Primal (2019) is set in a primordial Death World, which is 100% Played for Drama, so tragic moments are all around.
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Spear and Fang
- The deaths of Spear and Fang's families are nightmarish. Spear and Fang are both visibly shattered by them. Until they turn that grief into pure Unstoppable Rage.
- Spear contemplates suicide after his family got killed.
- The way Spear collapses after the giant tyrannosaurs are killed. He's avenged his family and Fang's but it won't bring any of them back.
River of Snakes
- The second episode shows that even though he's avenged them, what happened to Spear's family still haunts him, with him making shadow puppets and accompanying noises and thinking he sees, and is entertaining, his kids only for the shadows to become the horned Tyrannosaur Alpha which quickly chases down and eats the shadow versions of his children.
- It's also sad to see Spear and Fang, who bonded strongly in the first episode, get driven apart to the point that Spear attacks Fang.
A Cold Death
- Even before the mammoth is killed by Spear and Fang, it's clear that he's much older (and/or sick), and therefore not in good shape: he's missing a tusk and patches of fur, and he gets separated from the herd because he just can't keep up with them.
- The entire episode is filled with moments like this but the ending scene at the Mammoth graveyard is an especially sad one, considering they could only bring back one tusk from the dead herd member, and possibly lost one other when retrieving it.
- Similarly sad is Spear's flashback to the time he taught his son how to hunt (or when his own father taught him how to hunt), in a scene that clearly mirrors the scene where he and Fang slay the elderly mammoth. Spear is still grieving his family.
- Spear's expression and how he places a hand on the mammoth right before it dies.
Rage of the Ape-Men
- Fang seemingly dying at the hands of the Ape-Men.
- After Spear relapses from his Psycho Serum-induced rage and looks at the corpses of the ape-men he slaughtered, he has a brief My God, What Have I Done? moment.
Scent of Prey
- The poignant moment in the beginning where it seems like Fang has passed away from her injuries. Spear is utterly shattered, crying and letting out a scream of sheer unbridled anger and grief at the unfairness of it all.
Plague of Madness
- The premise of the episode alone (a disease that makes its victims highly aggressive and zombie-like) can easily be upsetting, and the suffering that the Argentinosaurus and the Parasaurolophus that infected it in the first place go through can also easily be distressing, not helped by the fact that some of the disease's symptoms are similar to equally horrifying real-life diseases that can affect animals such as rabies and chronic wasting disease.
- The way the Argentinosaurus takes in huge gulps of water from the lake after getting infected mere seconds before, presumably to ease whatever kind of pain he's going through; the dinosaur's body language here, particularly looking at its reflection in the water, can easily be read as, "Oh, God... It's not working... Why isn't it working...?" It's even more saddening when he starts vomiting blood, you can actually hear him screaming in intense agony if you listen hard enough.
- The Argentinosaurus herd are shown lovingly tending to their eggs mere seconds before the infected one tramples their nests as they watch in horror.
- As the diseased Argentinosaurus viciously murders its fellow sauropods, one of them is seen lying on the ground right next to another seemingly dead sauropod, with a visible Single Tear. To make this moment even more of a possible Gut Punch, with the way how it's lying next to the dead one, it gives off the implication that it's mourning the other's death and the creature's face makes it look like it's painfully asking Why? After that, its head gets splattered by the plagued sauropod's tail.
- Spear and Fang watching the diseased Argentinosaurus burn in lava and disintegrate into ashes, the former mournful that it had to die. Even Fang's expression looks like one of pity as the monster howls in dying agony. The somber music during this scene sets the sad tone even further. One YouTube comment puts it best:Heartnet: It wouldn't stop howling in agony until it literally, physically couldn't anymore. Jesus.
Coven of the Damned
- This episode is perhaps one of the most intensely emotional episodes of the series. As Lula notices her control over Fang weakening when the captive Spear calls out to her, she becomes curious as to the nature of their bond. How could (and why would) a human and a dinosaur care so much about each other? Using her magic to stop time, Lula travels into their pasts as an observer, and witnesses both Spear and Fang's loss of their children...before going back to witness the loss of her own child. She sees kindred spirits in them, and even gives Fang a sympathetic hug during the time stop. Parents actually getting to raise their young to adulthood seems to be a rare luxury in this setting.
