Saturday, January 24, 2015

Galavant 1.05: "Completely Mad . . . Alena"

“But wouldn’t it be better to storm the castle later? Or how about on a Wednesday? You never hear of anyone storming the castle on a Wednesday!”

This particular episode of “Galavant” seemed to mark a change in the storytelling structure. Galavant and his team approach Valencia, and so Isabella’s time to derail the trap she has set in motion is rapidly running out. Up until this point, every episode of the show seemed somewhat self-contained. The gang had a particular adventure on their way to accomplishing the larger goal of freeing Valencia from King Richard and saving Madalena. This episode, however, felt more like part one of a multi-part story. Because “Galavant” is broken into half hour segments, it felt like the episode was over just as the story was really starting to get going. Also, despite the title of the episode, we did not get more backstory on why Madalena is such a horrible person, which was kind of a disappointment. On a positive side, this episode featured some memorable guest appearances from Weird Al Yankovic and Sophie McShera (Daisy from “Downton Abbey”).

Thanks to a ride from the Pirate King and his crew, Galavant, Isabella, and Sid have arrived in Valencia. Galavant is very eager to get to the castle storming and damsel saving, but Isabella keeps trying to slow his roll. She can’t bring herself to tell Galavant that the whole thing is a trap, and she’s trying to delay the inevitable. Eventually, she convinces Galavant to make a short pit stop at a monastery where the monks have taken a “vow of singing.” Basically, they can’t speak, they can only sing. The group of monks is led by none other than Weird Al Yankovic! The monks were pretty entertaining at first, but the joke was kind of one-note (pun only partially intended). They sing barbershop quartet-style, and they have boy band stereotypes like “The Bad Boy” (well not really that bad, because, you know, he’s a monk). While at the monastery, Isabella has a heart-to-heart with the head monk. She tells him all about how she’s leading Galavant into a trap, and he tells her that she’s probably feeling so guilty because she has feelings for Galavant. Isabella is going to need some time to process this information.

Meanwhile, at the Valencia castle, King Richard is eagerly awaiting Isabella’s delivery of Galavant, which is scheduled to take place at exactly 9:00 PM. He has Chef and Gareth planning festivities for the occasion. He still truly thinks that if he kills Galavant, Madalena will love him. Madalena is just bored, and she sings an evil song about it with her reflection. It was kind of an interesting effect, I guess. The lyrics were amusing in places. She is basically just going on about how awesome and evil she is. Madalena can tell that something is up with how much King Richard has been whispering with Chef and Gareth, and she wants to know what is going on. To get what she wants, she goes through Chef. It’s pretty obvious that Chef has a thing for Madalena’s handmaiden, Gwynne (Sophie McShera). She offers Chef a date with Gwen if he gets more information about what King Richard has planned.

Chef agrees to the deal, and so Madalena orders Gwynne to have dinner with him. Chef and Gwen have a pretty cute (although the tune of the song itself isn’t that memorable) musical number about how their life as peasants is going to suck, but it could be slightly more pleasant if they lived it together. While, like I said, the tune wasn’t anything especial (a little surprising considering the composer was Alan Menken), it was both adorable and edgy at the same time. Madalena gets the information she wants out of the deal, too. She overhears enough conversations to figure out that Galavant is on her way. This interests her greatly. I’m not sure if she wants to see Galavant because she’s still in love with him, or because he’s someone else she can make completely miserable, and she’s sadistic like that. When she learns the news, she decides that she wants to set her own evil plot in motion. Again, some more information about Madalena to help establish her motivation would be nice. We’ve learned bits and pieces about her here and there throughout the series thus far, but I think to buy what she does in this episode, I really would need to understand more about what makes her tick.

Isabella does try to make one last ditch effort to save Galavant. She visits King Richard and offers to just give him the Jewel of Valencia if he lets her parents and Galavant live. King Richard, who still hasn’t gotten a firm grasp on humor, decides to show Isabella her parents’ heads on platters. It turns out they’re actually still alive though. The whole thing was an illusion that King Richard set up because he thought it would be funny. Anyway, King Richard, like I’ve said, is convinced that Madalena will love him if he can only manage to kill Galavant, so he says it’s no deal. Isabella needs to bring him Galavant, or her parents will really die.

The delay in storming the castle gives Galavant some time to come up with an actual plan. Our trio dress up as monks and sneak in with their new friends who are supposed to be performing a concert at the castle. The plan is successful, and Galavant, Isabella, and Sid are trying to find Isabella’s parents when they are stopped by King Richard and some of his guards. King Richard throws the three of them in the dungeon. Galavant is devastated at Isabella’s betrayal, and while Isabella keeps trying to explain and apologize, Galavant doesn’t really want to hear of it. King Richard wants to execute Galavant, and he has him brought up to the dungeon to do just that. Madalena, however, has other plans. When the burlap sack is taken off the head of the person presumed to be Galavant, it’s actually Chef. Madalena has had Galavant brought up to her chambers, where the meal that was meant for Chef and Gwynne is all set out. What could she possibly be up to?

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