Galavant: ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Do the D’Dew’

Galavant

As Roberta reminds us in the first of this week’s new Galavant episodes, it’s absurdly early in the season to be killing off its titular character, even if we are past the halfway point now. Which, of course, we all knew at the end of last week, when Sid accidentally impaled Galavant with his own sword. Still, phew!

Knowing that isn’t a guarantee against Galavant actually expiring, of course. It does mean that any demises will be temporary, and likely to last only as long as it takes for yet a few guest stars to sing a little song. This time, it’s Death (Eddie Marsan) and a healer named Neo of Sporin (Reece Shearsmith) doing their best Monty Python impressions. As Sid, Richard, and Roberta lament his death, Galavant shares a moment with all three of them — plus Madalena and some random guy passing through — or at least with the versions of them that live in his dead brain. It’s complicated, okay?

Then, he sees Isabella. Not just his memory of her, but somehow an actual version of her that he can’t touch. While he tries to say goodbye, still unaware that she thinks he told her to go die in a fart, he slowly figures out that they’re working on different wavelengths. Not just the he-dead/she-alive thing, but a more fundamental mismatch: He’s pining. She’s searching for a way to defend her new (yet rejected) kingdom against Madalena and Gareth’s impending surprise attack, thanks to Barry’s thoughtful save-the-date. Thankfully, Isabella’s still high on her return to badassery, as she vows to do her best even if she’s been abandoned by her love. All of which, death or not, is news to Galavant. He never makes fart jokes. Shouldn’t she know that?

Meanwhile, Neo reveals that he has a potion that might save Galavant, but he needs the grey beard hair of a man who has never known the touch of a woman. For some reason, this forces Richard to reveal his virginity to Roberta, when the company can’t be far from a very happening bar whose patrons are mostly men who have probably never known the touch of a woman. I don’t think it’s asking too much for the show to remember the existence of its queer characters, even after their limited existence as punchlines is over. Alas, the easy joke at Richard’s expense is sitting there so ripe for the picking. As a result of Richard’s sacrifice, we learn that not only can Neo raise Galavant from the dead, but he happens to have a virtual army of formerly-dead soldiers at the ready. If Galavant can figure out how to command them, he has more than enough help to ride to Isabella’s assistance.

Despite the increasingly macabre and twisted territory the show is getting into this season — more on that in a bit — the major narrative theme thus far has been the emotional journeys of the characters. They can loop around and retread the same ground physically all season. Literally, in the case of Galavant and Richard, who wind up back where they started when they regroup in the abandoned Valencian castle before the end of the next episode. But nearly every main character is as far removed emotionally from their former roles as it’s possible to be.

Where Richard was a craven bully watching his power slip through his fingers, now he’s the occasionally brave bestie of the hero, who finally gets why glory is the hollowest of motivations. Sid’s time as Gareth’s squire led him to a deeper understanding of loyalty and sacrifice, which spurs him to ride off alone after nearly killing Galavant in order to win back some measure of redemption. Isabella’s frustrating early episodes provide the foundation for her new fierceness, despite her token protests that she’s not able to lead the defense of her own people. She hasn’t quite made the connection yet, but it’s exactly what she meant to do when she set out to find Galavant in the first place.

Even Madalena and Gareth aren’t immune to the transformative power of goofy songs and nonsensical magic. These two crazy megalomaniacs have finally found their match in each other. They’re equals in the weirdest ways: both metaphorically and literally ready to destroy the other and anyone else in their paths, while simultaneously reaching new emotional depths. After Madalena’s charming rediscovering of something called “feelings” in a past episode, this week we see Gareth spin wildly into sentimentality after Madalena accidentally tells him she loves him. His lip edges are curling, his fists are unclenching in other people’s directions, even the skyball is radiating brightness and warmth. He’s in totally unfamiliar territory — so much so that he literally doesn’t have the language to express joy or love — but so is she. That they can meet in the middle while also commanding their dedicated troops is as apt a metaphor for their relationship as the show could possibly draw. It’s also so charming it almost defies description. Who cares about any of the other pairings in the show. I want these evil darlings to live happily ever after!

They might not get the chance, though, as Galavant also stumbles over the true meaning of the power of love. Sadly, it’s not triggered by a Huey Lewis interlude, but by one of the Neo’s dead soldiers being moved by Galavant’s declaration of love for Isabella. Love is what motivates all the dead, in a squishy bit of logic that connects Galavant’s rejection of Death to his newfound ability to command his horde. It’s the kind of triumphant moment that would sweep our hero to certain victory in any other show.

Unfortunately for Galavant, there’s one power that might be even greater than love: D’dew, which Madalena is now doing. That’s the dark dark evil way, not to be confused with any lesser single-dark ways. Wormwood, he of the confusingly labeled plans and plots, is a practitioner, naturally. While Gareth would prefer to meet the enemy on semi-equal terms, Madalena is more than willing to take whatever aid is offered in return for her measly immortal soul. Even before she gained the knowledge of the d’dark, Madalena was ready to go to extraordinarily vicious lengths to secure her throne. What will she be willing to do now, as we head into the two final episodes of the season?

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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About Lisa Shininger

Lisa Shininger spends way too much time thinking about fictional characters but, somehow, it's never enough. She co-hosts Bossy Britches, and yells about pop culture at lisashininger.com and on Twitter @ohseafarer.