TV Review: Trollhunters S3 (Spoilers!)

Ever since the last season’s finale, with the knowledge that the series was going to end with its third season, and with the announcement that “Trollhunters” was just the beginning of a three series shared universe, fans of “Trollhunters” have been wondering how the series would end, and what the future would be for this shared universe. Because of that, many looked forward to May 25, 2018, as Netflix and Dreamworks released all thirteen episodes of the show’s final season then. What we got was a satisfying conclusion to the “Trollhunters” saga, with a surprising twist many didn’t see coming along the way, a little glimpse of what to expect from the upcoming “3 Below” and “Wizards” spin-off series, and a little bit of room to allow for future cameo appearances of the “Trollhunters” crew in the upcoming shows. It was a season that hit the ground running and continued to amaze with its stunning visuals, great character dynamics and story arcs,and a fitting goodbye, or at least, for the time being.

Before the third season aired, many were wondering how this season would handle the upcoming shared universe and the fact that Anton Yelchin, who originally voiced the show’s main character, Jim Lake, Jr., had untimely passed away before he could truly finish wrapping up the series. Thankfully, everything was handled well, without the season being too overstuffed with set-up, and with the voice change being not too jarring.

The third season does set up things nicely, with “Wizards” being incorporated a little bit more organically as the trolls have had dealings with a specific legendary wizard before. However, the inclusion of Aja (Tatiana Maslany) and Krell (Diego Luna), the two leads of “3 Below” was done in an interesting way that allowed us to see what these two characters are like, and the possibilities that their spin-offs will have.

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Guillermo del Toro Revealing the “Tales of Arcadia” Shows during the Season 2 Premiere Image Source: Trollhunters Facebook Page

“3 Below” will premiere later this year. Still set in Arcadia, the series will follow two royal alien teenaged siblings, Aja and Krel, who crash land in Arcadia while fleeing a surprise coup of their planet. “Wizards” will conclude everything as it will bring the heroes of all the shows together, as they fight for the fate of their own respective worlds in a showdown for the control of magic.

With regards to the voice change, they cast a good friend of Yelchin’s, Emile Hirsch, to takeover his part. They still used some of Yelchin’s work, but early on in the show, Hirsch takes over. It’s actually not that jarring as Hirsch was able to understand and embody Jim as perfectly as Yelchin did.

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Image Source: Trollhunters Facebook Page

The third season of “Trollhunters” picks up from where the last season left off, and sees the Trollhunters and trolls trying to survive while trying to figure out how to finally end Gunmar and how to stop a new bigger threat that has arisen. Over the course of the series, our main characters not only come into their own, but find interesting allies, make tough decisions and sacrifices, and at the end, all of their lives inexplicably change forever.

The series still has breathtaking and stunning visuals and sequences; and this season has a tighter pace when it comes to its writing. Everything in this season was done very deliberately, and because of that, this season didn’t feel like it was too overstuffed, and it managed to tie all of the loose ends together, culminating with a bittersweet ending that was just perfect for the show, yet leaves room for these characters to return in “Wizards” or have cameos in “3 Below”. Aside from this, this season was also able to find a great balance in terms of the diverse troll and human characters, and gave plenty of room for each character to shine, including Gnome Chompsky and NotEnrique.

Toby, Claire, and Jim really come into their own in this season. Not only do Toby and Claire each have their own suits of armor, but they also go through interesting character arcs that nicely wrap up by the end of the season. Toby goes from sidekick to true hero in own right, Claire goes through a pretty emotional arc that allows her to come into her own, and Jim ends up stepping up in his responsibility as the Trollhunter and makes the biggest and most difficult decision he’s had to make for the sake of the human and troll worlds.

All in all, “Trollhunters” Season 3 was an amazing piece of storytelling that nicely wrapped up the series for now, without it being too overstuffed, with it handling the cast change of Jim seamlessly, and with it continuing to be a great piece of animated television that isn’t just for kids but is allowed to delve into deeper and darker storylines that enrichen the show. I am sad that “Trollhunters” is done for now, but I can’t wait to see the upcoming spin-offs, and I hope to see the Trollhunters crew again in “Wizards”.

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

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This saw the Trollhunters crew step up their game in trying to figure out a way to defeat Gunmar (Clancy Brown), and the new and more sinister threat that is Morgana (Lena Heady), who is more popularly known in legends as Morgan Le Fay. Along the way, Toby Domzalski (Charlie Saxton), Claire Nunez (Lexi Madrano) and Jim end up teaming up with Walter Strickler (Jonathan Hyde) and Ms. Nomura (Lauren Tom), and later on in the series, they find a rather temperamental but powerful ally in the legendary wizard Merlin. Aside from this, the team finds interesting allies in the scheming Dicatatious (Mark Hamill), the the families of our three main protagonists, and of course, later on, even the Creepslayerz duo of Steve Palchuck (Steven Yeun) and Eli Pepperjack (Cole Sand) , helps out in the fight.

