Review – Primeval: Series 4 Episode 4

Photo courtesy of BBCAmerica
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.

The creatures in this episode looked and sounded very cool. When you want to watch a show like Primeval, you’re most likely going to be looking for cool creatures and effects. Well hooray, these were really pretty good. They moved well, the skin was well done, the sounds were interesting. They even did a nice job of piling them up when they were sleeping in a small space. I didn’t even mind too much when they used footage more than once. I haven’t re-checked but it certainly did look like it had been done, and more than once. But again, the CGI was done so well even that cost-cutting measure can be almost entirely overlooked. If you’re watching only for the effects, you will likely be pleased, if not overwhelmed, with this episode. Now for the rest of us…

Directing and editing were good this week, as the chase scenes moved along well enough, and I did feel a certain amount of tension on more than one occasion during the hunt/chase scenes of the episode. The writing, I’m sorry to say, was still a giant load of dinosaur droppings, right from the start of the episode. How in the world did the creature
 get inside of the machine? We even saw the outlet and didn’t see the creature, which was obviously ten times too big to fit into the machine without sticking out the back. The students leave the classroom even though their teacher said he’d be back in one minute. Sure, they’re rule-breakers, but really? They don’t even say, “Hey, Mr. Teacher has been gone for longer than a minute.” When the boys are running from the creature, why don’t they just hide in the lockers as they did earlier in the episode? When Becker found five of the creatures, inexplicably SLEEPING just this side of the anomaly, what does he do? Does he zap them while they’re safely sleeping? No. HE STEPS INTO THE CENTER OF THE GROUP. To – what? Get a better view? And hey, now that we’ve rescued the boys, let’s not get them outside to safety. Let’s employ them to help. I must say, if Becker had been killed, the show would have been as well. He’s the one seemingly-normal one in the group; he’s the constant. Kudos for NOT killing him.

The whole woman-from-the-past/Ethan story line is nearly intolerable. Ethan is homicidal, but no need to rush into finding him, we’ve already waited overnight, let’s have some coffee first. “I prefer tea.” Oh for God’s sake, really? Oh no worries, HERE’S ETHAN NOW, who has somehow been able to find woman-from-the-past. Inside a building. Upstairs inside a building. I have a tiny bit of hope that they can explain it, but they better do a good job and do it fast. And don’t get me started on how well his jeans fit her, though that’s not a writing issue, it’s just silliness.

Philip could be an excellent, closet-malevolent character, but they keep denying him the opportunity because the story lines are so underdeveloped. No one seems to be suspicious of him, despite last episode when he changed the security system so only he could override a lockdown. In this episode, they’re shocked and saddened that he wants to kill all the animals. Come on, HE’S HEAD OF THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT. Does he not want to have someone, oh I dunno, STUDY THEM? The patents that could potentially be derived from the studies would alone fund the project for years. Lester was able to change Philip’s mind, pointing out that once word got out about what he had done, Philip would be known as “Burton the Dinosaur Killer”. Meaning that maybe SOMEONE would think they should have been studied instead of destroyed. But not, apparently, anyone at the ARC; they just feel sorry for the creatures. And here’s another thing: in last week’s episode Connor called him an idiot for not training him properly. In this episode Connor called him the most brilliant man in the world. It’s just so frustrating to see them flailing around at this.

Jess’ character is still irritating. She was willing to stop and talk to Abby while in the middle of helping Connor WHO WAS IN DANGER OF BEING EATEN. But hey, Abby needs to talk to her. Really? REALLY?

Oh, Lester. I like Lester. I like the way they’ve written for him. I find it so interesting that the character we all hated in previous seasons and who was mostly a caricature of the snarling bureaucrat is now the one for whom they save their best writing work. Maybe because he has so few lines.

At this point, I blame the show-runners. If they are not telling the writers to write to the lowest common denominator, then they should be stopping them from doing so. They toss in a little bit of a sexual reference to make sure we don’t think it’s actually a kid’s show. Honestly, if they didn’t, I’d suspect wrong programming. I would say it was brave of them to have the school-aged girl killed by a creature. But really, I’m starting to think it’s brave of them to continue to produce this show and NOT claim that it’s for school-aged viewers.

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