After last week’s dodgy CGed pussy cat themed episode, this week’s show takes a more aquatic feel, with a water-based anomaly appearing that allows more than one prehistoric nasty to appear in present day. With a hint of CHUD, Alligator, The Host and giant-creatures-in-the-sewer urban myth-like paranoia, this episode starts with children being dragged down into the sewers by an unseen creature. While not as terrifying as Pennyworh the clown’s infamous sewer shenanigans this is pretty gruesome stuff for a 7 o’clock timeslot that has a lot of children watching.
As the action moves to inland waterways, the team meet up with another ‘future’ creature in the form of an evolved shark. Begging, stealing and borrowing from every water-themed horror scenario, the team go through every cliché in the book with things underwater bumping boats and members of the team falling overboard while a evil-looking fin draws ever closer. It’s all been seen before, but hey, it’s all fun and the future shark isn’t too bad, especially when the thing gets gutted. However, all is not what it seems and this sharky monster is really a decoy and diversion for the big bad of the week – which are actually other future creatures called the Mer who are a cross between orcs and, well, Mermaids (or should that be Mermen?).
Whereas last week’s episode was a bit off form, this week’s show really hits its stride with two great action sequences and the finale with the Mer is one of the highlights of the series. Again there are complaints about the CG with the Mer not really having the textures or detailing they should have, but on the whole the entire thing works quite well. Even though there is the occasional groan inducing moment the action on the whole is fun, fast paced and not too badly pulled off at all.
With the upping of the action the season’s arcs and overall story also hots up. We get to see Caroline’s true colours when she locks Rex in a fridge and tries all she can to split up Conner and Abby who are slowly but surely becoming an official item. We also get to see the mysterious guard again who seemingly got ripped to pieces in episode 1. We also get the hint that Leek (who I shall stop referring to as Martin from Green Wing) is actually in cahoots with Helen Cutter who once again makes a small appearance and seems to know a lot more of what is going on than she lets on. These slow reveals, with just enough conspiracy stuff happening each episode, adds a lot more to the overall Primeval universe and makes the show a lot better than it should be..
However, it wouldn’t be a Monday morning review without at least a little moan, and to be honest it’s pretty hard to moan about this episode at all, which is the best so far this season. But I am fed up to the back teeth with the inane, stupid and very very irritating Haven adverts that interrupt the show. I know sponsorship is where the money is in TV but after the first episode the clever ‘little monster’ ads have worn very thin indeed. All I can say is thank goodness for DVD recorders.
All in all, this was the best episode this season by far, with both the monstrous and conspiracy threats working nicely and even though the show snaffles cliché after cliché from every show, film and book out there, Primeval is still great Saturday evening telly.