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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The identities of the two cavemen in the flashback scene in "A Cold Death" are subjects to two different interpretations. The more obvious one is that it's Spear teaching his son how to hunt. The other is that Spear is the kid, and the older caveman is his father who has Strong Family Resemblance. Supporters of the latter idea point to slight design differences: the adult caveman looks slightly hairier than Spear, and the boy looks a bit older than the one who gets killed in "Spear and Fang". The editing does not indicate which interpretation is the correct one. However, "Echoes of Eternity" shows Spear's father for the first time and makes it clear that they look very different, confirming that the pair in "A Cold Death" really were Spear and his son.
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    • In "Plague Of Madness", the infected Argentinosaurus starts banging its head against the chasm walls after getting temporarily stuck. Is it doing this because it's a mindless creature letting out a rage because its predicament stops it from pursuing Spear and Fang? Or is it because it managed to gain a semblance of control and tried to kill itself to end its misery?
    • When Lula saves Spear, was she just staying behind to keep the matriarch busy long enough for Fang and Spear to escape? Or was she intending not to survive the battle all along? If the latter, was it out of guilt for the coven's actions? Was she tired of living as a pariah and watching everyone else with their children? Or did she just decide this was the best way to see her daughter again?
      • Why did Lula's coven seem to shun her and shield their daughters from her? Do they blame her for her daughter's death, and fear she might harm their children as well? Or are all witches just naturally inclined to protect their offspring from their childless sisters, as seen when Lula snaps at the others at her daughter's birth?
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    • Once the Chieftain manages to fatally wound Spear, the devil-like entity he made a deal with then proceeds to have him Dragged Off to Hell. Was this because the Chieftain completed his duty in killing Spear and therefore fulfilled his end of the bargain, or was the entity pulling a You Have Failed Me on the Chieftain for letting himself be defeated by Spear or failing to kill Fang? Fans have taken different sides on this matter.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Season 1 episode 3 shows a herd of mammoths mourning the elderly mammoth that Spear and Fang killed. Modern-day elephants are actually known to be one of few species observed in the wild to mourn their dead, to the point they may stay with a dead family member for hours on end.
  • Applicability: In spite of numerous speculations as to the identity of the enigmatic demon god seen in season 2 (with many attempting to correlate it to various mythological figures), Word of God has opted not to provide an answer, instead making it clear that the viewer can see it as whatever they wish.
  • Awesome Art: Second only to Samurai Jack, this is Genndy Tartakovsky's best-looking show, with a visceral, "pulpy" aesthetic, some incredible character designs (some courtesy of Ren & Stimpy co-creator Bob Camp) and incredibly fluid animation.
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    • "Plague of Madness", for all its nightmarish horror, is a particularly good example of this with the motions and movements of the infected sauropod as it massacres its herd and chases after Spear and Fang—that titanic mobile corpse looks incredible.
  • Bizarro Episode: "The Primal Theory". Skipping ahead to the year 1890, and focusing on a group of scientists fighting an escaped mental patient.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Spear violently killing every last one of the ape-men after their champion grievously injures his companion Fang.
    • After Ima spent nearly three episodes forcing Spear, Fang, and Kamau to be her glorified living WMD's, and especially after she forced Kamau to slaughter a surrendering village, audiences were quite happy when Kamau finally mustered the courage to rebel against her and toss her overboard to her death.
  • Complete Monster:
    • "Rage of the Ape-Men": The Shaman is the religious leader of the Ape-Men and responsible for the savage and brutal nature of their primitive society. The Shaman has sole control over a mysterious black goo that gives its consumer monstrous strength, and he forces the strongest members of their society to fight to the death for a mere drop. When Fang and Spear are captured by the Ape-Men, the Shaman plans to use them as prizes for the champion to take sadistic pleasure in tearing apart in a completely one-sided battle, among the countless such victims given the vast array of bones in their arena.
    • "The Night Feeder": The titular Night Feeder is a vicious, sapient predator of a dinosaur that kills solely for sport and pleasure. Slaughtering one hapless creature and leaving the remains in a manner that panics even the hardened T. rex Fang, the Night Feeder centers in a large herd of herbivores and butchers all of them, simply for the thrill of killing frightened beings. Centering in on Fang and Spear, the Night-Feeder attempts to hunt them down, savoring their terror all the while.
