Primeval New World episode 12 review: The Sound Of Thunder (Part One)

Review Philip Lickley 15 Feb 2013 - 07:10

Primeval New World reaches its eventful penultimate episode. Here's Philip's detailed review...

This review contains spoilers.

And here we are, the penultimate episode of Primeval New World, Canadian spin-off of the UK timehole-jumping dinosaur-hunting sci-fi drama, and the first part of the only labelled two-part episode of the thirteen-entry run. 

This series was promised to take the concept established in the British original but make it more adult and, perhaps, more realistic. In this episode it proves this, possibly more in the latter, by copying over a story from the first series of Primeval – namely the second episode – pretty much wholesale, but adding a grander sheen to it with helicopters, bases, and more time-jumping. But it also plunders series one for something even more exciting that the original failed to capitalise on, and wraps it up in some intriguing plot strands for the conclusion that make it, if not as exciting a lead-up to a conclusion like we got in series two, three and five of the original UK series, still a cracking episode of danger, threat and tension.

As ever, let's begin with a detailed look at the events of the episode. 

It’s a warm day and some attractive young men and women are playing beach volleyball in the park so queue some gratuitous slow-motion shots of hunks and babes battling it out. But all isn’t sun tan oil and balls, no, something is watching them from afar as one of the series’ trademark POV shots makes a re-appearance after a considerable absence. After the man the shot focusses on fails to chat up one of the opposing team members, she throws his ball into the woods which he fetches, but naturally stumbles across something nasty which, in a pretty swift and shocking attack, kills him outright via a stinging tail to the chest. 

Post-credits, and heading to the lab as opposed to Cross Photonics which had seemingly become the norm, the Colonel is talking to Angelika, who is keen to get Evan on their side, and also see the imprisoned Lieutenant Leeds. Angelika, it seems, has taken over management of Project Magnet and now has some swaying power, getting Leeds’ record cleaned and his rank returned. 

Moving back to Cross Photonics, and Toby has been setting up the detector elsewhere away from the Colonel’s soldiers, and has been working on a handheld device. In a neat twist and the first really good moment of the episode, Evan recognises it as the one “other” Mac dropped when he was saved from the Albertosaurus, the first of the episode’s handful of references to that event, and realises they could well be fulfilling history but he doesn’t stop her from changing the design. 

As Evan gets pulled out of the office for a phone call, Mac and Dylan briefly re-cap their discovery last week of the bacteria in the lab, with a question mark hanging over what they were doing and the idea of bio-engineering. Whether this will come back in the last episode, I don’t know, but every time they mention bio-engineering my mind flicks to the Future Predator – which we’ve yet to see in the spin-off. 

There is also the first big name-check back to the original series as Toby finally discovers one shred of discussion about the ARC – which she now knows as the ‘Anomaly Research Centre’ – in the UK, which she informs Mac about. 

We then find out Evan’s call was for him to meet Angelika who reveals her position at Project Magnet to him. She asked Evan to join the team but they end up arguing about the consequences of the Colonel’s planned actions, the pair morphing into the Cutters, though Angelika doesn’t appear to be the unhinged person Helen was. Tony interrupts their conversation, just about managing to avoid revealing the handheld detector, and Angelika leaves. 

The team track down the latest anomaly to Virginia beach, in an aged building with plenty of hiding-holes for a creature. Having analysed some tracks on the ground, they realise something dragged something heavy through the building, and theorise it’s some sort of arthropod. After a brief investigation they find the anomaly and the creature, with Mac and Dylan heading up to the second level to get closer. Meanwhile Toby demonstrates the detector, which can now tell how long it has left until it closes – a technology the ARC team never had the luxury of, but it’s malfunctioning and not being consistent with its readings. 

Mac and Dylan attack the bug but their weapons bounce off its hard casing but Mac manages to knock it to the ground with a nearby large log. They then all use metal sheeting in the building to push it back through the anomaly and succeed, though not without Toby taking a graze to the leg from the creature’s tail, which has been sufficient to, if not kill her outright, poison her. 

Evan calls Angelika as he knows she will have access to the toxicologist needed to help even if it means getting back into bed, so to speak, with Project Magnet. With a medical team on the way to the building the cat is out of the bag to the Colonel and Angelika about Evan still having a functioning detector. 

The medical helicopter lands and Toby is put aboard but can’t be cured unless they can create an anti-venom from the creature. In a mirroring of the episode where the same thing happened to Stephen, they realise they have to get through the anomaly, track down the creature and get it to attack them to collect the venom. 

