Sunday, January 24, 2016

Galavant 2x07 "Love and Death" & 2x08 "Do the D'DEW" (It Just So Happens That Your Friend is Only Mostly Dead)

"Love and Death" & "Do the D'DEW"
Original Airdate: January 24, 2016

As this season of Galavant begins to wind down, the show is bringing out even more twists and turns than usual. At the end of "About Last Knight," Sid accidentally stabbed Galavant through the chest with his own sword, and the follow-up episode ("Love and Death") finds our hero actually dead. What show (okay, besides Arrow) recently has dared to kill its lead? The reason that this season of Galavant is better than last is because it's taking its time to focus carefully on its characters. We get the chance to see them as more than just archetypes and caricatures. We have the chance to see them as real, fleshed-out individuals whose relationships with one another are growing and developing.

And with all of that in mind, let's discuss "Love and Death" and "Do the D'DEW," shall we?

(Photo credit: ABC)

"Love and Death"

Quick summary: When we last left Galavant, he had been stabbed through the chest with a sword by Sid. Unfortunately for Sid, Bobbi, Richard, and Galavant himself, our hero dies while at a healer's and fights to return from death. In Hortensia, Isabella has found herself in the midst of preparing for a battle that she will lose, thanks to a lack of weapons. And back in Valencia, Madalena and Gareth prepare to go to war (and also are feeling all of the feelings for one another). When Galavant is revived, Neo offers him an army to help rescue Isabella. Oh, did we mention the army is a zombie one?

My thoughts: First off, any episode of television that contains an homage to The Princess Bride is a great one in my book. I love that this episode had Galavant dead and allowed us to focus on some of the other characters and stories, particularly that of Gareth and Madalena. I absolutely love these two together and "Love and Death" was a big step forward, as they confessed their feelings for one another. Madalena is such a complex character — she's often ruthless, but she's not heartless. She has feelings and she's vulnerable, which is exactly why she avoids talking to Gareth throughout the episode about her feelings.

Rather than hide his own feelings for her, Gareth wants to talk to Madalena, which is a huge step forward in his character development! He's never been in love before and he doesn't form emotional attachments easily (or at all). So the fact that he wanted to figure out his relationship shows how much he truly cares for her. Gareth loves Madalena and I didn't thin that these two characters would work together, but they really do. They're both stubborn and "bad," but both have really big hearts that they keep extremely guarded beneath their cold, detached demeanors. We saw a few episodes ago that Madalena is capable of feeling emotions and the ones she feels in this episode toward Gareth are just a continuation of the ones she sang about in that episode.

These two have a bit of a rocky road ahead of them, but I love that the show has managed to form such a solid (and aww-inducing) relationship with them.

Elsewhere, Richard and Bobbi are slowly falling for one another too, and it's so wonderful. Richard deserved someone sweet and sensitive and pure and yet still strong, just like he is. And Bobbi is that character. Galavant has done a great job of integrating her this season and making her story believable. We don't know much about her, but that's actually okay. We don't need a long-winded backstory — it's enough that we see how much she cares about Richard and how smart and resourceful she is. Bobbi can hold her own against everyone else, which I love. She and Richard are such a lovely match, as he deserves someone who is just a genuinely good person with no agenda.

Isabella gets the chance to shine in this episode, and I love that the show made her in charge of an army despite her fears (and without Galavant beside her). Isabella is a strong woman, but being strong doesn't mean you're fearless. The fact is that she's never commanded an army before, and now (after looking at her lack of weapons), all hope seems lost.

But don't worry, Isabella — Galavant is coming! With... zombies? I watched the episode screener when ABC first released them, which was about a month ago. And when the network finally released the last batch of screeners this past week, I was able to see where the show was going with this insane story. Trust me — it's some place that will be good and useful.

(Photo credit: ABC)

"Do the D'DEW"

Quick summary: As Madalena and Gareth prepare to go to war, Wormwood offers the queen the edge of dark magic in order to win the battle. Meanwhile, Isabella scrambles to figure out how to beat Gareth and Madalena without an army and lies about having the sword of the One True King. Elsewhere, Galavant and his zombie army are trying to figure out a way to save Isabella, and the hero realizes that love is the greatest motivation of all.

