Animation Break: Trollhunters S2 (Spoilers!)

When I first watched “Trollhunters” earlier this year, I had no idea that I would love it so much, and have been eagerly waiting for Part 2 or Season 2 to drop. Finally, last December 15, they dropped all thirteen episodes, which did not disappoint. The second season definitely took us to different and darker places, both physically and emotionally, and allowed itself to lend some focus on some interesting new and old characters. Aside from this, it has been announced that “Trollhunters” will conclude with its third season, and that there is more of Arcadia still yet to come with the spin-offs “Wizards” and “3Below”.

As mentioned earlier, “Trollhunters” will be concluding with its third season. When I first heard the news, I was a little bit sad, but knew that it made total sense, as I know that they really had this specific direction for the series, and I know that they will conclude it well, and in a very satisfying way.

It was also announced that “Trollhunters” is actually just one in a part of three shows surrounding Arcadia. The entire franchise is called “Tales of Arcadia”. “Wizards” will, of course, be about wizards, while “3Below” will deal with aliens. I know that I do want each of these to be separate from each other, but I honestly wouldn’t mind some little cameos here and there.

Now, let’s get back to the second season.

The second season’s visuals, storytelling, and music are just as great as the first season. Aside from returning characters, there are also a bunch of new characters added to the mix, and we also get to see some interesting faces from the first season whose characters become a little bit more developed in this season. They also kept their promise and allowed us to explore more Troll lore and mythology, especially as we get a lot of the Darklands, and Gunmar.

Emotionally speaking, I didn’t expect them to go as dark as they did, for a show that’s primarily aimed at a younger demographic, and the ending surprised me as to where they took the characters and how they shook things up. There are also some new character dynamics that will definitely surprise most fans as well.

They also weren’t afraid to take some risks with their storytelling this time around, and it paid off wonderfully in the end.

Anton Yelchin is even better this time around as the Trollhunter Jim Lake, Jr., which makes it sad to think that we most probably will not hear his voice anymore as I think he only recorded enough material up to the second season.

I think a major theme of this season was all about consequences, and how our actions end up affecting ourselves and others, and how we face the music and our fears based on those decisions.

If there’s only one thing that we really didn’t get much of this season, it was Jim’s relationship with his mother. There are still things that have been resolved between them from the first season that I wish could have been addressed, but with everything going on, it is just a very minor gripe that doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the show.

Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

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The second season picks up right where the first season ended, give or take a couple of weeks. Interestingly enough, the entire season, although only thirteen episodes long, can be broken up into around two to three chunks. The first five episodes deal with Jim in the Darklands, and the rest of the Trollhunters trying to get him back. The second chunk, which consists of episodes six to eleven sees the team back in Arcadia, dealing with Trollhunting missions, readjusting back to things, and starts laying the ground work for what is to come, especially with character specific moments. The last three episodes of the season deal with Jim facing the consequences of his actions, and the team banding together as everything bursts into chaos.

I like the fact that we spent some time getting Jim back, as it allowed us to see how Claire Nunez (Lexi Medrano), Toby Domzalski (Charlie Saxton) and Blinky (Kelsey Grammer) were coping with everything, and the lengths that they would go to in order to get Jim back. I also like the fact that even though Jim wasn’t around, Toby and Claire were definitely able to rise to the occasion when needed. On Jim’s part, I was surprised that the writers allowed him to be captured, and I love seeing just how strong Jim’s spirit is, even though his will was beginning to fade a little bit there. Also, seeing the Darklands, Gunmar (Clancy Brown), and the introduction of Mark Hamill as Blinky’s brother Dictatious was just amazing. Nomura (Lauren Tom) being there was an interesting twist, and when they finally got back, I did kind of ship Nomura and Draal (Matthew Waterson) together.

Many might complain that having Aargh (Fred Tatasciore) be resurrected was a cop out, but I think, given that that was the only way that Kanjigar could have helped them out, I think it was justified from a narrative point of view. I also liked the fact that Draal had a very hard choice to make, and in the end, he was the one who truly went back for Nomura. He was controlling the gyre after all.

The second part allowed us to rest a bit from all the action and chaos, and allowed for more character centric moments, and more build up to the season finale.

I like that we got more about Toby’s backstory, and I love the fact that they weren’t afraid to take risks here, such as that flashback episode that centered on Dictatious, and the unlikely pairing of Steve Palchuck (Steve Yeun) and Eli.

They were the second part’s MVPs, especially when you realize, in the end, that they were being built up to be allies to the Trollhunters. I think that they could still be a little bit more involved with “Wizards” and “3Below”, as they seem like the type who will be more into investigating all of the things happening in Arcadia, compared to Jim, Claire and Toby who are directly tied in to everything troll related. However, I do love the fact that Jim called upon them for help, and I’m pretty sure that they will definitely be great allies in the upcoming battles in the third season.

I also loved the episode in which there were a lot of Jims, as we were able to see all the different sides of him. Plus, that might just be some of Yelchin’s best work here.

The last three episodes of the series allow us to explore Jim’s feelings and fears, even more than his time in the Darklands. Here, we get an episode in which we see what would have happened if he never became the Trollhunter, and we also see that one of his biggest fears is becoming the dark champion that Gunmar wanted to create out of him.

I didn’t expect anything that happened at the end. I didn’t think that Ursana (Angelica Huston) would be in league with Gunmar, that I would get emotionally affected over Vendel’s (Victor Raider-Wexler) death, and I didn’t expect it to end with a major change in the status quo. With Vendel and Troll Market gone, the trolls now have to find a new spot to regroup and recuperate, with Blinky, who truly came into his own this season, as their new leader.

I also love the fact that Strickler (Jonathan Hyde) and Nomura have returned, so it looks like it will be all hands on deck for the final battle.

I knew that using the Shadow Staff would have major consequences for Claire, and I love that she is now connected to the Pale Lady/Morgana (Lena Heady). I had a feeling that she will be coming into play in the third season, and I’m looking forward to what will happen there.

Season 3 seems like its going to be more emotionally charged season, especially as all of the big show downs are going to be in this season. I have a feeling that it will be all about building up to the big fights they will have, which will be even more epic, now that they have to face both Gunmar and the Pale Lady.

 

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