For this Leeds, who appears on the scene, asks to join Evan and Dylan. There is a certain level of drama to their encounter and this episode certainly plays on the grey areas of which characters are good or bad. 

With the three going through the anomaly, we get to a genuine surprise in the episode, as they come to an area filled with anomalies, a sort of junction of time portals. One of these was shown once in an early series but never really referred back to, so it’s great to see it making an appearance here and being relevant to the plot. They even manage to throw in some scientific jargon and reference string theory so it’s expanded on nicely. With Evan fearing the damage the Colonel could do when faced with such a prospect, he asks Leeds to not let anyone else through and realises he has no choice but to trust the Lieutenant. 

Back in the present and Toby is in a hospital bed trying to work out why the handheld detector isn’t working but she’s visibly getting worse. But it’s back in the past where the exciting stuff is happening as Evan goes through one of the many anomalies and ends up back in the Cross Photonics building before he bought it, discovering it to be September 15th 2006, and six hours before his wife dies. Dylan and Evan argue about how messing could change anything and the pair share a moment when Evan dismisses her comment of ‘We would never have met’. The spark between the pair is still there under the surface, which is good as they seem more genuine than the romantic relationship between Evan and Angelika. 

This discovery must mean something for the final episode, and I feel it could be playing a part next week. There have been rumours that Connor is back in the last episode and based in London, which strongly suggests more time-hopping could be involved and I look forward to finding out. 

Outside of the anomaly, the collection team arrive but are successively stopped by a renewed Ken Leeds who once more flicks between sides. Meanwhile Toby is still trying to figure out the issues with the device but she is fading rapidly and needs a blood transfusion. Though must of this plot felt like a mirror of episode 1.2 of UK Primeval, these aspects introduced do make it seem more realistic at times. 

Back in the past and Dylan, on the trail of the bug, stumbles into a red, rocky volcanic landscape and falls straight into a pot hole, struggling to get out. 

Angelika, meanwhile, comes to see Toby and, in a nice piece of character development, they talk about how they met, as well as blocking anomalies and whether it would ever be possible. Toby also lets slip about the presence of the detector with Angelika holding her over a barrel about revealing the location, with the knowledge that if Evan doesn’t build the Colonel something, then he’s off to prison. Toby agrees to tell her but we don’t know if she does, as her health fades. The Colonel appears shortly after Toby is put on a ventilator and has a talk to the doctor about her. 

Dylan, back in the past, manages to get out of the pothole but a creature is approaching her and her gun is out of reach, but Evan saves her at the last minute, choosing Dylan over his wife, by shooting the creature in the mouth. They escape by rolling stones to detect pot holes but find the area unstable and experiencing regular tremors. 

Evan and Dylan though, successfully corner the creature in its nest, a dark area of interlocking tunnels found above an active fault line. There they find the dead volleyball player who has had his insides sucked out. Nice. 

In the present it’s found that Mac is a match for Toby so a blood transfusion is taking place and Angelika is frustrated by the lack of appearance of Evan and Dylan but Ken tries to stop her from sending in an investigation team, but in doing so reveals the presence of the junctions and also fails to stop her telling the Colonel who, she says, “needs to know everything”. 

In the tunnels Evan and Dylan hear the creature and in a battle manage to sever part of its tail to use as the anti-venom. However, a tremor sets off a rock fall, separating the pair with Evan trapped inside. Dylan, though, has the tail, and Evan orders her to save Toby and come back for him, but she fears the anomaly will close and Evan will be trapped forever, not to mention the presence of the prehistoric scorpion. 

In the presence Dylan’s heart has stopped and the defibrillator is brought in. In a quick series of dramatic flashes we ask the questions – will Toby survive? Will Evan escape the tunnel? Will Dylan get back to them both in time? The words ‘To be continued’ appear in screen and we realise we have to wait until next week to find out. 

The Sound of Thunder (Part 1) borrows heavily from the old series, with its key plot points lifted from episode 1.2 which created too much of a sense of familiarity, but does build a bigger sense of scale around them with plenty of tangible fear and danger. The allegiances of characters are tested and everything seems to pull together. The hints at next week’s episode – the discovery of an anomaly to before Evan’s wife was killed and the building of an identical looking handheld detector from that time – are intriguing and make me look forward to the final part, alongside the return to an anomaly junction, which make up for the lack of any huge over-arching excitement for the conclusion. The storyline around Toby is tense and I don’t know which way it will go, but chances are these bits of obstacles will be overcome, and it’s the larger arc of the Colonel and of Evan’s wife that will take centre stage. 

