Review: Primeval 2×5

The sleeper must awaken

That’s a bit more like it. After treading water, sometimes literally, for the last couple of weeks, we’re heading towards the end of the series and so the plot developments are getting piled on.

The bland and seemingly-innocent Leek stirs up more trouble. He’s alone in the office when the anomaly detector goes off. A young girl and her dog have ventured through the void to the Silurian period. He himself, the “cleaner” and his group of mercenaries, a head start.

Foul play is suspected but Leek escapes suspicion. While Connor struggles to repair the detector, Leek and his team pass through the anomaly.

Elsewhere Connor is struggling with his own demons – he is torn between the two women in his life…

Was it any good?
Firstly, look at that plot. Does ITV actually watch the episode before putting these slightly misleading summaries up?

Moving on, though, we had rather a good episode here. In a sense, it was the long-anticipated Primeval meets Dune plot, with Dougie and the man mountain having to avoid terrors that lurk below the sands of the Silurian period. We could also have done without the world’s most hopeless spy’s (Caroline’s) attempt to catch the pigeon dinosaur and the slight gag-worthy council estate step dad sub-plot.

But even that was handled relatively well. Whenever you hear anyone declaring that Rose on Doctor Who was a bit of a chav, it’s clear they’ve never met working class people before. Rose was posh – she never wore a single bit of branded sportswear. She was BBC1. Over on the channel of the common man, ITV1, a channel unoffended by branded sportswear, you get a (slightly) more realistic depiction of council estate life, even on Primeval*. Not chavvy and certainly less patronising, even if it was painfully down with the kids at times.

The ongoing cunning plan by Helen Cutter to rule the world is advancing well. It mainly seems to consist of flashing her boobs at men until they do what she wants. Still, whatever works, I guess. I’m slightly curious, though, as to why it’s the law of action shows that all mercenaries are South African. Don’t South Africans get offended by this odd bit of stereotyping?

Man mountain might still be lacking in personality, have an odd tendency to pick up girls (literally), and his survival skills might be sorely lacking (I know, let’s go for a walk in the blazing midday sun when there’s minimal oxygen, almost no water, beasts we can’t see and no real hope of rescue for centuries, possibly…) despite his supposed rain forest treks, but at least women turn up unbidden naked in his shower at odd times. You’ve got to give him that.

Dougie was a little careless with his very, very important possessions that prove the existence of a leak in his very office this week (he practically left a sign on the door saying “Come and get it, bad guys”) but he’s starting to man up now, as well. I’m still not exactly sure what the message is with regards to his relationship with new Claudia (Jenny): don’t worry, girls, as long as you look like that, your personality can be interchangeable with some other woman’s and men will still love you? It’s not even post-feminist, is it?

Even the ongoing romance between Twat Boy and Lego Girl was almost tolerable. Twat Boy obviously deserves a beating for dumping someone by text, but I’ve concluded that he’s being used as an educational tool for socially unskilled boys (who form part of the prime contingent of Primeval viewers): don’t do as he does, boys, since everyone will hate you if you do, the producers are clearly saying – because said boys will never find this out for themselves until it’s too late, unless it’s on the TV and spelt out for them. That’s pretty community-minded, I reckon: in about ten years time, there’ll be a generation of geek-seeking girls thanking them for doing some early reconstruction work for them.

Although the whole “trapped back in time” threat was obviously going to end with Cutter and co returning, it was tense enough and the slight fake out was entertaining. Ben Miller was as hammy – and as entertaining – as always, although he’s clearly got water on the brain (and needs an improved recruitment policy) if he’s going to put “Daphne and Scrappy” in charge of the most top secret government project in history, because everyone else is missing.

Good CGI with only a few things to let the story down. A very good Primeval episode indeed.

* Which isn’t, of course, to say that all working class people wear branded sportswear. Be nice.


  • 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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