- Of particular note is Lula's outstretched arms as she cries out in despair at the sudden, tragic death of her daughter. As if she were screaming to the heavens "Why?! Why have you taken my child?!"
- Sadder still is that, in comparison to all the gruesome, fantastical ways of dying that have been presented in this series, what ends up killing Lula's daughter is a fall from a high cliff. Something that could just as easily happen in real life.
- Even sadder is that after this tragic accident, Lula appears to have become a bit of an outcast in her own coven, as if the other witches are shaming her for letting a gift their matriarch gave her be destroyed.
- As the moment where Lula's daughter dies plays out, Lula runs up to her past self, desperately trying to warn her of what's about to happen...which, needless to say, does nothing.
- Lula is seen during the Ritual in the opening. Unlike the other witches, she's not ritualistically gesturing and when she looks down at her hands, perhaps considering it, she can't bring herself to. With what we're shown after, it's easy to realize the pain of losing her daughter compels her not to seek a Replacement Goldfish, meaning she truly had no other option to find something to love again.
- As Lula is preparing Spear for the ritual, she notices a red butterfly, just like the ones her child loved, taking it as a sign from beyond that what she's doing is wrong...prompting her to disrupt the ritual and save Spear from the Matriarch's wrath at the cost of her own life.
- Just by Spear's reaction alone, when Fang regains her free will, he knows what had happened to her and is upset by it. Fang motions for him to escape, which he does. Many interpret this as Fang urging Spear to not let her sacrifice go to waste.
- At the very end, after the Matriarch kills her, you see that Lula's finally reunited with her daughter in the afterlife, and they pass on together.
Slave of the Scorpion
- This episode confirms that there are creatures advanced enough to practice slavery in the world of Primal. If there were any lingering doubts that truly immoral characters exist in this series (assuming some previous antagonists were not), they are completely gone now.
- The ending of the episode. Spear and Fang didn't make it in time to rescue Mira, and she gets captured presumably by the same people who enslaved her tribe. By that time Spear was getting used to having another companion and was having a liking to her.
- When Spear and Fang see the ship sailing off to sea, Spear actually speaks for the very first time in the series... by saying Mira's name. The inflection of how he spoke sounded absolutely heartbroken, which claims that he already misses her. Spear's first utterance is both shocking and saddening.
Sea of Despair
- Fang's reaction at the end of the episode when she washes ashore and Spear is nowhere to be found is heartbreaking. Although she can only express it with roars and growls, she's evidently distraught.
Shadow of Fate
- Spear's interactions with the village dog are quite heartwarming, but they also have a very melancholy undertone. Taking place immediately after the dinner scene where Spear unintentionally scares the Chieftain's daughter while trying to smile, Spear shows himself to be more comfortable with animals than other humans. He seems aware that he doesn't really belong in this more advanced society, despite the Chieftain's sincere overtures toward him. And of course, the dog reminds him quite a bit of Fang.
- The ending of the episode is extremely tragic. After failing to break up the fight between Spear and Red, Fang has no other choice but to fight her new mate to save her caveman friend. When Red falls on a stake and dies, Fang is absolutely heartbroken, nuzzling his dead body and looking even more devastated than when her nestlings died. Only then does Spear understand how much Red meant to Fang, and he feels grief and sorrow as well. The two leave the village with the devastating thought that their kinds can never be at peace with each other.
- The Chieftain, seeing Fang and Spear, also seems to have a sorrowful understanding at how messed up the situation is and sadly watches them go.
- Keep in mind that the blurb for the show describes Fang as "a dinosaur on the brink of extinction". If that is the case, then Red's death doesn't just mean the death of a single character: it puts his and Fang's species one step closer to extinction.
Dawn of Man
- Fang is still depressed about Red's death, and Spear is clearly struggling on how to help her. Even bringing food doesn't draw her out, she only comes alive when they are threatened. And it's not hard to think she's using the violence as a release.