The episode does boast some great set pieces that create a sense of scale to the universe and some good CGI for the creature, but it doesn’t get too much of a chance to shine, and a nice mixture of monster-of-the-week and established plot lines. It wasn’t the most exciting penultimate episode the six series have given us but it was enough to whet my appetite for the season’s conclusion next week. It’ll just be interesting to see how much they wrap up and whether plotlines such as Howard who went back in time are brought back into the plot and how the creation of a detector that can measure how long an anomaly has left open allows it to deviate from the abilities of the original ARC team, probably in a second season…

Read Philip's review of the previous episode, The Inquisition, here.

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I dont understand why this is a two parter when next week will be very different
I thought this episode was pointless and nobody would notice if it did not screen
I hope in series 2 (?) that all characters accept Leeds morphs into a droppel-ganger like claudia brown din in Primeval series 1/2

I hope the very last episode is worth watching the first 12 ones
Does anyone think Mac will become the frozen Mac?
No future creature yet, i am certain the future predator will appear
Out of 16 promised species only 12 have appeared so 4 more must be in the last episode not counting the albertasaurus which is said to occur
Brooke and Sam's actresses have been said to be in 3 episodes but have only been in 2 so i wont be surprised if they appear in the last (brooke is certain to)

Could everyone please rate the main characters from 1 to 5

0 - To be killed by a creature
1 - Please get overwhelmed by creatures and leave
2 - To be re-introduced as a duplicate ( Claudia/Jenny)
3 - Could do better
4 - Good but annoying
5 - Awesome

Evan Cross - 4 - A good character, but he's not been made to be the most likeable of the bunch, and remains quite detached, more so than Nick Cutter did from his team, even early on.

Dylan Weir - 5 - Dylan is the perennial companion to the show, in my eyes. Just like Gwen Cooper was to Torchwood, or Scully was to Mulder in The X Files, Dylan is the character most relatable to the viewer. She can make strong points about animal welfare without being preachy, and there's plenty of mileage in her character, as she hasn't been forcefully pushed to the forefront of scenes for the sake of it.

Mac Rendell - 4 - Probably my least favourite of the team, though still a good one, my problem is in his depiction of "token British character". I enjoy having a Brit there, as it is a homage to Primeval: UK, but sometimes he says things that are media misinterpretations of British people. I didn't think this would be a problem, but if we could get around this, we'd have another winning character on our hands, who can enjoy having his shirt off more in Series 2 if he likes.

Toby Nance - 5 - Although a bit of a stereotypical "genius who doesn't realise her greatness", she is acted more than well enough to be endearing. She needs to be given a little more to do, as she keeps getting sidelined, and is relegated to the position of "team member in jeopardy". But she brings charm and humour to the table, making the Canadian team a lot more enjoyable than the clunky dynamic we got in UK Series 3,4 and 5.

Angelika Finch - 5 - Her character has come a long way in the series, and she started out as something of a Claudia Brown, but has become something completely different. It's nice to see that she brings the streak of humanity to the table, and is a good viewer-relations character, not to mention a maturer eye amongst them all. She expressed her desire to get away from anomalies and dinosaurs, but I hope she has a change of heart as her character is one I want to see develop further.

Ken Leeds - 5 - I nearly went for a '4' because he is the very essence of 'good but annoying'. Strangely, that's what makes him so awesome. A strength of New World above UK is that it doesn't seem to be falling into the trap of making characters who are good guys and villains. Ken Leeds is a character of mystery, and you never quite know if he is just a sweet little man trying to win the team over, or whether he's employing darker motives.

Colonel Henderson-Hall - 5 - A special mention to him, for being the 'bad guy' that isn't a bad guy. As already said, the show has successfully avoided the trap that claims too much sci-fi and fantasy, and that is having clear cut characters of good and evil. You look at the likes of Oliver Leek or Helen Cutter, and they're one step away from being moustache-curling panto villains. Phillip Burton took things in the right sort of direction, and ironically had a slight moustache. But is is Henderson-Hall, who has the full catepillar on his upper lip that has ironically come across as not a bad guy, but a guy with inflicting intentions. In other words, he's the bad guy, but he's just so nice about it!

