‘..Food for five years, a thousand gallons of gas, air filtration, water filtration, Geiger counter. Bomb shelter! Underground… God damn monsters.’ Oh, sorry. I thought I was watching Tremors this Saturday evening and if Burt, Earl et al had been in this episode, things would have been a lot more entertaining. This week on Primeval, Cutter and co go head to head with Graboids… sorry, giant underground spider/scorpion thingies.
I really shouldn’t like Primeval as much as I do. The show has all the right elements but after every episode I feel deflated and a little bit conned. Yet weirdly I then keep coming back for more. I would compare the feeling of watching the show to sitting down to enjoy, say, Reign of Fire (because the poster had a dragon vs a helicopter on it) or episodes of Star Trek Voyager (because this series had potential, at the beginning anyway) – all the requisite bits are there but it’s hollow, empty and you think it should be a lot better than it actually is. Whether it’s down to the budget, editing or the high expectations I have for sci-fi and fantasy I don’t know but week after week I am a little more disheartened and disappointed by the laziness and cheapness of Primeval, which is fast becoming a week on week homage to the best monster movies ever.
With last week’s Jaws cliché-ridden effort, the writers obviously thought they were onto a winner by tapping into the bag of stuff we have seen before, and as mentioned this week take a huge chunk of the story straight from Tremors, a film that stands the test of time as being one of the best b-movie monster flicks of all time. So what have the writers nabbed? Well, there is a ‘gun crazy bad guy who cannot see the blooming obvious and goes or a tirade and gets his comeuppance’ bit; a ‘lets trick the monster into thinking we are somewhere else’ gig and sandstorm; a ‘huge expansive space we have to run across filled with monsters that we have get across to get to safety’ cliché and finally the ‘run to the rocks’ bit. All we needed was Fred Ward and Kev Bacon.
Adding insult to injury we don’t even get to see the monster for ages, and once we do its very disappointing: a hybrid prehistoric sand crab thingy that had no texture and far too much motion blur on it – a sure sign that the CG artists didn’t have enough time to design the creature.
Still, moaning aside, we can’t have everything and while the monster of the week element of the show was pretty poor, the overall conspiracy arc got a little better. Abby, Connor and Lester take a back seat this week as instead we have Helen Cutter turning up, doing her MILF thing on Stephen and subtly stating that there is a traitor on the team. Now we all know that Martin from Green Wing is a bad buy and working in cahoots with Helen; however, judging by the way Helen talks, maybe there’s more than one? We have seen that there is a black-ops team (well, what remains of one anyway) doing a lot of dirty work for somebody. This mistrust and slow reveal with little tit-bits and behind the scenes shenanigans dropped here and there is really making the series – and while Helen goes about taking the team apart using her womanly wiles to slowly increase the mistrust, Caroline, goes all bunny boiler on Rex, using him as tennis practice and blasting his cute dinosaur head across the room with a very nifty backhand.
So with the team coming apart, blaming and mistrusting each other it seems that it’s curtains for the team. Looking at next week’s trailer, it seems that one of the motley crew of dinosaur fighters might be taking a bit of a dirt nap as the ‘Future Predator’ returns.
Overall this was a passable episode. Not nearly as good as last week’s aquatic fun, and the fact that the writing team lazily stole the monster, surroundings and even the escape route set my teeth on edge, but the episode redeemed itself with the growing sense that the finale isn’t far away – the moment when all the back-stabbing, hidden agendas and secrets are finally revealed…