Yes, I admit it I am now quite hooked on Primeval. From my original cynicism about the show, things have got better week on week. However, it’s not all rosy and exciting; just when I was thinking that ITV have found their Doctor Who, we get this stinker of an episode.
Maybe that is being a bit harsh, but let me explain. Over the past few weeks things have been hotting up plot-wise for Helen, the mysterious artefact and the ongoing idea that a potential disaster or apocalypse might occur if the said artefact falls into the wrong hands. With each week a bit more of the jigsaw is being put into place.
However, this week we get a piece that just doesn’t fit, making a quite nifty Saturday night telly treat into a ‘spot the film homage’ hour of vapid filler.
That’s not to say that the episode is a complete loss; there are some good bits, which I will come to in a minute, but really this week’s show is a bit of a return to the lacklustre form of the previous two series.
With Becker and the newly appointed Danny Quinn testing out the defences of the ARC via the man-sized air vents (why are they always man sized?) the ARC comes under attack from another angle as Christine Johnson finally outmanoeuvres Lester, outing him from his position of power in the ARC. Really this could not come at the worse time, as Sarah and Conner have just found that shining a laser down the centre of the artefact creates a wobbly light show that seems to show a similarity to Cutter’s three dimensional anomaly-projecting map.
So with a new change at the top and to stop the kaleidoscope of doom falling into the wrong hands, the team do a runner with the intention of lying low while the fight for power at the top simmers down.
Retreating to an abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere, the team find some old spooky diaries, some strange recordings and get chased through the woods by strange ostrich-like creatures. Now this is where it all gets a bit cliché. While all the action scenes are done well, I really did find myself playing spot the movie rip-off as we get a pinch of Jurassic Park, a bit of Evil Dead and a scene ripped straight out of every survival horror movie with the obligatory smashing through the walls by the creatures/zombie/thingy while there is smacking things with household objects bit.
Although lazy, these bits are done well, with the ostrich-creatures being rather sinister and nasty and a nice nod to Ray Harryhausen’s Mysterious Island giant chicken-things; but really it seemed, for all the tension, cunning plans and edge-of-your-seat panic, that there was a feeling that everyone would be okay, since there was no token person you hadn’t seen before eaten or taken away in a horrific way. And they aren’t really going to have a key cast member pecked to death by a giant bird, are they?
So with this fight for survival going on, things also turn nasty at the ARC when Becker, it seems, has turned against the team, only to be revealed that he is more than just a grunt with a gun and there is a lot more going on in his pretty head than it first appeared and with a cunning bit of secret recording (again a bit of a cliché) Christine Johnson is caught out with her own arrogance and Lester is once again back on top, with the status quo restored, begging the question, why did I just sit through a hour show in which things happened but all just turned back to normal by the end of the show? Grrrr.
Admittedly for a one off survival horror special, the episode wasn’t bad. However, as part of the overall series this really didn’t move things on, and to my annoyance, all the plotlines of a juicy nature were just put on hold for a ‘break’ till next week where it seems by the promo we get a knight and a dragon – which seems just so insane and fun that it’s got to be watched.
Check out Robert’s review of episode 5 here.