Galavant Review: “Completely Mad…Alena/Dungeons and Dragon Lady” (Season 1, Episode 5&6)

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The second episode finds slightly less success in its musical numbers (Ricky Gervais’ drug-trip disappoints, Gal and Madalena’s big reunion feels off), but it impresses in seeing the show reshuffle its format. Gal finally discovers Isabella’s deception, and the episode focuses mainly on their bickering back-and-forth. “I tried to warn you. So many songs; so many asides,” she laments as Galavant repeatedly refuses to accept her reasoning of saving her parents behind betraying him.

The show, which could have completely face-planted in such a stale setting, somehow blossoms. Whiplash inducing throwaway gags fly by without a warning – Gareth’s paper-mache stool, the running 9 o’clock gag, the Jester hanging on the wall of the dungeon and chiming in when everyone’s dumping on Madalena with, “Not a fan” – and a subplot involving King Richard’s attempt to discover his main weakness proves unexpectedly fun.

Six episodes in and the show feels decidedly changed already from where it began a mere two weeks ago. We’ve barely spent three hours with any of these people and you get a real feeling of why Isabella has second thoughts about betraying Gal, or why Gal is to stubborn to see Madalena’s dark side, and, ultimately, how Isabella and Galavant could see one another as maybe not the worst thing ever. It’s nimble, satisfying plotting out of a show that cast Ricky Gervais for a character named Xanax, and it continues to surprise.

Though that Ricky Gervais cameo as Xanax the Wizard leaves something to be desired (time-travel not withstanding), Rutger Hauer’s surprise entrance in the hour’s final moments leaves a cliffhanger-y sense of excitement going into season one’s final two episodes. It’s been an impressive run so far, and though it’s impossible to know one way or the other if the season will end on its highest note yet, or its lowest, Galavant‘s decent winning streak has me giving it the benefit of the doubt. It’s managed to get snagged on a few less-than-stellar melodies now-and-then, and it continues to not-very-cleverly think it’s in the Seven Kingdoms, but the show is such a sheer, energetic joy to watch that it’s quite easy to forgive its individual faults for the addictive, exuberance of its whole.

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