Genndy Tartakovsky is one of the most highly regarded names in the animation world, hands down. The creator has impacted many over the years with works such as Dexter's Laboratory, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Samurai Jack, and most recently, Primal. The first season of the animated series made its debut with Adult Swim some time ago, and immediately garnered a huge response because it was unlike anything the creator has worked on before. Taking elements from every little bit of the creator's past for a brutal new work, now the second season has the impossible task of somehow following up that masterpiece.
The first season of Genndy Tartakovsky's Priimal introduced fans to Spear and Fang, an unlikely duo that grew closer together over the course of the season as they fought against tougher and stranger adversities with each episode. The final episode of the first season ended with a major cliffhanger that teased there was still a whole new side of the world for Spear, Fang, and for fans to explore. Now that the second season is here, it's safe to confirm that Primal Season 2 really does the impossible. It's even bigger and better than the first season.
Primal Season 2 kicks off immediately after the first season when Mira (Laëtitia Eïdo) is taken out to sea. Spear and Mira formed a quick bond after they fond out how their differences complemented one another, and it was something Spear will do anything to protect. Both Spear and Fang know the true pain of their loss at this point, and they have gone through so much with one another that they can't risk that same kind of loss again. It's the emotional character work that the first season spent time developing, and so the second season is able to build on this and add more layers to the main duo's partnership.
Building upon the foundation set by the first season is the name of the game this second time around. The first season relied on its episodic storytelling to expand the world around its central duo. We would learn about what exists in this prehistoric world with each new outing, and watch as how Spear and Fang would react to their situations. Slowly introducing more mystical and otherworldly elements throughout, it was clear by the end of the first season that we were still only seeing a fraction of this scary and harsh environment. It was a naturalistic approach to its story, and that natural progression has evolved with Season 2.
While the first season was largely reactive as its central duo had to think on their feet to keep one another alive, Season 2 is more of a proactive story. Without giving too much away about what to expect, Spear kicks off the new season by deciding to cross the ocean in order to chase after Mira. Not only does it already promise a more serialized story for the season as a whole (which is also demonstrated by what comes after), but the episodes still are very much distinct from one another. It's just more layers on top of an already full experience.
Much like its prehistoric world, Primal is evolving. Not only does the series continue to deliver impeccable animation, character, and environment design, but there's a much fuller color palette that before. There was a wide variety of both location and characters just in that first season, but the second has introduced some interesting new wrinkles that continue to flesh out what this world really is. It's compelling in both the narrative and technical aspects of its presentation, and in many ways feels like a step above everything we had gotten to see in that first season.
Everything about Primal Season 2 is bigger, better, more intense, and more brutal than ever. Meeting the challenge of following up a masterpiece head on, the second season does not shy away from carving its own path to become great in its own right.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Primal Season 2 premieres on Adult Swim Sunday evenings, and streams its new episodes on HBO Max the next day.