung over, and when he stumbles out of his tent, he immediately vomits on the field. Isabella thinks she’s got this until she sees Galavant’s condition. Apparently he trained to hard the day before and now can barely move. Isabella asks how he was able to get on his horse, and Galavant replies that he slept on it. What follows is what could possibly be the slowest joust ever, with Jean and Galavant approaching each other at snail speed. It doesn’t take much for both to be simultaneously knocked off their horses. The judge declares that whoever gets up first will be the winner (even if he probably doesn’t deserve it). Isabella has been telling Galavant all episode that real heroes get back up when they’re knocked down, so Galavant musters up the strength to stand up, and he wins the tournament. He feels pretty proud of himself afterwards, more than he probably should after that rather pathetic performance! Joshua Sasse is still adorable, though, which is all I really need in “Galavant.”

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