Hey, guys. Spaceman here, and… *sigh* …fine.Since I reviewed season one of Netflix’s The Dragon Prince last week,
I suppose I should talk about season two, which premiered last Friday. But I thought I already told you guys, The Dragon Prince
… just doesn’t do much do much for me. Don’t get me wrong; season one wasn’t bad or anything, but it just kind of felt standard and a bit meh, so it was hard to get too excited for the second season, and I’m not going in expecting much—
HOLY SH—okay, wow, um… so, The Dragon Prince
season two is actually kind of awesome, so… just… completely disregard everything I said in that last paragraph, because jeezus, I was wrong as hell. Seriously, this season is legit! Nearly every problem I had with season one is rectified in season two, all while still remaining subversive to my expectations. Let’s get into it!The Animation
Okay, the first big, kind of obvious thing I have to talk about is the animation. That was one of the most criticized aspects of season one, the CGI, semi-2D look that just felt choppy in a lot of places, and I was super critical of it myself. Well, I have to hand it to Wonderstorm, because they really pull through on season two. It looks much smoother and more professional and doesn’t pull me out of the moment as it did in season one. Series creator Aaron Ehasz said in interviews that the animation would be more smoothed out, and I’m glad to hear that those words weren’t just hollow. It seems that the crew behind this show are willing to listen to criticism.The Characters
I already talked about the main characters in my review of season one, so I don’t feel the need to talk much about them, since I don’t want to go into major spoiler territory just yet. With maybe one exception: Ezran. I criticized his character as feeling flat in season one, but he actually improves quite a great deal in season two. It’s nice seeing him form a bond with the baby dragon, Azymondias, and how it takes a toll on Bait, his animal companion from season one, who feels neglected. Also, his reaction when he discovers that his father had died seems… very believable. With little time dedicated to it and few words spoken, he goes through the entire spectrum of emotions upon discovering this: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. His acceptance ties in with a very important decision he makes in the last episode of the series, though I’ll get to that in the spoiler section.
Among the characters from season one I neglected to talk about are Ellis and her pet wolf, Ava. They only appear for the first three episodes of season two, but I liked them well enough and they do help out our main characters a great deal. I also like Lujanne, the Guardian of the Moon Nexus. It’s nice to see other elf characters, since we have yet to actually arrive in Xadia, and she’s funny in the kooky kind of way; it’s pretty clear that spending years alone protecting the Moon Nexus has made her go a bit off the deep end.
Some of the more notable characters include Gren, who always seems to maintain a cheerful attitude even when things are going wrong—I remember him saying, “Why see myself as chained down, when I can see my self as chained up
?” which was a pretty funny moment—and Captain Villads, the blind narcoleptic pirate who Rayla and the princes hitch a ride with.
Hey, I just realized, I’ve been talking about the characters in The Dragon Prince
and somehow neglected to mention the dragon prince himself! Azymondias, nicknamed Zym, is the hatchling from the dragon egg last season and he is adorable. Even Claudia seems to think so!
But okay, time for a full review of the plot. It goes without saying that there will be spoilers, so unless you have seen the new season, read at your own risk.Spoiler Discussion
I was a little shocked, first off, that this show only takes place a day or so after the first season’s finale. I figured there would be a time skip or something, but no. That said, the story in season two is executed amazingly. First off, the big question from last season was how Ezran and Callum would react when finding out that the elves offed King Harrow. Well, surprisingly, neither one went with the reaction I was expecting. I was afraid that we would go through the clichéd path of “Oh no, what if Callum and Ezran got angry at Rayla because of what the other elves did?” which we all knew would end with them forgiving her, of course. But no, they avoided that trope altogether. Callum’s big struggle was how he was going to tell Ezran the truth without breaking him. Similarly, Ezran’s first thought was whether Callum knew, which was followed by him going on a long walk by himself and talking to Claudia about it. This is when he makes the decision to leave Ezran, Callum, and Zym—yes, leave the Dragon Prince whom he has developed a connection with—and return to Katolis to take over the throne for his late father. This is a major twist and something that nobody was expecting, but I honestly quite enjoy how it was handled.
It was great seeing all the new locations and characters. Possibly the most interesting one was Duren, led by its young ruler, Queen Aanya. This girl delivers some serious verbal blows to Viren and it’s just amazing to see. But also, finding out about her kingdom was really damn cool. We learn about her parents, the Queens of Duren—you heard right—and how Katolis assisted them in a quest to bring food for both kingdoms when they were starving during the winter.
I’m glad to see more LGBT+ characters in animated shows, and while a lot of people criticized it for the Queens’ death, it doesn’t seem too bad to me. They’re treated like heroes, and we knew of their fate beforehand, so it’s not like it was playing their deaths for shock value—hell, they died in the same battle that took the life of Queen Sarai, Callum and Ezran’s mother. Besides, the creators promised before that there would be more LGBT+ characters as the series progresses… and hey, they promised that season two would have better animation, which it did, so I don’t see any reason not to trust them.
