Left to Right, Top to Bottom; James Lester(Ben Miller), Captain Hilary Becker(Ben Mansfield), Jessica Parker(Ruth Kearney), Matt Anderson(Ciaran Mcmenamin), Sir Philip Burton(Alexander Siddig), Gideon(Anton Lesser), Abby Maitland(Hannah Spearitt), Connor Temple(Andrew Lee Potts), Lady Emily Merchant(Ruth Bradley), and 

Ethan Dobrowski(Jonathan Byrne)- plus others, including Rex(Coelurosauravus Lizard)...

Primeval Season 4 Episode 1 Review 'Spinosaurus' 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hello everyone, welcome to a new series of Anomaly Reviews! Last time we found out that Danny, Connor and Abby have been missing for months and new recruits Matt Anderson and Jess Parker were brought in after Becker and Sarah got hurt attempting a rescue mission- 

'My name is James Lester. Five years ago i was put in charge of the ARC, a top secret government project investigating rips in time known as anomalies.' 

This is my review Primeval, if you don't butt out i'll just leave you to review YOURSELF- 

*flashbacks of the old ARC logo, then Lester with Jenny and Leek and the Gorgonopsid-Predator, Mammoth-Predator-Lester and Pristichampus incidents.*

'Our lead researcher Professor Nick Cutter was murdered by his insane wife Helen, who planned to wipe out humanity.'*Lester seeing Cutter's body, the gunshot, Helen in the future and Rift Valley.* 

Yes, i've already covered that and with pictures too-

'Danny Quinn, Connor Temple and Abby Maitland went through the anomalies to stop her. No one knows what happened to them, but as humanity survived, we must assume they suceeded.'*Connor and Abby stuck in the Cretaceous, Danny stuck in the Rift Valley, the Velociraptor and Helen falling off the cliff.* 

*resigned sigh* 

'All attempts at rescue failed, and Dr Sarah Page died from a Future Predator attack-'

WHAT?! Wait a second- 

*Becker, Sarah and the soldiers, attacking Predators, the ruined future and a woman's screams for help, grieving Becker being interrogated as he remembers Sarah's 'Becker!...help...'.* 

'A new team was put in place, and many changes made to the ARC. The battle continues- there is always a new threat, and whatever it is, we'll deal with it.' 

*the new ARC building, Jess at the ADD, Matt and Becker, gunfire, the fungus and terror birds and camouflage beast and raptors and baby predators- then the g-rex eats the camera and a new title sequence begins.* 

 

...and that's Primeval series 4, everybody! See you next time!.. 

Oh ok, FINE, i can't just put the 'previously' trailer in place of a review. Said trailer is utterly awesome though, covering all 3 previous series in about 30 seconds and setting us up for the new series whilst also using new and very good music. And of course it covers the loss of cast members too- most importantly of all Sarah Page(Laila Rouass), the actress unable to continue filming in the new location due to family commitments. The show had nothing but a couple of voice clips and future CGI with which to explain this, but it's not the last we'll hear of this loss or the fate of the others. 

Unfortunately the new and unnecessary title sequence is less effective; the theme tune is still great but now more electronic and gimmicky, whilst the helpful and always-updated photos of cast members have been replaced by various generic roaring creatures- apparently a Mammoth, Predator, Velociraptor, Camouflage Beast, G-Rex, Dracorex and Spinosaurus are the updated cast of Primeval, i know you're probably fed up of cast changes but which is your favourite? 

And the pointing finger of doom doesn't stop there, as the episode opens immediately with Matt exiting his botany lab upon alarms sounding only to be attacked by the panicking Dracorex rescued in Series 3 Episode 7. This intro sequence also shows us Lester, Becker and Jess at work and establishes a comfortable and entertaining dynamic between them perfectly. 

The hilarious chaos also attracts the attention of the investors that saved Primeval- or rather their representative, billionaire scientist Phillip Burton( Alexander Siddig, Star Trek DS9, Vertical Limit). He comes across as friendly and observant but also arrogant, and makes for an interesting new addition to the office team of determined himself, wary Lester and helpful Jess. 

But as our first new anomaly alert interrupts the present, in the distant past a homemade rattling metal system is music to our ears- and those of Connor and Abby, haggard and long-haired and still in their ragged Series 3 Episode 10 clothes but alive! We get a convincing glimpse of their hunting, flirting and breaking down from the stress of months of living in the prehistoric wilderness; then in a neat twist, a Raptor's nest yields Helen's dropped anomaly opener and a return to the present finally completes our Series 4 team; 

*Abby and Connor are exchanging kickboxing moves as dinner-speared fish seasoned with bulbs and roots, cooked on a small fire-burns, only for a terrotorial fight between a Raptor and a Spinosaurus to force them to move camp.* 

Connor:*whilst cutting beard*Look, one day we're gonna hear those empty cans rattling and that anomaly's gonna reopen- 

Abby: It's been a year, Connor. A year. Just face it- we're stuck here! 

*Connor goes to check anyway. Abby tries to salvage the fire, but fails and breaks down in bitter tears- only to hear Connor desperately calling for help and hurriedly wipe them away. She exits their fragile foliage-tent only to see the spinosaurus looming with the Raptor's corpse in it's jaws, and simply stands there with calm hopelessness only for Connor to pull them both away. Connor sees some of their belongings strewn in the Raptor's nest and sneaks over to retrieve them;* 

Connor:*finds foil blanket*I wondered where that had got to!*pauses, stares in disbelief* Abby..! 

Abby: What now?*Connor silently holds up Helen's anomaly opener. Abby stares, face changing from impatience to laughter, and she runs over and briefly kisses Connor.* You genius! 

*Connor inspects the battered device as they walk, but nothing happens.* 

Connor: Um, this must've been Helen's... 

Abby:*shrugs*I don't know, shake it! Always worked with the tv remote... 

Connor:*looks VERY cynical that she is likening a government techie with a futuristic time-travel device to a tv remote*Fine then.*shakes it, no response. Abby keeps walking away. Then a slow beeping starts, and Connor stares at his hands as Abby stops, then turns around. The cans rattle... and Connor grins as light hits his face and he turns to see an anomaly home. Abby dumbly grabs his hand and they sprint past the Spinosaurus...

Meanwhile, Jess recites co-ordinates and directions over the comms as Matt suits up for a new anomaly alert... 

...and into a city street, cold and disorientating. They stop and look around in confusion.* 

Abby: Are we home? 

*the reason for the street's emptiness becomes clear as they spot soldiers exiting a jeep and aiming at them. Connor and Abby drop to the ground holding hands, and Connor chances a glance upward to see a pair of boots approach them- then a hand is extended. 

Becker: I do hope you brought me back a souvenir. 

*He pulls Connor and Abby to their feet and simply stares at them like a mirage, then they laugh and embrace.* 

Becker:*grinning with guilty relief* Where the hell were you?! We sent rescue missions..! 

Connor: Sorry we didn't call, the reception was terrible!*turns to Abby, consoling* We did it. 

Abby:...i know, and everything...*looks at Becker*...is going to be ok. 

*Connor laughs, and they embrace as Becker and Matt smile.* 

*Meanwhile, Lester is doing paperwork when Jess bursts into his office.* 

Jess: Connor and Abby came through the anomaly! They're back!*laughs excitedly and runs out* 

Lester:*dumbfounded, then concerned*...W-What about Danny? 

*Back at the anomaly, a worried Becker sees Connor and Abby watch Matt leading the men after the Spinosaurus instead of Danny and look at each other confusedly.* 

Connor: We thought Danny might've got back to you... 

Becker:*hesitates*Matt, i'd like to introduce you to two of my good friends. 

Matt:*in a hurry*Connor Temple.*holds out hand*Abby Maitland. I'm Matt Anderson, i'll have someone escort you back to the ARC.*he and Becker start discussing tactics, then all duck as the Spinosaurus looks for Connor and Abby.* 

Connor:...Sorry about that... 

Matt: Don't worry about it mate. 

*the team chase after the Spinosaurus as it goes for a scared Matt, then lead it into a nearby arena on Jess's directions as she reassures a hovering Lester. They distract the Spinosaurus with the arena's speakers- playing S Club 7 by Hannah Spearitt aka Abby!- then Connor tries to vanish the Spinosaurus by opening an anomaly only for the creature to swallow Helen's device as it activates and vanish. Then everyone returns to the new ARC...* 

Connor:*looks round*Wow, pretty sexy stuff-*is confused to see a girl in HIS seat at the ADD.* 

Jess: Hi, i'm Jess! Becker's told me all about you.*Becker rolls his eyes, embarresed.  

Lester: Don't tell me, you brought a pet home with you.*Connor turns and smiles. 

Abby:...It's so good to see you...*hugs Lester, who pats her awkwardly and blushes. Connor makes as if to hug him too and Lester just raises an eyebrow jokingly.* 

Lester:...You too.*looks at Connor*.Danny? 

Connor:*hesitates* Whatever happened, he must've taken Helen down with him... 

Phillip: Connor, Abby.*approaches, smiles* I can't tell you what a relief it is to see you back safe. Forgive me, i'm- 

Connor:*awestruck*Phillip Burton, i know. You're a legend.*grins at Abby, who looks clueless but shakes Phillip's hand anyway.*I, uh-What're you doing here? 

Phillip:*looks embarresed and pleased*After what happened, the government decided the ARC would benefit from private sector involvement. There was a demand for new thinking, you understand, after the last incident.*tries to smile at Connor encouragingly.* 

Abby:*stops looking around, concerned.* Where's Sarah? 

*Matt and Lester are quiet, Jess looks sombre. Connor blinks. Becker tries to speak but can't.* 

And that's the start of a new era of Primeval. There are changes, and not good ones- Abby/Connor and the others all now live in bland company apartments, Jess's orange cardigan/blue flowery brooch/pink vest/purple miniskirt/grey high heels combo is crazier than anything Jenny or Abby wore, the new ARC is implausibly futuristic and samey-looking, the location/creature CGI is duller and darker and less tangible- but there's a lot of good, too. The direction is well done, the new music isn't forgettable, the script is as neat and entertaining as ever, and both the old and new cast members act perfectly. We're into the latter part of Primeval now, but the end? Nowhere in sight, and there are many more great adventures and memorable moments to come. 

As for Danny and the many other previous cast members, don't worry about them- characters and creatures both old and new have more to come. But first we have to say goodbye to the amazing original ARC and all that happened in it, Abby's implausibly luxurious apartment, the almost-perfect original soundtrack, things that completed the first three series of Primeval. 

Finally, thank you to Laila Rouass for her great and real performance as Sarah Page- an unexpected and sad loss to the show whose interesting knowledge, neither tomboyish nor girly looks, mischevious attitude and natural likability will be missed. 

Next time, adventures and surprises await... 

Primeval Season 4 Episode 2 Review 'Kaprosuchus'  

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last time we saw Connor, Abby, Becker and Lester reunited following the destruction and closure of the ARC, disappearence of Danny and deaths of Sarah and Helen. But time stops for no one, and now it's up to the team, new recruits Matt Anderson and Jess Parker and new government contact Phillip Burton to continue the fight... 

'Kaprosuchus' starts with a pleasingly old-series civillian encounter, as a woman is woken by crashing downstairs and goes to confront the intruder; only to be greeted with a cute but vicious baby lizard, well-cgi'd new creature the Kaprosuchus. Post-opening credits, it's all very Bond-in-Skyfall as Connor and Abby undergo interrogation and evaluation with their condition and suitability for continuing their jobs in question. Matt is nice enough taking over Jenny's appraisal and bargaining role, whilst seeing Lester reason the pair's case to business-minded Phillip is also interesting- there's a nicely low key and belivable air about the dialogue and direction that we haven't seen since series 1, although the presentation and barely-there music is less memorable than that. 

In fact, the dynamic and behaviour of the characters, particularly Abby and Lester, is done very well. Seeing reunions with Rex, Becker and the Mammoth, discussion of their old belongings including Danny's, finding a new home and job positions and Jess and Matt's hesitant attempts to help them all sets up the new ARC perfectly. We even have a replacement stupidly-kitted out flat in Jess's apartment( i didn't ask for that back...). But luckily house-hunting is of course too dull for Connor lol, so he checks for any rogue sightings- and finds a record of events including the growing Kaprosuchus's taking of a couple of homeless people kept by none other than Duncan, Connor's fellow student from series 1! Getting back not only creatures but characters from previous series to ease the filming transition ofor viewers is brilliant, and also adds a bit of optimism and relief which the music reflects well. 

 

Things haven't taken a great turn for Duncan- after his and Connor's friend Tom died to a creature, he underwent therapy to cure his 'delusions' of a government organisation and creatures, and moved out of his and Tom's shared flat to his mum's and then his own much pokier and cluttered place. Duncan(James Bradshaw) is still himself though, and handles the balance between his familiarity with Connor and studying and his lonely and indignant situation well. But the humor turns to fear soon enough, as Connor finds a couple of builders attacked by the grown Kaprosuchus amongst remains of other victims and calls Abby('you got with the hot blonde?'-Duncan can be sceptical too lol). As for the Kaprosuchus itself, it's a nice distictive-looking and well-animated addition to the creature ranks. 

 

The rest of the episode plays out naturally, as Matt notices the couple's absence and puts aside Gideon's warnings to rescue the pair, whilst Jess notices and monitors them and Becker brings a soldier team to the rescue. The locations are just functional but well-utilised, going from the building site and ARC to a showdown at the docks and a boat plus some driving and motorboat sections and a tense container maze chase.

And every relationship is built upon- Jess impresses Becker and Matt with her professional handling of the unexpected mission, Matt gets a lot of scenes with Abby and Connor, Becker rescues Matt, and Connor and Abby get back into the routine. There are a few humorous lines throughout, and Connor saves an understandably terrified Duncan and manages to go someway towards rebuilding their old and damaged friendship; plus a nice nod-back as Connor tells Duncan to let him know about any other creatures and offers him a cool badge a'la Cutter inviting Connor to the team but refusing him a cool nickname all those years ago. Finally, Abby and Connor solve their too-busy-to-house-hunt problem by accepting Jess's offer of a room at her place- a'la Lester letting Connor stay at his town apartment briefly, only Jess is less sarcastic and more gossipy('i want to know all about Becker, and Professor Cutter, and Danny Quinn, and Becke-*blushes*i already said him didn't i?')... 

In all 'Kaprosuchus' is a more low-key and character-building episode with a great new creature and attention to detail in the locations and action/preparation( lots of backup, improvised weapons, EMD guns richochet off the steel, black boxes/walkie talkies etc) and an unexpected and welcome revisit and developing of a previous character. If you just want a summary of a typical series 4 ep without any major spoilers or confusing twists, this is it! 

Next time, the team faces the dangerous possibilities of humanity's excursion into the anomalies... 

Primeval Season 4 Episode 3 Review 'Arbocreeper' 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last time, Connor and Abby settled into the new ARC and got to know new colleagues Matt and Jess whilst old friends Lester, Becker and Duncan helped them all tackle more anomaly incursions. But Matt is secretly breaking the rules reporting everything that happens to a mysterious old man, Gideon, who seems to know about the anomalies yet instructs Matt to focus on monitoring his colleagues... 

The episode starts with an intruiging setup as three HUMANS come through an anomaly in a locked-up and picturesque old theatre. They act and speak normally albeit practically and their 25-35ish looks and leather/cotton shirts, trousers and skirts are fairly ambigous too. First appearing to scout ahead for danger- suggesting they are not new to anomaly travel- is a careful woman apparently called Emily (Ruth Bradley, Humans, In Her Skin), followed by a panicked-looking man called Ethan (Jonathan Byrne, Red Rock, Fair City, The Honeymooners) carrying a determined but coughing/limping woman, Charlotte(Sara James, Proof, The Big Bow Wow, The Tudors). But they find themselves locked in- and followed through the anomaly by a new creature, the agile and fast arboreal 'Tree Creeper'... 

The direction and music is good so far, both for this and the next twist- Gideon tells Matt to speed up whatever job/mission he's been given, as he has a terminal illness and won't be here to oversee things in a few months. Primeval has an unfortunate habit of 'too many ideas, not enough time/episodes' resulting in rushed storylines, but in my opinion that's preferrable to just cutting out a lot of ideas and this twist adds a new dynamic to their characters. Rather than any hint that Gideon is expendable or in a few months he'll be able to quit the mission, Matt insists something can be done by the doctors and seems doubtful as to his success without him. We also learn more about Gideon- as well as being honest about things and trying to lighten the mood( 'I was young, determined, good looking- though not quite as much as you...'), Matt asks him if it was worth spending his life waiting, suggesting whatever they're part of has been ongoing at least 50 years. Meanwhile... 

*Charlotte and Emily hide amongst the props as Ethan searches for a way out;* 

Charlotte:*leans back, holds Emily's hand*

Emily:*looks round anxiously, muttering*You're ok, you're fine... 

Ethan:*quiet but excited* They have medicine here. *nods and grins* There must be another way out-we have to get her to a hospital...*tries the doors but they're locked* 

Emily:*whispers*Try to stay awake, Charlotte. 

Charlotte:*shakily glances at Ethan, takes a breath*...When i'm gone, look after him.*looks at Emily pleadingly* He needs looking after... 

*Emily looks to Ethan for help, who stops a few feet away with fear and looks at Charlotte.* 

Charlotte:*weakly*Emily... 

*Emily nods and forces a reassuring smile. Charlotte smiles once, then tries to again as Ethan half-falls, half-kneels down beside Charlotte. Emily looks from Charlotte's now-closed eyes to her hand ans sees she is no longer gripping hers.* 

Ethan:*tearfully*Charlotte... 

Emily: Ethan*crying* i'm sorry... 

Ethan:*closes his eyes, gives a strange half-sceptical smile as he holds Charlotte's hand; then opens his cold eyes and growls* This is all your fault... 

