Last week I might have been a little harsh, giving the first episode in this new series a bit of a critical pasting and, while it might not be as bad as I suggested, it was still pretty weak. However, I am big enough to eat my words regarding the show’s quality, as this week’s episode was really very good indeed.
Moving away from the ARC and the political shenanigans therein this really is a stand-alone episode, taking half the crew out of the confines of the usual set up and instead has them investigating a haunted house. This Scooby-Doo-like affair sees Abby (without the gratuitous pants shots) Conner and Jenny investigating a house in which mysterious happenings have been going on and could potentially be a site for an anomaly opening. It also has a very sinister little girl (who has the same dress-sense as the girl in the horror classic Don’t Look Now) looking all sinister and doing the un-nerving little creepy kid thing as well as being the first episode to feature regular new cast member Jason Flemyng as Danny Quinn, who has a personal connection to the house.
The house, as we find out, has stood derelict for a decade, being the site of the mysterious disappearances of two teens (one being Quinn’s brother) while the surviving member of the trio is sent nearly insane from what occurred.
However, the spooky goings-on are not the work of a poltergeist, ready to suck a new victim into the telly or some mysterious Pennywise-like creepy thingy, but rather the appearance of an anomaly and with it a weird Gremlin-like creature with chameleon-like skills.
Now, I know that the series is dinosaur-based and that the anomalies can come from the past or future, but, really, I think the show is stretching things a little with the whole ‘they are creatures from anywhere and when and linked to myth stuff’ as it has given the writers more free reign but with it things really should be put into context. As the great philosopher Ben Parker said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and if you are going to pick and present random cool looking fantasy creatures, at least give them a little background
Admittedly, the gremlin thingy (referred to as ‘Camouflage Beast’ on a lot of Primeval sites) wasn’t half bad visually and made a cunning protagonist. However, while the CG and camera cuts made this little whirlwind of teeth and claws seem like a major threat, when something is not given a name, an origin or any real purpose, it’s hard to care or be able to comment on it, and it’s effectively a pile of pixels. As I said last week, give me a shot at a bit of writing for the show and I am sure I could come up with a cool semi-plausible origin for the beastie.
From what sites have said and reading a little about the creature, it seems that this golem-like monstrosity is from the future – and is going to be used in a similar way to the ‘Future Predator’ of the previous season, having some tie-in with Helen Cutter and an as-yet-unseen problem or ‘big bad’ in the future.
Talking of Helen, her shapely and quite nasty form also made an appearance. Moving away from the bust-thrusting suits of last season, this year’s style of trying to break into the ARC has her being all James Bond-like, decked out in black and trying by any means necessary to stop the ARC team from figuring out what is going on – be it breaking into Cutter’s house at the end or sending in one of her ‘clones’ (the chunky bloke who seems to die a lot) to find out about the 3D time and space anomaly spotter that Cutter and the rest of the team are working on; it seems that she will try any means to take out her opponents and retrieve the artefact thingy we saw last week.
Overall, this was a good solid episode that made a lot more sense than last week, having the action team out and about while the scientist guys worked back at the lab. This half-and-half team seemed to work, as there was no need to juggle so much, and the solid story for the haunted house elements really worked well. Adding a dash of horror and the odd homage or two from other classic fright-night monster movies made for a decent change of pace.
In addition, the appearance of and potential for Quinn was smooth and clear, and unlike last week, was not forced into the plot. Whether he will be working with the ARC crew or as a solo investigator remains to be seen, but the character is intriguing and likeable enough to make me want to tune in and find out more.
Overall, a lot better that last week and some good solid scares to boot. Roll on next week!
Check out Robert’s review of episode 1 here.