Primeval – Series 4, Episode 1

A year has passed since Danny, Abby and Connor popped into the past to have a nice chat with Helen. Well, a year in fictionworld, somewhat longer here. Either way, it made sense for the new series to start with a quick catchup voice-over from Lester (still superbly played by Ben Miller, better known for his comedy work in Armstrong and Miller), who explains that what with all the trouble, and key members of staff not turning up for work, a new ARC[1] has been set up and a new team assembled. The core of the team, we soon learn, are Matt Anderson (Ciaran McMenamin), who’s doing the team leader, action hero stuff, and Jess Parker (Ruth Kearney), who’s chief geek in charge of all the anomaly monitoring, computer managing, team tracking and coordinating, which sounds like a fun job, with a slightly lower chance of being eaten than most positions at the ARC.

What we also learn is that this highly confidential, really sensitive and not generally to be revealed to the public, organisation is now being run under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement, with investment coming from an only slightly sinister billionaire genius who invented some MacGuffin[2] or other. He’s called Philip Burton, but looks suspiciously like an older, greyer and more bearded Doctor Bashir from Deep Space Nine[3], so I may have trouble getting his name right sometimes.

Passing quickly over a bit of fun in the ARC when Jess opens the wrong door and lets a cute little Dracorex loose (you might recall a chap with armour chasing the poor thing some time back), we head back to the deep past, where Abby and Connor are managing to survive. It’s clearly been a while, as they have longer hair, and Connor’s got more of a proper beard. Their clothes seem to be holding up quite well, though. After some fuss about feeling a little bit trapped, they have a run-in with a cute little dino who likes to collect shiny things for its nest. When Connor retrieves Abby’s reflective survival blanket, he also find’s Helen’s anomaly twiddling device, which has been lying around for a year, apparently. They manage to dodge a slightly hungry Spinosaurus (big predator, not at all friendly), and open an anomaly…

Meanwhile, err, no, that’s not quite right, is it? Anyway, in the present, there’s an entertaining demonstration of the ARC’s new monster zapping weapons, which are hyper-evolved relations of tasers, only without wires or any of that nonsense, they just fire bolts of energy. EMD is the name, knocking out bit things is the game. I think I’ll just have to refer to them as zap guns, on the grounds that they’re guns and they go ZAP.  :yes: The demo involves a sceptical Becker being shown the hard way that these new toys are quite effective, and just as useful as more conventional weapons.

While all that’s being sorted out, and Lester has a nice chat with Bashir Burton, an anomaly is detected, and the team is scrambled.

Having managed to avoid being eaten by Spiney, Abby and Connor come through the anomaly to be greeted by a bunch of big blokes with guns who don’t seem at all pleased to see them, but fortunately Becker arrives before they can be arrested, shot or zapped. Connor offers to close the currently sealed anomaly with Helen’s device, which obviously doesn’t work. Instead it opens the anomaly, and Spiney comes through, leading to the usual fun and games of a monster chase, which ends in an arena. This involves Spiney being disoriented by bright lights and the sound of S Club 7’s Don’t Stop Moving, at which point everyone who know’s what Hannah Spearritt’s  previous job was will have been having a good giggle, especially as it was Abby who put the music on.

Spiney is sent back home (or somewhere, anyway) when Connor, in an effort not to fall from a great height, is forced to drop the anomaly device. Spiney swallows it, and promptly disappears into the anomaly that opens around him.

Everyone goes back to the ARC, where Abby and Connor are warmly welcomed by everyone then told that there’s a new policy that only people with military experience are allowed on front-line missions, so maybe they’d like to take some time off and go away?[4]

And that would be a nice wrap-up for an opening episode. But it wouldn’t be Primeval without a bit of mystery, would it? So, we see Matt meeting a man, and apparently telling him all about what’s been going on, which I’m pretty sure he’s not supposed to do. The man, played by Anton Lesser with a slightly suspicious accent, is revealed by the credits to be called Gideon. He warns Matt to watch out because “it could be any of them”. No doubt more of that will be explained in due course…

So, it was a good return. Some new faces, enough of the old ones to make it familiar, good monster work, and above all, good fun. :bouncy:

[1] Anomaly Research Centre, which you may recall popped into existence when Helen messed around with history a bit
[2] Didn’t make a note of that on the grounds that it sounded silly
[3] Yes, it’s Alexander Siddig :smile:
[4] Now there’s a familiar dramatic device if I ever saw one