After last week’s hiatus thanks to Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent (believe me, I wasn’t pleased either) we finally get the finale episode of season three of Primeval. Now for those with a long memory, I spent the first few reviews of this series being grumpy, negative and looking at ITV’s attempt to produce a Who-like show with derision. Really we had just had the appalling Demons to sit though and the thought of another sci-fi based show in the same vein (and after two mediocre series) did not fill me with the utmost confidence. However, over the past ten weeks or so, Primeval has, well, evolved and become a pretty damn good piece of Saturday night telly.
The evolution has been slow but efficient. The tweaking of the cast, getting rid of deadwood characters (sorry Jenny and Cutter) and replacing them with the much more interesting Sarah and Danny, and the expansion of the whole investigation of the anomalies has, for me, been a vast improvement. And here, at the end of the series, we get a well deserved finale to round of what has quite frankly been a great (if silly) bit of action adventure television.
After last episode’s revelation that Helen was, in fact, Eve and had been plotting all along to get into the ARC with the intention of destroying what the team has built ‘for the future of humanity’ and to stop the growth and eventual takeover of Earth by the Future-Predators, we find the team once again split up. They’re tackling different elements to try and stop Helen from carrying out her plan.
Splitting the group up we have Sarah and Becker in the ‘anti-ARC’, clearing up the chaos Helen created (as well as trying to sort out the issue of Christine Johnson being eaten last week), having to battle giant bugs and, most importantly, trying to close the trapped anomaly. The rest of the team are involved in the much more dangerous task of tracking down and trying to stop Helen.
For this task you can really see where most of the budget of the series went as Conner, Danny and Abby jump from anomaly to anomaly following Helen through a series of times, encountering creatures and dinosaurs in each time period they visit. In what looks like Tenerife, we have the team battling raptors, in a future post-apocalyptic time (probably Milton Keynes), we have them set against future predators and so on, all of which is edge of your seat stuff.
Eventually tracking Helen down, the team confronts her and finds out that her plan is a lot more insane than first thought. Having figured out what the artifact is and what it does (it’s a sort of future hard drive for anomalies), it’s then revealed that it can be used to go back to a specific point in time, namely 333 (a specific code used by archaeologists when describing the first ‘dig’ where hominins – or proto-humans – were found). The team find that it’s Helen’s intent to go back to the site in Rift Valley and poison the first settlement of hominins, which would mean that humans would not evolve and as such never exist.
After a great climax, and a little nod to Jurassic Park, the team eventually foil Helen’s plan. However, not everything goes to plan as the team it seems are stuck in the past as their anomaly to get home closes before they have a chance to reach it.
With a great cliffhanger ending and everything open for a potential fourth series, the finale of this season really does tie everything together. The bad guy is vanquished, the threat is over and the potential for further adventures is built in rather than shoe-horned. With Abby, Conner and Danny in the past, there are limitless ideas of where to take the show and with the potential for a US version or possible film, the writers have laid the groundwork for a whole new set of adventures.
Fun, exciting and a really good pay-off of ten weeks of action-packed telly, season three of Primeval really surprised me, taking an old television cynic, sick of badly written shows and poorly executed ideas (Demons…again) Primeval really showed that with the right idea, a good cast of likeable characters and a creative team that has invested time and effort into a concept you can, with a bit of look, make a series as enjoyable as this. Now if we can have more of the same from ITV rather than another talent show or celeb-based jungle thingy, I would be happy. Roll on season four.
Check out Robert’s review of episode 9 here.