Summary of 1×01: After getting dumped by his one true love Madalena at the altar of her wedding to King Richard, legendary knight Galavant gets back in the game when Princess Isabella Lucia Maria Elizabetta of Valencia requests his aide. That might be easier said than done though.
Okay, I don’t think I realized how badly I wanted a show like this until ABC gave it to me. A kind of raunchy musical about a washed up hero getting it together with music by Alan Menken? Where did I say I wanted this and how can I get more of it?
Galavant tells you everything you need to know about it in the first five minutes. Brave knight Galavant (Joshua Sasse) is known across the kingdom for his bravery, his good looks, and his… cajones. (Yes, that’s actually said in the first musical number. ‘Cajones.’ That should let you know what kind of show this is going to be.) He falls in love with a fair maiden named Madalena (Mallory Jansen) and the two go at it like rabbits. However, she has also caught the eye of King Richard (Timothy Odmundson), who kidnaps her to be his bride. On the day of the wedding, Galavant comes to rescue her in the name of true love, but she decides that she likes fame and fortune more and dumps him at the altar. Ouch.
A year later and Galavant is living less ‘happily ever after’ and more like an alcoholic. He’s given up being a hero, leaving his squire Sid (Luke Youngblood) to basically be his babysitter as his life continues to fall to squalor, which is a shame because Sid is a gorgeous ray of sunshine who deserves better. Things aren’t going super great for Madalena and Richard though because she makes her disrespect and hatred for him obvious at every turn with things like banging the Jester and constantly comparing him to Galavant. Richard’s not feeling great about it obviously and constantly turns to the council of his knight Gareth (Vinnie Jones) and his chef (Darren Evans).
The two stories begin to intertwine again though with the arrival of Princess Isabella Lucia Maria Elizabetta of Valencia (Karen David) at Galavant’s door. Her kingdom is in great peril, with many of her people and her parents being killed. She requests Galavant’s help, offering the great jewel of Valencia as a reward. However, Galavant turns her down, saying that he’s out of the game. Can I just mention at this point that the oft reprised first number is pretty much ground into my head? I hope ABC releases a soundtrack after the show is done because I want to sing Galavant’s name as dramatically as they do.
At the pub with a few drinks in him, Galavant tells Isabella about how he fell for Madalena despite himself and that even though he fell hard, she fell much softer. He’s still refusing to help her though, until she mentions the name ‘Richard.’ Yes, the same Richard that took his love away is the same that killed her parents. Oh no! And apparently, as she was trapped under the castle for months, she heard him scream at Madalena every night and Madalena would say “I’m so sorry, Gal” every time. OH NO!
Except none of that is even true.
In a series of flashbacks to two months prior, we see that yes, Isabella was put in the castle’s cellar by her parents with the jewel and that Richard has been indeed slaughtering her people for said jewel just because Madalena wants it. However, her parents refuse to give it up and Richard orders the king to be killed in front of the queen. Before that can happen, Isabella cries out and is caught. It seems like its curtains for the entire Valencia royal family, but Madalena complains more about not having the jewel and that Galavant would have gotten it done. This causes Richard to make a deal with Isabella: if she goes to Galavant and convinces him to come to Valencia so Richard can kill him by telling him that her parents are dead and that Richard is abusing Madalena, he’ll let her parents go and end the war. Of course, Isabella agrees. There’s also some really bad fat jokes on Gareth’s part, but Richard tells him to can it. So yay?
With a renewed sense of purpose and no hint that he’s going to be betrayed (minus one line in the musical number that starts episode 2, but Isabella plays that off real quick), Galavant rides out to Valencia with Isabella and Sid. However, it’s still obvious that he’s trying to get back on the horse with pantsless dreams and being out of breath because of the opening number for the episode. Seriously, he even says they’re in a musical number. Self aware humor? Be still, my heart.
At the crossroads between Valencia, Hell and Winterfell, Galavant tells the team that they need to stop for the night and that they should find an inn nearby. However, Isabella points out that they are missing something essential to stay at an inn: money. They can’t sell the jewel, so what the hell are they going to do? That’s when Sid notices an advertisement for a jousting competition with the prize of 1000 shillings. That ought to work!
Well, minus the fact that Galavant is hilariously out of practice, his main competitor is his rival and ‘your mother’ joke teller Sir Jean Hamm (John Stamos in a ridiculous amount of eyeliner), and due to the lack of money to even enter the competition, they have to offer the jewel as collateral. Insulted that her kingdom’s legacy is in the same category as a rooster and that her hero may lose before his journey stars, Isabella convinces the officials to advance Galavant to the final on merit. She then proceeds to spend the rest of the day training a reluctant Galavant to joust, telling him that any man can fall down, but it takes a hero to get back up. There’s then a training montage and a scene with Galavant pouring water on himself. I’m with Isabella. Daaaaamn. I guess its true what the opening number said. Galavant has a face (and apparently a body) that most girls have a thing for.
Of course, Isabella isn’t below messing with the competition. She goes to Sir Jean’s tent and seduces him with absinthe. Yeah, it’s going to go exactly how you expect. Between Galavant’s refusal to stretch during training leaving him stiff and unmoving (he slept on his horse due to how sore he was) and Jean’s killer hangover, it leads to the most anticlimactic joust ever and is the hardest I laughed during the entire episode. The joust organizer declares that the first person to get off the ground will be the winner and by a small margin with proper motivation from Isabella, Galavant wins. Isabella tackles him in celebration and Sid asks if they’re keeping or eating the rooster.
The b-plot features Madalena being repulsed by Richard’s immaturity. Gareth tells him that he needs to man up and spends a day schooling him on being “a man.” I kind of roll my eyes at these kind of plots, but it does lead to a great number between Madalena and Richard as well as Galavant and Isabella that maybe the other isn’t the worst person ever. Richard declares that he’ll make Madalena love him the way he made a woman named Pearl love him, but Madalena only says that his parents paid her to love him. Richard goes off crying to Gareth, demanding a hug. Which is only funny when you remember that Gareth has only hugged once in his life and he ended up squeezing his dad to death. Luckily, he reigns it in this time.
The first two episodes of Galavant definitely surprised me with how quality they were. I expected it to be cheesy and filled with bad jokes and while there was some cheese and terrible jokes (the tight brown body one, for example), it managed to hit way more than it missed with the surprisingly adult humor. The chemistry and comedic timing between Sasse and David is electric and Odmundson is a sheer delight as King Richard. I also love getting to see the more comedic side of Jones, who I had really only known from Elementary as Sebastian Moran. Not to mention the musical numbers! But what else did I expect from a series with music by Alan Menken? It’s Alan Menken! If the first two episodes are this fun, I can’t wait to see what else the series has in store. Especially with Weird Al and Anthony Stewart Head coming up as guest stars.