Emily:*looks at him desperately but Ethan just awkwardly tries and fails to look at her, and they both stay silent.* 

We have literally JUST MET these people and their acting is already telling us all about them? Excellent. Also, looks like both Charlotte and Emily have wedding rings or somesuch on..? Anyway,the anomaly alert's blaring and- holy moly. Jess, you look great but do not jog around in front of everyone with your hair flying behind you wearing lipstick, high heels and a tight v-neck red dress with bare arms and bare legs that only comes down to your...well, lets say thighs( what happened to the tights she had in this page's background photo? Ah well, guess they wanted the viewing figures they had for Abby and Helen's scenes again). She helpfully calls Matt away from Gideon( the garden setting and acting here is nicely remeniscent of series 1), but Abby and Becker have to go without Connor as Phillip wants to see how Connor works with the new ARC's computers (we already have about 9000 Connor/Abby scenes, so Becker/Abby ones instead are welcome!). 

Emily and Ethan are arguing when they hear Matt and the soldiers arriving( 'The last gateway was too dangerous to enter, Charlotte knew our rules-''She died because of you and your rules!!') and Emily is knocked unconcious by the Tree Creeper as an understandably paranoid Becker argues with Matt over his breaking the new 'don't enter anomalies' policy to follow her. Luckily Matt ignored this despite his own apprehension of anomalies and we get to see him in another time; the Tree Creeper's stormy forest home looks great, although said weather and the direction/lighting/rocky landscape plus the Tree Creeper's fictional-not-based-on-a-real-thing nature all point to this being the future yet it's supposed to be the Cretaceous? As for the creature itself, it has a distictive design and moves/sounds good but is the most fake/obviously CGI thing so far this series. 

Now stranded and alone, Ethan abandons the soldiers to death by Tree Creeper as the arguing team find Charlotte's body. Emily wakes up in hospital and and despite confusion and wariness proves resourceful as she follows sneaking around Matt and the soldiers with escaping her guards at the hospital and helping Matt defeat the Tree Creeper in a neat team-up action sequence alongside Becker and Abby's nice action scenes. But Ethan's vanishing, Abby's moving of Charlotte's body to the morgue and Becker's suspicion and anger at the losing track of people and rising body count cause her to distrust and sneak away from the team. 

And i haven't even mentioned the unintentionally funny sub-plot yet- Rex frees Connor and Jess from death by boredom checking the new computers for a pushy Phillip by setting off the ARC's own incursion alarm, resulting in the group being trapped in the ARC! Rex locking Phillip in and Connor and Jess bemoaning their underpaid button-pressing and lack of warning from their new boss without realising Lockdown doesn't shut off the intercom is a needed bit of lightness. It also tells us about Phillip as he goes from snotty to begrudingly looking out for Rex, then angry with panic to secretly scared and then relieved and impressed as with Jess's help Connor figures out how to save him and Rex from suffocation in the airtight room( by remembering his old password 'Abby Temple', which is just perfect.). 

The episode ends with Matt persuading Emily to stay with him a'la Gideon so she isn't imprisoned and questioned/examined for her anomaly knowledge- an being a walking piece of history, as it turns out she is from the late 1800's! This twist and the fact that her and her fellow anomaly castaways are from different times sees yet more exploration of the show's time travel aspect and is both welcome and convincingly done, as well as Emily's confusion and fear as she adapts to the future after her friend died of now-curable problems. And finally... 

 

*Matt shows Emily to the sofa of his company flat, and the view from the balcony.* 

Matt:*curious about her*What do you think?

Emily: It lacks a woman's touch... no manservant? 

Matt:*smiles*Not even a parlormaid. 

Emily:*smiles back carefully* You're mocking me, aren't you?*moves to the less-contained balcony and stares at the strange buildings and cars down below* It's incredible. 

Matt: It's not bad. I'm sorry i chased you earlier... 

Emily:*looks at him* ...And i'm sorry i hit you. I didn't want you to follow me and end up like us. Lost...trapped... 

*meanwhile, a tramp staying in an old, derelict house hears a noise outside...* 

Emily:*hesitates*The people i travelled with were all damaged in their own ways, being so far from home. 

*a metal pipe smashes to the floor. The tramp slowly approaches the sound- and Ethan enters.* 

Ethan:*looks round*Hello. 

tramp:*suspiciously*Who are you? 

Ethan:*looks at the tramp, sounding almost bored but for the alert look in his eyes*Pity.*breaks the man's neck and drops him to the floor.* 

Emily: But Ethan is different. It's as if there's something broken in him... 

*Ethan licks his lips and glances down at the corpse uncomfortably, then moves to the window and rips down the paper and board covering it.* 

Emily: Charlotte cared and kept him under control and now she's dead... none of us are safe. 

*Ethan leans forward and looks out of the window- and sees Emily and Matt on the balcony across the street.* 

Matt:*looks concerned*Emily, whatever happens, i want you to know you're safe here. 

Emily:*looks sad and uncomfortable, looks away out over the balcony.* 

Ethan:*grins* 

Overall, 'Arbocreeper' is probably the best episode yet. The direction and music is effective, ALL the characters including three new ones get good characterization, the locations (theatre, office, gloomy forest, hospital, street) are nicely normal and well-utilised and the action and creature are both good. Lester doesn't appear, there is basically no humor and some of the CGI is eh, but the multitude of good points in this episode make up for that. Best of all, we have two competent-seeming new characters; including our first out-and-out Season 4 villain! 

Next term, we learn if the team have been taught a lesson about teamwork- and if Phillip will educate us about the 'New Dawn' project he let slip earlier... 

Primeval Season 4 Episode 4 Review 'Therocephalian' 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last time saw the introduction of a couple of anomaly travellers, the 1860's stubborn Lady Emily and her stalker Ethan Dobrowski. This time? Welll just as we all prepare to escape school for the summer holidays, it looks like some may not escape their last day of school at all... 

The episode/review starts on a sunny Saturday morning, as the quiet Mckinnon High School's CCTV is on the blink- thanks to the appearence of an anomaly. A quick check tells us of the nearest potential victims; the science-lab stinkbombing Steve and Darren, dumb blon-sorry, dumb brunette attention-seeker Beth and sarcastic vending-machine patron Mr George. Why weren't any of my teachers like that? I don't whether to praise Primeval for not going the obvious 'jerk teacher' route or criticise it for being inaccurate to my own memor- oh. He just got eaten by the vending machine. 

Well, that's irony for ya. And after the identifiable and epic 'trying to reach a loose plug/switch' plight too... 

So Primeval's amusing rendition of the 'stick your hand in something and it gets stuck/mauled' cliche is thanks to the Therocephalian, a smallish but vicious and rabid/venomous doglike reptile that also decided to investigate the vending machine and then mistakes Mr George's arm for a snack. Meanwhile the mischevious Steve watches as his shyer friend Darren tries and fails to chat to the unfeasibly-arrogant Beth, all unaware of the danger nearby. Despite Beth's dialogue and the creature's acting( How did it get inside the vending machine? Why does it hae to stop mid-eat to roar dramatically at the camera?), this is a classic Primeval opener! 

But i should say eye-opener- as the very next scene is Matt in his underwear and Emily in his shirt and jeans. They LITERALLY just met and she has old-school(sorry) values! And i know they say nothing happened, but that just makes it disappointing as well as unlikely. Nevertheless, their gradual befriending of each other is charming, as is Connor and Abby's relationship- flirting AND disagreeing alike. It never was and to be honest by Series 4 i was fed up of their angsty intereactions, but now they've grown up and aside from the stupidly fewer humorous moments for Connor their partnership and long-running status is done almost perfectly! I say almost because of Phillip- like Emily his new-character ambiguity must apparently be fixed immediately and so he flies his true colours by overuling Abby to have the entire awaiting-return-home menagerie put down 'for humane reasons' including Abby's own personal pet Rex who just happened to nearly kill Phillip by accidently kill him the other day, whilst Connor continues to compliment him and avoid objecting to Rex's legalised murder. REALLY(a criticism of Connor, Emily and Phillip's actions, not their actors- they are as convincing as they could be)? 

Anyway, with Abby protecting the menagerie from Phillip and Jess multitasking assisting her with unlocking the school remotely for the team, we get an entertaining 'guy power' mission as Matt, Connor and Becker banter and then find the teacher's remains; 

Abby: I can't leave while this is going on, Connor.*the guys leave for the school* 

Darren:*approaches Beth, smiles*Hey... 

Beth:*looks to door and absent teacher, then glances at Darren*I'm leaving- going somewhere a loser like you isn't.*leaves* 

Steve:*laughs*That was ugly! I can see why you like her so much...*looks out of door and seees security/computer system room unguarded*I reckon she needs taking down a peg...*goes over to computer system and brings up a video by Beth, a cringeworthy singing audition.*Lets send this to every computer in the school! 

Darren:*keeping watch at door, nods*But if Mr George catches us, we're going to be in  detention forever...*sees/hears the team entering the building*...huh?*shuts door hurriedly*

Steve:*watches the team fanning out on the blurry CCTV*Oh damn, they look like cops, my dad's gonna kill me if they find us in here and bring me home!*looks at security for help, presses some buttons-locking the doors down.*That should stall them, let's get out of here! 

*Meanwhile...* 

Jess: Alright, front doors unlocked and the anomaly should be in the canteen, you have a clear path. Matt:*smiles*You'd make a great bank robber, Jess. 

Jess:*smiles over comms*I'll consider it. 

Connor:*looks around*Why do all schools smell the same? Like...spot cream and misery. 

Becker: I quite liked school. 

Connor:*raises eyebrows*Yeah, that figures.*Becker rolls eyes*How were your school days, Matt? 

Matt:*smile fades*...I don't remember. 

Connor: C'mon, everybody remembers school. 

Matt: Not me. Let's get this anomaly locked and get out of here! 

Connor: You don't like talking about yourself much, do you? 

Becker:*hidden amusement vanishes as he sees dripping blood and debris up ahead- and a severed arm. He silently holds the others back, then they advance- then the lights flicker and all the doors lock...* 

The direction and music here goes from almost invisible to decent, ramping up the tension as Connnor is locked away from the others and he and Jess work together to unlock a path to the anomaly. Meanwhile, the boys encounter and flee the Therocephalian and Abby persuades Jess to help her move the creatures out of the ARC to a private zoo(the one Abby worked at in Series 1?) until she can appeal against Phillip. The action is well done as Jess directs the guys to the boys and spots more Therocephalians settling in the canteen- but can only watch helplessley as Beth is ambushed and killed by a Therocephalian. This isn't the first time Primeval has threatened and killed women/children etc, but the handling of the incident and the acting of Jess and the others is perfect(as well as the later breaking of the news of their schoolmate and teacher's deaths to Darren and Steve). 

With two victims already the stakes are upped as an angry Matt faces the Therocephalian in a great flickering-lights fight and an awkward Lester confronts an armed Abby over the moral debate over the menagerie as she smuggles Rex and the other creatures out. Connor directs the boys throught the locked windows and Becker locks the anomay- and is overpowered by the nest of Therocephalians. Matt/Becker's characterisation and relationship with each other and Connor is strengthened brilliantly here as a dying Becker and desperate Matt are trapped in a storage cuboard and perform first aid whilst Connor and the boys resort to knocking out the unexpected pack of Therocephalians and Matt and Becker with the aforementioned stink-bomb solution. Becker is saved and Steve and Darren also; having aided the team in their latest adventure, but at a high cost. 

But the ARC staff are no slouches either;Jess helps and reassures an injured and guilty Becker- as he gets DRESSED, interested fans. This and Matt's earlier getting up in the same ep?! And lol Jess accidently kneeing Becker yet still managing to reassure him over their mission. Less expectedly though, it's Lester who Abby shows affection for as he gets Phillip to back off by suggesting that IF the anomalies were ever discovered it wouldn't be him but 'Burton the dinosaur killer' who would be the scapegoat! And finally, Emily spends the hours figuring out the team's tracking devices and drawing a sketch of Ethan so the others can watch out for him- only for Ethan himself to appear.

The vague cliffhanger of an unstable Ethan and kidnapped Emily woodenly watching each other in Ethan's hideout is eh, but it'll be the next episode that decides things... 

In all, 'Therocephalian' is another good typical episode like 'Kaprosuchus', and the setting and characters believable and entertaining! The characterisation and potential pairings of the main cast with the exception of Connor and Phillip's disappointing backwards step into disloyalty are done perfectly, and the progress of the creatures and action/music good. However, this is the fourth consecutive 'carnivorous roaring khaki lizard' we've had in as many episodes, and occasionally the music/dialogue/direction continues to be prone to 'just functional and dull' syndrome; the lack of some more colourful visuals/direction, livelier music and more non-serious/expository dialogue is being felt. 

Next time, we're all going on a summer holiday... 

Primeval Series 2-4 Fan Contributions 

SPOILERS AHEAD( from S1.6 to S4.4 ) 

Primeval Cast/You're In The Army now - 1min59secs - gonewiththetime - s1-4 Characters/Action/Ryan

Primeval-Mean Girls Trailer - 2mins28secs - Paris Jazz - s2-4 Characters/Helen/Christine 

Primeval-Twinkle Twinkle - 1min22secs - Paris Jazz - s1-5 Anomalies/Creatures/Moments 

I'm Number Four(Primeval Style) - 2mins22secs- xTool0 - s1-4 Connor/Jess/Others 

Becker-I'm Not Sure Yet(about life,about love) - 2mins59secs - Sally Lee - s3-4 Sarah/Danny/Conby

BeckerxSarah|How Could I Let Her Go - 4mins01secs - softhadesvibes - s3-4 Sarah/Becker/Danny 

Primeval-Run This Town(Becker/Matt/Connor) - 2mins37secs - Sally Lee - s2-4 Action/Creatures/Fx 

Matt/Becker Get Me An Exit - 2mins51secs - 41nicobium - s4-5 Matt/Becker/Moments  

Primeval-Capt.Becker-The Motions - 2mins04secs - Isabella Nikita - s3-4 Becker/Sarah/Abby 

Lester-That's What I'm Here For - 1min16secs - Sally Lee - s2-4 Lester/Abby/Creatures 

Becker/Matt|YourShadow - 3mins20secs - MrsKatyAliceCullen - s3-4 Becker/Matt/Action 

Matt/Becker:Love And Loss - 1min47secs - Sally Lee - s4 Matt/Becker/Fx 

YourGhost(SarahBeckerJess) - 3mins36secs - RuffiansChesireCat - s3-4 Sarah/Moments/Fx 

Primeval Season 4 Episode 5 Review 'Labyrinthodont' 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last time we took a look at what goes on in schools during holiday hours and the team reenacted their rebellious years; this time, the team takes a last day off to visit the seaside-but Becker is to busy taking sick leave after last time to appear,Jess has to assist workaholics Lester and Phillip and Matt is preoccupied with Ethan having stolen away potential girlfriend Emily(literally...). Guess it's just a not-so-romantic getaway for Connor and Abby, then... 

The episode starts with a brief but neat 'found footage' as a camper's video camera captures something dragging them out of their tent. But of more interest is the location footage; this episode's scenery and locations are gorgeous and the apparent avoidance of using ANY stuntmen for the vertigo-inducing cliffs or fight scenes adds great immersion as we see the characters themselves do it all- as 'episodes to watch in HD/Bluray' go this is right up there with 2.5's Silurian desert and 3.8's apocalypse! 

Post-credits has no need for HD though, just attention as Phillip offers Connor a job at his private rival company Prospero(who are interested in conducting their own anomaly research...) and Lester reprimands Matt and Abby for letting Emily look for fellow anomaly traveller Ethan instead of being brought in and questioned. This handling of how the anomalies and the information and benefits they could offer would be handled by the government, private businesses/researchers and Joe Public is believably handled and even further fleshes out Primeval's world. And it also avoids the pitfall of monotony/pessimism that usually turns me off these sort of oft-praised storylines; the coming look into Prospero and yet more time travel research and the race to save the kidnapped Emily and the general public from the unstable Ethan after the police get involved due to the discovery of the murdered tramp is paced very well and occasional amusing and everyday moments/lines/reactions make all the difference.  

To make up for the temporary loss of Becker's sarcasm, we get a nice focus on Lester; his scenes and lines dealing with everyone and the dual problems of tracking down Ethan and a distant and fluctuating anomaly signal add a good 75% of the aforementioned amusement( 'am i boring you' and 'sorry, did anyone just hear me give a direct order'as Matt sneaks away from lecture, 'what the hell is going on?' as the detector and Phillip aggravate him, the later revelation tech isn't his strong suit as he and Jess assist the team).

But the star of the episode is the the development given to newbies Ethan and Emily. Here's what we've learnt about Ethan in three episodes(a dozen more by series end);  

.Ethan tells us that they and others have travelled through many non-human eras 

.Ethan tells us that he and Emily have travelled together for three years 

.Ethan tells us that Charlotte was from London 

.Charlotte 'looked after' Ethan

.It's implied Ethan and Charlotte were together-'my Charlotte',has a coin/locket(?) keepsake he buries with her,'she was the only one who understood me', 'i loved her' etc 

.He has stolen Charlotte's ashes from the morgue 

.Charlotte's family have a crypt that Ethan intends to place the urn in 

.He's found a change of clothes 

.He let Emily get dressed before kidnapping her

.He's stolen a car(and the keys, or hotwired it)

.He knows Emily keeps a dagger on her 

.He can punch/kick/brawl 

.He can break necks

.He can wield a object  

.He's amused by other's scared and confused reactions to him 

.He can be vunerable about people/things that matter to him

.He's twitchy(scratches head, licks lips, wipes nose, runs/hides etc)

.He can drive despite having never visited the 20th/21st century with Emily 

.He has his own agenda-'they will see what i've seen, and suffer how i've suffered'

.Matt suspects Ethan of being the kind of anomaly Gideon is paranoid about 

.Ethan can switch from straightforward and blunt to poetic and trolling-'i am the past, i am the future'?! 

.Ethan intends to punish Emily for prioritising them and their group over the terminally-ill Charlotte and telling the team about his exploits by burying her alive...  