Viren was also a nice touch. Like the first season, he comes off as an antagonist but still has his human moments, where he doesn’t seem like he was simply manipulating people for his own benefit. One of the best moments in the show is when Viren tells Aanya the story of her parents’ heroism; this is contrasted with a scene of Callum reading a letter from Harrow telling about his mother. In many of the flashbacks, we see Viren helping Katolis and standing by Harrow’s side, and it shows that he and Harrow truly were friends before Viren’s love of dark magic took over. It’s also revealed later that Viren had a wife, the mother of Soren and Claudia, but she left him. That was another interesting tidbit. You don’t often see divorce in a fantasy environment.
Speaking of baddies, let’s talk about Aaravos, the elf in the mirror. Now, I was immediately impressed with this character for his cool design, mysterious ways, and booming voice, and it seems that a lot of the Internet shares my enthusiasm! Maybe a little too
much, in fact… Yes, Tumblr in particular has taken a… ahem… liking
to this character, and I’ll be honest, I don’t get it. He’s cool, sure, but come on, guys. Don’t you think you’re letting your love of this fictional character go too far?
Oh, Amaya, you can crush my head between your thighs any day… what were we talking about again?
Yes, we do actually find out some stuff about Sarai here! She and Harrow had a really beautiful relationship. For one thing, it seemed like while she was alive, they ruled together
, not that Harrow was the ruler and Sarai just sat around. She was a friend and top consultant to him as much as she was his wife, one half of his whole. I distinctly remember a scene where she basically tells him off, that an idea he and Viren had was a bad one, and both verbally and physically kicks his ass in the process. That was really telling of their relationship and made it all the more heart-wrenching when it shows how she died.
Another major part of this season is Callum’s quest for magic. In season one, he was using sky magic with the primal stone, but he destroyed it in an act of selflessness to hatch Zym. Here, he has once again found himself lost without any clear role in the group: he had noted before that he wasn’t a capable swordfighter and that when he was doing magic, it felt like his true calling more than anything else. He tries multiple times to connect to the primal source, even though he wasn’t born with it. However, possibly the biggest shocker was this moment:
…Oh my god. Callum, what are you doing? Callum, no! Don’t use dark magic! That’s not the way! Oh god, he’s using dark magic. We’re all screwed.
Nearly as much of a shocker moment as this is when, during a battle, Soren gets flung and lands in such a way that we hear a cracking sound. You may not think too much of this, until it becomes increasingly clear that he’s not getting back up again. However, the saddest part is when he reveals that he is actually relieved
that he was injured, because it means that he wouldn’t have to go through with Viren’s order for him to kill the young princes.
This scene, man. This damn scene was hard to watch. It really shows the humanity that every character has, exposed as they go through the story and have to be put through so much.
And then… well, no more beating around the bush. Callum and Rayla: It’s gonna happen. Like, as usual, I won’t know for certain until/unless it does actually happen, but it’s looking more and more like it. But so far, it’s been handled really well. Rayla is first angry at Callum for using dark magic in the earlier scene, but it took a physical toll on him and he becomes very ill from it. While she first tries to hide it, over the scene it looks more and more like he won’t make it and she becomes seriously concerned for him and shows that she really does care about him. It looks as though she’s about to say something to him—a confession, maybe?—right before he recovers. To be honest, the way they’re building it up, it could either turn out to be a romance or a great friendship, but it feels very natural and I’m all for it either way. And if it is the former, I’m glad they aren’t pulling the typical romance clichés in cartoons, like having Callum crush heavily on Rayla (hell, he was crushing on Claudia up until she betrayed him this season) or having Rayla act in the tsundere, “I don’t like you, idiot” kind of way. But yeah, I’d love to see where this goes.
(Don’t worry about Callum, by the way. He’s not in danger, he’s just going through a really trippy fever dream that allows him access to sky magic.)Other Stuff
As much as I’ve talked about everything else, the humor in this season is also really on-point, much more so than the last season! I found myself laughing out loud at a lot of points. That said, some of the more reference-based humor… doesn’t exactly hold up. Like, there’s a scene where Rayla pulls an extended Sailor Moon gag, and another where Callum literally says, “One does not simply walk into Xadia,” and… this Simple Minds reference:
Because in a medieval fantasy environment, everybody has seen The Breakfast Club
, right? Perhaps the only one I can get behind is this credits gag with Aaravos imitating the Gatsby pose:
Which seems much more fitting there than in the show itself, since the credits are just filled with little gags like that.
As for questions about season three, most of my questions in my last post have been answered, but it did open up a few new questions. Who is Aaravos and what is his motivation? I’m assuming he’s an antagonist, but he could easily subvert our expectations. Will returning Zym back to the dragon queen really bring an end to the war? We’re only two seasons in out of a presumed six or seven, and I figured it would take a lot longer to get to Xadia than it did, but they’re already there, so it’s going to have to be stretched out a lot further, I figure. Finally, there’s a fan theory going around that King Harrow swapped bodies with Pip, Harrow’s bird. Is there any truth to that? We saw Pip escape in this season, so it could have been, but I don’t know.Conclusion
Season two of The Dragon Prince
was an improvement on season one in every way. The show really came into its own with this season, much more so than with the first one. I loved the characters, the animation, the worldbuilding, the soundtrack, and unlike the first season, which just left me feeling meh, this one actually makes me want to see a lot more, and… yeah, I’m a fan now. Congratulations, show. As Leonardo DiCaprio put it, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.
Once again, I implore you: don’t screw it up. But this time, I trust that you won’t.