This week, after a surprisingly reasonable series premiere, Primeval heads underwater for a claustrophobic showdown with both the usual dinosaurs and, surprisingly, the fear and intolerance of humanity as well. A thematic crossover with the most recent episode of Doctor Who?
And was it any good? Or is that mid-series slump starting already?
Pleasantly, this wasn’t bad. The submarine material worked well as a departure from the norm, they had nice moments with the claustrophobia and darkness, providing more sense of threat than they usually manage on this show.
Also, after last week’s underwhelming giant cockroach-thing, the effects sequences this week were impressive. It didn’t feel quite like they were deliberately keeping the dinosaur off-screen, and the underwater beast versus submarine battle shots didn’t even look silly.
In fact, there were so many more heavy effects than usual, I have to wonder whether they have any money left for the rest of the series. Perhaps we’ll see a “heroes locked in their base for whole episode” trick soon to balance the books. (Expect some boasting in my review if I turn out to be right.)
However, they did save money this week by not having Phillip The Probable Villain or explosion-happy Becker appear at all. But the latter’s point of view was well represented by some high-ranking navy brass, who turned up to make the compelling argument for “Screw common sense, let’s fire a nuke at it!”
On the one hand, they were overly simplistic. Even Doctor Who gives its hateful human character more motivation to doom everyone, whereas these guys just like death and destruction. Or, as one put it, “nuking anything works!” Still, it was one section in one episode, and it wasn’t unentertaining. Even if also clearly stupid.
Oh, and it’s too soon to say much about it, but they seem to be referencing Emily still. I liked that character in series four, so glad she hasn’t been forgotten.
All told, this was a bit silly in places, but another decent episode. I’d rather they lean towards the ridiculous than be as boring and frustrating as they often were last series.