Really enjoyed this series, and the finale finally decided to bring in some of the astounding natural scenery that Canada has to offer. I hope we get a Series 2 just so we can expand on this.
It was brilliant returning to the anomaly spaghetti junction concept which we saw in UK: Series 1... I was always frustrated that such an iconic scene never got revisited or resolved. It looks like it may here, and the two-parter has more to it than that with brilliant characters and so many plots all at once. The show is benefiting from the breathing space it has afforded itself, with 13 episodes to flesh out its characters and tell more intriguing stories rather than throwing "cool it's a dinosaur!" scenes at us every five seconds.
The CGI here was the best I've seen from the show so far... the Brontoscorpio was fantastic. Hoping that they have some more lined up for the final episode, where I am thinking we may get a visit from Evan's Albertosaurus friend. Also hoping we get a sufficient explanation for all things ARC... what happened to it, why has it been wiped from the internet? And hopefully an explanation as to why nobody is aware of the convergence in Series 5, just to tie up continuity.
If we get a Series 2, and hopefully we do, then I'd hope to maybe see some more future creatures again. Not tonnes of them, and don't go overboard with the sci-fi like UK: Series 3-5 seemed to do, but it will be a nice continuation. Maybe throw in Connor and Abby together, or maybe Lester on a visit for international relations and I cannot wait for more of what has grown into a fantastic series.

Evan Cross - 4, His genius is questionable. I said from the start that he should trust project magnet but he was right not to trust them.

Dylan Weir - 1 or 2, how come she instantly known the exact species the team is dealing with just from a glimps ( except episode 5 ). She needs more emotion, the actress seems to force the lines.

Mac Rendall - 4, If he was not changing his attitude every week he could be a 5

Toby Nance -3, could be better if she had more screen time

Ken Leeds - 5, ( no comment needed, self explanatory )

Angelika Finch - 2 or 3, Not motivated enough,

Col. H. Hall - 5, good intentions but with bad result kind of guy, he is much better than Phillip Burton with NEW DAWN

why does the lesser character and bad guys get better scores than the main cast?

i think last week's episode was better since it revealed more of the overall plot, but this was better than some of the earlier more stand alone episodes. the only really hard to believe thing is that out of all the times & places in the history of earth, dylan & evan go into an anomaly that takes them to cross photonics the day his wife dies. i guess the explanation would be that that is just where the anomaly is & thats how the dinosaur got in there, and thats why evan is the person doing the anomaly work since that instance happened, but it still seems too convenient or bizarre that out of a new anomaly theyve just found, it takes them to a field of anomalies, and the one they choose to go in leads to their workplace.

i also think that when a main character is in danger of dying like toby, most likely she will turn out ok, although i guess it doesnt always happen, but the person is saved probably 95%+ of the time, so it makes it not feel as nerve-wracking when u figure she will probably make it.

it also feels like dylan will come back for evan and he wont be there, because they said there was an underground tunnel system so he probably broke through a different sand wall or something, escaped that, and then did some anomaly hopping & learned some things that he could reveal in season 2.

& its obvious that the online blog about arc is from connor, i think we are all looking forward to seeing what info he will provide, i have a feeling if he appears in the finale like has been possibly rumored, it will be at like the very end and like they'll call his phone and not knowing who it is, he'll just say something like "my name is connor" and then the episode will end & we'll have to wait til season 2 to find out more.

I mostly agree re:Toby will survive, but I've seen a few Canadian series do unexpected and drawn-out deaths, and so the drama is still there for me.

For instance, last year's Series 3 of "The Listener" featured one of the three main cast members from the beginning of the series getting involved in a viral outbreak in a hospital. Throughout the episode they portrayed her infection as serious, but there was no real foreshadowing of her death, and it wasn't a finale episode. Then all of a sudden she was dead.

Flashpoint did a similar thing where a character (a cop) stepped on landmine that would activate once he lifted his foot. His team spent the entire episode trying to figure out how to diffuse it, they did not succeed.

Canadian TV shows tend to have a reactionary element to them, where they actively try and be different than U.S. television (this why most Canadian TV shows deal in grey areas rather than a black hat/white hat setup). In a U.S. television series she would definitely survive, so it's difficult to guess whether things are going to turn out okay for Toby.

In this case, I believe that Toby will survive mostly because the writers seem to like the chemistry between her and Mac, but it's definitely up in the air.

I agree with most of your points. Especially Toby. I really hope she survives. I also hope that they get Evan back to the present and don't end it on a cliffhanger, as, unfortunately, due to reviews we are not getting a season 2.

I hate to be the one to say this... but due to low ratings this show has not been renewed for a season two.

How are you so sure? From what I hear it's been picked up by several different countries and it say NOWHERE that it has been canceled.

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