 

And here's what we'll know about Emily by the end of the series; 

.She's a Victorian Lady 

.She was newly arranged-marriaged to someone when she first encountered an anomaly 

.She cared about Charlotte 

.She moves in with and flirts with Matt hours after meeting and attacking him 

.She carries a dagger, knockout vapour and ring on her 

.She can sketch a close acquaintance very accurately 

.She is given a change of clothes

.She's bossy(to the group,Matt'bossy aren't you',to Ethan'why not just kill me now')

.Matt suspects her of being the anomaly Gideon is paranoid about

.She's vunerable(gets kidnapped and almost always looks worried/upset) 

.She can headbutt someone 

.She can stab/hit someone with an object 

Two problems here. Firstly, Emily-the character with less development-is a potential team member, love interest and damsel in distress(this isn't the first or last instance); all we've been given are superficial scenes and contrasting 'is suffering and needs help/is interfering and has a dubious background' details. We need a clearer idea of the character and more entertainment value, especially if the interest and sympathy of the team is gonna fit amongst other plotlines. Secondly, this is similar to the amount we know about Matt and Jess- main team members with a lot more runtime. What's the point of giving focus and loyalty to brand new characters and their relationships with the team when we don't even yet know much about the team they're getting involved with?

 

Thirdly, we're only five episodes in-three for Emily and Ethan- and we already have a clear picture of everyone's coming storylines. Matt and Emily are paired and worrying about time travel's effects on their lives; Connor and Abby are paired and worrying about the future of the anomalies and creatures with Phillip's involvement; Becker and Jess are paired and worrying about helping the team and the public; and Lester is paired with no one and runs the ARC as since Series 1.  Everything is laid out with no room for surprises or experimentation; no more characters not needing partners, trips through anomalies or into the field for office or secondary characters, no more glimpses of characters's homes or lives outside of their jobs. Not to say prior series weren't guilty occasionally-Cutter and Claudia's introduction-by-snog and Leek's hi-i'm a villain-bye spring to mind- but in general the more workmanlike and less human plotting and presentation is damaging. 

The presentation for this episode is on a roll though- the use of no music just the wind/birds and the odd creepy or urgent piece and the team's scenic visits to a graveyard and an everyday seaside village and it's inhabitants making for up for the lack of actual anomaly travelling. And the effects for the creature are also a success- this time a giant snakelike carnivore called a Labyrinthodont is the culprit, and it's attacks and efforts to protect it's young whilst it's exploits enter local myth as 'The Worm' are performed nicely. The 'creature v civilians' subplot this time also unfolds nicely, as a local family's efforts to hide their illegal activities results in Connor and Abby being attacked by both them and the territorial beast.

The build from questioning the locals to discovering evidence of both the creature and human involvement to confrontations with both results in a tense climax; the family find Connor stumbling across their fuel-stripping scam whilst finding the Labyrinthodont's lair and knock him out, leaving Jess/Phillip/Lester to helplessly listen in via earpiece as Abby has to lead the Labyrinthodont back to the anomaly and past some holidaying children alone. This whole sequence- Phillip figuring out the situation from Connor's mutters into his earpiece and Abby looking like an action hero with her taser gun to the kids and their water pistols-is great, and leads to a worrying climax as the Labyrinthodont attacks Abby's vehicle and she crashes. Connor wakes to find his captors attacked and eaten by the Labyrinthodont along with his gun- and Jess telling him Abby's signal is coming from the stomach of the beast right in front of him. And this and the following scenes of Abby being alive after all and their reunion as they send the creatures home isn't the only great sequence in the episode... 

For whilst all this is going on, Matt tracks Emily to a graveyard with Lester's help- and finds Ethan fleeing and Emily buried alive with Charlotte. Both the fight sequence and confrontation dialogue here are brilliant and leave us wondering what the future holds for the men, so particular thanks to Ciaran Mcmenamin and Jonathan Byrne for doing a convincing job with fairly new characters. Oh, and the episode ends with the triple moment of Connor going to work for Prospero, a Connor/Abby kiss and an ominous ultimatum by Gideon that mentions HELEN CUTTER?! 

'Labyrinthodont' is the episode where the focus starts shifting to Series 4's story arcs in preparation for the finale-and so both their strengths and weaknesses begin to become evident-and it also delivers a gorgeous and ominous little 'local legends and fears' tale as both heroes and villains face secrets and mortal threats. For all my complaints about the overall changes to Primeval's formula for Series 4, this episode's handling of it's subject matter is spot on. There's also a nice contrast to last episode's more classic 'Becker and his guns rescue innocents' plot, offering different styles of episode featuring the mostly new cast/locations. Oh, and DON'T WATCH THE NEXT TIME TRAILER, it spoils a little too much... 

 

Next time, we consider the future relationship status of Primeval characters with their family and friends- and marital status...

Primeval Season 4 Episode 6 Review 'Hyaenodon' 

SPOILERS AHEAD-DO NOT WATCH FOR 50 SECONDS AFTER THE OPENING TITLES, OR

FROM 11.20 TO 11.34, OR FROM 24.03 MINS TO 24.55 MINS. ALL WILL BE REVEALED NEXT EPISODE(UNLESS YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT EPISODE 4.7) 

Hey everyone, welcome to Anomaly Reviews! Last time the team had a last-minute summer holiday from hell with wrong directions, accidents and injuries, bickering, sharing space with the local wildlife and unfriendly locals. Now, it's time to get back to work and patch up any frayed relationships- and try to put the past behind us... 

The episode starts with an ominous setup- a marriage. At a big country estate full of HD-worthy scenery and opportunities to get lost or ambushed by some creature, a snooty wedding planner mistakes the musician groom for the hired band and then heads off to the wine cellar. Unlike her, we're not too stressed to notice the malfunctioning radio, missing staff('charlie?') or rustling covers, not to mention the so-far decent soundtrack. But what finally gets her attention are the cute, whimpering wolf cubs that have somehow got into the basement-and the unseen something that intervenes when she tries to pet them. As pre-title sequences go this is an all-round great one. 

Post-credits we have a throwback to Episode 1 that heavily hints at upcoming plot twists and is best avoided until next episode. But never mind that; Becker is back on the job! And he's already getting to work; with the police after Ethan for his recent murder and attempted murder, Becker checks past police records for any anomalous results and finds an Ethan Dobrowski from 1902- a notorious anarchist who terrorised Russia with half a dozen stalkings-and-murders then vanished without a trace just as Helen did pre-Series 1. Emily's non-reaction and Matt being paired with her for the episode are disappointingly par for the course here. It's great seeing even more of Jess and Lester doing non-fieldwork helping with this though, and seeing Becker doing something other than shooting at an anomaly incursion; can we have a CSI-esque spinoff with the trio investigating crimes past, present and future? Those types of shows are much less prone to cancellation...

Even the non-talky parts seem determined to leave Matt out; upon splitting up to search the estate for incursions post-anomaly locking, Abby gets the reveal of the adult Hyaenodon, Connor gets another person, and Matt gets...nothing. 'Hyaenodon''s creature is definitely something though- the CGI is consistent and gives personalty both to the protective parent and mischevious cubs, we get another addition to Primeval's 'friendly/cute/baby creature' lineup, the creatures are well utilised in various quieter and more urgent scenarios throughout the episode and 'giant wolf' is something the team can just about pass off as a rare but not impossible/supernatural sighting to any bystanders. Which is useful, as there's one in the basement- except the ARC already evacuated the place... 

 

*Leaving Abby to deal with the unconscious Hyaenodon, Connor goes into the cellar where the wedding planner was attacked. He hears a sound...and exits the room without seeing the multiple young Hyaenodons just feet away, or the SECOND adult Hyaenodon guarding them.*

Connor:*keeps still and holds his breath as he sees a large shadow approaching from behind the protective sheeting; then he hears steady footsteps.* Identify yourself! 

*The figure ignores his command and keeps coming, pushing the sheeting aside. Connor raises his gun and blinds the figure with his torch-illuminating their face.*

Connor: Jenny?!? 

*Jennifer Lewis, former ARC team member since the beginning, straightens her casual dress and squints past the light.* 

Jenny:*eyes widen in shock*Connor?!?*Abby and then Matt come in to see what's holding the grinning Connor up-wielding guns. Jenny takes a step back.* Oh nonononono, this can't be happening! 

Abby/Connor: Jenny?/What are you doing here? 

Jenny:*regaining command*What AM I doing here? What are YOU doing here? 

*Abby and Connor look at each other and then Matt, who looks confused. Jenny suddenly laughs nervously and claps her hands in realization. "This is a joke, right?*pauses*But how did you know i was getting married? 

Abby:*gapes*Married?*behind her, Matt gets bored and starts looking around, whilst Connor half-smiles in a part-caring, part-disbelieving way.* 

Jenny: You're here, and...omigod there's an anomaly.*puts her head in her hands and breathes out.* 

Matt:*trying to help*I'm Matt Anderson-*Jenny turns away and starts to leave. Matt raises an eyebrow at Connor, then Jenny suddenly turns back around.* 

Jenny: What am i going to tell him? 

Abby:*loudly*WHO? 

Jenny:*louder*Michael, my fiance!! 

Abby:*looks down in 'this could be awkward'.* Oh.*Connor winces.*"I'm not a demanding bride, really. I'm not.*grins grimly* Rain, i can handle. Wrong flowers, fine. Dinosaurs? *shakes head, still smiling grimly* I draw the line. 

Connor: Actually they're prehistoric dogs, this time-*Matt's sceptical gaze moves to Connor*-Kinda cute, in a non-raptor way...*Jenny puts her face in her hands again*I'm just going to shut up. 

Abby:*concerned*Jenny, the anomaly's locked and we've dealt with the incursion.*Jenny looks up from massaging temples*It's going to be ok... 

Matt:*interjects*We really should evacuate the place for the day, just so we know it's safe...*Connor and Abby look round. Behind them, Jenny finally looks at Matt-and folds her arms. Matt hesitates.

Matt:*cautious tone*Or we could search the property now and keep an eye on things whilst you get married..?*squints questioningly* 

Jenny:*arms still folded and nodding, smiles sarcastically* Grrreat.*Matt half-smiles but still grips his gun. Jenny grins.* And what the hell, you're all invited to the wedding. 

Connor:*looks to Abby*Yay!*Abby grins* 

Why last episode's 'Next Time' trailer felt the need to spoil this i don't know, but here we are. Anyway, that doesn't matter since you all listened to my warning and didn't watch it, right? Right? Right. So yes, we actually get to see one of the original main characters return, and interact with both old and new team members, AND get a happy ending unlike most of the characters. Lucy Brown slips back into the role of Jenny Lewis perfectly, and as Connor comments seems happy; not to mention just as feisty as ever, belivably so and whilst still having moments of vunerability(as well as both of these working to amusingly comedic effect occasionally). The episode's premise as is works just fine for new fans, but this twist elevates it and isn't overexplained or dull for said fans. 

Meanwhile, the episode reminds us that Emily still exists by having her run away from the soldiers THAT ARE WATCHING OUT FOR HER MURDEROUS STALKER and gatecrash the introductions between the team and Jenny's fiance babbling questions about the 'anomaly' and 'creature' *facepalm*. Ruth Bradley finally gets to do something other than plead with Ethan this episode, and her acting of Lady Emily Merchant's confusion, loneliness, curiosity, fear, independence and even rare bit of 'fish out of water' comedy or knowing sarcasm works brilliantly. Between her and Ciaran Mcmenamin we do have a suitable new pair of team members- but the show just keeps giving them expository and lecturing dialogue and repetitive and unaffecting direction. Whether you will care though when her, Abby and Jenny are fighting Hyaenodons in tight wedding/bridemaids dresses is another matter. 

But what about Jess? Nope, she already changes her outfit every episode. This time she simply gets the more practical coat from Episode 1, as she brings Becker takeaway on her way home to his stakeout of Ethan's flat. This subplot goes on throughout the episode and builds a slow but genuine relationship between the readjusting Becker and new Jess; Ruth Kearney and Ben Mansfield act their varied scenes perfectly. We go from Jess directing Becker over the comms to Ethan's flat(her worriedly telling him to 'stay warm' and then facepalming herself whilst Becker rolls his eyes, lol), to her nearly giving Becker a heart attack popping up at his car window during the nightly stakeout and then falling asleep on his shoulder- to her panicking with fear as she bravely defuses THE BOMB ETHAN HAS LEFT IN HIS FLAT FOR THEM using a trapped-by-the-pressure-plate Becker's instructions(resulting in a relieved and concerned Becker hugging Jess tightly and then immediately letting go when his men arrive, lol)-even the sidelined characters get to be a highlight of the episode. Talking of which, Ethan gets a few scenes working on the bomb and sneaking around (his exasperation as he hears Becker trying to quietly break in and grinning at the dozing Becker and Jess in their car as he leaves is funny, as is the action music that plays when Becker...parks his car.)

(fun fact; this is actually Phillip Burton's episode off. Didn't like that 'controlling third party' subplot of his? Nowhere to be seen! Nice that the various subplots-Phillip, Emily/Ethan, Gideon-all get a rest occasionally so we have some 'arc-less' episodes.).

The night-day cycle is also welcome, as Jenny, Emily and Abby have a hen-night sleepover(Jenny: *holds wine*Nightcap in my room? Connor: Yes please. Jenny: Girls only. Connor: Sexist.) and Matt...

presumably just gets some sleep(Matt: Emily stays with ME. Jenny: What is this, the 1800's? Gosh, he's Mr Fun isn't he? Must be a laugh a minute on the team these days. Me: Oh c'mon writers, you can't disguise your poor character plotlines by having one of the characters make fun of themmph PHAHAHA oh it's good to have you back Jenny!). Maybe that's the idea though, as some of Matt's scenes(Matt: I didn't just fall into this job... Emily: Tell me, you can trust me- who are you?) seem geared towards building to a climax/revelation concerning Matt and Emily's mysterious pasts. The writers are doing a good job of trying to balance making them sympathetic with making them dubious, as with Gideon and even a couple of Ethan's quieter and less anarchic scenes; but having the main character, main character's partner in crime and a secondary character all introduced and kept shady and distant for the entire series is bound to cause some trust and engagement issues both with the other characters and the audience. 

And Connor and Abby's relationship is suffering too; the arguments throughout the series over the day job/Phillip/other characters/Rex/creatures, Connor's abundance of good scenes without Abby and with/without the others, and their workmanlike chemistry-lacking interactions, it just seems like the reward for investing in their series-long on-off arc is...unconvincing and unentertaining. Literally the only scene this entire episode where Abby is nice to Connor is a line when he's not even there, as she worries that he isn't answering his phone and Jenny reassures her it's probably just a hangover... 

This leads into the final 10 minutes, which thankfully ditch the relationship problems and rank as one of the best episode climaxes ever with a great blend of action, humor and bittersweet interaction. Connor's scenes from now in particular- hearing the Hyaenodon pups on his way to bed but getting no phone signal from the cellar, a nod to the S2E1 'Spots Raptor whilst holding a slushie' scene as he spots the other Hyaenodon whilst using said phone, fighting for his life with it in the darkened cellar whilst the pups comically leap at his ankles, putting them to sleep with the aid of some wine, luring the Hyaenodon away from the cellar door by getting an escaped pup to call for help, getting said pup to call by shooting it with a popped wine cork(lol!), trying to put the pups including a playful escaped one back through the anomaly only to hear an ominous growling from said anomaly, and finally crashing Jenny's wedding to warn everyone(Connor: Run! *pups enter* Wedding guests/ Jenny's father and sister-in-law: Aww...*both adult Hyaenodons enter* Everyone: AAH!!)-are brilliant, and some of the music cues(such as the bit where something creeps up to Becker's car window...it's just Jess) fit nicely too, although overall this episode's soundtrack is more natural at the expense of any memorable pieces/moments. 

But packing all this in means we only get 5 or 6 scenes with Michael(Rory Keenan, Striking Out, Peaky Blinders, On Home Ground). So does he make a suitable endgame for one of Primeval's main and most popular characters? Here's what we learn about him; 

1.His full name is Michael Miller, so Jenny Lewis is now Jenny Miller. 

2.He has dark blonde hair and blue eyes, like Cutter and Jenny's boyfriend in Series 2-guess we know her type. 

3.Like them, he also has a relaxed demeanour. 

4.Like them, he can also be distracted by his job(Guitarist, possibly singer/songwriter too). 

5.Like them, he also takes loyalty seriously; his first and main question to Jenny upon finding out her past job/life is if she still has feelings for Cutter, understandable considering she could be on the rebound(Cutter argued with Jenny/Stephen/Helen/Claudia over loyalty/betrayl a lot, Jenny's boyfriend left because he thought her secret was an affair, meeting Cutter didn't help). 

6.The fact he asks this not 'am i going to get eaten by something/stuck through an anomaly' and protects the terrified vicar by KICKING THE GIANT WOLF IN THE FACE is great(the comedy vicar is a very Series 1/2-esque extra lol!). 

7.It looks like he kicks it whilst wearing blue suede shoes. Cool. 

8.*a terrified Michael tries to stare down the Hyaenodon that's about to eat him- when Jenny, IN HER WEDDING DRESS AND GARTER(and new straight brown hair and slight tan that's more natural than Series 2 and completely different from Claudia), lamps it with a candlestick straight over the balcony and down the stairs to the ground floor.* Jenny:*scared/panicking*S-STAY AWAY!*hits it, looks over the balcony**determined* Get away from my husband. Michael:*looks over balcony, shirt torn and hair askew**regaining senses* We're not married yet. Jenny:*breathless* Mere technicality. *Michael looks at her sceptically but unsurprised, then appraisingly to the in-shock vicar* Me: THIS is chemistry! You need to do this with characters we've known longer than 15 minutes! 

9.The 'not-on-the-team Jenny and brave love interest suddenly face a creature at the top of a stairwell/corridor, someone panics and screams, the love interest ends up on the floor, Jenny defeats the creature with an implement, Jenny and the love interest trade barbs and someone leans over/ grips the stairrail in dawning stress having just fought their first creature' scenario is straight from Series 2 Episode 2's 'Cutter/Jenny vs worm' scene. Love these recurring motifs/images. 