    • "The Primal Theory": "The Mad-Man" is a giggling cannibal murderer who barges into an English manor after escaping his asylum. The Mad-Man goes about killing everyone in the manor, often eating parts of them while they're still alive, killing all but two of the gentlemen in the Historical Society and their cook to boot. When he's trying to finish the two of them off, the Mad-Man elects against drowning one of them to instead start eating the other alive as he finds it crueler, evincing clear sadistic intelligence behind his seemingly primitive savagery.
    • "The Colossaeus" three-part arc: Queen Ima is an utterly ruthless, sadistic woman who uses her warship to sail the world looking for lands and peoples to pillage. Ima enslaved Kamau's people years ago, taking Kamau's daughter Amal as a hostage to turn him into her personal killing machine and forcing him to slaughter countless thousands of people against his pacifistic nature. Even when a peaceful island offers their goods and servitude to Ima, she coldly forces Kamau to massacre the population anyway. Upon confronting Spear, Fang, and Mira, Ima takes Fang's eggs as hostage to Spear and Fang into more warriors of hers, and forces Mira to become a sexual dancer for Ima's pleasure, killing a man in front of her just to prove a point. When Kamau and Spear lead a revolt against her, Ima spitefully tries to kill Amal and Fang's babies to punish them all.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • The infected Argentinosaurus from "Plague Of Madness". The poor thing wasn't even malicious to begin with; it was just a peaceful herbivore who got bitten by an infected dinosaur and turned into an Ax-Crazy monster as a result. Unlike the viewer, Spear doesn't get to see it living peacefully among its herd, but still comes to the same conclusion nonetheless and looks genuinely saddened by the monster's death. The somber music that plays as it the lava flames char it out of its misery only makes it more pitiable.
    • The Vikings. While they're a ruthless horde who enslaved many people, including Mira, and were antagonistic to Spear and Fang, their deaths are depicted in a tragic light when the Chieftain and his son return home to find every man, woman, and child in their village slaughtered. The two are nearly crippled with grief as they bury their loved ones and give them the best funeral they can, and even while they hunt the protagonists out of vengeance, it's shown that their loss is still weighing heavily down upon them, and Eldar's death a few episodes later causes the Chieftain to completely give into despair. It goes to show the full consequences of even evil having loved ones.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Several of the creatures that appear for one episode have gained some popularity. Such as the pterosaur from Episode 1, the saber-toothed wolves from Episode 3, and the raptors from Episode 4.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Ima is a ruthless, sadistic ruler, but she's also a beautiful woman in a revealing outfit, who at one point performs a seductive dance to tease one of her prisoners. By comparison, the other most prominent female character, the kind-hearted Mira, is relatively more plain-looking (though by no means unattractive) and wears rags for most of her screentime (and even her Go-Go Enslavement outfit is less skimpy than the Queen's dress).
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Night Feeder is also known in some fandom circles as the "Were-Raptor," due to the (unconfirmed) theory that the Small Theropod Fang and Spear encounter during the daytime is the same creature, and it transforms at night.
    • The Satanic Archetype that the Viking chief makes a deal with is known in the fandom and even on this wiki as "the Scorpion", due to his Horned Humanoid appearance resembling the menacing horned figure Mira draws in the episode "The Slave of the Scorpion", and fans thus assuming that he was the leader of the marauders using the scorpion symbol. "Vidarr" shows that the Viking chief, the actual leader of the slavers, has never encountered the Satanic figure before, and "Echoes of Eternity" reveals that Mira's drawing merely depicted a Viking warrior in a horned helmet, suggesting that "the Scorpion" is a misnomer.
    • The leader of the Egyptians is known as "Queen Bitch" in the fandom, due to being an absolutely despicable villain even compared to the other antagonists of the series, and her default expression being a "resting bitch face".