My thoughts: I's pretty astonishing that Galavant managed to separate the main characters' storylines for SO long and yet the show worked. It's only in this episode that characters begin to re-converge with one another, as Madalena and Gareth come face-to-face again with Isabella (and the jester). I, like Gareth, have been waiting for the two women of this show to duke it out over their issues. Madalena always saw Isabella as inferior — especially once she became the romantic interest for Galavant — and Isabella has always seen Madalena as the evil queen.

The best part about "I Don't Like You" is that it's so true to each of their characters and women in general. One of the best episodes of New Girl was "Girl Fight," which highlighted the same thing this song does — women often enjoy undermining each other through words. They are envious of each other but never say it. Isabella wants the kind of power that Madalena has so she can use it for good; Madalena (though she would never admit it) wants the kind of relationship that Isabella and Galavant have. So watching these two square off was extremely satisfying. Though Isabella is a bit more idealistic, both are similar in ways — they fight for what they want and are stubborn in their refusal to let go.

Madalena gets a lot of focus in this episode because of her obsession with power and what it leads to. We're going to see more consequences of her decision to dabble in dark magic later on, but suffice it to say that she is far too deep into her own selfish desires now to think about how her decision will affect anyone else. This decision though is so consistent with everything we know to be true about Madalena as a character though. She grew up poor and was seen as worthless. It makes sense, then, that she would cling to any and everything that would give her a sense of control and power. And don't forget — Madalena DOES have a heart and a conscience. She's complex because the things she does to secure what she wants are often bad, but inside she is a tragic character who just wants to feel in control of her own life and happiness.

Also wanting control is Galavant, who cannot figure out how to rouse his zombie army. What ends up doing the trick? Love. Love is what makes the world go 'round, and it's also apparently what the zombies needed in order to fight for and with Galavant. It's good to know that the undead value true love.

Speaking of love, this episode is also an extremely important one for Richard and Bobbi who FINALLY GET TOGETHER. I say "finally" as if I've been waiting for years, but this is a testament to the Galavant writers — these two characters are so perfect for one another that waiting seven episodes for them to get to the point they are at seemed hard. Unfortunately, though, their happiness is short-lived, because Bobbi realizes if she goes into battle with Richard, she will have to watch him die.

I love Bobbi and I think this is such an integral piece of her character. She's loyal but she is also realistic. She loves Richard (!!!) but she is scared she will be forced to watch him die on the battlefield and so — as much as it pains her to do this — she has to leave. Poor Richard, though. Bobbi is confident he will die. Horribly. And for once in his life, he's found someone who believes in him and loves him... only for her to turn around and leave his life. While it's understandable why Bobbi does this, it also serves as a motivator for Richard to fight for love.

Love, after all, is something to live for.

Additional fun bits & pieces:
  • "I am Neo. Of Sporin." I cackled way too hard at that pun the first time I heard it.
  • I laughed SO HARD at Gareth's song ("Love Makes the World Brand New"), which was a lovely homage to all of those singalong songs with a bouncing ball.
  • "Couldn't he be mostly dead? Because mostly dead is still slightly alive." "... Yeah, that's not a thing."
  • I laughed so hard at the reappearance of the unicorn.
  • "We're playing a new game called 'Guess the Future.'"
  • Isabella's breaking of the fourth wall for the season finale is perfect.
  • Galavant's reaction to finding out he's dead is hilariously on-point for his character.
  • "Life is WEIRD."
  • "So we'll just stand here and listen to this happen, I guess?"
  • "I Don't Like You" is the actual best song that has ever been on this show. I've been waiting for a Madalena/Isabella showdown for as long as Gareth has and it did not disappoint.
  • "Prophecies are never wrong. That's just science."
  • Can we never stop talking about the Grease homage that happened? Because it did and it was amazing and I got "Summer Nights" stuck in my head.
  • "Ugh, kill me. Not you, Sid. It was just an expression."
  • Awwwwwww, Galavant's rousing love speech though.
  • "You will die... horribly."
  • Timothy Omundson is so underappreciated as an actor, but "Do the D'DEW" is so important for Richard. The resolve and determination and anger that propels Richard into battle is awesome and Omundson did a fantastic job conveying those emotions without having to oversell them.
  • The ending was a grim twist on the Galavant theme song, right? Eesh.
We only have TWO more episodes left in this season and I can promise you, having seen them, that they do NOT disappoint. The finale is probably my favorite episode of the whole series. So hang tight to this Galavant ride, friends! We're almost done.


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