10. His look of dull disbelief-slash-headache-slash-concern when Jenny nervously tells him what her previous job was is funny. And it's nice to meet someone who's reaction to the anomalies isn't 'Great, i can use this for my own purposes' or 'scientific interest' or 'Aah! Kill it!'. Even if i could barely pay attention over the enraged howls of Cutter/Jenny/Claudia fans when Jenny was sad about Cutter and then admitted to being over him romantically and happy being with Michael. 

11. He has a brunette sister who lends Abby a drees as they're similar sizes. 

12. He wears cool sunglasses whilst driving a cream Mini. 

13. He's fine with he and Jenny being married by a civil servant 'with special dispensation from the Minister', via webcam, with the laptop held by Connor(wearing a hat for the first time since Series 3 Episode 7!). With a girl in bright clothes smiling tearfully/soppily and blowing her nose on the unimpressed civil servant's hankerchief. 

14.He and Jenny like kissing each other(Jess thinks it's lovely, but Lester just says he's pretty vague on the details of marriage and after nearly breaking Jess's computer in Episode 5 and seeing Leek on it and the ADD screen in Series 2 is likely to never go near a screen again.). Oh, and Jenny seeing Lester once more and saying her last line on the show before kissing Primeval goodbye just as she entered it kissing Cutter is beautiful;  

*Jenny tells Michael about her past and they reconcile, but they still aren't married;* 

Michael:*smiles*There is one problem, though. The registrar's in no fit condition to marry anyone. 

Jenny:*bites lip in thought-then her eyes light up.*I think i m ight be able to do something about that. 

*At the altar, Lester(and Jess behind him) is on a webcam feed laptop held by a knowing hat-wearing Connor. Abby, Matt, Emily, and Michael and Jenny's family sit in the pews watching(the guests likely all got treated for shock after the wolf incident);* 

Lester:*slightly delayed webcam signal*By the power vested in me, by special dispensation from the Minister, i now pronounce you husband and wife.*glances to Jess smiling tearfully, Michael raises an eyebrow and Jenny smiles*You may now kiss the bride, or whichever is customary in these circumstances*mutters*Forgive me, i'm a little bit vague on the details... 

Jenny: Thank you, James.*she and a knowing-smile Michael smile at each other and kiss happily, everyone cheers* 

Jess:*can't help smiling*It's s-so lovely!*Lester sighs slightly and gives Jess his hankerchief which she quickly uses; he looks once more at Jenny and Michael kissing, gives a mock-'eww' sigh and walks off. Emily, uncertain in a modern dress and makeup, looks tearful too, but not in a good way. She quietly leaves, and Matt notices and follows her. We see Jenny one last time, over in the corner with a guy as she was the first time we ever saw her; but now she is smiling and laughing.* 

Matt:*looks understanding, but a little sad* You're married? 

Emily:*looks at him not knowing what to say,then looks away out over the stately garden, rubbing her wedding ring.* I didn't love my husband, i barely knew him. My family had money, he had a title...*looks into the distance*...my father arranged the whole thing.*looks at Matt* It was a very good match.

Matt:*suddenly looks like he understands her situation-perhaps even knows it himself.* For everyone except you.*hesitates* I have to be somewhere. D'you want to come?

*Emily realises he's not talking about the job or protecting her for once, and looks at him curiously.*

*cut to Gideon's place, the sun shining and birds tweeting like everything's fine despite the fact we know the terminally-ill Gideon and Matt are up to something involving the ARC. A nurse puts down a glass of water and some medicine beside Gideon's garden chair and then quickly exits. whilst Matt sits beside him looking uncomfortable. Emily stands a few feet behind them with a tray of drinks, apprehensive. Gideon smiles at the leaving nurse, then takes off his glasses. He looks pale and weak, but turns to the waiting Matt with authority.

Gideon:*serious, doesn't look Matt in the eye* Did you catch them? Did you stop it happening? 

Matt:*unhappy, tries to reassure him* Not yet, but i will. 

Gideon:*still staring into the distance, tired and weak* Emily...*suddenly looks at Matt*she's here? 

Matt: ...Yeah. Don't worry. I'm going to use her to catch Ethan and then i'm going to walk away. *looks away shakily but resolutely, lowers his voice so she won't hear.* She means nothing to me. *looks guilty/doubtful* 

Gideon:*nods*You and i aren't important.*looks at Matt desperately*All that matters is what we came here to do.*looks at Matt with a softer, kind gaze* It's all up to you now. 

Matt:*looks back at him, serious and scared.* 

Gideon:*still looking at him weakly, slight embarrassed smile at his dazedness*I was dreaming of home.....

Matt:*looks weak, unlike he ever does* 

Gideon: I wish-*wavers*...i wish... *eyelids flutter, then close. He slumps back. Matt stares at him with fear, tears in his eyes, then reaches out and touches his face. He shakes his head slightly, face screwed up, and takes a breath- then bows his head to hide his crying. Emily moves forward as if to help, shocked and probably remembering losing Charlotte. Matt hears her and ignores her, then raises his head and looks away with defeat.* 

Matt:*hiding tears*He's gone. 

Emily:*shocked*I'm sorry...*looks at Gideon's still face*Who was he? 

Matt:*tired and grief-stricken*...my father. 

'Hyaenodon' is the best episode of Series 4 yet. All the actors- Matt, Emily, Connor, Jenny, Becker, Jess, Gideon, Abby, Ethan, Michael and Lester- get a chance to show their skills. The Hyaenodons are both cute and vicious and get both action scenes and personality moments for both the adults and babies alike, and their CGI and sound effects are great(the wolves are clearly fake, but their design and movement, etc hides this much better than with the Sabretooth, Gorgonopsid etc). The stately house/gardens/basement setting is HD-worthy and versatile for both more homely scenes and tense ones and is seen thoroughly as well as at different times and with various characters and extras. There is some lovely direction and editing, many humorous moments, several action scenes(of course this is a stately house that displays medieval weaponry!), and some heartfelt and touching without being contrived or overzealous character development and scenes. 

It's not perfect- Matt, Emily and Abby all have emotionless and awkward moments, Phillip doesn't even get mentioned, Lester only gets two mainly sarcastic scenes and some of the music is forgettable(the music for the above final scene is perfect though). But in my opinion this is the first time Series 4 has achieved an episode that has absolutely everything, or the memorable/personality-laden/ engaging feel that previous series and the best episodes have had. 

Finally, we say an unexpected goodbye to two characters. Overwriting main character Jenny's Series 3 exit was a risky decision, but it just about paid off thanks to the performances by Lucy Brown, Rory Keenan and the rest and the well-written scenes. Seeing a final end to the Claudia Brown(yep, she's mentioned)/Jennifer Lewis story almost into Series 5 could have come across as drawn out and scraping the 'prior storylines' barrel, but it ends up a fitting nod to Lucy Brown's time on the show and an entertaining subplot for any new fans. 

And in nicely thematic contrast to a familiar younger female closing the door on her previous life and ending up alive and well with her partner, family and friends, we also have an unfamiliar older male unable to resolve his previous life and ending up dying and dead without his partner or friends and leaving his son alone- Gideon Anderson, Matt's dad. Casting Anton Lesser and having this subplot to add to Matt's character development wasn't neccessary and exposition-dumping or flashbacking his background could've happened, but simply showing Matt and his family living through some of their story is much more effective. We still aren't sure of Matt's intentions other than he and his dad came from somewhere anomalous and are trying to stop/influence people's interference with the anomalies; but what we do know is that it is possible to sympathize with and enjoy watching Matt and Gideon nevertheless alongside the other characters and storylines. So thank you to Anton Lesser for his role in Primeval; for playing it convincingly and engagingly despite the vague nature of the plot, and for adding both another moving exit and another well-cast family/friend secondary character to the show and story. 

Next time-god, Primeval needs proper episode titles. 'The one with the creature', what is this, Friends? Calling this one 'A Wedding And A Funeral', obviously. Anyway, next time is the FINALE OF PRIMEVAL SERIES 4! It's called '-*internet signal lost*

Primeval Season 4 Episode 7 Review 'Fourth Of Goodbyes' 

SPOILERS AHEAD (DON'T WATCH THE CLIPS MENTIONED A THE START OF THE LAST REVIEW EPISODE 6 UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THIS EPISODE!) 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the finale of Series 4 of Primeval Reviews! This is another 'no new creature' episode, so another made-up title above instead of naming it after the creature. Went for something similarly 'numerically final' sounding like 'Tenth Of Never' agai-oh, you don't care about my ideas you just want to know what the 'four goodbyes' are. Well. Time to find out then, i suppose... 

The episode starts like many others with a cool pre-credits event, this time of a young tourist getting more than they bargain for when they get locked in an empty cell in the prison they're touring('you wanna go to Alcatraz' lol)...and vanish less than 10 seconds later. This setting serves the episode well and is both an everyday and a atmospheric location so off to a good start. Following this are some almost soap-opera feeling 'relationship worries and light amusement' scenes; Matt and Emily worry about their other lives coming between a possible fresh start and perhaps romance for them both here, Connor and Abby worry about Phillip and the studies/working with the anomalies coming between them and their relationship, and Lester worries about the ARC and the police's joint failure to catch serial killer Ethan coming between him and his future in the government(or as Matt puts it 'staying on the Minister's Christmas card list' lol). I'd thank Becker and Jess for not adding to these scenes, but they are neccessary to flesh out the characters in between the bigger storylines. The more sci-fi/bland metal look of the ARC and refusal to let pointed silence or everyday sounds help in favour of near-constant soundtrack does hinder the efforts of the actors though. 

The mystery then begins to unfold-the detector only found one anomaly NOT in the locked cell, nor any sign of a creature attack. We also have a new addition to Primeval's list of sci-fi technology- Connor's 'dating calculator'! It scans the anomaly and tells roughly where in time it leads to,and makes a useful and not too far fetched addition(and gives us an idea of what Connor's knowledge and Phillip's resources could achieve, returning more to an earlier-series 'potential future storylines and concepts' viewpoint rather than just a weekly runaround). It also leads to a funny sequence; Emily's reaction when the calculator claims the anomaly can send her back 'home', the calculator somehow reopening the anomaly after they've locked it, Becker's eye-rolling and impatience for Connor to 'turn his toy off', Connor pointing out that 'it leads to the Victorian era, what d'you think's gonna come through? Olivertwistasaurus?' and then a Pliocene-era Terror Bird coming through and causing chaos and anomaly-dating confusion instead! 

Jess is working but getting no screentime, whilst Matt and Emily are..hanging around looking at things and boredly chatting about things. Neither of them are paid or given company apartments just to be mysterious, what is this? Matt's supposed to be the new TEAM LEADER and by extension main/joint main character. Phillip has now reached the end of the entire series with nothing but a couple of amusing lines/moments from Alexander Siddig. And Abby has changed even more-from naive but fiery in Series 1/2, to still occasionally cheeky but sulkier and braver/more grown up in Series 2/3, to grudgingly supportive and quieter/tougher in both action scenes and debates; but also just quieter/more muted in characterisation and acting, and with a constant dose of pessimism, lack of interest/enthusiasm in either work or relationships and being easily depressed/ annoyed/concerned more by own feelings and cares than others. Simply put, change is needed! 

Talking of earlier series features, turns out Ethan knows the old 'detect anomalies via radio satic warmer/colder' trick and doesn't like Becker's soldiers blocking his escape route. Or the 'no bullets, stun guns only' rule, yay for actually suspenseful non-creature action! Lol Jess 'i'm not picking up another anomaly on the detector, are you sure?' Becker *gritted teeth as he tries to hold door shut between him and an angry Terror Bird* 'Yes, Jess, pretty sure!'! And maybe i should've got this review on Halloween instead of 'ArachWhophobia', as the anomaly turns out to be a malfunctioning one that can't be detected by help and can open then close immediately in any place/time to snatch you away or spit something at you...LIKE A FORMER PRIMEVAL CHARACTER!!!

Ok, first Duncan, then Jenny, now this all within 6 episodes of each other?! So much for the 'the cast changed too much!' complaints. Right then, place your bets on who you think it is(bearing in mind anomalies can snatch from literally any time and place so it could be anyone) and i'll see you later once you've upped my view count checking back to see who it is-oh wait, wikipedia. Damnit. Ok, it's.....

.....

...DANNY AND PATRICK QUINN!!! 

Yep, Primeval really is part soap opera. Turns out Danny Quinn, short-lived team leader and cop searching for his missing younger brother Patrick, survived being stuck with the homonids after Series 3 and is back with Connor, Abby, Becker and Lester once again! And it turns out Ethan Dobrowski, psychotic anomaly traveller, was once actually 21st-century lawbreaking teenager Patrick Quinn! The twist is confusing if you haven't seen Series 3 episode 2, but the episode quickly and effectively mentions Danny and Patricks's former roles on the show and flashbacks to them briefly without stopping the action or plot, as well as of course this series's opening flashback trailer and mentions of Danny so it's not an especially confusing or dull setup for newcomers.

It's also a surprising reward for fans of older storylines and ideas, as you realise the mischevious teen skateboarding and playing music after sucessfully finding a holidaying person's spare key is Ethan, that that's who Danny talked about and mourned, and that it explains how Ethan knew to drive a car(lawbreaking 14-year-old with an older brother that rides a motorbike tryin to impress mates), make bombs and work a modern radio(his time spying on people in Russia plus exploring the future anomaly and technology and school science and technology lessons). Charlotte was actually involved with Danny's brother, Emily meets and understands her tormentor Ethan's brother. And the thing i warned you not to watch last ep? A convincingly-cast and old-looking photo of a young Danny and Ethan(haven't seen any of the main characters as children before either i think), and Ethan visiting his childhood home and asking an old neighbour his family's whereabouts only to flee when she recognises him. The 'people will see what i've seen' he mentioned to Matt in episode 5? He was talking about finding Danny and his parents and showing them the anomalies as punishment for not rescuing his 14-year-old self from the camoflauge beasts. His killing spree? Years of being stranded alone as a terrified 14 year old amongst monsters, having to kill and eat them to survive, no one helping him because the anomaly closed and the future has little or no survivors, his first returns to civilisation being totally monachy-lead Russia around the time of the Russo-Japanses war and socially/politically unstable Russian Revolution, and Victorian England around the time of the Second Reform Act giving working class and unskilled men the vote, Britain's worries about the American Civil War, Dominion of Canada and Russia; and realising that even if he made it home the entire human race was doomed to be killed and replaced by future animals and natural disasters anyway. 

Danny is reintroduced and welcomed first to establish his place/personality and give both him and the fans happiness as he is reunited with Connor, Abby, Becker and Lester again. It's done well-Matt shoots another rushing anomaly emerger, the group are confused to see it's a person, long-time fan favourites Abby and Connor turn them over and react to the battered- but-very-much-alive Danny, Danny wakes to find himself back safe at last and hugs his friends. It's funny too; 

*Becker lifts Danny and Abby checks pulse* Connor*to Matt*'I can't believe you just shot him! He's been away for a year and you just...'*makes popping sound and mimes finger gun*

Becker*pretends he's not extremely worried, drops Danny's hand*'C'mon Quinn get up, stop faking'

Danny*blearily sees Abby, realises what's happening*'Oh, Becker, you're much cuter than i remember...'*laughs and hugs a tearful Abby and smiling Becker and Connor* 

*Becker, remembering when he goaded Matt into shooting him with the stun gun*'Matt shot you. He likes shooting things...'*Matt is embarrased but pleased to meet Danny Quinn and doesn't intrude on the others's closeness* and a new first as two team leaders meet.

So whilst Danny is being revealed as alive and well, Becker finds one of his men killed by Ethan as the fugitive decides to shoot his way to the anomaly. Danny hears the gunshots and wades in with his prehistoric club/stick 'Molly'(lol at Connor 'you named your stick?' Danny 'when you get stranded for that long you start naming things', and apparently no one ever told Danny not to bring a stick to a gunfight); and we have better music and a great parallel action sequence between old and new as Matt gets some leader spotlight hunting down Ethan and Danny, Connor and Abby face a Terror Bird together once again! There's tech too as Connor uses his anomaly devices and Emily's info that Ethan uses a wind up radio to track anomalies to make said radio screech with static. Ethan's reactions as he hurriedly smashes the radio, just leans back for a moment like he is SO TIRED of this crap and then is jointly amused, impatient and vunerable as he tells Matt his intention to leave and confusion/disinterest at further clashes with the ARC and anomalies and then escapes only to run straight into HIS LONG-LOST BROTHER that's hes missed and blamed for the past 18 or so years. 

So disaster strikes as the team see just-saved Danny suddenly face to face with gun-wielding antagonist Ethan, then you notice neither is doing anything but stare at the other in confusion and shock, and hear 'echoes' of two young boys- then complete stranger Ethan stutters 'Danny', how does he know Danny's name? And the penny drops as Danny hugs him. Next we see everyone back safe at the ARC as Becker and Matt take Ethan into custody, and Lester is simultaneously happy and getting a massive headache as he sees Danny again('B-but what about Danny?' and keeping his and the presumed-dead others's belongings in earlier eps) only for Quinn to ask if they can free their mass-murdering criminal please. We then have some brilliantly-acted and written scenes with them and Matt/Ethan and believable silence bar a brief and subtle creepy motif. Danny and Lester discuss their concerns(Lester 'Helen Cutter. Dead?' Danny 'As a dodo.' Lester*tiny satisfied smile*'Excellent' LOL! Lovely they still remember old characters/events, Matt mentions his now-we-know-about dad Gideon too), and Danny's denial('this 'Ethan' might just be a name? What do we ACTUALLY know he's done?' Lester 'Since he arrived he's killed one person(doesn't know about the soldier earlier yet) and attempted to kill two others(Emily and Becker)!). 

