Review: Primeval 2×3

It’s episode three in the exciting world of Primeval. Since we’re at the halfway point, more or less, that means (fanfare and trumpet) it’s time for a plot filler episode. Woo hoo.

This week we’re faced with a terrible hydra. Not an actual one. Don’t be silly. They’re made up (apart from those tiny ones, of course), unlike dinosaurs which were merely God’s mistakes. 

No, I’m talking about a metaphorical hydra with more than a few plot heads and whose bites are terrible. 


Cutter and Connor unveil their new anomaly detector but its capabilities are immediately questioned when a new monster attack catches them by surprise.

A paintballer is stalked then killed by an unknown beast at an adventure park. Early suspicions point towards a large cat. When that cat turns out to be a Sabre-Tooth tiger Jenny Lewis goes into PR overdrive. To avoid panicking the public, she insists the park stays open.

But will her decisions put the team in more danger than was strictly necessary

Was it any good?

Although not as daft as last week’s episode, this one had the degree of daftness necessary for it to be a Primeval story. Going back to our hydra, with its many plot heads.

  • Head 1, which has terrible lunacy in the shape of a deranged animal lover trying to protect a two-metre tall sabre-tooth tiger that killed her boyfriend and making excuses for it when it slaughters parts of the population. The bite from this head gives us a terrible need to roll our eyes relentlessly and wonder who came up with that one
  • Head 2, which has the equally terrible Twat Boy (Connur*) and Lego Girl (Abey*) relationship. The bite from this head makes us want to beat our television into small pieces with a stone club so the pain will stop
  • Head 3, which is the equally terrible and tedious Jenny and Cutter relationship. The bite from this head makes us want to give Dougie Henshall a few tabs of E or a megaphone so that he cheers up and stop mumbling; it also makes us wonder why they’ve put SOMEONE FROM PR IN CHARGE. YOU FOOLS. People from PR are there to send out press releases and photos, mail off stupid free gifts to journos and organise parties. They are not there to decide whether to close down playgrounds when there’s a tiger loose.
  • Head 4, which is Stephen the Man Mountain and his harem. My, he’s popular with the girls, isn’t he? And he’s sneaky. And he thinks. Would you credit it in one so mountainy? The bite from this head makes us think there’s hope for his character and the show after all.
  • Head 5, which is the ongoing infiltration plot. Yes, Twat Boy’s new girlfriend was too good looking for him so she had to be a spy. Such is the law of TV drama. And there are others, too. The bite from this head makes us want to tune in next week. As did the trailer.

Of the ongoing plot, Helen and her cleavage were sadly missing this week except by SMS, which is a shame. So far, no one yet believes Cutter’s story, although if he took the photo of him and Claudia out of his wallet and showed it to them, maybe he’d be on less shaky ground. Jenny, the new version of Claudia, is losing dimensions with every week, which is slightly difficult to imagine, since she wasn’t especially three dimensional in the first place. Gosh, yet another riff on women having social skills and men not. At least she got thrown into a big pile of hay for her pains. Stick that in your personal organiser.

Most irritating part of the episode, other than the clueless, paintballing models at the beginning or Dougie’s Pertwee-esque “escape by fun ride” chase or lion-taming? The stupid FX team that decided not only to badly CGI a sabre-toothed tiger, but who decided to CGI some mud onto the picture so it looked like the cat was really shaking mud onto the lens. Fine, do it a couple of times and it’s almost clever. Stick it on nearly every shot and right in the middle of the action every time and you’re just showing off for no good reason, while ruining the story.

Generally, though, a bit of a nothing story that’s treading water until next week’s shark tale.

* Yes, I’ve spelt them wrong deliberately. Does that irritate you? Why are you not more irritated that they’re badly written characters? Get your priorities straight!


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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