In episodes ridden with plot holes and wasted moments, “Galavant” concluded its first season on an absolutely horrendous cliffhanger.
Look, we all know this show wasn’t the best. From technical finesse to writing to casting, it lacked. For all that Joshua Sasse otherwise owns the role of Galavant, his singing solo sounds like Disney’s prepubescent Hercules. The celebrity cameos were all used improperly – we had Ricky Gervais singing and on screen for far too long, with Anthony Stewart Head and John Stamos barely singing at all. The lack of extras showed in all the large numbers, especially the scene when an ‘army’ rushed a supposedly huge, important duel.
The repeated use of ‘manning up’ and the putting down of women could have been really easily cut, especially in a show with so many strong ladies. And the lyrics and jokes – particularly the raunchy, out-of-place, expletive-laden ones – weren’t always the strongest; it felt like the show could have used three or more revisions.
I can go on.
But “Galavant” was fun. It had moments, both hilarious and poignant. I loved the development of the relationship between Galavant and Isabella (Karen David). The unabashed sexuality and evil behavior of Madelena (Mallory Jansen) was a joy to watch. There were lines I will quote, and songs I can hum, and moments I can laugh at.
If it had kept to its nice little eight-episode arc and ended here, with the stereotypically cheesy and fun happy ending everybody was expecting, I would be over the moon. A show that didn’t take itself too seriously! A fun, if not perfect, cast! The best moments captured in gifsets all over Tumblr!
But ABC, in its infinite wisdom, decided to stretch it and push it. Had it been successful, they could have easily done another season – kept Madelena and King Richard (Timothy Omundson) alive, had Galavant and Isabella get together, do all the things I was expecting and looking forward to in cheesy and magnificent ways – this would have been an amazingly successful miniseries experiment.
Instead, they gave us these final two episodes. In “My Cousin Izzy,” Isabella’s parents sneak a pigeon out the skylight and send a message to Isabella’s cousin-and-fiance, asking him to come and rescue them. While they rot in the dungeon, upstairs we have King Richard’s brother Kingsley (Rutger Hauer) returned to us at the end of the last episode at Madelena’s insistence. When King Richard challenges Kingsley to a duel, Galavant takes the opportunity to be a hero – with a small flashback to his father, played by the amazing Anthony Stewart Head, who is utterly wasted in his one-minute screen time – and offers to fight for King Richard when Kinglsey chooses Gareth (Vinnie Jones) as his champion. When Isabella’s cousin, who can’t possibly be older than eight, shows up, King Richard buys them time with a feast.
A lot of other nonsensical stuff happens, but those are the important bits. There’s a cute “Sweeney Todd”-esque number between the chef and his poignant serving girl, and an attempt at Isabella to foster the new relationship between her and Galavant, but it’s all lost in the chaos and nonsense of that episode. It was like somebody threw everything they could think of into a spaghetti recipe and decided it was great before throwing it at the wall and seeing what stuck.
If it had only been one awful episode, perhaps I could have forgiven the season finale’s lame attempt, but like every other week, we have two half-hour episodes shoved together. “It’s All in the Executions” has one utterly brilliant moment, and it’s when Galavant decides he’s taken the entirely wrong route to freeing them. He manages to trick King Richard into getting roaring drunk, and I wish we had seen more of Omundson and Sasse together on the show. They play off of each other brilliantly, and their number is the best of the show.
But as for the rest of the episode – what were the writers thinking? Ridden with plot holes and bad moments, we have Gareth saving the king from having to fight in a duel by throwing him on a ship with Galavant. He then frees Isabella and the rest of the crew – except for Sid (Luke Youngblood), who he keeps as collateral for Richard’s safety.
Oh, yes, Richard decided that it would be a great idea to fight Kingsley himself in the duel, a decision that screamed of the writers needed me to do this. Once Gareth shoves him on the boat with Galavant for protection, he returns upstairs to Madelena, who promptly kills Kingsley – hey, at least my favorite character continues to slay in utter perfection – and offers Gareth a promotion. Gareth takes the king’s throne. Isabella flies off with the rest of the crew to her cousins, who literally – and I mean very literally – lock her in a dollhouse, presumably forever. Because clearly Isabella, who has played Galavant throughout the opening five episodes, and can fight better than him, and can do a million other things better than an eight-year-old child, would allow herself to be locked away forever.
Writers, writers, writers. Were you under such a strict deadline that you needed to write whatever first came to your head? Did Disney tell you that you had to do certain things and so you did them? What was it? Please let me know, so I can save you from yourselves next time.
You don’t take ladies and lock them away, especially when you’ve spent the entire season establishing that they’re awesome. You don’t separate characters for no viable reason other than drama. You don’t make rude comments about women while trying to establish yourself as a female-friendly show. You don’t write god-awful episodes and expect fans to stick around for season two.
Because if you do get a season two, and if I tune in for it, it will only be for two things: Madelena’s perfection as an evil queen, and the dynamic you can cash in on between Sasse and Omundson. You destroyed everything else.
Am I being too harsh? Did you like the season finale of “Galavant”? Do you think they’ll get a season two, or will Isabella be locked in her pretty pink princess tower forever? Sound off in the comments below!