- The raindrops falling around Fang's eye shows a visual distinction that she's crying, which further highlights and signifies her heartache and sadness.
- Spear discovers the tribal grounds of an absent tribe, who have filled a local cave with artwork. As he moves through the ruins of their home he imagines the type of people that lived here. Like Fang, he's drawn to his own species but is ultimately apart from them.
- When Spear inspects the cave paintings, he places his own hand over the hand-prints on the wall, seeing just how much bigger his own hand is. Between that and his imagining of the tribe that once lived there, he seems to feel alone among humans that are very different then he is. Given that there were species and ancestors of humans that are no longer in the world, Spear may well be coming close to being The Last of His Kind.
The Red Mist
- This episode is quite heavy on it in the second half. With the very first instance being the moment when Spear sees a child bearing arms against him, and a woman fighting with a baby strapped to her chest. For a moment, Spear realizes that he's not fighting simple beasts, but actual people. And it only gets worse from there. Spear ends up accidentally killing a brave, but vicious child by throwing him against a rock. Immediately horrified at what he's done, he's only sent back into his frenzy when he is attacked yet again. In a sense, the slaughter of the village could have easily been the case amongst the Pictish tribe from "Shadow of fate", if their chief hadn't intervened with a cooler and more collected head.
- It really gets laid on thick after the battle, when the viking chief and his eldest son come home to find their entire clan slaughtered. He finds his wife dead, howling her name in despair, and can't even muster up the strength to make a sound as his eldest son, weeping, holds the body of his little brother. The chief is so overcome with grief that he can't even bear to shoot the flaming arrow to send off the spirits of his wife and youngest son. In the end, it's his eldest son who sends them off. But with nothing left to fight for, now all they have is their hatred as they set off to hunt down Spear, Fang and Mira.
- It's even worse to think about when you remember that Spear and Fang were originally brought together by the deaths of their respective families. And regardless of their intentions in doing so, our heroes have now destroyed a family in turn. The staging of the scene, with red mist and mood lighting, even looks exactly like it did when Spear's family was killed by the red T-Rexes all the way back in the first episode.
- The Chieftain reminisce eating a meal with his family, how his youngest son would playfully smack his brother, Eldar, and they have a brotherly scuffle, all while him and wife enjoy the scene. It really shows that, despite how evil he's been, even he loved his family dearly and drops everything to ensure his only son left is alright, even foregoing a chance to kill Spear and Fang. Which makes the ending all the more heartbreaking.
- The Chieftain losing the one bit of family he has left, when Eldar is sent plummeting to his death. When he finds his body, he simply opts to let the river tide sweep him away. The Chieftain survived an almost certain death drop, albeit barely, so for him to just give up with these injuries shows exactly how lost he must feel.
The Colossaeus Part 1
- Our protagonists are captured by the Egyptian-esque sea people. Mira, who was just freed from slavery, has returned to its clutches. You can even see the look of bewilderment on her face as her arms are shackled.
- One of Fang's eggs is (unintentionally) shattered by Kamau (complete with heart-wrenching shot of a half-formed Tyrannosaurus fetus sliding down the railing of the boat), and her remaining two are later held hostage by the slavers' queen, who makes a very clear threat to destroy them if Spear and Fang don't cooperate. The poor theropod just got her second chance at a family, only to risk losing it all over again before her young can even be born. And this time, the culprit isn't some instinct-driven predator looking for an easy snack, but a human ruler seeking to further her own greed and lust for power.
The Colossaeus Part 2
- The reason why Kamau is fighting for the Egyptians: the Queen holds his daughter hostage and threatens to kill her if Kamau does not obey. The scene where Kamau is allowed to briefly reunite with his daughter, only to be torn apart again, is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.
- As Kamau and his daughter are separated again, it's Kamau who cries. Between this and what happens at the peaceful village later, it's obvious that he's a gentle, sensitive soul beneath that imposing appearance and just wants to live in peace with his family.
