What We Hope to See in Season 3
What We Hope to See in Season 3
Spoiler Warning: Primal Season 2
The Emmy award-winning animated series Primal has recently wrapped up its second season with an ending that has shocked just about everyone.
It’s not often that a series kills off one of its leading protagonists, but when it does, it’s guaranteed to dominate discussion around the water cooler. Spear, the courageous cro-magnon that ran, jumped, and fought his way through ancient beasts and tribal warriors alike, has died. He, alongside Fang and Mira, has survived a perilous, prehistoric fantasy world for twenty episodes now. However, the series ultimately culminated in Spear’s death after a climactic confrontation with a monster fueled by revenge. We don’t have much time to grieve afterward. One time skip later, we find that Spear lives on through the daughter he had with Mira, as well as the family that Fang raised. After such a dramatic conclusion, fans have been torn on what the future holds for Primal.
With a continuation for the series a long way away, largely due to Genndy Tartakovsky’s involvement with other projects, we can make approximations as to what might show up for season three of Primal.
Passing the Spear
Tartakovsky has already made up his mind regarding season two’s ending: Spear will remain dead. There’s no grand plan to bring him back, no otherworldly magic, no time travel shenanigans, nothing. Instead, Tartakovsky has instead voiced an interest in concluding Spear, Fang, and Mira’s story in exchange for something new, converting the series into a seasonal anthology. According to him, he’s choreographed action for samurais, for space knights, but never for a primitive caveman. It’s partly why he started the series with so much gusto and enthusiasm.
This isn’t to say that Spear and Fang’s story can’t come back in some capacity. Tartakovksy has stated that if fan interest is significant enough, he may return to Spear and Fang’s family in the future. Whether it will be a full season or a one-off episode remains to be seen.
Fans of Primal have no doubt noticed the influence of the supernatural in the show’s villains — whether it’s the vengeance-powered Viking chief, the ghostly witch coven, or even the bizarre super-powered ape-men. This kind of stuff isn’t unfamiliar territory for Tartakovsky. His previous work, Samurai Jack, featured a multitude of supernatural villains that seemed to defy logic and reason, despite taking place in a high-tech future.
Many of these villains, in addition to other characters, took direct inspiration from various mythologies found around the world. Greek, Japanese, Egyptian, and Hindi deities both appear as themselves and as direct inspirations for characters throughout the show. Primal is no different. With the leading villain of season two taking direct inspiration from the Norse god of revenge, Vidarr, there’s plenty of room for more mythological representation in the future.
Though the show avoids naming civilizations directly, we see visual references to Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian cultures, in addition to the previous Norse culture held by the Vikings. Based on what season three is about, we might see a more explicit representation of Zoroastrianism, ancient Egyptian polytheism, or even just folklore monsters in keeping with the grim tone of the series.
Trading Guns for Sticks
Although Tartakovsky has shut down the theory that Primal takes place in an alternate future, we briefly see what a more modern setting could look like in “The Primal Theory,” a divisive episode that likely serves as a proof-of-concept for future anthology-like stories. Taking place in the 1890s, it follows a group of English scientists as they defend their estate from a violent, inhumane asylum escapee. Beyond a few visual references — the antagonist closely resembling Spear, along with several weapons and taxidermized animals from the prehistoric era making a recontextualized appearance — there’s no direct link to the main events of season two.
However, the episode’s main theme is something that would easily translate well to an anthology. The scientists are forced to remove themselves from any sort of dignity and sportsmanship, reducing themselves to the same methods their attacker uses in order to survive. In essence, they’re reverting to their most primal selves. The gradual shift from the use of high-powered firearms to metal forged melee weapons, to finally, animal bones and bare knuckles, reinforces this idea. This concept can be applied to just about any scenario you can think of: a modern zombie apocalypse, becoming trapped in an isolated forest, defending a castle, any situation that forces someone to act more on instinct than compassion or rationality can possibly be used as a setting in future seasons.
Primal won’t be back for a long time. When it does return, it’s likely to be completely different from what came before. Regardless, the show had an immense impact on the world of adult cartoons, highlighting a piece of ourselves we’ll hopefully never have to return to.