This contrast with a resentful and unstable Ethan telling Matt exactly what he went through for the past 18 years-was 14 so 32 now, not many ages get mentioned- and kudos to both Jason Flemyng and Jonathan Byrne, who haven't worked together before on Primeval or elsewhere as far as i know, for their performances regarding their characters's pasts and subsequent attitudes are honestly PERFECT. Their resentment, grief, fear, recklessness, mercy and amusement all come across without overacting or underacting, and the two actors both convey the situation well to other characters and interact as though they have a history together. Even amongst this there is rare lightness (Danny being reunited with the others and meeting Emily/Matt/Phillip-why not Jess?! At least he's impressed at Emily's fighting skills- and Ethan answering Matt's questioning by just silently staring at him creepily and actually being innocent of something when Matt asks if he's one of the 'anomaly saboteurs' Gideon mentioned). For his part Matt's accusatory anger, worry/sadness and then confusion and supressed horrified sympathy at Ethan is the right response(lol what a flat ending to their clashes- Ethan*fed up*'Why are you so interested in me?' Matt*dawning disbelief*'I thought you were somebody else!...i was wrong*worry and thinking hard, Ethan just looks away and rolls his eyes. Also, nice use of the 'suspect interogation' camera here). 

Meanwhile, Connor excels at his day job by solving the 'teleporting/multiplying' anomaly- two different anomalies got too close together and merged, one leading to the 1800's(Jess was right about it leading to Emily's time) and one to prehistory(letting Danny return). It and the 'anomaly dating' calculator add yet more potential concepts and storylines, but there is a problem. WHAT KIND OF COINCEDENCE IS THIS? An anomaly connecting the exact day and country time traveller Emily is in to the exact year she came from(same anomaly she 'fell through into another world'? She doesn't comment on the prison), and an anomaly connecting her time traveller acquaintance Ethan to the exact HOUR and area his time-travelling brother is? Yes cast availability forced the writers to place all of them in the exact same place and time by any fictional means, but this was still a contrived way to do it and just not having all of this take place in the same episode would have fixed it and given the great ideas of malfunctioning anomalies plot/Emily plot/Quinn bros plot a bit of breathing space/spotlight. That said, fitting all this characterisation/future episode building and all the new cast/characters and all the new creatures and all the new locations/guest stars and continuing storylines and history into just 7 EPISODES?! Phew. 

Not to mention past episode building-turns out Danny found notes in Helen's bag detailing plans and questions regarding the future of the ARC and anomalies, including Phillip's involvement! Getting stuff like this and the Danny/Patrick thing resolved both adds to and improves past episodes/plots and adds to/builds up future episodes without being too convoluted, so it's very welcome! Phillip brushes this off('At the risk of sounding conceited, my opinion on a range of subjects matters to a lot of fellow scientists' lol, Alexander Siddig gets the balance of well-meaning and dangerously interfering just right), but this and his interactions with Lester/Danny and Connor's worries about the malfunctioning anomalies FINALLY add more to his and the anomalies's storylines. Meanwhile, Jess and Emily both get some individual spotlight and screentime together, as Emily fights with Matt over his untrusting 'saboteur' vendetta and then is helped by Jess's kindness as she tries to decide whether to return home through the 1860's anomaly before it closes, stay in the 21st century or wait for an anomaly to return her to her fellow anomaly travellers. The dialogue continues to help greatly (*Emily rubs wedding ring*'The new bride who went to investigate the golden light and fell into another world...'*looks at old outfit in wardrobe*'...But that's not me anymore.' *considers her new possible friends and love interest Matt*'...But i don't quite fit here either.'). Ruth Bradley's performance benefits from solo spotlight and lack of mission/plot exposition, and shows what a great move adding her a both a new female character and new non-modern character is and could be! 

And the Danny/Ethan plot also comes to a head after some great acting and dialogue from both; *Ethan points nervous clasped hands at Danny, both determined and uncertain*'You abandoned me.'

Danny*frustrated and guilty*'NO! I didn't know what happened to you...where you'd gone. Joining the police, the ARC, it was all because of losing you!'

Ethan*selfish and violent survival-alone- because-everyone-doesn't-care-and-is-just-a-rival-animal philosophy gained from growing up in the abandoned future starts falling apart**uncomfortable, doesn't want to face truth*'Shut up.'

Danny 'I have NEVER given up on you!...And i'm not going to start now.'

Ethan*unsure how to explain*'At first i had to..kill, to survive. Those creatures, they kept on coming.'*flashback, Ethan shakes off memory and sniffs*'I got good at it-killing. Really good.'*Danny looks at him sadly, Ethan looks back at him steadily and matter-of-fact*'After a while you start to enjoy it.'(shades of 'kids shouldn't get violent video games/guns and enjoy the empowerment') Danny*worried* 'I can understand killing in self defence, i get it, but Patrick...humans?!' Ethan*dismissive*'They're only animals(sounds like Helen S1 btw!).' Danny*denial and horror*'No.' Ethan*more sure of himself/his experiences, violent glint in eye*'Yes.'*shrugs unconcernedly*'We are.'*looks at Danny questioningly*'Why are humans different?'

Danny*denial, won't call him 'Ethan'*'This isn't you, Patrick.'*glares, angry*'This isn't.You.' 

Ethan*looks back at him, confident and dangerous*'Oh it is.'*grins speculatively, then stops*'And i thought about killing you every day.'*Danny looks mutinous, finally facing the fact he might not be able to help Patrick and this really is him alive and not-so-well.* 

Ethan 'Danny.'*gets up, sounds serious.*'Just take me to the gateway and i promise you'll never see me again.'*Danny knows he can't let him go and put innocent people in danger, looks to guard urgently who moves towards Ethan* 

Ethan*feigns indifference but sounds pleading*'Please!'*shakes head, shrugs*'I just want to be alone.'

*smiles sadly and desperately, then abruptly turns to guard, grabs stun gun and shoots him down and then dead with a headshot right in front of Danny, and turns gun on him as he moves towards the door.* 

Danny*sad, but mainly terrified*'No.'*Ethan aims gun at him*'Y-you don't have to do this. Listen to me.' 

Ethan*looks confused, then reluctantly lowers gun a tiny bit and smiles in desperate disbelief at the situation*'..Bro.'*Danny inches forward to embrace him like earlier- and Ethan violently smashes him about the head with the gun, dropping him to the floor. Ethan/Patrick raises the gun and aims at him.* 

Ethan*grimaces, breathing hard, shakes head and reaims gun at Danny unresponding and helpless on the floor-then lowers gun abruptly and looks away, frustration and disgust at his own reluctance on his face. He looks once more at the unconcious Danny, facing the facts grudgingly.*

Ethan '...Sorry.'*leaves*

*Jess spots Ethan searching for an exit on the CCTV(btw Jess looks lovely this ep, bit overdressed as usual but smarter/more elegant not showy) and raises comms 'Intruder alert, all units to corridor 5.' Becker leaves his recovering-from-one-of-them-being-murdered-earlier men and goes to warn a getting-changed Emily(Again, why isn't Matt doing his job? He isn't helping Connor and Abby at the prison, he isn't with Danny or Becker or Jess, he doesn't visit Gideon anymore and he didn't go see Lester or Phillip as right after arguing with Emily-comms would've told him she might leave for 1867, why just leave her all alone- we see what they're both doing and no sign of him or reason to see them. The episode just forgot about him!). Ethan keeps the stun gun handy- and spots Emily.* 

Ethan*stares at Emily in surprise having last left her suffocating to death in a coffin, then laughs in disbelief and delight like 'Hey, i get to kill you again!' and pulls her close with the gun to her head. Becker moves forward and blocks the corridor.* 

Becker*pointing his own gun at Ethan, keeps forced calm voice*'Ethan, or Patrick, or whatever your name is-*Ethan looks at him patronisingly and crossly like 'Really?', Emily tries to be brave*-lower your weapon and get down on the ground slowly.'*no response*'NOW!'*Ethan grins into a terrified Emily's hair madly, keeping staring eye contact with Becker the whole time as his grin fades slightly.'

Becker*realises Ethan won't be reasoned with, looks and sounds scared and raises hands*'Ok. Just don't hurt her.'(urgent music crescends) 

Ethan 'I won't.'*shoots Becker straight in the chest. Becker falls to the floor, clutching his chest dazedly like Cutter did when shot. Ethan quickly moves toward the now unblocked corridor, dragging a choking-and-fearing-for-Becker Emily with him-and shoots Becker again point-blank as they pass by and leave. Then there is nothing but the intruder alarm blaring in the sudden silence and Becker's body lying unmoving in the empty corridor.* 

The episode and Series 4 of Primeval end with four 'goodbye' cliffhangers- Becker, Ethan, Emily and Danny. Ethan leaves Emily with the Terror Bird and happily escapes through the prehistoric anomaly with a smile and final literal 'goodbye' to her(and the audience via the camera, the direction and shots this ep mainly in the face close-up and from-a-distance shots is excellent!); Danny says thank you and goodbye to fellow team leader Matt and fellow anomaly traveller Emily(these three work well together considering that again they've only just met!) and has to chase after his escaping brother without even saying goodbye to Connor/Abby/Lester/Phillip; Emily decides to return home and escape the danger and confusion of the anomalies after saying a what-could-have-been goodbye to Matt(and Matt confesses to her why he tries to care more about his 'mission' than her or the others- he and Gideon are FROM the apocalyptic future seen variously since Series 1's future Predator and are future survivors trying to stop it happening! We FINALLY can understand Matt's character. Even though if they succeed it saves the human race at the cost of themselves ever existing, like Claudia. And worse, agreeing with Helen that the Anomaly Research Centre must be responsible...); and that's all we see, leaving Becker's fate and Jess/Abby/Lester on a cliffhanger (Connor warns Phillip about the anomalies and the realisation that the apocalyptic future may be just as soon as Matt thinks, and Phillip has a solution-Project 'New Dawn'.) 

And that's it for Primeval Series 4. So, where on earth do i start to summarize this? First things first, yes big cast changes are coming and cast members leaving and arriving so i won't be doing any 'thanks and goodbye to' speeches for this ep in order to avoid spoiling Series 5. Secondly, the 'future of the world and the anomalies' storyline we've had building up and explored since Series 1 is finally coming to a head and the whole truth of it revealed, so KUDOS to Series 4's writers and cast for all playing their part and bring on Series 5!

Thirdly, this episode itself-'Fourth Of Goodbyes' is very much a 'tying things up and building things up episode' with no creature and a minimal setting/basically non-existent guest cast. The characters and storylines are simply and dramatically explained throughout and scenes of action and lightness breaking up the drama, so newcomers should get entertainment nonetheless. However, this is not the episode to start watching on and every show needs a 'self-building' moment like this. The episode is also less 'epic'- we went from changing the timeline to threatening everyday life and the future of the world to the discovery of the end of the world and many changes in the people involved, with this ep and series starting to reveal the cause of the apocalypse and future humans as well as wrapping up the last few 'missing/uncertain' characters and relationships. Personally i like this as it's more believable that not everything is an epic battle or historical discovery, but just a group of ordinary people suceeding and failing at doing a very dangerous and responsible job and it's consequences and find the performances and presentation dramatic and involving enough itself, but you may well disagree or prefer another 'epic climax'-style episode. 

Fourthly, specifics-turns out the lack of focus/clarity on Phillip and Matt's characters was in order to get Ethan/Emily/Gideon/Danny/Jenny's character arcs set up, but it's still disappointing that they couldn't have also had more sympathy and humor in addition to their plot arcs and loves/hates. Connor and Becker continue to get varied and entertaining characterisation, Lester continues to be more in the background but an important and rounded character nonetheless, Jess has had enough varied and entertaining characterisation but also needs more screentime generally to feel like an integral part of the cast, Abby continues to change whilst still being recognisably the same character but also continues to get more unlikeable despite continuing great work on the show with added 'growing up'.

In all Primeval has juggled a lot of intriuging and varied and entertaining ideas this series, and successfully fleshed out most of them but left the most important roles of new main heroes and villains Matt and Phillip and main female characters Abby and Emily lacking due to an emphasis on dull-hearted plot exposition, lack of natural everyday moments and taking practically EVERYTHING seriously(despite this approach possibly giving a more serious and grown up feel). 

The 'creatures and time travellers' aspect has continued to succeed with the Hyaenodon, Worm, Therocephalian and Kaprosuchus episodes introducing and having fun and drama with new and different/memorable creatures, and the Tree-Creeper, Fourth Of Goodbyes and Spinosaurus episodes all featuring new and old characters time travelling and experiencing and discussing the effects of that. There's also been an equal focus on sympathetic/deadly creatures, with Rex/the Hyaenodon pups/Dracorex/baby Kaprosuchus vs adult Kaprosuchus/Mammoth/baby Worm vs parent Worm and some crueller/confused human characters adding realistic and likeable variety in that department.

However, the actual anomalies themselves have been very lacking- we had the reused forest from Series 3 Episode 10 in Episode 1, the identical-looking forest in Episode 3 and...THAT WAS IT. The budget for this is undoubtedly expensive and may have gone on CGI instead though plus constraints and budget of the new filming location/crew, but removing one creature or 3 guest star wages to give us just ONE new time travel location was a must, this isn't a show about an everyday Exotic Zoo/Predator Control after all! And yes i know Doctor Who is known for historical eps, but it and many other shows are also equally if not more well known for aliens and planets and futuristic/fictional civilisations/races so surely Primeval is allowed it's one main concept of freely available and useful-but-dangerous time travel?

In conclusion, the new cast-new location-new crew-new music-new-channel-and-schedule Series 4 of Primeval is great television and follows and updates the plots and formula very satisfactorily. It's strengths are the casting/acting, characterisation/plots and some CGI/music/direction. It's weaknesses are often boring/vague/perfunctory dialogue and reactions amongst the least light hearted and least unimportant characters and the same for some of the direction/music/CGI, in contrast to earlier series where the problems were often more disbelief/silliness based. The single best/worst aspects would for me be the FANTASTIC cast both old and new, and the almost uniformly unfamiliar-looking, colourless, blandly-utilised and repetitive 'big building' and 'trees' locales. 'In other words; Primeval has gone from a entertaining/ varied/confident in both drama and comedy/relatable show with some farfetched ideas/moments and CGI, to an entertaining/varied show with some shallow characterisation/action and CGI.

Question is, is it better, worse or just different? In my own personal opinion i would say slightly worse, but then again i often prioritise varied entertainment and sympathy/empathy over a stricter focus on tension/thought-provoking issues or completely outrageous or cool stories/episodes; i tend to prefer a 'jack of all trades, master of one thing' approach over the often-popular 'master of one or two things, lacking in other things' approach that is often successful for focused-on-one-theme  stories like serious dramas/thrillers/actioners or personal romances/comedies. But whatever your preferences/expectations of the Irish-made Series 4 of Primeval, there's more to come and discover- and another evolution of Primeval altogether that may be better or worse or just different... 

Next time, we reunite with Primeval for it's fifth series and discover the fates, futures, fun and adventures of our friends both old and new-and the potential and impact of the anomalies on the world and it's inhabitants...

Primeval Series 1-4 Fan Contributions SPOILERS AHEAD(s1e1 to s4e7final)

Everything You Want[Stephen-Abby-Connor] - 1min30secs - XxJensenLoverxX - S1-2.1 Moments/SoftF

Primeval-Safe&Sound(Connor-Abby) - 2mins40secs - IMikhey - S4.1-5 Conby/Scenery/Moments 

Becker-Family Tree(ARC) - 3mins35secs - drodgers89 - S3-4.4 Becker/Others/SepiaMono 

Matt-Emily Didn't You See - 3mins39secs - IceFireHeart - S4.4-5 Ethan/Emily/Matt 

There's a side to you that i never knew(Primeval, Jenny-Becker) - 1min11secs - Natalia Litrovnik -

S1-4.6 Claudia/Michael

Becker,Jess-Skinny Love - 3mins10secs - loolypopgoop - S4.1-6 Jecker/Moments/Action 

Evolution[Primeval]Creatures - 3mins35secs - RuffiansChesireCat - S1-4.6 Creatures/Action/4.2million v

Primeval Haunted - 3mins14secs - IceFireHeart - S4.3-6 Ethan/Memily/Charlotte/Mono

brilliant{becker+jess} - 2mins57secs - CatchxFireFlies - S4.1-6 Fx/Jess/Becker 

It's all the same game[Emily-Matt&Jess/Becker] - 2mins02secs - RuffiansChesireCat - S4.3-6 Mono 

Primeval-The Movie In My Head-Abby/Connor - 2mins31secs - PennyxXxDreadful - S1-4.7 Action 

P-We are all Illuminated- 3mins11secs - xSillyMareLilyx - S1-4.7 Teams/Ethan/Helen/Lester/Michael

Primeval-S4 FINALE(Danny&Ethan) - 2mins52secs - Sally Lee - S4.7 Others/Danny/Ethan 

'Smile like a Flame'- Emily&Matt(Primeval) - 2mins07secs - AngelicSpikes - S4.3-7 Memily/Moments 

Splitterherz(Fanfiktion Trailer PRIMEVAL) - 2mins20secs - arbus1990 - S4.7 Others/Ethan/Danny 

Matt&Becker-You're what i reach for when i fall- 3mins07secs - S4.1-7 Matt/Becker/Moments 

Snuff-Danny and Ethan - 1min46secs - Bethany B - S3-4.7 Ethan/Danny/Moments 

Hero--Primeval Tribute - 3mins33secs - Nani Tonks - S1-4.7 Characters/Chronological/Action 

Primeval Season 5 Episode 1 Review 'The Burrowers' 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the fifth series of Primeval! We've come a LONG way, but we've still got many more adventures through the anomalies to come; in fact, they seem quite unavoidable... 

