‘Galavant’ S2 premiere recap: The making of a new hero

Madalena and Gareth have taken over Richard’s castle in the Season 2 premiere.  (Photo credit: ABC/Tom Hanslien via Disney Press site)

“Galavant” returns in ship shape! The Season 2 premiere duels out loads of laughter, delivers catchy tunes chalk-full of cheeky lyrics, and tugs on our heartstrings as we fall in love with this wonderful series all over again. Sunday night’s double dose of delight maintains the same fun tone while setting the stage for new adventures. “A New Season… a.k.a Suck It Cancellation Bear” and “World’s Best Kiss” establish a new burly bromance, pairing jovial King Richard (Timothy Omundson) with no-nonsense knight Galavant (Joshua Sasse). They are on a quest to return Richard to his kingdom, where he plans on reclaiming his throne from minxy Madalena (Mallory Jansen). Once Gal drops off his bud, he will rescue his beloved Isabella (Karen David) from her fluffy palatial prison. Of course, like all epic fairytales, our heroes must overcome obstacles before saving the day.

Set to a foot-tapping tempo, “A New Season” teases some of the complications that arise during the sophomore stretch. We’ve already gabbed about the magnificently meta commentary cleverly dished out by the Pirate King (the always endearing Hugh Bonneville), his crew, and the whole “Galavant” gang, so let’s move onto the new stuff.

King Richard confidently steers their ship into the wrong direction. Land Ho-No! Looks like these poor guys are just destined to be Land Pirates. Despite the bumpy landing, Gal and his new self-proclaimed BFF are on a mission, so they venture forth into the great unknown. As they trek deeper into the woods, Richard recalls his father’s warning about “The Enchanted Forest.” Apparently, his Uncle Keith entered the forest and never came out. A few steps later, we realize that “The Enchanted Forest” is really just a pub…a gay pub.

This show doesn’t hold anything back. The scene is set like a medieval episode of “Will & Grace” recounting one of Jack’s wild night club adventures. Gal immediately picks up on the bar’s vibe, but Richard remains utterly clueless. John Stamos appears and quickly outs Sir Jean Hamm’s life on the down-low. Now we know Gal’s nemesis swings both ways…just don’t tell his wife. Before they have a chance to high-tail it out of there, Gal and Rich are trapped inside of a man bubble. They await to hear the Queen’s ruling.

Kylie Minogue takes a juicy bite into her role as the “Queen of all queens” (wink). The first season featured a few songs about removing body parts, so when she begins belting “off with his…” you almost want to complete the lyric with “head.” Old habits, right? Well, not this time. The disco inspired “Off with His Shirt” undresses Galavant, reducing him to a piece a meat, err “beefcake happy meal”, ready to be devoured. Richard giggles at Bear’s jokes, ogles over the spectacle, thinks the production is fabulous and wants to fly like the Queen. Meanwhile Gal is slinging drinks and collecting tips like an overly busty Hooters waitress on game night. What seems to start off as fun and games turns into a prison sentence. Gal has upped the pub’s cash-flow, so the Queen won’t let him go. Luckily, Richard bumps into an old friend who offers some help.

Uncle Keith (Simon Williams) comes to their rescue and reveals a way out. Richard leads a distrusting Galavant to the Ladies’ Room, which was merely constructed to keep the pub up to code. They make their exit and Gal gives Richard credit for successfully saving the day. The clueless king is making progress, even though he still doesn’t get that Keith was his father’s secret lover. After bidding farewell to Uncle Keith and Destiny, his boy toy, Gal and Rich continue their journey. Unfortunately, jailbreak isn’t so easy for everyone.

Isabella is counting down the days on incest row. No matter how hard she tries, she just can’t get out. Sadly, her parents refuse to help and urge her to look at the bright side. Her parents would prefer her to marry her little cousin Harry (Kemaal Deen-Ellis) because her father wouldn’t have to pay for the wedding and their kingdom would remain intact. But Isabella doesn’t care about all of that. She wants to marry her one True Love, Galavant. They’ve had a rough romance. They didn’t get together until the very end of last season and even then, all they shared was one brief kiss.

In all classic fairytales, True Love comes down to a single, magical kissed. Everyone is a sucker for the epic kiss that marks the beginning of a fairytale couple’s Happily Ever After. Even young Fred Savage wanted to hear how Buttercup and Wesley’s kiss plays out at the end of “The Princess Bride.” Peter Falk reads, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” Sigh. That sounds like the “World’s Best Kiss” doesn’t it? As Galabella finds out, sometimes things don’t seem so amazing in hindsight.

Isabella bursts into song just thinking about her only kiss with Galavant, the more closely she thinks about it, the more she realizes that their smooch was a hot mess. Although they are miles apart, these love birds are on the same page. Galavant dreams of how he mucked it up. In the same vain as last season’s “Love is Strange,” this titular tune gives an honest account of real romance…and it’s far from a fairytale. Their toothy, sloppy, awkward, and anticlimactic kiss has been the talk of the town. It’ll go down as one of the worst kisses in history, which has our power couple second guessing their emotions. Is this True Love? Can their long distance romance survive? Will their rocky love story turn into an epic fail?

