Galavant S01:E07-08 - My Cousin Izzy & It's All in the Executions
Scott Weinger ("My Cousin Izzy")
Kristin Newman ("It's All in the Executions")
January 25, 2015
"My Cousin Izzy": Thinking about being in a relationship, Isabella wants Galavant to try to impress her parents with attentive small talk, but he's confident that breaking everyone out of prison will impress them and save them from certain death. Galavant gets his opportunity for a hero moment when King Richard challenges his brother to a duel and needs a champion to fight for him.
"It's All in the Executions": Galavant enlists King Richard in a plot to kill Kingsley before the duel but ends with a drunken whimper. Will Gareth kill King Richard in the duel? Will Galavant rescue everyone? Will Madalena find a new "boy toy?" The answers are very different from what you expect.
The verdict is still out on whether this is the series or season finale for ABC’s musical extravaganza, but either way, the Galavant finale ends the first eight episodes on a high note. If this is just the end of the first season, there are plenty of strings left untied and stories left untold to make for an intriguing scenario going forward. On the other end of the spectrum, if this is it for Galavant and his band of singing friends, it’s a major case of musical blue balls.
Similar to last week’s episodes, “My Cousin Izzy” and “It’s All in the Executions” are two episodes that are clearly meant to be linked directly one after the other. Unlike last week however, these two lack a bit of the finesse and perfect comedic timing, with a lot of jokes being repeated several times over. Galavant trying to complete his big solo song while constantly getting interrupted is one in particular that fell flat and is extremely predictable in the end. In general, the series’ trademark subversion takes a backseat occasionally this week, instead allowing the cliches to break through into the forefront of the show. Galavant was meant to kiss Isabella, he did. Isabella was meant to wind up with her cousin, she did. Chef was meant to wuss out of killing everyone, he did. Galavant was meant to eventually finish his song and have it be short and pointless, he did.
That’s not say the episodes are a loss by any means. In fact, it’s still another solid group of episodes in a series that has been pretty great all along. Watching the characters continue to grow is rewarding, and seeing their interactions constantly shift is interesting. Being that almost every character ends up in the dungeon at one point or another, it’s not long before we get to see every character interaction possible. The best by far is Galavant and King Richard. Deciding that they’ve both been scorned by the same woman and should go out for a dude’s day out (bros before hoes, after all), they end up getting drunk, and hatch a plot to kill Richard’s brother. It all culminates in one of the funniest songs in the series.
Watching two guys acting drunk and running around a castle may not be everyone’s sense of humor, but if it’s yours, the song is just fantastic. The obvious juxtaposition of them supposedly “sneaking” to commit the assassination, yet singing at the top of their lungs is great, and seeing the two once-enemies trouncing around the castle and drunkenly interacting with everyone they run into is more than amusing.
Even King Richard’s oddly touching solo song is welcome and comes at a time when it feels appropriate, even if it isn’t very funny. Chef and Gwen’s song is a much welcome improvement over last week’s as well. Where their duet singing about their potential horrible life together worked last week, their song about poisoning the entire castle goes over much better this time around, and works well as both a way to move the plot forward and a clever homage to Sweeney Todd.
The writing crew does a decent job of balancing it all, but it definitely feels like there should have been more episodes of Galavant. Especially in the middle of these two there is just twist after twist and big event after big event that lack any real impact because of the multiple events surrounding them. It’s also pretty disappointing that the big antagonist in the episodes winds up being one who was introduced at the very end of last week. After a month of build-up, a lot of the tension is just ditched in favor of a new character who has no real place in the world and is never established as having such.
Minor twists make sense, like constantly switching who the combatants would be in the big duel between Richard and his brother, but others are just attempting to cram as much plot into an hour as possible. Considering the excellent pacing of the previous three Sunday episodes, this week’s duo is extremely rushed overall, and would have clearly been better served over the course of a few more episodes. More character dynamics, and in turn more comedy, could have been pulled if a few of the episode’s events could have pushed off until next week.
If this is it for Galavant – and I truly hope it isn’t – the series will hopefully go down as one that ended way before it should have. It’s understandable that a singing sitcom may be more difficult to market, and affect ratings (as the show references in its fourth wall-breaking final song), but it’s a show that has been willing to take risks, go against the grain, and overall deliver an enjoyable comedy experience. It certainly had mistakes along the way, but hopefully the show will indeed come back and we can finally have a wholly original TV show to enjoy every week inbetween procedural cop dramas and reality competitions.