...for James Lester(Ben Miller) anyway, our first familiar face of series 5. He's attempting to use Jess (welcome back Ruth Kearney) as a sat-nav through the traffic/roadworks('Yes, i've got an anomaly for you Jess. One of the greatest anomalies known to the western world...*watches workmen have lunch*why they call them roadworks when THERE'S NEVER ANY WORK GOING ON!' Lol! Also nice ironically peaceful piano music in background, maybe a fave of Lester's?)- not knowing that the commotion up ahead is due to the ground collapsing and something swallowing an unlucky worker...this also means a town/populated area-based anomaly, but no Jenny to hide it from the public. Wish we'd had a more consistent 'jobs/ roles' system throughout; pr/human resources expert only in S2/3,deputy/office supplier only in S1/2, no captain/weapons expert in S2, archaeology/history expert only in S3, no team co-ordinator/sat nav till S4, and no field medic/old poisons and dieseases expert ever(aside from glimpses of an army medic and ambulances in S1). 

Our next re-introduction is unfortunately to the opening credits/remixed tune last seen in S4, and a new low as for the first time the credits do not change AT ALL between series/episode; still the same generic creature pictures not cast, still the same 'main team only' listed so no Emily/Ethan/Gideon/ Danny/Jenny/Duncan or others(AND spoils that Becker will be appearing again after his cliffhanger final scene at the end of S4), still the same techno mix of the tune not the main/classic version or a new even slightly different version. You'd think after prior series not even mentioning Tom/Duncan/ Caroline/The Cleaner/Mick/Katherine/Christine/Wilder/Jack/Ross they might at least've remembered the 'unintrusive pictures' way of listing Ryan/Leek... 

Post-credits, welcome back Phillip Burton(Alexander Siddig). Will you continue to skulk around looking/sounding coniving/plotting to faintly ominous music? Apparently so, and pass the time watching a non-HD repeat of Series 4 on the monitors. Hey Matt Anderson(Ciaran Mcmenamin), time for more instances of blank staring/monotoning(also 'Danny Quinn, went after brother Patrick' and Ethan's 'I have no idea what you're talking about', aka Series-3-cast mention and Jonathan Byrne aka Ethan/Patrick appears again for the first time albeit on a technicality! And Matt's 'I'd like to think i would do same thing(Danny helping brother)' bless, wonder if Matt ever had siblings/Gideon had more children?). And welcome back Connor Temple(Andrew Lee Potts) and Abby Maitland(Hannah Spearitt), maybe your real-life at-the-time engagement was part of the reason your scenes this ep as a couple are convincing and amusing-no Matt don't let Connor go off in Phillip's car without his comms oh too late. 

Jess 'You should really invest in a sat-nav' Lester 'Why bother when i've got you?' Pffthahahaha just what i've been saying and i look forward to the day when like Leek Jess is pushed too far and lets a Predator attack Lester in the ARC! And another potential trigger is Lester's growing arrogance at this ep's amusing 'Knighthood/ARC inspection' subplot; a nice touch that of course a government facility/department like this would be checked/inspected, lol Lester's S1/alternate timeline knighthood(what for back then if not the ARC?) getting 'reinstated' only to be for Phillip instead, and upon checking Youtube original S1 ITV broadcast clips for 'Sir James Lester' end credits naming just heard a completely different(not bad) tune used for the end credits? Not just bad quality/remixed but completely dif, never saw S1 original broadcast so i didn't know, cool! See even now old series still have things like this to discover, why not you S5 credits/tune?!(also Fan Contributions fanmade credits

coming up, someone make some using this tune please!)

Ah the old 'someone forgets something/goes back for it only to discover someone/something suspicious' cliche nice, also so that's why Matt didn't mind Connor going off with Phillip, it was so he could hang round in a cramped office and then lift with Abby having staring contests.Honestly you lot,

you'll give the fans/writers/press ideas you know that's how office gossip starts! Lester can just have a helicopter come pick him up within the hour? No sign of Becker yet lol nice try to use the cliffhanger writers, pity 'bout those credits. Oh nice establishing shot/building music as we finally get a look at Phillip's 'New Dawn' project base, Prospero Industries(also S1 Official Secrets Act nod with Phillip helping Connor sign a confidentiality agreement a'la Cutter helping Abby). 

More nice music, and visuals-wise Prospero Industries with it's work-in-progress stairs'balconies slash advanced computers/machinery aesthetic and awesome 'New Dawn' giant...floating generator? is a brilliant memorable/iconic addition to Primeval's locations/sets. Connor on usual humor duty 'Oh thanks(not), yeah i do smell. Been too busy working to take a shower...' and 'Solve the greatest problem/mystery known to mankind? What, it's gonna work out why there's always a sock missing after you've done the washing?'(you see him try to guess the problem, think up his joke and keep a straight face till he's said it in about 8 seconds. Acting! Same for the silent looks that follow). Aha- so the latest 'anomaly/creature interference' is Phillip wanting to solve the energy crisis! Question is, is he a 'well-meaning scientist' or' greedy/vain/unscrupulous businessman'... 

BECKER!(Captain, Ben Mansfield.) Aaanndd mission start at 11 minutes in(/44 total), reintroduction/ plotline advancement done nicely enough. Alright then- before we start the series/episode proper, time to get the announcements/wrap ups of S4 out of the way... Ethan Dobrowski/Patrick Quinn (Jonathan Byrne), Lady Emily Merchant(Ruth Bradley), and Danny Quinn(Jason Flemyng). We do have a little more to see of these, but no more and all three will be gone from Primeval within 3-4 story appearences, so leaving their acknowledgements till the series is over and other characters/regulars/ storylines have eclipsed them would be lazy and cut into future reviews. Always sad to say goodbye... firstly then, goodbye and thanks to Jason Flemyng aka Danny, for bringing not just an 'Action Man' or 'Ladies Man' or 'Rebel/Runaway' but all three in one very rounded, convincing and entertaining addition to the Primeval team, and for being a great lead! 

Secondly, goodbye and thanks to Jonathan Byrne aka 'Ethan'; for taking on the task of portraying a sociopathic murderer and fugitive(constrained by the 12 rating too), AND an amusing trickster/ troublemaker with understandable loyalty/logic/feelings towards some others, and fitting into a long-running show's backstory and cast whilst said show is creating a new cast/sets/storylines etc, and for accomplishing all this within about 4 episodes! 

And thirdly, goodbye and thanks to Ruth Bradley aka Emily; for taking on the part of Primeval's first main/recurring historical/past figure(Victorian, also constrained by the 12 rating), and immediately also having to convince in volatile relationships/backstories with some characters, and stand out/live up to/fit in with Primeval's history of well-rounded and popular female characters- and for bringing to Primeval's new era in this character all the emotion, energy, control and humor to suceed!

So Becker, Matt and Abby head down into the collapsed tunnel the missing workman fell into- only to find his bloodied/dirtied hard hat guarded by a massive armoured beetle! As creatures go it's another memorable addition, a burrower following vibrations like the S2 Silurian Scorpion, but able to dig through concrete instead of sand/earth and reliant on pre-created/weakened tunnels and it's tough and bulky body to make up for it's lack of the scorpion's speed, agility/evasion and disorientating flailing/screeching. It also works great CGI-wise, shown in both singular attacks and numbers close up and distanced throughout both the everyday well-lit town and shadowy tunnels/basements- and it's resilience bar a small mouth means Matt tells Becker and a reluctant but understanding Abby to break out the big guns! 

Cue Lester having to authorize this whilst trying to impress the government inspector(and Jess fixing his tie bless, also Matt and Becker helping each other in/out of the tunnel whilst tough Abby takes care of herself); Becker 'Finally, common sense. Lester, we need firearms-as many as you can spare.' Lester*thinking how to explain this to busy inspector* Oh fine, why not? I suppose you'd like a tank too?' Becker*hopeful* 'A tank? Seriously?' Lester'I was being sarcastic! You can't have a tank!*sigh*  So, would you mind telling me who exactly Matt intends to shoot?' LOL! 

Oh hello new latest un-opening-credited character dressed as a cliche glasses-wearing messy-haired jumper/cardigan-wearing nerdy/geeky/study-obssessed fake humble/flattering-but-really-evil-and- sneaky wears-dress-and-lets-hair-down-for-'surprise'-transformation also-transforms-just-by-taking-off- glasses-like-Superman(lol Connor's comics reference) gives-away-which-side-of-fence-Phillip-falls-on-by- being-his-evil-spy April Leonard(Janice Byrne). Apparently fellow newbies Matt and Emily constantly being relegated to backstory exposition wasn't enough(and at least they were styled like cool heroes and given occasional interests/hobbies and sympathetic-despite-conflicts moments). The only mercy here is that Primeval's talent for casting continues, with Janice Byrne giving a subtly amusing and conniving but biased/vunerable performance throughout. 

After this Connor gets the alert and starts heading off to join the others, whilst Jess uses her computers and 'satellite ground-penetrating radar' to track the creatures(Lester'And today too typical, lucky i've sanctioned it's extermination then' Jess*rolls eyes at his lack of perspective*'Yeah, some creatures just have no sense of occasion...'lol)- and discovers them tunneling beneath the roadworks! Some very S2 vibes as well as the team rescue a family barbecue from an uninvited-guest creature(the evryday feel is a welcome change from some S4'5 eps, but the man-feeds-creature is just dumb.). With Connor away/distracted, it's also up to Abby to realise the burrowing beetle is no fossil record and must be from the future- which combined with Matt's odd knowledge/'instinct', generally calm/in control nature at his new and insane job since the start and earlier insistence that spying on Phillip/Connor/everyone is justified means... 

This development/growing relationship and more Matt/Abby scenes this ep are very welcome and add to making sure every character/s interacts. Lol the creepily-swinging abandoned swing and scattered food/possessions etc, again very S2/3, and Matt/Becker answering by just reloading/ cocking their guns! Also very S2/3 is the contrast as Matt goes from firearm-wielding to attracting the creature by noisily mowing the lawn lol(see also 'doing paperwork' and 'stuck in traffic/crowd'), and just for once the overdramatic/serious electro beat/soundtrack and 'action' camera/faces work albeit to comedic contrast effect! 

AHAHAHA! Spoke too soon; the next scene goes fromentertaining to horrifying, as Connor discovers an entire NEST of the giant beetles below an abandoned-for-demolition warehouse on the radar and races to warn the unknowing others- only for the beetle to emerge and take him! Brilliant action scene here as the gigantic armoured beetle emerges into full view/daylight amidst a cloud of disturbed earth/barbecue smoke and Becker, Abby and Matt unleash a hail of bullets on it, only for it to bite down on an agonized Connor's ankle and drag him screaming/falling into the pit/tunnel as Matt holds Abby back from throwing herself to her own death jumping down after him.

And the following scenes balance action/preparation with a little unsettlement too, as Abby/Matt/ Becker's desperate calls to Connor via his comms echo around the darkened warehouse and their preparations to break into the locked/boarded up building are suddenly interrupted by Connor's distorted 'Abby..' over their comms(bless Becker reassuringly reaching out to Abby and later shielding her, we've come a long way since S3! And Matt's smiling relief that their shooting fatally wounded the creature and saved Connor's life, and later attempt to stay calm and fold his arms awkwardly bless). And even this relief doesn't help, as a bloodied Connor wakes up alone in the dark surrounded by the cocooned/dripping corpses of the workman and barbecuers and has to limp up the useless/depowered escalator whilst stifling any limping/ sounds of pain for fear of waking up the nest of FIFTEEN-odd giant beetles surrounding him and the exit!

Lovely visuals/direction here too- the contrast between the dark and shadowy escalator and the frosted-but-daylit windows with the team spookily silhouetted through them is great. And then we have the final dilemma/climax- if Connor makes noise and opens the door/s/exits the building, the horde of twitching, crawling beetles will wake and be free out onto the streets full of unsuspecting civillians(and able to burrow/tunnel under Becker's tank). So instead a too-injured-to-search-whole-building-for-another-exit Connor tries to take the creatures with him by turning on the gas onto the flammable boxes and electrics/lighting- only for Matt to against the rules risk his own life going in, searching for Connor and carrying him to safety like a team leader as Becker protects Abby and uses charges to set off the gas from outside(nice explosion and blown out windows/raining down glass here). 

Plot hole avoidance as the lack of electricity but supply of gas is explained by Connor asking for Jess to call the utility company. LOL Connor trying to cheer worried and tankless Becker up via comms by pointing out he can blow the building and Becker making a 'whoosh' exploding gesture! The falsely optimistic, terrified/teary conversation over comms between a separated Connor and Abby with Abby's shadow visible to Connor through the glass is touching. Becker's men are present throughout too and help cordon off the building and evacuate any civillians, and Lester and Jess have to be informed(lol Lester trying to hide his concern/fear for Connor'If you were an insect, would you want to eat Connor?').

Matt pointing out what no exploded creatures/Connor means for the town to an irrational Abby and then reassuring her before rescuing Connor is lovely. The music too, as the time to make the decision comes and a gas-suffocating dying Connor tries to speak and a looked-after-by-a scared-Becker Abby tearfully faces the situation and tells him she knows what he's trying to say before he collapses. Matt racing through the waking beetles, kicking one and shooting another in the mouth with a staple gun before sharing his oxygen cylinder/tank with Connor and hiding/shielding them both from the explosion in a bin/container is fun.

And the 'full team dynamic' as Lester watches Jess advise Becker and Abby when to detonate as a supporting-each-other-and-fleeing Matt and Connor see one of the beetles following them out, and have to tell them to do it now as they can't escape before the creatures do as Lester steps in and orders Becker to do it despite Abby's half-hearted objection is brilliant(it's not often literally a whole team including Lester all get to work together at once)! The silence save for set-off car alarms and crackling/crunching debris and echoing footsteps/cries as Abby and Becker race into the wreckage whilst Lester and Jess wait is effective, and the interactions as Abby and Connor are reunited and Becker 'cooly' goes to Matt and greets him, then Becker helping Connor out('It's fine, it only hurts when i move' lol) and Abby grudgingly and tentatively thanking Matt(and him putting an arm round her in a nod to the S2E4 Cutter/Abby ending) are pitched perfectly.

The episode ends with Lester greeting Connor back(no hug in S4E1 but does clap his arm here lol) and Abby wondering who the 'April' that sent Connor to medical and ordered him food is; before quietly confronting Matt with her guess/realisation that he's either been to the future or is from it- and as Phillip tells April to investigate Danny Quinn and Helen Cutter(!) and Abby realises Matt's been an imposter investigating them all since the beginning, Matt shows her footage of countries overcome by weather-warping natural-disaster causing anomalies and escaped creatures from LATER THAT VERY YEAR and tells her that he believes(no mention of Helen accusing Christine, Cutter or Leek) that Phillip Burton and Connor Temple(!) are responsible... 

And that's the debut episode of Series 5(yes i'm calling it 'The Burrowers'). In all, this is a unspectacular but solid opener with some perfect moments/scenes; everyone including new cast member April gets a part to play, the incursion/creature looks/ sounds/acts effectively and convincingly, the mission/sequence of events is entertaining with action, humor, drama and conversations/relationships all accounted for nicely, and there are unintrusive nods to past characters and storylines remembered. The only downsides are the old occasional complaints of constant/ distracting music and dull/basic/incomplete designs for the opening credits, tune and ARC (pointed out here even moreso as the chance to update or improve any of these would fit well in a series opener/new series rather than abruptly mid-through a series). Even the lack of recurring-not-main and guest stars/extras allows for a better balance between all the regulars(Phillip and Jess(looks great this ep) could've had one more scene each). 

 

Next time, Primeval sinks to new depths...

Primeval Season 5 Episode 2 Review 'Eustreptospondylus'   

SPOILERS AHEAD 

(WARNING- MUTE THE POST-OPENING CREDITS MATT/ABBY SCENE, 11.44 MATT/ABBY SCENE AFTER OFFICER IS SENT DOWN CORRIDOR TO GET COFFEE, THE 36.17 ABBY/CONNOR UPSET SCENE AND FOLLOWING MATT/ABBY SCENE, THEN STOP WATCHING AT 36.20 WHEN ABBY COMES TO A STOP. IT'S ONLY TILL THE NEXT EPISODE 5.3, BUT AS WITH S4E6 SCENES YOU WILL BE MAJORLY SPOILED ON THE NEXT EP!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the final 2018 review of Primeval! Series 5 is a shorter one so expect the final eps of Primeval Series 5 reviewed in the New Year, and then into the final Series of Primeval and completion of Anomaly21's first review series! In we go... 

The episode starts with an unremarkable pre-credits, where a Navy submarine finds an odd signal is interfering with their electronic systems, and then bumps into a Liopleurodon circling the interfering anomaly. It's not a new idea(past undersea anomaly in S1E3 with diving, water-dwelling Mosasaurs, water/land-dwelling Hesperonis and both underwater and land-based(and promptly flooded lol) modern anomaly locations, future land-based seaside anomaly in S2E4 with water/land-dwelling Mer, water/land-dwelling Kaprosuchus in harbor with boat search and attack in S4E2(anomaly gone), all eps with team member/s stranded in water despite equipment/training), but the 'boat'submarine setting has potential to be both realistic and claustrophobic/play on common fears of sinking/ drowning etc. 

Post-credits we cut straight to Matt and Abby mid-more muttering about their colleagues/worries and complaints over colleagues. Abby then goes and gets huffy with Connor for refusing to drop his important new work/job and tell her everything about it, and points out everyone's noticed/ disapproved of his 'distraction'. Problem is Abby was dismissive/jealous of Connor spending time with studies/Phillip/going away because she and Jack wanted him to/Caroline/hobbies WAY before Matt's suspicious-of-everyone attitude intervened last ep, and with 'everyone' else just getting on with the job and Connor normally this just comes across as typical tiresome behaviour rather than a new/ building suspicion/threat etc. 

Jess spots the anomaly is in the North Sea('No running in the corridors!' Lester lol), but something's wrong- where's Becker and Phillip? Answer...nowhere, because NEITHER are in this ep. With this series already being the shortest ever/no need for whole episodes off, no explanation given for both full-time senior staff being completely absent from both the ARC and the field mission, no semi-recurring characters anymore and newbie/needs screentime April already absent after just one appearence, the remaining cast will need to work overtime to fill the gap. Maybe this'll be a one/two-character focused character piece, or an 'almost alone/stranded with a deadly threat' bottle episode? 

