Review – Primeval: Series 4 Episode 3

cross posted at Simply Television


Tune in to Primeval – airing Saturdays, 9/8C on BBCAmerica.
Visit the show website for more Cast, Character information, Recaps and Online Exclusives.


So, did the rebooted series continue its upward trend in writing quality?  The opening sequence?  Absolutely.  The following ten minutes or so was worrisome but had potential, which was crushed by the horrible writing throughout the balance of the episode.  Infuriatingly horrible.  The kind of writing that at best has me sighing with disappointment, and at its nadir has me yelling at the screen, “WHAT?  WHAT?!!”

First, kudos for what I did like, after the opening sequence.  Loved the theatre, and all the sets and locations.  Loved the time travellers’ costumes and hair.  Loved the new creature – “arborial raptor” or “tree creeper” depending on your era – from a distance. Also loved the sound the creature made.  Unfortunately the creature in closer scenes looked ridiculously like a person in a well-made lizard suit. We were given some potentially interesting information from the Matt/Mystery Man conversation this week, who we learned is terminal.  I found what I felt were key lines:

(MM to Matt): “You’re close now.”
(Matt to MM): “Might be Phillip, might be Connor… Someone could be dangerous without knowing it.”
(Matt): “Was it worth it, your whole life just waiting?”
(MM): “Of course, think what’s at stake!”

Hmmm…. here’s hoping that the danger is something worthwhile.

The next scene with the time travellers was fairly well written; the “it’s what Charlotte would have wanted, she understood the rules” had a nice sense of mystery and promise.  Then WOW did the episode go shockingly and relentlessly downhill after that.  Matt ran into the anomaly after the woman, BUT FIRST TOOK OFF HIS TRACKING DEVICE.  Because… I’m sorry, there’s no credible reason.  Becker refused to believe that Matt had gone into the anomaly and continued to look for Matt in the theatre for an exceedingly long amount of time because… Matt knew the rules and wouldn’t do that?  Becker simultaneously didn’t want another team member to die but thought it best to leave a team member on the other side?  And this delay allowed us to experience such great lines as “this is Matt we’re talking about”?

And the whole ARC lockdown was nearly intolerable.  If it turns out that Phillip is being extra protective of Connor because he is secretly Connor’s father, I may have to start campaigning for the immediate cessation of filming.  I cannot fathom an explanation for why Phillip reprogrammed the system so that he was the only person who could stop the lockdown procedure.  He is meant to be brilliant.  Even if he intends to have every creature killed, it doesn’t explain why he would have made that change in programming at any point earlier than the last possible moment.  And some of the worst lines: “How long do I have, Jess?”  YOU WROTE THE PROGRAM.  “This could look really bad on my cv.”  HAR HAR, WHAT A LARF.  And Connor’s reply to Phillip’s potential reveal about New Dawn – “Now’s not the time for last words.”  The whole thing was just a mess.  To have that storyline concluded with Phillip calling Connor brilliant for being able to break through his unpenetrable firewall – BECAUSE IT WAS CONNOR’S SYSTEM AND CONNOR’S TRAP DOOR.  Connor wasn’t more brilliant than any other computer hacker, he just happened to have access BECAUSE HE BUILT THE ORIGINAL SYSTEM.  Really, what a phenomenal waste of writing.  Surely they could have come up with some better way to show the suspicious behaviour of Phillip and a reference to New Dawn than this.

Then there’s the woman, and the creature.  I’m meh about the Group of 15 who apparently spend their lives going through anomalies trying to find a way back home.  There is potential for something good there, but did we really need a whole new group to deal with, along with the mostly-new cast, new ARC, and at least two mysteries (Phillip’s whatever-he’s-doing and Matt’s whatever-he’s-secretly-investigating)?  Becker wants to turn her in – to whom?  Why would they not take her to the ARC?  Why wouldn’t at least certain hospital staff understand the issue about the anomalies?  If the ARC isn’t going to have a big enough medical staff to cope with injuries (presumed, since Matt took her to a hospital instead of directly to the ARC, WHERE A MEDIC IS ON STAFF, as we saw once the locked down room was opened in the ARC debacle.  The number of inconsistencies in all of this makes me think, with a shudder, that this will be the new fun in watching this show: How Many Easily Avoidable Inconsistencies Can We Find This Week?

One just has to laugh at exchanges like the one between the woman and Matt while trying to take down the creature: “Shoot it!”  “It’s out of range…”  “Shoot it!”  Hello?  IT’S OUT OF RANGE.  And hmm, why was Matt standing so close to the glass that the creature could obviously have gone through?  To make for a wonderful chance for the woman to save Matt, of course!  And how she did it was totally unclear.  And yes, let’s tie up the creature, it could never possibly escape… Oh no, it’s escaping!  What an eye roller.  I did, however, laugh out loud at the creature looking exactly like a piece of road kill.

Which brings us to the worst writing of all.  Matt TAKES THE WOMAN HOME.  She desperately wants to return to her group, but heck, let’s just wait until tomorrow.  And better yet, we’re all in danger while Ethan’s out on the loose, he’s a homicidal maniac, so by all means, LET’S LOOK FOR HIM TOMORROW.  If we go now, we might be able to find him more easily, and send you on your way home, missy, so yes, LET’S JUST WAIT.

Honestly, just abysmal, and that poor writing completely overshadowed everyone else’s fine efforts in this production.  Please oh please, someone tell the writing staff that it’s okay to do better.  We, the viewing public, are ready.

No favorite lines, obviously.