DreamWorks’ Trollhunters began with the tale of Jim Lake Jr. (Anton Yelchin), a mild-mannered high school student in the sleepy suburb of Arcadia who discovers a hidden world of trolls beneath his feet and becomes embroiled in their centuries-long conflicts. From the wildly imaginative mind of Guillermo del Toro, Trollhunters introduced a brand new mythology to audiences everywhere, one that continued to evolved and deepen with every subsequent episode.
Now, in the third and final season of the hit show that just arrived on Netflix today, Jim Lake and his team of both human and troll allies alike will face the ultimate evil of Gunmar and his own vile cohorts. The final confrontation brings about a very satisfying conclusion to the Trollhunters’ story so far, with some twists and turns that fans are going to debate for years to come, and it also sets up the wild adventures ahead in “Tales of Arcadia.”
Before we get into the spoiler-free content of the final season of Trollhunters, let’s address the elephant in the room: Emile Hirsch was brought on board to finish out the work done by the late Yelchin as Jim Lake. It’s a tough decision that ultimately had to be made, one that executive producer Marc Guggenheim addressed in my recent chat with him. Hirsch takes over fairly early on in this season (Yelchin had done some voice work all the way up through Season 3 before his untimely passing) and that transition is noticeable but not distracting. I’m happy to say that, from there on out, it’s seamless; Hirsch becomes Jim Lake every bit as much as Yelchin did. The creative team did a good job with this one and the show never misses a beat.
With that in mind, there are a lot of plot arcs in the final season and its 13 episodes that need to be neatly tied up, or in one case introduced: The Trollhunters need to defeat Gunmar and defend the refugees who fled from Trollmarket, ultimately hoping to restore their home; our heroes also need to deal with Gunmar’s new, darkly powered allies; the family drama between Jim Lake and his mother needs to be reconciled; and, of course, there’s the necessary introduction of new characters to the city of Arcadia who will help to carry the story forward in upcoming Tales of Arcadia, like 3 Below and Wizards. (We’ll have more on that in the upcoming second part of our interview with Guggenheim.) So while there’s a lot to tackle, Season 3 of Trollhunters handles it all quite well while never losing track of the strong character relationships, heaps of humor, and pulse-pounding action–some of the best sequences in the entire series so far–that the show has become known and beloved for.
There is, however, a very big twist that comes about two-thirds of the way through Season 3 that’s going to have people talking and may even divide fans on exactly how they feel about the decision. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s impossible to miss once you’ve seen it. It’s a bold choice, which I respect, but I’m honestly still wrestling with how I feel about it internally; be sure to follow up with me on Twitter to let me know what you think. The things I’m totally clear on however is just how fantastic the core cast and supporting voice-actors are in this final season, especially newcomers David Bradley and Lena Headey. Their characters are introduced in exciting ways and their backstories are explained through some visually striking sequences that are not to be missed; hopefully this is a sign of things to come down the road for the future spin-off series.
And for the Trollhunters faithful, there are a lot of core elements to love. Toby gets both comedic and heroic moments (though his Nana outshines him on occasion and is a pure delight), Claire has a powerful arc that channels one of the most iconic horror movies in history, and Jim’s responsibility as the Trollhunter who bears Merlin’s amulet is put to its ultimate test, a test that serves as a metaphor for young Jim Lake Jr.’s own transition into manhood. Also, time is wisely spent giving NotEnrique, Blinky and Dictatious, Gnome Chompsky, and the supporting cast of both humans and trolls in Arcadia their time to shine. Time is also dedicated to exploring more of the troll civilization’s history and teasing the wider world of weirdness that exists around Arcadia, all before the story told in the show’s three seasons comes to an epic conclusion. But along the way, some tough sacrifices will be made and those who are left standing at the end of the final battle will be forever changed …
There’s a lot going on in this season, perhaps too much to address everything fans want in as deep a way as they want it, but Trollhunters wraps up nicely and rewards fans for their years of devotion. There can only be good things ahead for the continuing adventures of Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
“Destiny is a gift … Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor, that to strive and triumph in the face of fear, is what it means to be a hero. Don’t think … Become!”
Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia Season 3 is available on Netflix now!