  • Friendly Fandoms: Naturally other fans of Genndy Tartakovsky's work such as Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack are also fans of or at least get along nicely with Primal fans, especially with the former thanks to Spear's Reused Character Design.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The horned Humanoid Abomination that leads the Coven in episode 8 is clearly modeled on "The Sorcerer", a famously enigmatic cave painting speculated by some to be a representation of a prehistoric, animistic deity.
    • The effects of the titular disease in "The Plague of Madness" causes the infected Argentinosaurus's head to take on a more skeletal appearance, resembling older depictions of sauropods that had less soft tissue, an artistic meme paleontologists informally refer to as "shrinkwrapping" - this image is a good comparison. In contrast, the uninfected Argentinosauruses have more modern-looking heads.
    • Watch how Red and Fang interact with one another. Fang immediately takes the lead, Red is ready to cede his territory to her without a fight, she chooses to accept him into what is now her territory. Afterwards, she takes the lead for the most part until he attacks the Celtic village. This is classic behavior for modern raptors, the birds of prey: They are matriarchal and females take the lead in most things. And what are modern birds of prey? Evolved theropods.
    • At another point Red entices Fang into eating fermented berries with him, so they get absolutely smashed together. Real-life carnivores and many other animals will do this too. And how does Red do this? With a little courting-dance that could have been taken straight from a modern Bird-of-Paradise.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The episode where the Egyptian Queen dies aired on the same day the Queen of England passed away.
  • He's Just Hiding: Despite Word of God confirming that Spear died from his injuries in "Echoes of Eternity", some fans still believe he might have survived, since he's endured similar trauma across the series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Thanks to his Reused Character Design, fans joked that the series would end with Spear time-warping into Dexter's Laboratory in a recreation of "Old Flame". One of [adult swim]'s 2020 bumpers showed him doing exactly that, though Dexter's sadly not there to see it.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Lula is a sorrowful yet cunning witch who belongs to a coven that performs ritualistic Human Sacrifice to create newborn daughters for their order. Losing her own child to an unfortunate accident, Lula subdues Spear and Fang when they stumble upon the coven and plans to sacrifice Spear to replace her dead daughter. Upon witnessing their close bond, Lula travels into their memories and witnesses the shared loss of their own families and resolves to free the pair out of newfound sympathy. In a clever ambush, Lula attacks her coven while they are distracted by the birthing ritual and slays her matriarch's mount to draw her into a duel. Holding off her former mistress, she sends Fang to rescue and run away with Spear, and she ultimately dies accepting her fate and reunites with her daughter in the afterlife.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I think Jack went too far back to the past", since both shows share a creator and the main characters of both shows look quite similar.
  • Moral Event Horizon: While it's established from the start that Ima was an evil woman, she truly crosses it on-screen when she forces Kamau to wipe out a village of pacifists, despite them giving up their food to her as tribute.
  • Narm:
    • The over the top brutality at times is unintentionally ridiculous like the sheer beat down Spear delivers on a single Tyrannosaurus that culminates in throwing a spear like a bullet through its torso.
    • Unless they explicitly die or have their limbs ripped off, any injuries a character gets will be perfectly healed later. And by later, we mean as soon as the camera changes shots, mere seconds after said injury.
    • In the fourth episode, as the bats attack, Fang jumps on the head of three of them in a row, which looks like a side-scroller video game. Only the Goomba Stomp sound effects are missing.
    • In the fifth episode the ape-man champion invokes the infamous Naruto run for a fairly long shot.
    • The wide, arm-swinging run that Spear uses in "Plague of Madness" is a little hard to take seriously. He's never run in this way before. Then again, considering what's chasing him in this episode, maybe he just lost his composure?
    • As unpleasant as the plague was on the argentinosaur? The sight of it just VOMITING blood in the lake as two sauropods give it a look that screams "Dude, we DRINK from there!" Kills the dramatic mood.
    • The long, quiet sequence of the Viking Chieftain and his son returning to their village only to find their homes destroyed and dozens of dismembered corpses strewn about is treated with appropriate dignity...until the Chieftain spots the body of his wife amongst the carnage, where he makes a :O face which the camera hangs onto just a little too long.
