Primeval season 3 episode 8 review

It's back to the future time as the team head off for a rescue mission with a difference...

Back on form again after last week’s bit of medieval silliness, the team kick things off back in the ARC lab where Conner is trying to ‘open’ the artefact by shining lights through it. Meanwhile, Danny and the team sit back to watch an experiment that is as interesting as watching paint dry. The team, it seems, are resigning themselves to a few days of relaxation and the viewers seemingly have to endure an episode as fun as a double maths lesson at school.

However, the peace is soon shattered as an anomaly opens, and things kick up a gear both for the team and the viewer as within five minutes of the episode starting, we are treated to an hour long mini-telly-blockbuster filled with fast cars, tonnes of action and monster mash-up fight scenes.

As an anomaly opens on a test track (with the world’s thickest security guard) the team rush across to find out what prehistoric monstrosity will wander through. However, instead of a dinosaur, the anomaly deposits a giant future praying mantis-like creature in front of a terrified team, which is subsequently crushed to death by a speeding super car. However, this goo-filled creature isn’t the only thing to have wandered through as another mantis-monster lurks in the shadows, all ready to off some ‘red-shirt’ anonymous security man later in the episode.

Things, it would seem, are quite bad, and turn a lot worse when Abby’s brother Jack’s continued inquisition of our peroxide elfin heroin’s job goes a stage further, as he decides to ‘borrow’ her sat-nav/anomaly detector from her handbag, thinking that her ‘secret’ job is a lot more than just feeding penguins at the local zoo.

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Following the anomaly’s signal, he proceeds to break into the test track, find the corpse of the ‘red-shirt’ guards and is confronted with the other lurking mantis-monster. Panicked, he then inadvertently drives through the anomaly, which takes him into the future, rather than the past, a future that viewers of the show should recognise.

With Jack gone it’s up to the team to track him down, and navigate their way through the future predator and mantis-monster infested future to rescue the injured little scamp (personally, I would have left him there) and try and return home.

Once again this was an action-jam-packed-hour-long-edge-of-your-seat hour that, with some canny editing, well-designed sets and a few camera filters, made a disused car park and a bit of industrial estate a place of continual danger and terror. Even the basic task of walking quietly past some cars had the tension knocked up to 11 with baby future predators waiting in the car to pounce.

In addition to all this tension and action, every member of the cast got a chance to shine. For the first time, Hannah Spearitt had something to actually say and do rather than stand there and look pretty. Even Ben Mansfield’s Captain Becker had a bigger role and actually a bit of brains about him.

With a finale that any Ray Harryhausen fan would have been proud of, the show’s return to the series story arc is a huge welcome return after the past two weeks’ stand alone episodes, which were good but not great. It was also interesting to see that the ARC team are not the only ones to have visited the future as Lester’s nemesis Christine Johnson’s right-hand-man is also glimpsed in the future taking a woman hostage and back to the military base that contained a ‘trapped anomaly’  that we saw a few weeks ago.

Once again, a cracking episode and with only two left for the rest of the season, hopefully the finale will finally shed some light onto both the artefact, this dark future, Helen and Christine’s plans and what the future of the series holds as we are told last week that a new US movie spin-off could be in the works.

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Check out Robert’s review of episode 7 here.