Episode 1.04 Writer: Gillian Horvath Director: Andy Mikita
THE ONE WHERE The team tracks a flock of terror birds to a deserted rail yard that’s being used for a cannabis grow operation; everyone gets high.
VERDICT Don’t judge stoners… join them. This was the most enjoyable of all four episodes so far; breathing life into the series with a new point-of-view filming style, character and plot development, and tips on how to get high. If you never knew what “hotboxing” was, well you do now. Awesome, right?
Bird’s eye view
What an interesting beginning to the episode, seeing through the eyes of the creature. We’re shown the dino-bird’s point-of-view, first living in its natural habitat millions of years ago, and then its confusion as it ventures through the anomaly and finds itself in the train yard. This is different from anything we’ve seen so far in the series and this unique perspective not only creates more action and movement, but helps us to empathise with the creature’s experience.
This is also arguably the best CGI rendering of a Primeval: New World creature seen yet; the birds are realistically detailed; even its movements and mannerisms are believable. Think turkey… but bigger and even more terrifying. Birds can make for boring monsters, but the production team manages to make the adult terror birds scary and the baby bird kind of adorable.
It wasn’t just the special effects that were impressive; the writing and acting was a lot better, with the interaction between the characters being more lighthearted (there are loads of great one-liners) making the team easier to relate to, and a lot more fun to watch. Okay, so maybe they’re pushing Dylan and Evan’s romance a bit – the idea of Evan proposing to Dylan is too soon – but we get it, the chemistry is clearly there.
Toby has finally ditched her pajamas for leather and a gun and has decided she’s field ready. She did pretty well for her first mission outside of the Cross Photonics lab, eh? Let’s review: 1) she discovered her first severed foot, 2) she saw her first anomaly, 3) she shot a civilian in the butt with a tranquilizer dart. She’s growing up so quickly, but will Toby be able to get used to being in danger? She definitely needs some field training, at least with how to use a gun.
The main characters had their moments, but it was those two stoners, Skeezer and Blake who really upped the humour and fun of this episode. The best scene has to be the two guys chillin’ out on the couch totally high, playing video games and feeding snacks to the baby Titanis. It’s just a shame fried chicken wasn’t healthier. The bird probably would have gotten more nutrition from actually eating Skeezer’s finger.
Of course, the team, with the help of marijuana and their hotboxing trick, manages to get the one of the adult terror birds and the baby terror bird back through to their own time, or so Evan and the others think, because…
Finally, we get a closer look at character Ken Leeds, learning he’s not all that he seems to be. His awkwardness is endearing and he’s doing everything possible to please the team… which of course makes him too good to be true. Evan’s hesitation in trusting Leeds wasn’t wrong. Is he the big bad for the series? Leeds has tricked the team into thinking he released the baby terror bird back through the anomaly. What’s his end game? It’s always more interesting when the creatures aren’t the most dangerous threat to the team.
“Angry Birds” has the best humour, CGI, and character and plot development in the series so far and really raises the bar for episodes to come. There’s no doubt about it, this isn’t a family friendly show, with the swearing and nightmarish images of severed limbs and humans being eaten alive… Did anyone else suddenly get the munchies?
CREATURE OF THE WEEK The flightless meat-eating Titanis is part of the Phorusrhacidae bird family, and is also known as the “Terror Bird”.