For the first time in a while, I actually looked forward to this week’s Primeval. I have, I think been a bit harsh on the show, as we have now had back-to-back good solid episodes and it seems the writers have really hit their stride.
This week, by splitting up the crew and having consecutive stories they have the best of both worlds. You get one show-long arc per episode being a ‘monster of the week’ type action-based story, while the other is a deeper series-wide arc that has Helen Cutter and her mysterious mysteries undermining the work of the ARC team.
So with the dual stories, the scene is set, and the show really has become a seriously fun part of Saturday night.
With this week’s creature there is a change from the usual teeth, claws and murderous vibe as an anomaly opens between floors of a hospital, releasing cuddly Diictodons. They’re described as ‘badger-y beaver things’ but are more like pudgy dog-sized dinos that tumble around, look cute but also have a tendency to burrow and eat. While not a major man-eating threat, these cuddly critters are causing damage by cutting off vital functions in a hospital and it is up to the team to try and stop them, while at the same time delivering a baby.
While the MacGuffin is uninspiring: to get the Diictodons back through the portal, the scene where the chubby things are climbing over each other to get back trhough did bring a chuckle. And a nod should be given the FX guys who had to render so many of the little buggers and still managed to make them full of personality.
However, this little detour really isn’t the main part of the show which is a lot more malevolent and sinister, and really kicked off a good half way through.
While Cutter is hard at work herding dinos, Helen has been busy, with her breaking and entering explained from last week, as she is shown to have collected some of Cutter’s DNA to make a clone of him. As with her army of ‘cleaners’, she uses the Cutter clone to her own nefarious ends, using him to break in and set up a coup in the ARC. Without spoiling the end of the show, there is a very explosive climax and it seems that some of the cast will not be walking away to see next week (and the proposed ‘big bad’ of the series).
This darker story sheds a little more light onto what Helen is doing and how she has managed to stay one step ahead of the team. Plus, light is shed on her cool pocket dimension future base hideout. It also shows that the chunky bodyguard ‘cleaners’ she has had replicated are really just one of many easily disposable pawns that think nothing of destroying themselves at a simple command.
With just enough for you to come back for every week this continuing storyline is unfolding nicely, and similar to when X-Files was good, tempts and entices you to find out what really is going on behind the scenes.
Again an impressive episode and one that really shows that maybe after the misfire of the first episode ITV might nearly have found their own Doctor Who.
Check out Robert’s review of episode 2 here.