Isabella believes they can defy the odds and she’s tired of waiting for Galavant to come to her rescue. This damsel isn’t distressing and she’s getting out with the help of her loyal buds, Chef (Darren Evans) and Jester (Ben Presley). She gives Chef her prized possession, a red amulet that she wears all the time even though we’ve never seen it before (more meta awesomeness!), and asks him to give it to her parents after she leaves. The Chef has Izzy’s back and is all for Girl Power. He’s a real feminist, he’s even going to keep their first born daughter. Guess one is better than none, right? For a goofy show, “Galavant” knows how to get terribly morbid. Anyhoo… Isabella then coordinates with Jester, whose job has been reduced to fart jokes and kiddie games, to help her slip out of the palace during the unnecessarily elaborate changing of the guards. Just when Isabella is about to make her great escape, Galavant stumbles upon a game-changing discovery.

Richard has been whining throughout their voyage. Rich’s boot is broken and he tired of constantly being on the move, so Gal finally caves. They get some rest and pop into a pre-Renaissance Pleasure Faire to have his shoe repaired. Of course, fixing his boot will take all day, so our favorite bruo (bro + duo) has some time to spare. During this sidetrack, Richard meets his match and forges a new destiny.

A lovely unicorn (seriously, the best one ever to be seen on film), takes a liking to Richard. Unicorns are drawn to childlike wonder and virginity, which makes the innocent king an ideal playmate. Bless Kat Likkel and John Hoberg for creating this storyline! And kudos to Omundson for perfectly playing off of that precious unicorn. Richard doesn’t want the world to know he’s still a virgin, so he keeps trying to shoo the beast away. In a desperate attempt to intimidate the majestic creature, Richard pulls a sword from a nearby stump…Oh yeah, “Galavant” is about to go there! But first, Richard tries to ease Gal’s woes. Richard spots a fortune teller and figures he can look into Galabella’s happy future. Instead, they end up causing a heap of heartbreak.

Edwin the Magnificent gazes into the crystal ball on the tip of his staff and Facetimes with his nagging wife. There’s a way to communicate across realms! Galavant uses it to contact Isabella. Her iAmulet goes off in Chef’s hands and he brings Isabella back to the palace so she can speak with her sweetheart. A rocky connection spoils the whole thing and a series of awful interruptions, frozen moments and miscommunications leaves Gal gleeful and Isabella crushed.

Isabella only hears the bad stuff, so she thinks Gal hated the kiss and wants her to marry Harry. Ugh! Poor, sweet Isabella. This is so unfair. She was just about to get out of that hell-hole too. Now she feels there is nothing worth leaving there for. So she lamentingly returns to her poofy prison cell. Boo!!! Also, Richard is devastated by news of Gareth’s (Vinnie Jones) brutal betrayal. Bro’s before Ho’s, dude! How could he do such a thing?!

King Richard’s ruthless bride is crueler than ever. She settles a couple of villager’s chicken or egg debate by killing the chicken and eating it in front of them. Ouch! Madalena also has Gareth by her side, but hasn’t given him a title yet, so he takes matters into his own hands…with Sid’s help. His trusty squire reads the law since Gareth is too good to bother with learning how to read. The law states that Gareth kicked King Richard out (it seemed so sweet and loving at the time…what happened to the tearful “Goodnight My Friend” parting?), so he becomes the rightful heir to the throne.

Now we have Queen Madalena and King Gareth lording over Richard’s kingdom, but these stubborn back-stabbers can’t agree on anything. Gareth tries adding masculine touches to the throne room, so Maddie has Sid chuck his belongings into the moat. Can’t these two terrible people just get along? Sid helps them find a common ground as he nudges them into a duet, “Let’s Agree to Disagree.” Unfortunately for Sid, they agree on making his life miserable.

You can’t help but wonder if Sid, like us, expected more from Gareth. He was Richard’s only friend and now he seems to have no problem stepping into the King’s shoes. Does he have a plan up his sleeve or is the big brute just looking out for himself? Despite the betrayal, you know Richard would forgive his bestie in a heartbeat. But would Gareth want Richard’s forgiveness or friendship? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, Richard is sulking on a bench when the unicorn resurfaces. Now he’s had enough. After staring down the unicorn from the edge of his sword, Richard takes a seat and wallows. Galavant sits by his side as Richard wonders if he will ever find love or real friendship, for that matter. Aww! This is such a sweet moment. These two guys are actually becoming real buddies. Galavant has an extra pep in his step after his chat with Izzy and gives Richard some much needed hope and comfort.

Once Richard’s boot has been mended, the two of them resume their hero’s journey…except this time there’s a twist! As Richard and Galavant walk away, the camera zooms in on that stump and highlights a plaque that states: “The Hero Sword to be drawn by the one true king.” Squee! King Richard is about to get all Arthurian! Loving this set-up for his epic arc. This is going to be so much fun! While Izzy remains trapped and Richard embarks on his new path, Madalena is having a ball ruling Richard’s kingdom.

As the spellbinding hour comes to an end, Richard and Galavant reach the precipice of his palace. Shockingly, Richard’s castle has been moved! Where did it go?! Why would Madalena move it? What land is she ruling over? And how in hell do you move a huge castle in the first place? You’ll have to tune in next week to find out.

What did you think, Galavanters? Did the Season 2 premiere surpass your expectations? What were your favorite moments? How do you like the new songs? What lines had you rolling on the floor? Were you tickled by the guest stars and cameos? Are you excited for King Richard’s new heroic journey to find love and redemption? Is your heart breaking for Isabella? Do you want a unicorn now more than ever before? Share your thoughts below!

“Galavant” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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