Lockdown and look up CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS
Writer Debbie Oates
Director Cilla Ware
THE ONE WHERE A group of Victorian time travellers come through an anomaly bringing an arboreal lizard with them, and Connor almost suffocates his boss.
VERDICT This is more like it. After a couple of installments of by-the-numbers Primeval , we get an episode that shows what the series can achieve when it dares to try something a little different. As well as being exciting, action-packed and full of intriguing mysteries, it was also unpredictable, and made great use of a number of different locations. It was so much more satisfying watching the tree-creeping lizards swinging around the inside of an empty theatre, rather than just rampaging though the streets. Tellingly, the episode did lose some impact when one of the creatures made its way outside, partly because the effects didn’t quite stand up to the harsh light of day. Conversely, the scenes inside the theatre were dark, shadowy and moody, and made better use of the creatures’ Tarzan-like abilities. They also looked great swinging through the trees in their home territory; the first shot of them leaping through the branches was very effective and quite spooky. On the other hand the shots of one climbing a tower block looked a little silly.
The episode also benefited from some of the show’s most evocative and stylish direction ever. The action scenes were full of adrenalin, while the moments of tension and build-up was spot on. The whole episode came across a little more cinematic, despite the more claustrophic settings.
The new Victorian time travellers are an intriguing new element to the show’s mix. Okay, so Matt seemed to be suffering from the Lost disease of the main characters not asking the (seemingly obvious) questions the audience wants to know, leaving a lot of loose ends, but presumably these’ll soon be tied up. And Ruth Bradley was great as Emily Merchant, who could have stepped straight out of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen .
Back at the ARC, the lockdown plot was a little silly (surely Philip would have seen the huge, great flaw in his own plan?) but that aside, it was an effectively tense sequence of events, again, very well directed. And it was also, clearly, a piece of script engineering designed to create a reason for Philip to let slip about “New Dawn”, which was such “Ooohhhh” moment you can forgive the slight clunkiness of the writing. And the moment with Connor saving Rex was very sweet.
The main problems with the episode were what it lacked: Lester was sorely missed, as was the banter between Connor and Abby. It’s good to mix the characters up a bit to see some different dynamicsm – and Connor still had a few good lines – but poor old Abby was pretty much just a straight action woman here. And sorry, Becker fans, but he’s still acting like a complete idiot at times. It‘s like the producers are actively trying to get us to hate him.
AW, SWEET You have to love Connor’s cheesy choice of password – “ABBY TEMPLE”. Whether Abby would find it equally sweet or a bit freaky is another matter. And is it just a coincidence that both words are (almost) places of worship?
INFLUENCES? Anybody else think that the lassoing scene could have been a subtle reference to the classic cowboys-versus-dinosaur moment in the Ray Harryhausen film The Valley Of Gwangi ? We’d like to think the production known their heritage and it was a bit of an in-joke.
Connor: “I’m going to go and do something quite… quickly. Otherwise this could look really bad on my CV.”