During Galavant‘s fifth episode, the group comes across a band of musically-inclined monks (they’ve taken a vow of singing, obviously) who welcome Gal, Isabella, and Sid into their church as a last stop on the way to saving Valencia from King Richard. “Can’t we just have a normal adventure,” asks Galavant as the monks introduce one another through rhymes, “Weird Al” Yankovic hilariously leading the pack. Given that we’re in the home stretch of the show’s first season, I’d say that’s a hard no, Gal. But where he suffers, we gain, as the show continues on the up-and-up, remaining hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly deep.
Tonight’s first episode shines more light on Madalena, who goes full Disney-villain mode as the night progresses, heightened collar and all. In the opening moments of “Completely Mad…Alena” she sings one of the best songs of the series yet, that reads like a narcissistic take on “Let it Go.” She’s done letting all these buffoons around her dictate her life, you see, and is sick of letting her fate be played out by others.
She sets in motion a big character return that pays off nicely at the end of the second half-hour, and she looks and sounds deliciously evil whilst doing it. “Who’d pull off a coup d’état like you?/While rocking a push up bra like you?”, she sings while her various reflections dance and provide vocal back-up in a line of mirrors. It’s the kind of moment you could see any Disney villain falling victim to, and her continued moment in the spotlight throughout the episode shades her as more of an actual, insane presence versus the perhaps shrill caricature she initially began as.
The episode, complete with its villainous number, people-singing-you-don’t-normally-expect-to-be-singing (silent monks) and catchy love song (the King’s chef and his crush) actually feels like the most completely satisfying version of the show so far. It’s pure Disney captured and distilled and shoved into thirty minutes. It helps that the characters actually reach their ultimate goal within the half-hour, playing with expectations on where the series will go next.