‘Galavant’ S2 Eps 3 & 4 recap: The darkest hour of one’s soul

King Richard returns home and discovers how much his kingdom has changed. (Photo credit: ABC/Angus Young via Disney Press site)

Wow, Galavanters! Our beloved show had us rolling on the floor with laughter in Sunday’s latest one-two-punch of hilarity. Many things changed over the course of the hour. Feelings were stirred, princesses were mischievously/heartbreakingly/annoyingly cuckolded, King Richard’s castle was re-appropriated, and fan favorites parted ways (for this season, at least). Plus, Alan Menken and Glen Slater created new music that is simply to die for. Basically, “Aw, Hell, The King” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Belittled” continue to build upon “Galavant’s” awesomeness. Let’s relish every bit, shall we?

We pick up exactly where we left off. Richard, dumbfounded and outraged, gazes at the empty plot where his castle once stood. Seriously, where the bleep is his castle?! As it turns out, the villagers tore the castle apart and used all of the lavish décor the king cherishes (like the “R” embroidered sheets created from the hair of all the kingdom’s redheads – hilarious!) to spruce up their humble town. In the king’s absence, the villagers have denounced the monarchy and established a democracy instead…well, a medieval version of democracy.

Peasant John (Matt Lucas) seems to have led the charge into modern governance and he explains the concept with a catchy tune: “Build A New Tomorrow.” Okay, so maybe not everyone can have his/her say, but it’s still some sort of progress, right? Here’s a little fun-fact: During the “Galavanting with Galavant” panel at SF Sketchfest, show runners Kat Likkel and John Hoberg played Menken’s original version of the song, which ABC censors rejected because it was a little too politically incorrect. After a few omissions and adjustments, we get the wonderful, less offensive version that aired. Either way, the moral of the story is that straight, healthy, wealthy, white dudes have the power. They even vote on fighting now, which means that Galavant must rally up a citizen army and convince the townspeople to help him rescue Isabella. Luckily, he’ll have a chance to plead his case at the Town Hall meeting. While Galavant remains focused on his personal agenda, King Richard is at a loss of epic proportions.

What is a king without his castle? Or his people, for that matter. Hapless King Richard is having a major identity crisis and he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He needs a role to play in this world and being demoted to “buddy” isn’t going to cut it. As he unabashedly tells his pal Gal, “This is the darkest hour of my soul.” He is experiencing a total loss of identity and feels utterly alone. Sigh. Poor, sweet, misguided Richard. Whatever will he do now?!

Richard explores his occupational options through another cleverly crafted and heartwarmingly performed song, “If I Were a Jolly Blacksmith.” Timothy Omundson continues to shine more and more with each episode. No matter how ridiculous Richard seems to appear, Omundson grounds this goofy character with heart and soul. After going over various options, including blacksmith, farmer, beerer, and so on, Richard feels as though he will never be able to find a place in society. As he despairs, the Hero’s Sword illuminates beside him. If only King Richard could see his own potential.

The time has come, Galavant tries dazzling the crowd with his sparkling smile, but it is no use. They do not care about his plight. Richard steps in and delivers an impassioned speech. In true “The Princeness Bride” fashion, the castle-less king makes the case for True Love. Indeed, “True Love is rare and worth fighting for.” But they still don’t care, all expect for one brave soul. Roberta stands up and joins them on their quest to save Izzy.

Richard leaves town with a sense of purpose now. He will commit himself to rescuing Isabella alongside Galavant. Of course, Gal doesn’t need Richard getting in his way and mucking things up, so he tries to find a suitable distraction for his bud. More on that in the next episode.

The irony is that while Galavant strives to save his beloved Isabella, she is wallowing away in her pink prison thinking she just got dumped by her One True Love. Izzy even forces Jester to reenact the horribly heartbreaking moment with a puppet show while she chows down on Turkish delights. It’s like watching a train-wreck. Poor, precious Isabella. As if that isn’t bad enough, her parents storm in and try whipping her into wedding shape.

