Familiar faces and feeling flushed CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS
Writer Steve Bailie
Director Tim Bradley
THE ONE WHERE A baby dinosaur is flushed down the loo.
VERDICT Series four continues as it began, with the writers clearly more excited about exploring the new format than dull old stuff like dinosaurs. Although the precredit teaser promises a Primeval twist on the old “crocodiles in the sewer” urban myth, this soon becomes yet another big-toothy-monster-being-chased-around-mysteriously-deserted-urban-landscapes shtick that we've seen countless times before on the show. And now the ARC’s boot boys have got super new guns that can take down T-Rexes in one bolt, even the resolution is less than thrilling. It’s a shame, because the beast itself was excellently animated, and the action sequences were efficiently directed, but the plotting is so humdrum and by-the-numbers it's hard to get excited.
The show desperately needs to come up with some new ideas of what to do with the creatures that come through the anomalies, because as at the moment Primeval is worryingly unadventurous. Sure, it’s a monster-of-the-week show, but it has come up with great twists in the past; and while you can forgive it for coming back last week with “big toothy monster on the rampage” as a way of reaffirming the basic set-up of the show, having another “big toothy monster on the rampage” in episode two just seems a tad lazy.
On the other hand, most of the stuff not involving dinosaurs is pretty good. There’s a genuinely feeling of the old guard (Lester, Becker, Abby and Connor) bonding and enjoying getting one-up on the new team. Matt continues to intrigue; he may have an agenda but he has moments (such as his conversation with Abby about his military background) where he can surprise you. Jess is amusingly ditzy, though you do wonder if she has an agenda as well (maybe a personal one, than a big conspiracy). And the dialogue – while still lumpy at times – is a vast improvement on previous series. Abby and Connor, especially, feel like a real couple. Maybe the fact Andrew Lee-Potts and Hannah Spearritt are in real life helps, or maybe they’ve just been in the show so long now, but they play their roles with a casual comfort that helps sell some of the dodgier moments.
But why are fat geeks on TV always so annoying? Some of my (ahem) best friends are fat geeks… you can be fat, and a geek, and not totally, utterly irritating.
HELLO OLD FRIENDS The underwhelming reveal of the menagerie may have been disappointingly short on dinosaurs, but we did meet two old friends – not just Rex (as cute as ever) but presumably that was also the mammoth that went on a rampage in series two episodes six. Fans had been wondering if he was going to make a comeback.
HARD TO LOVE The main reason why it's so difficult to believe there could be a romance brewing between Jess and Becker is that he's been acting such a complete dick for the past two episodes. Why have the writers decided that he should suddenly be such an idiot? And that he should have the most embarrassing one liners (“I caught every red light”)?
DAMAGE CONTROL This episode’s roll call of witnesses who’ll have to have their cameras confiscated by the ARC cover-up team include: numerous dodgy builders, the captain of the freighter, the guys whose boat Abby commandeers (what did she tell them – “Um, I want to do a spot of whale watching?”), Duncan (though, to be honest, if he said anything, people would just think he’s a loony) and the people in charge of the CCTV cameras at the port authority.
TAKE A BREAK Has nobody told the directors on this show that it's on ITV? The ad breaks often crash into the action with little build-up like they've been randomly inserted at the last moments.
Duncan: “I’m not listed anywhere. How did you find me?”
Connor: “I called your mum.”
Read our interview with the stars of Primeval here .