- The montage of Spear, Fang, and Kamau being forced to act as the Queen's personal WMDs, crushing any villages or cities she wants to raid. Spear and Fang are no strangers to killing to survive, but it's obvious that this petty, pointless, human slaughter of people doing nothing but defending themselves is taking a heavy toll on them all, even though they have no choice because of the Queen holding their loved ones hostage.
- A peaceful village surrenders to the Queen and the Sea People straight out of the gate and offer food and supplies with the leader trying to not show any type of hostility. Sadly, the Queen (after she comes out to see the leader and what the village is offering) still forces Kamau to slaughter the village anyway, apparently because their tribute wasn't big enough for her taste. Kamau tries to save them in a way by coming out and bringing the Queen some of their offerings to her, but she still threatens his daughter to get him to kill them anyway. The entire time he's killing them, Kamau has a traumatized stare and after the whole horrific event, Spear watches him as he cries in his cage. It's very obvious to even Spear that Kamau doesn't like what he's doing, and he's only doing it because the Queen is holding his daughter hostage in the same way she's holding Mira and Fang's kids hostage for them. Fang, a non-human reptilian who lost one of her children to Kamau by accident, only roars and walk away in disgust at the display of his unwilling massacre, managing to project the impression of disgusted pity for his plight despite everything, and she considers the Queen to be worse than the Night Feeder.
- When Spear makes his escape attempt, he opens Kamau's cage and obviously wants him to come with. Kamau just stares at him with a forlorn look, then turns away, his will so broken that he can't even try and muster the courage to risk getting his daughter and escaping.
Echoes of Eternity
- Mira's reaction to seeing Spear's art (some of which was made with his own blood). She's known him a long time by now, yet so much of his (and Fang's) lives before they met is a mystery. For the first time, she sees his beginnings, how he and Fang lost their families, how significant meeting her was and the isolation he's feeling in this, her moment of joy.
- Despite Spear, Fang, her children and Mira finally having a safe haven where they could theoretically spend the rest of their lives in peace (a village where Mira is recognized), Spear is still depressed. As he showed in his cave painting, even after the adventure he has had with Fang and Mira later on, he still sees himself as alone, as Mira is reunited with her people and Fang has children again. Spear still feels lonely, without a family of his own. It makes his sudden death all the more gut-wrenching. Though it turns heartwarming when Mira makes love to him in the next to last scene after realizing what his cave paintings mean, in order to show him he's not alone, and that she loved him.
- Spear's anguish at seeing the Chieftain set Fang on fire. It's the type of scream he probably hasn't let out since he lost his family. This is his friend, his partner and his soulmate screaming in agony in a way she never has before. This is what drove him to lunge towards the molten Chieftain. He was not about to lose another family on his watch.
- Spear is dead. He dies not in battle, but from the horrible burns inflicted on him by his battle with the empowered Chieftain. His death from his perspective is slow and painful, whilst from the viewer's perspective, it's very sudden. There's an extra level of sadness attached, seeing an awesome badass like Spear die, especially in such a manner.
- The mere sight of seeing Spear burnt to such an extensive and ghastly degree is this in of itself. We're talking about a guy who's survived entire onslaughts of other predators, savage ape men, a flood of snakes, an army of vikings and more, but now, his life of death-defying adventures has finally caught up with him.
- Prior to Spear's death, he is examined by the village's doctor who wordlessly confirms that there was nothing he could do. Fang roars in anguish before leaving with her children. It's even worse when you realize that on top of everyone else Fang's lost, from her original children, her second mate, to one of her second born children, her closest friend is now gone as well. To say she's been through the wringer and then some would be putting it mildly.
- What makes it even worse is the circumstances that led to Spear and Fang teaming up in the first place — both of them had lost their first families only to find solace in each other. And now, one of them has to relive that pain all over again once more.
- Even though he had done many terrible things such as being the one who enslaved Mira without remorse, the Chieftain's ultimate fate is horrifying: after landing a mortal blow to Spear, he is dragged back into Hell to suffer for eternity. It is implied that this was always going to be the case should he have killed both Spear and Fang.