Nope- we're briefly introduced to Captain Yates, Midshipman Leonard, Officer Shaw, Officer Neil, Admiral Marston and his Commander. However only Leonard and Marston get more than a few scenes as the rest are promptly killed offscreen/relegated to the unfocused background/knocked out and never seen again, and the characterisation is just 'cliche panicking junior/rookie', 'cliche 'Can't we just blow it up?' senior male, 'cliche disregard for life/where's my sub' not men when sub drits thru anomaly, 'cliche unknowing/naive person/fodder wanders into danger' and 'cliche sexist males distracted'led away by the females/expect'look to the 'young ladies' to serve them'do chores like using a mop and bucket or fetching a pot of tea'-so not a guests/group under siege tale either... 

Connor at least tries to be a constant source of entertainment; getting on with his office work, getting a couple of scenes with Matt, making similar 'siege' film references lol, being concious of both his field and anomaly study commitments(hey at least he must be earning more doing two jobs!), fitting a torpedo with an anomaly locker to close the anomaly(awesome!), noticing Abby's distracting of and going off with the men, an S1 parallel with possible but not used-and-cliched seasickness added to his earlier 'allergy/hay fever' worry, and nabbing the less-far-to-fall bottom bunk then proceeding to nudge Abby's top bunk from underneath(Abby'You're doing it again!'*Connor quickly puts his feet down then getsures to them*'I'm not doing anything, my feet are down!' lol) all within the first ten minutes!  

There's a simple-but-effective onboard threat as a captured Eustreptospondylus(checks spelling, heaves sigh of relief- no wonder 'animal expert' Abby just calls it a 'theropod. And then has to help the men pronounce THAT...) escapes and ends up electrocuted by Connor using a sparking cable and puddle/leak lol before being sucked/vented out into the liopleurodon's jaws and decapitated! This also involves the episode's best scene- the liopleurodon's bash causes the lights to go out and equipment to smash, leaving the cramped sub defenceless and in darkness- and the freezer the unconcious Eustre-ah stuff it, the 'theropod' was put into to unlock. An unknowing officer moves towards the cold but only source of light, then stops as the door swings open...and a shadow with massive claws and fangs suddenly leaps out and pounces on him with a roar before he can grab/do anything! (wouldn't have happened if they'd actually simply warned the men to 'be alert/armed', or told 'em they'd put a carnivorous dinosaur in the galley next to the coffee- 'stuff professionalism' indeed...) 

At least this also means non-professional uniform-on top of Jess again looking good, Matt's wandering round in a t-shirt(wet when a little water gets in lol) and Abby's got shorter hair and a thin top that almost passes her off as younger S1 Abby(armed with a wrench lol)! Seeing more everyday stuff like the team getting some rest in the bunks is a nice touch too, with the scene also including Matt and Abby having a heart-to-heart(and the anomaly/ bash causing Abby and Connor to be tipped out of their bunks onto each other lol). There's also a claustrophobic/close quarters Matt/Abby sub scene, and Abby's occasional enjoyment of the sub mission is refreshing. Heck, the episode ends with Abby sharing understanding with lonely Matt/shakily running straight to a shaky him after leaving Connor when he doesn't understand why she keeps interrupting the 'Prospero staff only' lab to tell him to stop working/leave his job without giving any reason why- still, suppose it's one way to liven up/humanize their oft-workmanlike/prickly attitudes!

All that's left is for the sub to head back and away from the Pliosaurs/Liopleurodon/USTesaur, but not before we've had ten more scenes of dull trigger-mongering/wandering round mumbling in the dark(Of course the sub's equipment has been relocated without any record/schematic, guess unprofessionalism runs in the Navy too) and gems like 'let's avoid World War Three by nuclear-detonating/eradiating Earth's timeline so we all turn into pond life, because nuking ANYTHING works'. The usage/setting of the sub and terms i.e. sonar/wiring/piloting etc is understandable, but the disbelief-suspending and 'tense' dialogue is delivered by most like a mildly inconvienient shopping list! 

Damn, forgot to mention the music again- which shows exactly what impact it had, it is technically there most of the time so takes away from potential unnerving/ believable silence/sounds but just hums away. And unfortunately the same goes for the CGI dinosaurs- with the sub poorly lit and the sea-dwellers murky and bland, it's a case of 'less dull dinosaurs is more detailed threat'.And that's it- of course the nuclear missile/clash with Navy has no impact on the sub/magnetic anomaly/ARC  politics and the ep ends with the various Navy men never seen again('they were probably got by the dinosaur. Anyway...') and the 3-strong team go back to dry land the end.

A few of the endless lines/dialogues are amusing; Lester's 'pandora's box', 'Russians/Chinese/French, peacetime', 'i think we know what caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs' and 'have a good apocalypse-you're pond life anyway, you wouldn't notice the difference', Matt's 'prefer Navy to Army' and 'it's like playing a videogame'(he's heard of those in the future? Yeah being from a dirty wasteland he would prefer water), and Connor's 'bet you're glad we played videogames now' S1 ref to Abby and 'Oh really? 'Cause i just thought we were going to stick our arms out of the portholes and paddle back to the 21st century' lol!,but several out of an entire script/episode just isn't enough. 

And that's the second episode of Series 5 'USTesaur'. The submarine setting has potential as a team- under-siege ep and Lester and Connor's lines/Abby and Matt's looks are great; but otherwise the music, creatures, guest cast and dialogue/pacing all conspire to make a paint-by-numbers ep, and following the also-only-lifted-by-the-regulars-and-setting/threat-conundrum Ep1 it's not a instant plot twists/new ingriedients start to S5 like prior series have had. The best feature so far has been the allowance of letting the main new team develop and just have straightforward adventures without non-main team or recurring characters/story arcs weighing every ep down- but with a lot of the emotion'drama'humor given to those,removal means a more basic show(and Becker/Phillip's absence,  Jess/Matt's lack of non-expository moments and the bland/non-existent guest cast for the last 3 eps doesn't help). 

And on top of that, Series 5 only has 3 more stories in which to fix this; good news is this means the Series 5 finale, more Primeval Fan Contributions and debut of Primeval's final series(! :( )are due for review in the next three months! So to everyone watching the episodes/reviews and hopefully avoiding spoiling the adventure; Happy Christmas and we'll reunite with Connor, Abby, Becker, Lester,

Matt, Jess, Phillip and the rest in the New Year! 

Next time- the dawn of adventures with the team past, present and future... 

Primeval Season 5 Episode 3 Review 'The Anomalian Era' 

SPOILERS AHEAD

Hello again everyone, and welcome to the 2019 series of Primeval Reviews! Time to delve into the latter half of Primeval Series 5 and find out what will become of the ARC team...

(you're about to find out what the last episode 5.2 spoiled, so it'll be safe to watch those clips any moment now)

The pre-credits sequence kicks off with something we haven't seen since a flashback in Series 4 Episode 1(!); a non-modern civilisation/era! The setting is London 1868, and the dual benefits of expanding Primeval's world with glimpses of it in different eras/lives and FINALLY doing some actual time-travelling again(not counting last ep's very brief sea and 4.7's 'people go into anomalies') make this a very welcome start.

As for the depiction of London 1868 itself, it's a fairly balanced view compared to many works of fiction's emphasis on either an idealised more materialistic version or a grittier more provocative version; we see it both at night, shadowy and firelit with the calm disturbed by suspicious noises and half-glimpsed movement, and in daylight with people going about their business and worrying about the effect of said disturbances on their lives, and the resulting clash when both people and creatures from different eras/civilisations arrive thanks to the anomalies. In all it's a good setting that fits with the show's usual tone and story nicely, as well as a treat for anyone interested in either period settings or travels to and contrasts between different times.

Post-credits we see some of the locals discussing and reacting to the killing of a man, believed to be the work of a murderer or madman, and see a glimpse of a hooded figure with a knife nicknamed 'Spring Heeled Jack' by the press and public. This episode's plot is yet another based on an actual real-life unexplained incident; first in 1837 and then reportedly many more times throughout the 19th century, a tall slim black-cloaked individual in a tight white suit with 'red eyes' and 'metallic claws' attacked both women and men with said 'claws' and a lantern 'spewing bluish-white flames' before escaping by leaping over high walls or obstacles(yes really, according to Wikipedia). Using incidents and legends like this as inspiration for time/anomaly travel adds a neat psuedo-historical aspect to the plot too(never even heard of it before this ep). 

And it's likely the writers chose to make this particular year relevant to the plot in order to use this legend for an ep; which we could have predicted the moment new character Lady Emily Merchant (Ruth Bradley) arrived last series claiming to be from 1867, and now get to see again as it turns out Primeval isn't done with her yet after her exit last series through an anomaly! She's returned to life with her new arranged-marriage husband Lord Henry Merchant(Stephen Hogan, The Tudors, Redwater, Injustice), a businesslike gentlemen with 'contacts in the police force' who dismisses her hinted-at suspicions of 'Spring-Heeled Jack' being anomaly related and calls her disappearence through an anomaly(returned same year she left and found her life/him still there, so likely missing somewhere between 1 and 7 months?) 'your recent unhappy experience, my dear'. 

Following this is more Matt and Abby scenes and newbie April scenes, as team leader/future spy Matt orders Abby to search boyfriend/long term friend Connor's lab/office for details/evidence of Phillip's illegal anomaly project('If i get caught i risk my job and Phillip's trust, if you get caught...' '...I'm just the jealous girlfriend, right?') and April stops Connor from abandoning his new job with Phillip to join the others at an anomaly alert.

(confused tho- if Connor repeatedly was late for/didn't do his ARC job properly wouldn't it be up to him to square it with boss Lester and hide the fact Phillip's job involved the anomalies, which once sorted would mean he wouldn't be missed? What about getting his new job with Phillip done? 'spose Phillip has a big investment/stake in the ARC and is breaking his contract with them with this unsanctioned 'New Dawn' project, hence having Connor agree to cover his eyes during being taken to the New Dawn base/location so no blabbing it AND signing that nondisclosure agreement...god Connor you dumbass, even 'fixing the energy crisis' or other potential history-making anomaly-reliant technologies/inventions isn't a good enough motivation for this CLEARLY illegal/dubious/from guy who sanctions imprisoned herbivorous creatures's putting down work offer!)

Anyway, this is followed by Matt, Abby and Becker(returned from his vanish last ep-yay! But no Lester or Phillip this ep-well this is a Emily/newbie Henry-centric ep so fair enough) heading to the anomaly alert's location at an art gallery. Matt and Becker continue their excellent banter/camaraderie established last series as they encounter and send home a Raptor;

(Becker*looks round warily then exasperatingly as awesome motion-sensing/camera-connected display spots and displays him, Matt and Abby on a popart screen like comic book/action heroes complete with music blaring*'Video installation, bit old and tired. More of a Post-Impressionist myself. Anomaly's this way.' Matt*glances round at the art displays all long since gone in his era as he gets equipment* 'Y'know the more i get to know you, the more frightened i get.' / *Matt sees that Raptor is ignoring quietly-standing-back him in favour of gun-toting shielding Becker* 'Don't shoot! I think he likes you.' Becker*tense* 'He doesn't LIKE me, he's threatened by me. He senses that i'm the alpha male.' Matt'We can usher him back through, run for the anomaly.'*moves closer and puts down his gun. Becker watches him out of the corner of his eye, figuring out his plan and hesitating, then rolls eyes and quickly tosses his weighing-him-down gun to him as he sprints for the anomaly with the Raptor in hot pursuit*'C'mon!' *Becker reaches the anomaly, turns and steadies/judges the situation before diving out of the way like a goalie as the Raptor approaches and leaps straight through the anomaly, which is then locked by the locking device straight away.* Matt*gives Becker his gun back and checks he's ok before checking Abby's ok*'Any injuries? Good work,everyone!' Becker 'Everyone?

Next time, YOU run...')

LOL-god these two non-original cast members and non-planned-and-cast-together characters work together well thanks both to the writing and the actors's performances. Also neat touch that their preferences make sense; according to 'Tinternet Becker's Post-Impressionists favour the 'abstract and symbolic'(less unnerving and more imaginative/cheering to a logical and sometimes depressed/fed up 'cause of his basic/outdoor/blank and ruined places-located job individual like B) and 'geometric, unnatural arbitrary colours and impressive forms'(Jess who B is nicer to/who likes B wears striking/colourful form-fitting clothes and angular/chunky jewellery), whereas Impressionists favour the 'naturalistic'(Matt grew up in a rocky/dusty area and likes plants/his dad's garden/is often outdoors) and 'vivid colours and real-life subject matter'(also from an area with little colour or life where abstract unbelievable things like monsters and secretive people exist and harm). 

Sometime before the anomaly got locked though, the plot-no sorry, the 'wind/blown'- blew a piece of newspaper through, which informs the team that the anomaly leads to 1868(no time to check beforehand with Connor's 'dating calculator' thanks to Raptor interruption, last ep anomaly was underwater and too deep to check and ep before that had either already closed two/three years before when no anomaly alert/detection existed or opened/closed when detector was damaged/ offline as in a couple of eps). Jess checks Wikipe-sorry, 'Tinternet for the paper's 'Spring-Heeled Jack spotted January 25th 1868' and finds that in the following month or so 'Jack' presumably the Raptor kills another 12 people. In other words, the team just accidentally sent a Raptor that had anomalied it's way to January 1868 and killed a few people then arrived in the here'n'now BACK there to brutally kill another 12 innocent people throughout February- and if someone doesn't follow it to January and prevent it then return and all before the anomaly closes, they might never get another chance to stop it's reign of terror.

So Matt pulls rank and insists on going through the anomaly alone so as to draw less attention(stupid risky and an opportunity to see Abby/Becker/Connor in period dress wasted) and leaves a concerned Abby/Becker behind(these three do work well together/have good chemistry!). He follows up his 'Wedding/formal' just-a-jacket-over-plain-tshirt by just pulling a longcoat over his modern clothes/gun (does fit his practical character and urgency of mission though), and after a charming long-overdue glimpse of one of our regulars amongst the people and streets of the past(last seen with 3.7's medieval sanctuar/Sarah in full costume)finds signs/remnants of the victims in a big warehouse and a glimpse of the raptor; only to be cornered by and try to reason with the 'Spring Heeled Jack' figure themselves! 

...who is immediately unmasked less than 3 minutes into the anomaly, and as Emily so MORE romance can replace any solo character development or interaction with the time period either of them might have had('sent a raptor to kill several people by mistake'*flirting smiles* and 8 of Matt's 10 eps/all of Emily's 6 either pair them or repeatedly mention their relationship). That said this is possibly their best development together; the acting and conflict throughout as they try to balance doing their job with facing Emily's suspicious husband Henry/loyal staff/paranoid townspeople and friends/neighbours and the mix of hurt/affection/professionalism/concern at being thrown together again after 'splitting up' and going back to their respective lives/people is convincing.

Which brings the aforementioned-spoilery-scenes-from-last-ep into play- Matt discovered that after returning home Emily had been committed to Bedlam asylum by Henry and died! Seems Henry either believes Emily ran off with someone(sees Matt...) or went delusional(altered behaviour/signs of stress and trauma/interest in unusual reports like Spring Heeled Jack) and any further exposure to his reputation or the locals must be avoided. Emily shares Cutter's view on 'must not change time/what happens to us' until Henry catches them arguing and Matt warns her(lol Henry as this helpful man suddenly appears with his wife and somehow knows exactly what his plans are). 

The lack of any period music/contrast between generic electro action sounds and the setting/actors is jarring. Henry's hired hand Webster kicks Matt into unconciousness and he and Henry drag a shocked and scared Emily away via horse and carriage. Meanwhile, Abby leaves Becker and his men at the anomaly whilst she goes back to the ARC to check Connor's potentially-deadly work with Phillip isn't getting too far only to be subtly warned back-off-or-lose-your-job by April.

We're getting more of an idea of April's professional but loyal to Phillip and slightly underhand personality here, and Jess also gets some nice scenes giving Abby advice/moral support over Connor(advises against lying/ misleading even for noble reasons and asks Abby if she's got someone else- in other words against sneaking round with Matt and lying to/stealing from Connor/refusing to warn or tell him that Phillip is being investigated for illegal and potentially deadly anomaly research, the very things that now have Connor just thinking Abby's jealous/got a grudge and helping the friendlier Phillip and April instead!).

Why don't Matt/Becker/Lester just have a word with Connor though? Becker cares for Abby/Connor and Lester dislikes Phillip so they would both do so without needing to know about Matt's true agenda. Back in 1868 a tied-up Emily tries to reason with Henry on the way to the asylum(Emily 'I have no memory of my disappearence!'Henry'Or that man you were standing close to, calling by first name and you both went quiet/secretive as soon as i appeared? Not only has my reputation been ruined, but you now suffer delusions- your ideas on how women should behave are disturbing.'Emily '...I agree i am not the person you married, but i am not insane!!'Henry'Then why are you dressed like that?'*Emily looks at her Spring-Heeled Jack style hood, trousers(!) and confiscated Raptor-hunting pair of large knives/blades and has no answer lol*). 

Luckily the Raptor followed the noisy group and picks off the exposed driver and then drags Webster out of the carriage window onto the roof, causing the vehicle to crash and knock a panicking/in denial Henry unconcious and Emily tied up on the floor! The whinnying horse, wreckage, and sight of disguised/armed Emily checking a thrown off/cut Webster's corpse for a pulse spurs some concerned/ angry locals into thinking they've caught Spring-Heeled Jack in the act, and Emily is forced to flee after punching her angry/confused/Raptor-attracting noisy husband unconcious!

A clueless Connor is being fought over by Abby and April, as first Abby decides to use Jess's trust and computer to break into Connor's lab for hard drive evidence of Phillip's experiments, then April sees Connor away from the lab off to 'meet Abby' whilst fetching parts and immediately twigs Abby's plan/earlier behaviour and heads straight to the lab, only for them to commence the experiment whilst Abby is hiding/watching in a locker just feet away! Also props for how the actions of the characters intertwine throughout this ep, thus giving a sense that they really are all simultaneously getting on with their day as events unfold.

