Thursday, 23 June 2011

PRIMEVAL, 5.5: anomalous

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Considering there were a few game-changing events in this penultimate episode, it's surprising how little I cared. A dinosaur appeared in the middle of a populated area (yes, finally!) and made the national news, shortly before anomalies started appearing around the world. Surely the cat's out of the bag now, and ARC will have to come clean about the existence of time-portals and creatures from other eras entering our world? This episode didn't have a chance to explore any of the logical repercussions of these events depicted, sadly. Instead, it was focused on having the ARC team stop Philip (Alexander Siddig) from turning on his New Dawn device, which Matt (CiarĂ¡n McMenemin) is convinced will cause the end-of-the-world...

Broadly speaking, episode 5 was reasonable entertainment, ignoring a clear instance of the show biting off more than it could chew with an unconvincing T-Rex attack. The rampaging dinosaur didn't appear to have any weight to it, and passersby were seen reacting implausibly or with wrong eye-lines. It was an ambitious scene for the show to attempt, but not one it managed to pull off.

The first half of the episode was strangely dull, but things perked up in the last quarter-hour once everyone converged on Philip's "lair" to turn his machine off. In particular, the reveal that New Dawn isn't what it was presented as worked rather well. A source of renewable energy using the power of man-made anomalies? Nope. Instead, it's a way to combine multiple anomalies into one super-anomaly, at a time when Philip's predicted the glittering portals will become abundant across the world (an event tied into the moment when the Earth's magnetic poles reverse). So anomalies have been early warning signs of a magnetic pole shift, and Philip's been attempting to prevent disaster by "converging" the anomalies to stop a devastating shift from happening. But that's something Matt doesn't agree with, as he believes a pole shift is a natural process that should be allowed to happen. So will Philip's action or inaction result in global catastrophe? Let's toss a coin...

One problem I have with Primeval is how tawdry the production can look, and how ineptly some of the action is delivered. There were some really idiotic or weird moments that spoiled this episode: the aforementioned T-Rex shenanigans; Abby (Hannah Spearritt) playing chicken with a dinosaur in a car park, lips quivering as she revved her engine (a worse Fast & Furious audition you will not find); a ridiculously staged "battle of the blondes" between Abby and April; Jess (Ruth Kearney) apparently wearing a Snow White costume to work, and the continuing charisma vacuum of Matt.

The fundamental idea behind Philip's plan was good, it's always appreciated when a villain actually has good intentions, and I'm hopeful the show will now take place in a world where everyone's aware of dino-spewing anomalies, but it's a shame so much of the episode was rather laughable. Series 5's been reminding me of a fan-made spoof, which is never good.

written by Michael A. Walker / directed by Cilla Ware / 21 June 2011 / Watch