The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Primeval: Series 5 Episode 4 Review


Written By: Philip Lickley

*** Warning – contains spoilers ***

As we reach the second half of the latest series of Primeval the episodes take a darker turn and deliver a claustrophic episode set almost entirely within the sturdy concrete walls of the amp, though in this case they might not be as sturdy as we thought…

The episode picks up from last week with Connor having opened the first ever man-made anomaly as part of his research into Philip’s ‘New Dawn’ project, his quest for getting free energy. With the anomaly now open and relatively stable it sets off the detector, alerting Matt, Connor and Becker to its presence. They burst into the lab only for Philip to stamp his authority over them at the start of an episode that finally sees the return of the potential series-baddie who has been away since episode one, though the inability to have all the cast in one episode continues with Ben Miller nowhere to be found.

Whilst Abby and Connor once more argue over Connor’s work – with a nice Cutter reference thrown in – a beetle stumbles through the anomaly before being thrown in by the hapless guard, only to cause a flood of them to emerge through the portal to the future, which proceeds to cover and digest the man in a piece of excellent CGI. Naturally the team are on hand to tackle it as the ARC goes into lockdown – a nice piece of set-up from series four led to this – but it turns out the beetles are more dangerous than thought and can easily bury through the walls and into the air condition.

The rest of the episode is then a tense race to stop the beetles spreading, involving a character going into shock from a bite and being close to death, Matt destroying Connor’s creation, Abby’s confession that she broke into Connor’s lab, and Becker’s battle to kill the insects whilst also protecting Jess, the aforementioned bittee.

All while this is going on in a tense, dramatic series of set pieces, Philip is threatening to incinerate the arc to stop the beetles escaping – though he’s more concerned about the damage to ‘New Dawn’ rather than the population as a whole – before Connor comes up with a plan to go someway to redeem himself by using the man-made anomaly to fill the ARC with gamma rays and kill the beetles, but even this isn’t simple when it could involve his and Matt’s death, plus Abby who has gone off to rescue Rex.

Luckily it’s a relatively happy ending with the beetles all destroyed, all characters safe and Jess getting her adrenaline in a touching scene developing her relationship with Becker, who once more got the opportunity to do his heroic, hair-blowing back run.

As the ARC is re-built by its team of electricians – the building in its two forms has sure had its share of explosions and damage – Connor realises that Philip had set the ARC to incinerate with them inside, with only the beetle-damaged cables saving them. With this knowledge he sees a de-spectacled April, and Philip, and sort of confronts them, but spends his time discovering a message from Helen that seems to confirm his connection with her and realising he has to do something. But could it be too late as we see the giant version of Connor’s experiment warming up in the closing section of the episode.

Though episode four was confined mostly to the ARC the storyline allowed much more character development than normal, with relationships between Abby and Connor, Connor and Philip, Becker and Jess and others to flourish and battle lines drawn as Matt tries to save the future. The CGI was as great as ever in rendering out all the beetles and the music really added to the tension of the episode. The key thing about Primeval is that its killed main characters off in the past and you’re never sure if they’ll do it again.

It looks like series five will be getting even better from next week with the iconic T-Rex making an appearance, in what the script writers have promised will be a killer two-part conclusion to series four and five in which we’ll also see the return of the future predators and worldwide anomalies…

Primeval is on Watch, Tuesdays at 8pm.

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