As old country parents do, they remind her that her “biological sundial” (love it!) is ticking away at the ripe old age of 25 and she better get a move on. There is no time to waste. She must marry Harry and they force her to start planning the wedding immediately. Cue the outlandish wedding planner!

Robert Lindsay plays the malicious and wacky Mr. Wormwood. During the up-tempo ditty, “Happiest Day of My Life,” Wormy places a mind-controlling tiara on Isabella’s head and the princess has a completely irrational change of heart. She’s suddenly become excited about her wedding and moves about the palace in a blissful haze. Everyone takes notice and calls Izzy out on her bizarre behavior, but the Jester, Chef and Gwen reach out to her with no avail. The jewel on her tiara shines and Wormwood’s grasp over her grows stronger. Wormwood’s mantra pretty much spells out his agenda: “Wedding plan, evil plot, killer scheme.”

Well this is super annoying! The enchanted evil charm is a fairytale staple. This kind of obvious trickery is a stupid, yet essential motif of the genre, so it’s great to see “Galavant” poke fun at it like this. There are six weeks until the big wedding day, so somebody better get that blasted tiara off her head before the devilish deed is done. Speaking of evil deeds, somebody is feeling guilty for taking over Richard’s throne, and it isn’t Madalena.

Gareth is having a major guilt trip. He is haunted by his act of betrayal and his nightmares are pretty literal. He dreams of giving Richard a hug and then sees a knife in his old buddy’s back as he walks away. He also finds Richard’s severed head in his bead. The best part of this moment is when Richard’s decapitated head blows the hair out of his eyes. Too funny! Anyway, Gareth is distraught. He wakes up in the middle of the night, screaming and sweaty. Madalena orders Sid to take care of Gareth’s problem or else she’ll kill him. Easy Maddy, it’s not like poor Sid needs that kind of incentive to help Gareth out.

Sid has a chat with Gareth and we realize that the big lug has never felt guilty about anything before. The whole concept of this emotion is new to him. Seriously, Gareth?! Well, at least he feels bad now. Sid sings Gareth a lullaby his mother used to comfort him as a boy: “Good dreams only.” Luckily, it does the trick.

In GareBear’s defense, he did try his best to save Richard and keep him safe. If the crown is just there for the taking, how is a take-charge musky macho man like Gareth just going to let it pass him by? Still, taking his bro’s crown is a bitter act of betrayal and Richard was devastated by the news. If only Richard knew that Gareth actually misses him too. There is no doubt that Richard would forgive Gareth’s offenses in a heartbeat. That is, if he doesn’t do anything worse than what he’s already done. As we’ll find out in the second half, GareBear can be full of surprises.

Can you believe all that happened in just half an hour?! These were two loaded episodes and “Galavant” digs even deeper in the second half. There really is SO much to love about this show, which is why this recap is turning out much longer than expected. Hope you all are gushing over it this much too!

So…Richard swallowed the Jewel of Valencia before they were smuggled out of the kingdom. Eww. This revelation is a double-edged sword, so to speak. On the plus side, they can buy an army. On the down side, we are now visualizing how that huge, sharp emerald emerged from Richard’s nethers. Yeah, he better have a newfound respect for his mother. Galavant negotiates a solid deal with a group of thugs who agree to back their cause. Of course, Richard has to muck it all up with his naïve, silly, big mouth. Deal-making turns into dueling. Roberta and Galavant save Richard’s neck and hightail it the hell out of there. Yikes!

While catching their breath post-skirmish, Richard realizes that Roberta is his old childhood playmate “Bobby.” Once he hears this, Galavant decides to play matchmaker. Gal will do the hero-ing and sets Richard up for an impromptu dinner date with Roberta. What comes next is another new favorite “Galavant” song/scene/moment.

