EW loves Galavant—so much so that multiple writers wanted to take a stab at recapping it. Here, Hillary Busis and Danielle Nussbaum have a tag-team discussion of the comedy’s penultimate episode.
HILLARY: Tonight’s two-part season (series?) finale—tear!—begins with a brief flashback to Young Galavant, an emotional little boy who’s told to swallow his feelings by his literally armor-clad father. “A hero doesn’t have feelings,” Father of Galavant tells his son. “Talking, feelings—all that stuff is nonsense. Just clouds the mind.” (Note, however, that he didn’t say anything against singing.)
It’s a telling look into Grown-Up Galavant’s psyche—though at this point, knowing how little time we have left in this universe, it also feels fairly unnecessary. I don’t want to waste precious moments of Galavant‘s penultimate episode ruminating on our hero’s childhood. I want goofy jokes, fourth-wall-breaking asides, legitimately heartwarming romance, and overly clever songs about brutally slaughtering a banquet-hall-ful of people—and on that tip, “My Cousin Izzy” delivered in spades. Can we agree that Tiny Chef (er, Vincenzo) and Gwynne’s merry murder ditty had the cleverest lyrics we’ve seen on this show yet?
DANIELLE: We can. I loved their “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life”-esque ditty “A Happy Ending for Us”—mostly because it was equal parts cheery and morbid, the Barefoot Contessa meets an executioner’s delight. I also didn’t mind the psyche deep dive—mostly because Buffy alum Anthony Stewart Head showed up as Gal’s dad to tell him to hide his emotions. I was really looking forward to the “Once More, Without Feelings” episode—and for me, it didn’t disappoint.
The quips were snappy, the asides were zingy, and Galavant’s continual effort to sing his “This Is Your Moment” ballad really showcased his pipes—which is something we’ve been missing since the beginning of the show, really. Of course, we do get the opportunity for yet another dig at singing when Kingsley up and chloroforms Gal to shut him up, adding a “that was annoying” for good measure.
HILLARY: Yeah, still annoying—though on one level, I’m kind of starting to appreciate that aspect of the show. The excessive protesting is almost adorable, like a 15-year-old who thinks she’s much edgier than her other theater-geek friends because her favorite show is Rent. The digs at theater are desperately uncool attempts at looking cool, which make them endearing in a dad-joke sorta way.
DANIELLE: Revelation! Is Galavant the Spring Awakening of TV we’ve been waiting for?!
HILLARY: Aww, the fact that you’d even ask that is making me imagine you as that hypothetical 15-year-old. (P.S. I was her, too.)
DANIELLE: You’re fortunate to have never seen me sing both parts of “Light My Candle.” But we digress!
HILLARY: Yes! Back to the matter at hand: I’ve gotta say, as much as I enjoyed this episode, I wasn’t as impressed by Kingsley as the show wanted me to be. Maybe it’s because he entered the narrative so late in the game, or maybe it’s because Rutger Hauer didn’t seem menacing so much as old and grumpy—but either way, I wish he’d been more blatantly villainous.
DANIELLE: The problem with creating a cast of stereotypes—which generally works incredibly well in musical comedy, as well as in this show—is that when someone shows up and doesn’t really act as over-the-top as everyone else, it stands out. Awkwardly.
But let’s talk about love.
HILLARY: The love that’s shared between two cousins? Between a grown woman and Mommy’s special big boy?
DANIELLE: There is a lot of cousin-love talk in Galavant, isn’t there? First there’s that mention in Sidneyland, then there’s Isabel and her wee cousin Harry (who’s what? 10?).
But no. I mean the blooming love between Gal and Isabella, of course. It really blossomed quite adorably once Galavant refused to be Madalena’s “shag hag,” don’t you think?
HILLARY: You know, I’m still not tooootally sold on these two. At least, I don’t think they’ve got like, an epic, breathtaking, Buttercup and Westley-esque romance. But they do look pretty good together, and sing prettily—and there’s been enough buildup for their eventual coupling that adding in Isabella’s never-before-mentioned engagement to her never-before-mentioned child cousin feels like the sort of stalling tactic we’re used to seeing on TV, a plot that exists just to make sure a will-they/won’t they couple doesn’t “will” too soon. Which might be a moot point, considering Galavant‘s uncertain future. (Am I being too nihilistic here? Am I the Gwynne of this conversation?)
DANIELLE: Not unless you’re planning a feast that’ll turn out to be Red Wedding, part deux.
Wait, you aren’t, are you? Because Galavant‘s wink wink, nudge nudge humor is really just a way of saying that the glass is half full, even when things are at their most bleak.
HILLARY: And when the show’s carefully wading into Game of Thrones parody territory—or as much of that is allowed during the family hour. Speaking of: While most of Galavant‘s musty, sexually-charged humor has been safely PG, I’m sort of shocked at how much lyricist Glenn Slater got away with in “A Happy Ending for Us.” It’s downright Sweeney Todd-esque: “Picture that great big pool of puke and stool!” “How they’ll heave and spurt—and for dessert…” Not to mention Tiny Chef’s bleeped profanity. Who knew you could get away with a concealed “f—” at 8 p.m.?
DANIELLE: If you’re going to toss in an F Bomb, give it to the little guy.
HILLARY: That’s true—he’s so adorable that even a censor couldn’t get mad at him. And it helps that in the end, there is no bloodbath—despite Gwynne’s urgings, all Vincenzo does is feed the aristocracy food they’re allergic to. Which mostly translates into a lot of sneezing and coughing… except for Madalena, who gets the sort of harsh stomach ailment she probably deserves.
DANIELLE: Always look on the bright side of strife! Oh jeez. The dad jokes are even getting to me.
With one ep left to go, I secretly sort of hope this isn’t all wrapped up in one neat little to-go box—and that there’s an opportunity to have a new set up of episodes in our near future. One thing is clear: Gal and Isabella really need to make out. It’s getting exhausting.
Neither of us has mentioned the fact that King Dickie is about to fight Gareth on King, uh, Kingsley’s behalf until now. I think it goes without saying that this means it wasn’t that compelling of a plot.
HILLARY: Yeah, knowing that this show isn’t the sort of program where two people will ever actually duel to the death definitely lowers the stakes when said duel is made into a pivotal plot point. They might as well skip that sort of stuff entirely and give us more goofy pirate schtick.
DANIELLE: Besides that imminent make-out—oh, and the question of whether Galavant will save the kingdom, himself, and the world?—the duel is really the last loose end left to tie up before the finale. So in 10 words or less, what do you want to see in season one’s last episode?
HILLARY: A big kiss, a big production number, and some closure.
DANIELLE: A song with harmonies, a make-out, Madalena gets an STD. [mic drop]