Main cast: Karl E Landler (Byron), Guillaume Dolmans (Tybalt), Frédérique Bel (Laerana), Patrick Rocca (King Tobias), and Dominique Pinon (Stanley Summers)
Director: Guillaume Lubrano
Second Son has a reasonable link to King’s Crown and an odd link to Three on a Match, the latter odd in that Stanley Summers shows up here in a cameo despite the two episodes being a complete 180 in terms of setting – the other episode is straight up sci-fi while this one is sword and sorcery. Maybe Dominique Pinon has a lot of free time to hang around the set.
Set in the neighboring kingdom of that in King’s Crown, this one sees King Tobias ruling from a castle that is blessed – or cursed, depending on whom you ask – so that as long as one is within the castle grounds, one will never die. For the titular character, Byron, this is a curse because because he has never been able to best his older brother Tybalt in anything, and their father enjoys having both brothers duel to the death for everyone’s entertainment. For Byron, this means constant public humiliation, one after another, so he plots with his brother’s paramour, Laerana, to lure Tybalt off the castle ground to kill him off for good. But will the plan work?
Like many episodes in the Métal Hurlant Chronicles series, this one has an intriguing premise, but the payoff is quite meh. This one has Byron being bullied constantly by Tybalt, so I suppose I’m supposed to cheer for him to succeed? But the twist is something completely different, one that doesn’t capitalize or improve on the premise in any way. It’s just one that has me go, “Wait, so that’s it? That’s all there is? Lame.” Let’s just say that it’s like waiting all night to unwrap one’s Christmas gift only to find that it’s the usual coffee mug inside.
On the bright, the cast is very easy on the eyes. Just don’t mind the awkward delivery of lines.