Richard and Roberta join Galavant for dinner. Roberta and Richard apologize for the delay, it seems they have inexplicably lost their shirts. (Omundson mentions this in his interview with AOLBuild. A scene was cut for time in which Richard discovers that he’s “shaven from the navel down.” It is one of those hilarious moments that made Omundson crack-up. Luckily it is featured in the Season 2 gag reel that was screened at SF Sketchfest. Hopefully it will be released online at some point.) A moment after they sit down, Galavant receives an urgent crow (hehe) and must dash off. Now comes the best part. Galavant serenades Richard and Roberta, Mariachi style with the beautiful and wickedly funny “Maybe You Won’t Die Alone.” This might be Joshua Sasse’s cutest overall performance on the show. As Slater puts it in his tweet, “Yup, our version of “Kiss The Girl”. But with herpes. #Galavant @GalavantTVABC” Hilarious!

This song/scene is absolutely wonderful in so many ways. There are clearly sparks between Roberta and Richard. She totally has the hots for him. Unfortunately, Richard is completely clueless about her feelings and thinks they are just friends. Despite Galavant’s efforts, Richard’s beard catches on fire and his girlish shrieking pretty much spoils the mood.

The next day, Richard has packed up Gal’s things “like a good sidekick” (Nice one there. The show maybe called “Galavant,” but Richard is clearly the star, right?!). He teases Galavant for trying to set him up with Roberta. Richard settles the fact that they are just friends and nothing has changed. Roberta fights back the tears while sniffing the red rose Galavant had Richard hand her the night before. Awww.

Clare Foster has been a sensational addition to the cast. It is always fantastic to have another smart, sensitive and spunky female character on TV. Nonetheless, however empowered a woman she may be, at the end of the day, Roberta is just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. Hopefully, Richard will wake-up before it is too late. In the meantime, the gang remains focused on their mission. They plan on enlisting the help of an army of giants to attack Hortencia and rescue Isabella. Speaking of which…

Isabella is still under Wormwood’s nasty spell. She’s in complete denial whenever anyone tries pointing out her strange behavior and she’s focused on planning the best wedding ever. Although Chef and Gwen are worried about their friend Izzy, they also have some concerns they’re dealing with. Particularly, Gwen is having a difficult time adjusting to the good life. She’s still eating food that falls on the floor and feels horrible wasting any of the royals’ rejects. Chef and Gwen try to work out their feeling over this new way life in the grimly realistic tune “As Good as It Gets.”

Chef likes the high life, but hates the Gwen doesn’t feel at home living in the palace. The girl is sleeping in a drawer for Pete’s sake. He reaches out to Izzy and asks how she suddenly adjusted to everything. She feels like there was no use in fighting it anymore. That is so un-Izzy-like. As she says this, Chef stares at her tiara. The glow is as inexplicable as her bizarre behavior. He offers to clean it for her. When he reaches out to take it off of her head, Isabella releases a fearsome Gollum-like growl, “MINE!” Geesh. We get it, but we don’t like it. The tiara has become her “precious” (to be read with a Gollum-like snicker). Seriously, Wormwood can’t get away with this crap for much longer. This is unacceptable and ridiculously annoying. Although, Karen David is still adorable even when Isabella is poisoned by that wretched tiara. It’s fun to see her play around with Izzy in new ways this season. She is always enchanting onscreen.

In the end, Chef realizes that Gwen cannot be happy living the high life. Similarly, Gwen doesn’t want him to give up all these perks to return to a life of squabble. They both want what’s best for the other. When Gwen is ready to head out, Chef packs his single item and joins her. He sweetly explains, “I could be the king of a castle, but without you I’d be the loneliest man in the world.” Awww! Be still our hearts. That is the perfect thing to say. Unfortunately, this may be the last we see of Chef and Gwen in Season 2. The show runners said Darren Evans and Sophie McShera’s busy schedule only made them available for the first four episodes. But, surely, their story is far from over. They make a dynamite onscreen couple and are such a joy to watch. So, here’s hoping to see more of them in Season 3!