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Lena Heady as Morgana Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

The reveal to the parents of the three main protagonists was, in my opinion, handled well. It was interesting that the writers chose to make them not blow up too much and have too much drama over it, because that would have taken up too much airtime. However, I thought it was refreshing that they did it this way.

Each of the three main characters underwent a journey in this season that truly allowed them to come into their own.

Trollhunters Toby and Darci
toby and Darci Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

Toby, who started out as Jim’s best friend, trusted side kick and comic relief, really came into his own as he was given a lot of moments to prove that he was a hero in his own right. Aside from being more adept at wielding Warhammer, he became more confident of himself in handling situations, and did have a great moment in which he rescued his girlfriend, Darci, from the clutches of an evil flying troll.

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Claire and her Shadow Staff Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

Claire went through a pretty emotional arc this season. In the first half, the ramifications of her using the Shadow Staff were dealt with- she ended up being linked to Morgana who ended up possessing her. Thankfully, Toby and Jim were able to bring her back from the Shadow Realm where Morgana trapped her, but at the end of the day, Claire herself was the one that truly got herself out as she was able to regain control over her own mind, and claim the staff as her own. This is why I think that it was very appropriate that Claire had a lot to do with Morgana’s end later on in the season.

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Jim Lake, Jr., the first human Trollhunter Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix
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Jim, Half Troll, Half Human, Getting Ready to Fight Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

Jim had to really step up his game here, which, of course, doesn’t come with its stresses. Aside from having to be a leader and make good decisions, there was the pressure of not being good enough or up to par in order to defeat Gunmar. Normally, the main hero does have to make a sacrifice of some sort, and it was interesting how they dealt with it in his case. In order to truly harness his true potential, he had to become half human, half troll. In the end, he made the decision to become half human and half troll by himself, which was a big sacrifice on his part. It was also good that they spent one entire episode dealing with those ramifications, and I loved that no matter what he became, those around him still loved him. At the end of that episode, just like Jim’s loved ones, even the viewers end up forgetting that this is a changed Jim, as his heart is still very much the same. I thought that this was a bold risk to make, and I’m glad that they stuck to their guns with it.

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The Arcadia Trollhunters led by Toby and AAARRRGGGHHH! Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix
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Jim, Blinky, Claire and the trolls saying goodye…for now. Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

By the time the season finale rolled in, it was understandable how they wrapped things up. Toby, who came into his own is now the sole human Trollhunter of Arcadia with AARRGHHH! at his side; with Jim going with the trolls and Merlin to find a new hearthstone in New Jersey. I didn’t mind that Claire tagged along for the ride, as Jim is her boyfriend, and because she does need to find a new weapon of choice as her staff is gone.

With how things ended, I won’t be surprised if Toby and AAARRRGGHH!, and maybe even Claire show up as cameos in “3 Below”. (Come to think of it, I would love to have the Creepslayerz duo be more prominent here, especially with Eli and his theories.) We know that the entire Trollhunters crew will probably show up in “Wizards”, but I think that among the three, it would be interesting if Claire will have a bigger part in it, as she already has a connection to magic thanks to Morgana being in her head for a spell.

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Aja and Krel, the main alien protagonists of “3 Below” Image Sourece: Trollhunters Facebook Page

The introduction of Aja and Krel was interesting, but the biggest introduction they made here was Merlin (David Bradley), and what a character he was! It was here that the writers were able to show us the potential of “3 Below”, which looks like it’ll be a little bit quirkier than “Trollhunters”; while this season’s tone was a taste of what “Wizards” would be like.

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David Bradley as the legendary wizard, Merlin Image Source: (Screencap) Netflix

As mentioned earlier, each of the characters had their own moments to shine, from the children’s parents, to Dictatious, and even Gnome Chompsky, NotEnrique, Strickler, Nomura, and even Angor Rot, get their moments to shine in the sun.

However, aside from Jim becoming half troll, half human, another big shock for me was the loss of Draal. I didn’t think that I could handle anymore losses after Vendell, and then that happened.

All in all, “Trollhunters” was an amazing series from start to finish, and once again proved that animated fare can be suitable for kids and adults, and still have great depth in storytelling enough to make it truly one of a kind.

Have you seen the last installment of the “Trollhunters” saga? What did you think about it? Are you looking forward to “3 Below” and “Wizards”? Who from “Trollhunters” do you think will pop up in both shows? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Image Source: Trollhunters Facebook Page, Screencaps via Netflix

 

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