Primeval Episode 4.06 Review

Unexpected wedding guests. CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS!

Writer Matthew Parkhill
Director Robert Quinn

THE ONE WHERE A pack of prehistoric hyenas gatecrashes Jenny’s wedding.

VERDICT A couple of episodes ago we were jokingly wondering why the show wasn’t called Resident Primeval. Little did we know. This week, as well as a pack of prehistoric hyenas we also got deadly traps and one of the characters wielding a ceremonial axe. What next? Philip turns out to be working for the Umbrella Corporation?

The return of Jenny (although, to be fair, she was a lot more like Claudia in terms of character) was a pleasant addition to an episode that was otherwise pretty much the blueprint for series four episodes: dual storylines, a bit (but not enough) of arc plot progression, Connor and Abby’s relationship being dealt with in a few frosty exchanges and the creatures-of-the-week doing little more than creating some carnage to stir things up. The only detours from the formula were a lack of Philip twirling his virtual moustache and Becker actually coming across as a nice guy.

Once again, it was diverting, watchable fluff, but it still feels like a show that’s scared to kick out and do something really surprising. The main plot was a fairly predictable runaround, and it’s left to the arc plot and some character moments to keep the show from being little more than an Irwin Allen series with CG effects. It’s well made, well acted and competently directed, but lacks the kind of spark and warmth that could make it an essential show to watch. It’s fun while it’s on, but it’s far from appointment TV to all but the most ardent fans.

While there are some great lines for Jenny and Connor, almost everyone else seems stuck in exposition mode. Matt, especially, is suffering from having to carry his “secret” around with him. After six episodes, it’s annoying that he’s still such an enigma. It’s not like he’s filling the void with air of mystery, or a dark sense of humour, or an existential sense of angst; he’s still just an unknown quantity who turns up and shoots things. Luckily, this must change soon, and his relationship with Emily is bringing out a smidgen of humanity in him.

To be honest, this episode would have earned only three stars, but the way everyone kept going, “Ahhhh!” at the hyena cubs and Lester officiating at the wedding were funny; the massive fight at the end was pretty good; and the way Jenny clobbered that hyena was a punch the air moment. So we’ll be generous.

MONSTER OF THE WEEK Hyaenodon.

SERIOUSLY? Did anyone actually, really find those puppies cute? They looked like hyenas. Hyenas are not cute. Even as puppies.

POINTED COMMENT OF THE WEEK When Jenny tries to explain away the reason Connor and Abby are carrying massive guns by suggesting that they’re paintballing, Connor joins in the ruse. “Team bonding,” he agrees. Abby is very quick to correct him: “Building.” Seems she’s having serious second thoughts about bonding with Connor.

BACK-UP’S BACK Good to see that, after a two week vacation, Becker’s team is back in action, in both of the plot lines.

REVELATIONS So that landscape Matt was dreaming about back in episode one is his home. Doesn’t look a great place for a vacation, but still preferable to admitting you’re from Staines. The fact that Gideon was his dad, though, was about as Earth shattering as discovering that Sainsbury’s has changed the ingredients in its own brand hummus.

WE WANT ABBY BACK Another episode where Abby gets little do apart from play Action Woman and make snidey replies to anything Connor says. There’s only one glimmer of the old Abby when she asks Emily for a High Five, and it makes you realise how much you miss her.

ARC PLOT Is it just me, or is anybody else getting fed up that nobody at the ARC seems to be interested in Emily’s background. Surely someone in the organisation must be wondering how a Victorian became a time traveller, how she met Ethan and who that other girl who died was? Okay, the writers may not want to give the answers away yet, but it’d be nice to see somebody asking the questions, even if Emily remains tight-lipped. Nobody’s even asked her, “Do you know why Ethan can drive a car?” which seems an obvious one.

GREAT LINE:
Michael: “I’m a musician.”
Connor: “Wow. That’s cool. You, any good at Rock Band?”


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