    • Spear lies hideously burned beyond recovery and seemingly on death's door. He says Mira's name, she's devastated, but as she looks over the paintings he made on the wall, she begins to smile, and this, it seems, will be Spear's legacy...the family he forged and the memories they made together. And then Mira gets on top and starts bouncing.
  • Nausea Fuel: Some of the symptoms of the eponymous plague in "Plague of Madness" are as disgusting as they are horrifying. These include flesh rotting green and dripping off the bones, pulsating pustules, and extensive vomiting of blood. Even worse, we're treated to a close-up of its flesh when Spear and Fang sneak past the infected sauropod while it's dormant.
    • In a rare instance of something being both this trope and heartwarming, when Fang gives birth in the sixth episode of season two we are shown a couple of closeups of the eggs exiting her cloaca.
  • Nightmare Fuel: See here.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Some of the creatures with cool and interesting designs have only very short screentime, after which they disappear from the show altogether. Prime examples are the Deinosuchus and the pterosaur, who both appear in the first episode before the tragedy that kicks off the plot and the saber-toothed wolves from the third episode.
  • Shrug of God: Genndy Tartakovsky neither confirms nor denies whether the giant Satanic Archetype is the vengeance-god Vidarr, Satan himself, or some other demonic entity, saying the viewers can see him as whatever they want.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The climax of "Rage of the Ape-Men", where Spear goes on a fantastically bloody, ruthless, and cathartic rampage on the titular ape-men after drinking their very own Super Serum.
    • The entire episode "Plague of Madness". Most people remember this episode due to its extreme Nausea Fuel and rampant Body Horror. The opening scene where the Argentinosaurus is slowly overcome with their disease remains as one of the most viewed clips about the show. The shot of the zombie Argentinosaurus leaping over a lava pit was featured heavily in the trailers for the second season as the Signature Scene representing the first season.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Being a story set in an alternate world were cavemen, vikings, and even victorian gentleman appear alongside dinosaurs, Primal is the closest thing to an adaptation of the RTS game Paraworld we've ever seen.
  • Squick:
    • "Vidarr" features a very detailed scene of Fang giving birth (well, laying eggs, but still in more detail than the audience likely needed to see). The gift of life turns out to not be all too pretty when you're given full process.
    • While still sweet in some ways, the tenderness of Mira and Spear consummating their relationship near the end of "Echoes of Eternity" is made less pleasant-looking and somewhat more awkward by Spear being bedridden, positively deformed by his burn scars, and depending on whether any of his nerve endings remained intact, either in an excruciating amount of pain or incapable of feeling anything at all.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: For the finale of Season 2, many fans feel like for one episode, the plot was too rushed as the Chieftain was defeated so quickly, whereas Spear’s death wasn’t properly hinted beforehand, nor was his death given the proper sendoff afterwards like numerous other characters were, despite being the protagonist. In addition, the episode does not reveal in detail what happened between his death and the events of the timeskip ending. This is a similar situation to the finale of Samurai Jack (a show also produced by Genndy Tartakovsky), which was also rushed.
  • Too Cool to Live: Spear dies in his Final Battle against the empowered Chieftain, but doesn't go down defeated.
  • Ugly Cute:
  • Viewer Species Confusion:
    • Despite being confirmed to be a Tyrannosaurus rex by the creators, Fang is often believed to be a different tyrannosaur like Daspletosaurus since she tends to look smaller than a real T. rex in most shots, which is actually due to the show's inconsistency.
    • Viewers thought the theropods from the pilot were Ceratosaurus due to their horns. The animatics, however, call them Horned Tyrannosaurus.
    • The sauropods in episode 7 were initially identified by fans as Camarasaurus, due to the shape of their heads. The animatic simply calls them sauropods. According to episode writer David Krentz, they are Argentinosaurus.
    • The wild dogs in episode 6 are easy to mistake for hyenas because of the shape of their heads, their sloping backs, and some of their vocalizations.
    • Many believe the Giant Birds are intended to be Argentavis, but given the teeth and general design they could simply be fictional giant birds. They're also much bigger than Argentavis, being as large as Fang and appearing to have a wingspan of over 40 feet in some shots. Then again, this show takes creative liberties all the time.

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