As geek icon Egon Spengler says, “Print is dead…I collect spores, moulds and fungus”. And it seems he would be right in his element this week as Primeval goes all mushroom-like as a prehistoric spore contaminates everything it touches.
We kick things off this week in central London as an anomaly opens in a top riverside flat that has an unsuspecting assistant of a peer/art critic go investigating through the big shiny wobbly thing, getting infected by an Alien-like plant in the process. Tumbling back to present day he brings a very nasty, noxious and contagious spore infection with him, which in turn proceeds to infect and mutate the slimy art dealing blue-blood peer into, well, something only just a little bit worse.
With a specimen taken from the scene in the ARC and the infected peer running around London, the team are split, with both facing a race against time to contain the spores. The spores, in a Quatermass-like way, quickly turn its victims into blobby misshapen mushroom men and dissolves anything non-organic in the process.
While the ‘brains’ of the team tackle the ARC-based infection it is up to Jenny, Abby and an ‘out to prove himself’ Danny to chase after the mushroom man, down to the damp sewers below London. While things do get a bit Aliens-esque here, right down to the flamethrowers, luckily, the homage doesn’t last that long as back at the ARC, Conner finds out that’s it’s not heat that kills the spores but rather cold. Furthemore, if the mushroom victims get too hot they have a tendency to explode, releasing their noxious payload into a much wider area, infecting everything in its way.
So with a trip back to the nicely chilled ARC the finale takes place in a frost-encrusted control room and it looks like the team are to lose another member, which in a way is true as Jenny finds that all the monster hunting, anomalies, nearly freezing to death and the final realisation that she misses Cutter a lot more than she thinks has taken its toll. She decides to take her leave from the team.
Apart from a few minor glitches this was once again a top notch episode. Yup, I am picking holes, but Conner on the verge of hypothermia and then in the next scene all ready and raring to go was pushing things a bit. But on saying that. the quick pace and full action really was delivered well.
Another little criticism was the fact that Helen and the artefact were a bit overlooked this week. This over-arcing plot line is one of the main factors that is driving the series and it did feel at times that this was a ‘monster of the week’ episode (from the trailers, next week’s looks the same) and while it is fine to have cool Alien-like fights in darkened corridors and potential world threatening problems, the show could, if it sticks to this formula too long, end up back at square one and the standard ‘fight the dinosaur’ episodes we saw last year.
As this year we seem to be seeing a lot darker and entwined stories, the writers should not shy away now. Kids and grown-ups are a lot cleverer than they think, and a plot or story arc that takes place over a few weeks will not put people off.
Overall, though, it was another cracking adventure romp and again the congratulations should be given to the FX guys who produced a menacing and quite creepy mushroom man that is up there with Fenella the Witch’s sinister popping toadstools as the creepiest piece of fungus to ever be seen on screen.
Keep the quality coming, guys. Next week it seems we have a homage to Ray Harryhausen’s Mysterious Island with giant emu/ ostrich creatures. And I promise I won’t do any Rod Hull gags.
Check out Robert’s review of episode 4 here.