Now, for the belle of the ball, errr, or should we say butt of the joke. Madalena is super excited to attend dinner hosted by the Basikobitcz sisters portrayed by “Miranda’s” Sally Phillips and Sarah Hadland (squee!). In a flashback, we learn how Maddy idolized these two catty it-girls despite their callus insults and snickers. Young Madalena vowed to grow-up to be like them and that day has finally arrived. As most women know, one’s acceptance into a social circle can hinge on something as ridiculous as earrings. So Maddy makes sure to pick out the perfect pair (a solid gold chandelier statement piece…oh la la) before heading to the feast held in her honor.

Madalena is ecstatic when she arrives at the dinner, but that feeling of joy quickly turns into heartbreak and embarrassment. The sisters are roasting Maddy, Comedy Central style. Ouch! They even mock her earrings. Shortly after that low blow, Madalena leaves. But even her departure is turned into an opportunity to kick her while she’s down. The sisters play that annoying trick where the carriage pulls away every time she’s about to get in. After two attempts, she kicks off her heels and trudges home barefoot on the dirt road. For the first time, Madalena really tugs on our heartstrings and we kind of feel bad for the power hungry Queen.

Maddy bursts into the castle, visibly distraught and dirty. She storms past Gareth and Sid (who are playing a medieval version of Heads-Up) and lamentingly retreats to her room. What follows is one of Mallory Jansen’s best performances on this show. Madelena has a guilt-riddled Gareth-like epiphany as she beautifully sings, “What Am I Feeling.” The moving ballad captures Maddy’s self-discovery as she experiences new emotions.

Up until now, Madalena has acted wickedly towards others because she has closed her heart off from the world. Having your parents force you to kill, cook and eat your pet goat could definitely make you learn how to be numb to the world. She never hesitates to break someone’s heart or use people for her own personal gain. However, the Queen received a taste of her own medicine when those sisters made a mockery of her. Such cruelty has stirred up new feelings and, as the song suggests, those feelings may be “here to stay.”

Gareth overhears Madalena’s weepy tune and goes to some extremes to cheer up his Queen. In true brutish Gareth form, he brings the sisters’ earrings to Maddy, along with their ears. Sure, it is disturbing and gross, but for these two twisted souls, this is a super sweet gesture. Madalena shows her appreciation to Gareth by gently planting a tender kiss on his cheek. Oh my! Could real love be brewing between these stoic powerhouses?

As the latest installment of “Galavant” draws to a close, it looks like Season 2 is turning out to be the season of love…for everyone expect Sid and Jester. Richard, Gareth and Madalena all experienced the darkest hour of their souls. They are all facing their worst fears. Richard distresses over his lack of identity now that he’s lost his castle and kingdom to democracy. Isabella believes she’s lost her True Love and has been brainwashed into losing her sense of self. While, Gareth and Maddy are freaking out over the fact that they experience emotion like normal human beings. As we said before, these episodes really dug deep and delivered a sucker-punch to the heart.

Will Galavant save Isabella in time? Will Richard snap out of it and realize that Roberta is crazy about him? Can Gareth and Madalena find their “happily ever after” in each other? Only time will tell… What did you think of both episodes? What were your favorite moments? What annoyed you the most? Do you think Gareth and Maddy will get together? Do you want them to? Would it hurt Richard’s feelings even more to know his former BFF stabbed him in the back and then got with his former flame? What were your favorite songs? Share your thoughts below!

It is such a shame that we only have three more weeks left of this marvelous extravaganza. We really don’t want this series to ever end. So, be sure to tune in live on Sunday nights. If you DVR to watch/re-watch, be sure to do so by Wednesday night so that it counts in with delayed ratings. “Galavant” defied the odds once before and can do so again.

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

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