The angry locals chase 'Spring Heeled Jack' i.e. Emily into the warehouse where she bravely fights off the Raptor with her knives and then shoots it stunned with a woken-up Matt's gun, then they drop it over the stair railing and through the anomaly where it lands at a worried Becker's feet lol. Matt tells Emily he was wrong to let her go and kisses her/asks her to come to the 21st century with him, but Emily is afraid of losing her home/time and fitting in to the alien modern world and abundance of interfering/nosy people and hesitates. Matt then has to leave due to the approaching mob and heads back to be reunited with an supportive Becker- whilst Emily is stopped from escaping and held at gunpoint by Henry, who like the locals didn't see the fleeing Raptor and now believes Emily's disappearence and behaviour was due to running off with Matt and the pair of them being 'Spring Heeled Jack'(presumably thinks it was Matt that followed them atop the carriage and dragged Webster through the window/killed him and driver for asyluming Emily)!

Henry doesn't see the anomaly underneath the staircase he's on and is about to either shoot or hand Emily to the officials/asylum for being 'a murderer and an adultress', so Emily has to flee through the anomaly next to her- only for Henry to shoot her. Emily collapses through the anomaly into Matt's arms, whilst Henry sees the anomaly- and goes through it only to find himself in the 21st century with the video artwork blaring 'music' and showing him holding Matt at gunpoint and modern-uniformed Becker pointing a futuristic taser at him! 

Emily is winded on the floor from the bullet, but not shot as the anomaly's magnetics made it simply glance off/stick to her metal-fastened protective jacket, and tries to plead with a terrified and angry Henry for a scared Matt's life('W-what is this place..?)-only for the unconcious-in-the-corner Raptor to be woken by the music/shouting and rip straight into Henry's neck even as Becker spots it getting up/shouts a warning and shoots it across the room and Matt shields Emily. Becker's checks Henry's pulse but is forced to tell a shellshocked Emily her husband is dead(and also a rarer case of someone actually dying onscreen/in front of friends'family/recognisable body onscreen, in the unedited version anyway).

Back at the lab it's break time and Connor dismisses April's worry that Abby was interfering earlier, but secretly knows she's right and hangs back only to spot Abby at the lab door(having just escaped from the locker). Abby tries telling Connor about Danny's finding Phillip's name amongst Helen's research papers, but Phillip already covered this by telling Connor Helen must've simply been interested in his scientific expertise/knowledge and so a doubtful and used-to-earlier-arguements-over-Caroline/Jack/living together/liking each other/coping in the Cretaecous-Connor heads back to work before Abby can decide whether to reveal Matt's agenda/identity to him.

Meanwhile Becker is pleased to see Jess welcoming Emily back('You just went in for the Raptor, huh?' Becker teases a happy Matt lol), Abby gets away and gives a surprised and grateful/sympathetic Matt the hard drive containing the evidence of Phillip's anomaly experiments, and Connor fixes the lab machine using the parts from the 'New Dawn' machine; 

*Connor finishes fitting the parts April fetched, inputs data from the ARC's/ADD's servers and switches on the generator-sized machine, and he and April stand back as it starts humming and emitting light. Connor and April stare at it in shock as it finishes booting up offscreen...*

April*shocked/tearfully happy*'I-i said you'd do it!'

*Connor wordlessly looks at her with a similarly shaky/happy look, then quickly picks up his phone and dials*

Connor*Phillip picks up*'Phillip...we did it. We made history.'*hesitates, suddenly looking thoughtful and sad*'...Nothing's gonna be the same ever again.'*behind him April looks and smiles smugly*

*And onscreen...the generator has created AN ANOMALY.*

And that's Episode Three 'The Anomalian Era'! It's the best and first really good episode of Series 5, finally wrapping up Emily's backstory and providing an entertaining mission plus a scenic visit to humanity's past and ending with a show-spanning, game-changing revelation- WE created the anomalies. The details of how and when further anomalies were created are yet to be revealed, but the realisation that what Cutter and co were investigating back in Series 1,2,3 etc wasn't a natural phenomenon but a scientific creation and that Helen was right when she said one of them was to blame changes the perspective on watching every previous season/episode, and rewards viewers by answering the question of the show's longest-running storyline.

It's also a call back to Series 1's malfunctioning anomaly/timeline change finale, this time with the paradox of '2010's-era scientists create time travel, thus opening portals leading anywhere from pre-2010 to Victorian/medieval times to the earlier dinosaur eras, causing humans in these eras to investigate/research the portals and in 2010 end up creating time travel'. And there's no farfetched conspiracy or plan here, just Phillip/Connor/April/the New Dawn staff and experts going too far. As for Connor, he's still Connor and in character just as he's always been, showing how even characters you think you know can surprise you. 

As for the rest of the episode, Stephen Hogan does a perfect one-episode performance as Henry and Janice Byrne continues to show potential as April. Becker is great as always in his couple of scenes as is Jess, and Ruth's Bradley's return and performance as Emily is great as are Abby/Connor's scenes and development; but Matt gets sidelined and Phillip is nowhere to be seen. The setting is convincing and entertaining, but limited(presumably the budget went to the finale and Ep 1/2 CGI/effects). The music is also limited but not a problem and the no-soundtrack moments effective, whilst the Raptor is quite possibly Primeval's best and most reliable creature(although the Predator just about wins due to being created by the show itself). Basically, 'The Anomalian Era' is an entertaining episode that covers a lot of characters and storylines but not everyone and does rely on the viewer having seen the previous Series 4 Episode 7 finale.

 

Next time, the calm before the storm ends...

 

Primeval Season 5 Episode 4 Review 'To Beetle Or Not To Be'

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the penultimate story of Primeval Reviews Season 5! Last time saw Season 4's Victorian time-traveller Emily escape her scheming husband and a Raptor and return to the 21st Century hoping to join ARC love interest Matt- both unknowing that Connor's collaboration with Phillip/April/Prospero has resulted in the completion of an ANOMALY CREATOR. It seems our heroes themselves may be partially responsible for the entire disaster their lives have revolved around for the past 5 years; and now it's time to face the consequences... 

The episode starts with one awkward pre-credits; Phillip remembers he didn't turn up for last week's episode despite it premiering HIS invention and turns up to tell a Connor-frontational(get it? No? Sigh...as Connor himself says regarding his creation 'What, no congratulations?') Matt, Abby and Emily to bog off, cue dramatic sound and roll credits. Also, despite it likely being the same day or even hour Connor called Phillip over/Matt and Abby met up, Abby's taken her top off leaving just a vest/bra(and headband) and Matt/Connor have changed their shirts? Guess wound-up Abby went to the gym to let off some steam and Matt got something spilt/smelly on him during the Raptor/mob fracas/Connor didn't wanna smell sweaty/stressed as an earlier ep. And Jess found and put on a necklace whilst finding Emily some modern clothes? At any rate it means an all-new set of costumes this ep so yay!

Post-credits Matt holds Abby back from blowing up at Connor/Phillip's recklessness, then Abby and Connor each try to convince each other of their viewpoints. So far the acting this episode is excellent, with everyone showing mixes of their usual likeable selves and their own selfish viewpoints(Connor loses when he A.claims Phillip will make no profit whatsoever(yeah right) and B.claims Cutter would've agreed/wanted to change things(big dif between that/interfering like Helen and just learning and researching/helping control and protect etc). Meanwhile, Jess spots the anomaly's guard throwing a rat-sized beetle back through the anomaly using the old 'trap it between basin/paper' trick- whose 'scout' self promptly fetches the rest of it's hive to come through and EAT THE GUARD ALIVE. Hands up who wouldn't have returned it as per the 'no kidnap/kill' rules?

Bit convenient something small enough to fit through was within minutes of the anomaly but good way to test what can/can't fit. The idea of 'carnivorous beetle' is unoriginal but fitting for Primeval and an excellent versatile and creepy idea in itself, and the CGI for it easily some of the most convincing the show's ever had. Of course only the future could be responsible and so Matt recognises it and tries to prevent the safe returning of the scout, as well as realising the anomaly will provide the swarm with an air supply even if they try Season 4's 'lock it in an airtight room' strat, more neat and entertaining continuity!

And Matt's winning streak continues, as he and Abby figure out the beetles are burrowing out through the concrete(!), exchange whispers whilst Connor is standing tweo feet away watching them and then Abby throws off a bug crawling up her body(eurgh) for Matt to shoot out of the air whilst she covers the hand it tried to burrow into(double eurgh) with her headband. Oh, and he sends Emily the 'unessential' 3+year time traveller and leader of creature fighters away 'cause Becker said so, i know he's a good friend but really? Oh and it turns out the beetles were creating a tunnel for their dog-sized queen to escape through 

Ahaha then Matt sneaks off to the lab and just shoots the anomaly generator like Abby said to destroy it earlier! He sends a reluctant Connor, Abby and Becker to find a way to trap the queen and Jess tells them where the swarm is going. Oh and lol when Becker gets to the equipment only to be jumpscared by Emily already there and ready 'What the hell? I gave you a direct order!''I know, i just thought you were wrong.''...We really need a clearer chain of command round here...'should be interesting seeing these two get to know each other.

Following this Matt leads the group in a Ghostbusters-style battle against the entire horde and queen armed with pesticide canisters, and seeing the entire team including Jess and Emily together is epic!

Also the dingy/cramped ARC set at least makes a little sense considering the affected/chewed power and lockdown status plus entire team plus extras and creatures all in the same area. Unfortunately Jess has an insect allergy(they hired her anyway but to be fair have only ever dealt with bugs like twice and never in the ARC itself) and so hangs back only to be singled out and attacked with some nicely high-pitched screaming as Becker immediately runs to the rescue(bless) and then checks for injuries only to find she's been bitten. 

On top of this it turns out the future beetles aren't killed by the pesticide and have infested half the ARC already including the medical bay, whilst lockdown prevents the team from getting Jess to a hospital. An unsure-how-to-deal-with-allergy-bites and stressed/scared'remembering the future/pissed off Matt understandably doesn't like either of Connor or Phillip's ideas for dealing with the public- threatening infestation(C's is using the anomaly to eradiate dead everything in the ARC and P's is set off a self-destruct system built into the new ARC for 'life-threatening emergencies' and also likely to destroy evidence of his illegal research/the ARC's rival research lol, so both would involve the main team dying...) but has an idea about surviving the 'eradiate' option.

Oh and Abby further convinces Connor of her Phillip-grudge by getting all 'Your hero is gonna kill us all including you!' when A.it was April's idea, P was all 'this is a thousands-threatening plague!' and then A(in a 'Prospero' uniform/ Superman-style outfit change sans glasses and plus long hair and dress, nice! Although to be fair she only seems to wear the glasses for work/research and likely also changed from sweaty clothes like Connor) suggests the 'sacrifice', she better not be Eve 2.0. B. her arguement to P's 'we have to protect the unknowing city outside just about to be swarmed by flesh-eating beetles' is 'but Jess!' really? and C. she literally JUST SAW Connor suggest the exact same 'sacrifice ourselves for public's sake' solution via radiation!

Turns out the new ARC also had a lead-lined panic room(bet creature-chased S2 Lester would've loved that lol) built in whilst Connor/Abby were away so self-destruct may be avoidable; and where is Lester this ep? It's ridiculous, his job, workplace and main staff and longtime friends are about to die and the existence of creatures and possibly anomalies to revealed to the public outside in a gory manner and no excuse given and he's not even mentioned?! At least Becker,Emily and Jess have some more scenes together as they look after her in the search for an emergency epipen/adrenaline without being swarmed; and with Rex too!

A hallucinating-she's drunk-on-tequila Jess shoots an approaching 'tiger' i.e. beetle and continues to look/sound/act convincingly ill/fading as Becker shows off his strength carrying her and Emily protects and supplies them. Connor finds out Abby and Matt have been 'sneaking around behind my back', and Becker/hallucinary Jess's interactions are both funny and sad(Jess fighting Becker's jacket, 'you're mean...sorry, you're nice really, you have lovely hair', Becker kissing Jess's head only to notice she's fainted and that her pulse is fading). Then Emily escorts the distracted/injured team safely to the panic room-only to see an entire wall of beetles attempting to escape the building and find fresh food for their queen...

And Matt and Connor have some nice scenes together(Matt*helping Connor set up the anomaly equipment*'So what are the chances of this working whilst we make it to the panic room? 50-50?' *Connor hesitates*Matt'...60-40? I could live with those odds.'Connor'Lets just say, better than the chance of winning the lottery.' Matt'...B-but that's like 10 million to one!' Connor'I did say 'better than'!' Matt*knows they have to risk themselves to save rest*'...Well, if you're not in it you can't win it i suppose.' LOL! Even guy from no-lottery dead-serious future understands...); culminating in their attempting to leave the set-up anomaly pulser only to find the beetles have them trapped in the lab...(Connor'...At least the others'll be safe.')

...(Matt'...We're not dying in here.')but luckily Matt's idea to blast a path through the beetles with the fire hose works. Abby also gets a nice urgent/sweet scene with Rex rescuing him(the Menagerie w/bigger creatures is lead lined so safe), and Connor with them as he risks himself coming to their rescue and they get to the safe room just in time as the anomaly gamma pulse/blast goes off. The effects/sound/music/acting/camerawork is all on point in this section too, with the sparking/fried ARC tech/lights and beetles as Connor/Abby/Becker etc cower in the panic room the best moment(also all are next to/holding their love interests, nice touch).

And finally Becker races through the sparking/wet hosed/fried/unstable from being chewed through ARC to get a comatose Jess's adrenaline, only to be stopped by Lockdown still mid-cancellation due to Phillip having set off the self destruct after all(he knew they were readying a pulse/blast with minutes still left till the beetle swarm broke through the outer wall and escaped, but still had little enough faith in them/enough fear of anomaly knowledge and research becoming a public affair to be convinced by April, so both her and his self-interest are to blame here as well as the generally distrustful/hostile relationship with all ARC except Connor). Becker manages to get the injection to Jess in time to save her(and Abby-who-has-herself-gradually-fallen-for-a-coworker-before's knowing look/their acting is perfect).

The episode ends with the many ARC staff and soldiers fixing and tidying up the trashed ARC, whilst Matt checks fellow death-escapee Connor is ok; and he and Connor find out that Phillip didn't stop the self-destruct at all, and the only reason it didn't go off and kill them all before they could fix things was because of the damage done to the ARC systems. Connor promptly races off to Prospero Industries only to find himself being hugged and congratulated by a lying Phillip and April, and so fakes leaving happily only to double back...

...and his suspicion horribly rewarded, as he finds amongst Phillip's own anomaly data A RECORDING OF HELEN CUTTER! Yep it seems Helen(Juliet Aubrey), one of the original characters themselves is back for the Irish version of Primeval; but this is no Bobby Ewing-esque exit cheat/undoing, as Phillip simply met Helen before her death(as hinted in her notes Danny found) and recorded her likely for research/insurance/blackmail purposes. Unfortunately as with other previous cast members it seems an extended overseas appearence wasn't doable(think the actress has done work in America since such as Snatch starring Harry Potter's 'Ron' Rupert Grint so busy w/that, whilst Jason Flemyng was doing films and Laila Rouass and Lucy Brown busy with younger children?), so her interfering is done via voice recording only;

'I've seen the future, Phillip, and i know. Our hopes rest on you. You will find a way, you must- the future is in your hands.'. The exact intention and consequences of these words and Helen's involvement is kept unclear so as to avoid potential plot/continuity holes whilst still continuing/ wrapping up any loose ends from prior series/storylines despite the damaging cancellation/cast and crew changes.

Nice bonus that you the viewer is free to interpret it then; my best guess/theory is that Helen found evidence of ARC research having been used to create the anomalies/'New Dawn' anomaly generator, but not that Connor and only Connor was responsible(maybe Phillip was planning a bit of plagarism and erased his name?). She thus went after disgruntled ARC employee Oliver Leek, then tried to destroy the ARC and team/staff itself, then her own pioneering lead anomaly researcher Nick Cutter, then coming new ARC boss/self-interested military interferer Christine Johnson- but all with no success at stopping the 'New Dawn' disaster due to unclear information/targets. We know she eventually gave up on it all and went delusional and ever more murderous from stress and grief plus her own self-interest and resorted to trying to change the course of humanity itself; but it now seems that at some point she also approached Phillip Burton, possibly with the intention of either controlling the ARC itself through him or sabotaging them by aiding a rival anomaly researcher with the influence and funds to do so by providing anomaly data and insider information/advice.

Connor promptly goes and warns Abby and Matt of this(lack of any music/soundtrack here helps) and apologizes for having carried around the Idiot Ball for a few episodes(to be fair it was put in his pocket by Phillip/April when with them and then taken back each time they parted so they could carry on their 'progress', also hearing Helen and Cutter mentioned is great). Cut to no-glasses-disguise SuperApril and Gone for a Burton Phillip smiling evilly at each other beside the finally operational 'New Dawn' project revealed- a GIANT version of the anomaly-generating device in Connor's lab(think a Magnetic Levitation Device, also nice set/effects btw)! 

(fun fact; MLD's are connected/related to a 1911 invention called a Superconductor-and what was Phillip Burton said to be a creator/producer of back in his 1st episode in 2011..?)

Overall 'To Beetle Or Not To Be' is an plot twist/reveal stretched into an episode-long mission featuring literally EVERYONE except Lester including the return of a major previous character(...Rex! Sorry Helen!) all in top acting form, and with decent/fair division of screentime and nearly-all new outfits, plus some simple but effective and convincingly CGI'd creatures and a couple of nice scenes/moments/images/lines. It's still an unnecessary and slightly dull episode, but definitely beats a couple of others including ep-before-last 5.2 'Eustreptospondylus'(No i did not have to look that spelling up!*sweats*), and the handling of said plot twist/reveal is decent(thank you actors'actresses!)

Next Time- the beginning of the end... 

'And how does this normally work out?' 'Mmm...' *waves hand*

'Really? And there's me thinking me were just going to stick our arms out the portholes and paddle back to the 21st century!'

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