Primeval – Series 5, Episode 2

I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to fix the 8pm on Tuesdays slot in my mind, so I seem doomed to watching Primeval an hour or two after it’s been on. Good job the TiVo has a better memory than me, really.

Anyway, this week’s monster fun involved Matt, Abby and Connor taking a ride on a Royal Navy submarine[1] following reports of strange interference and something colliding with the boat[2]. Sure enough, there’s a nice underwater anomaly, and Connor’s Cunning Plan is to load an anomaly-closing device into a torpedo and fire it, despite previous devices needing to be carefully aligned and computer controlled to do the same job. Must be a version 2 device, or something. Either that, or the requirement to carefully point things has gone to the same bit of continuity hell as James Lester’s knighthood, which I mentioned last week.

This being the kind of show it is, you can’t have your characters in a submarine without some Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fun. My memory of watching Voyage as a kid was that there was always a big monster colliding with, or trying to eat the Seaview, and that at the slightest touch, sparks would fly, water would come in, and you’d be wondering why this incredibly advanced submarine was, well, a bit crap. It was indeed a bit like that, which was nicely amusing.

Problems always multiply in Primeval. Not only does the body of the little dinosaur they collided with earlier prove to be not quite, or in fact at all, dead, but it also does an Alien-stlye gradual picking off of the skeleton crew, leaving the ARC team and an inexperienced officer in charge. This is also traditional, of course. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, a collision trips out the electrics, which requires Connor to reset a series of fuse boxes. Quite why your electrical system would require you to do that is a mystery. Possibly it’s an old Navy tradition. Or not.

And as the sub has no power, it’s not possible to steer it, which results in it drifting through the anomaly accompanied by some quite large pliosuars.

More fun follows at the ARC, where a senior Admiral turns up, declares the whole problem to be under military control and decides that the appropriate action is to nuke the anomaly. Lester, still peeved about his missing knighthood, is even more peeved by this and tries to derail the conversation with silly things like facts and logic, which obviously doesn’t help at all.

The sub-based team manage to avoid the pliosaurs by firing the alien little dinosaur out of a torpedo tube, then get the power on just in time to return through the anomaly where they’re warmly greeted by an oncoming torpedo (the nuclear warhead being a courtesy detail[2]). They dodge that, close the anomaly and head off home.

The only unanswered question is whether the torpedo was actually disarmed before it went through the anomaly…

All good fun. More of the ongoing friction caused by Connor working secretly for Philip, Abby tells Matt what she’s learned about Emily’s fate – you remember Emily, nice lady from Victorian England, went home at the end of the last series. Well, it seems her husband had her committed, which is a bit upsetting for Matt. If only there was some way he could see her again. Oh, wait…

As usual, Lester got some of the best lines, particularly when dealing with the psycho Admiral:

Have a good apocalypse

and when the Admiral leaves the ARC…

I’ve got Doctor Strangelove on Blu-Ray if that helps…

And more. Yes, it’s all very silly, quite possibly formulaic and predictable, but I really don’t care. It’s fun, and that’s all I want from it, so there.

[1] Carefully specified as one of an old, non-nuclear type, because apparently while they will let you on a nuclear submarine, they to have to fire you out of a torpedo tube to make sure you don’t tell anyone about it.
[2] If memory serves, in the Royal Navy, submarines are “boats” not “ships”, for reasons that probably similar to surgeons being called “Mr” not “Dr”, or something. Tradition, that’s the thing.