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27 January 2011 @ 05:41 pm
Primeval 4.03  
Well that was an oddity of an episode in lots of ways. More interesting, I think, for the possibilities it raised and the ideas it hinted at than for anything that actually occurred.

I've complained several times already about the pacing in this series of Primeval so all I'll note here is that, again, the episode seemed to lack dramatic shape and the final five or ten minutes felt as though the writing team had run out of story and needed to tack some random action on the end.

...and I'm not going to talk about the ARC lockdown because everything to do with it and everything anyone said about it, from the moment Burton first asked Connor to check the system was so mind-numbingly stupid and, basically wrong, that I just pretended it wasn't happening. Actually, I will say one thing, if you are going to put something that amazingly idiotic into your plot, at least have some fun with it! I think Connor and Jess should have had to cross a room booby trapped with swinging blades in order to reach the open switch.

I covet Emily's hair and outfit, but I'm shallow like that.

What was interesting about this episode was the hints at the bigger story, both Emily's band of temporal explorers/exiles and Burton's "New Dawn". The anomaly travellers are an interesting idea and I can see lots of ways you could have fun with them, with people and attitudes from all sorts of eras, and all sorts of personalities, experience, and skills. I even wondered if Danny might be with them, it would be a nice way to bring him back, though Emily's reactions to the ARC team suggest that's unlikely. Meanwhile Burton's New Dawn made me think of "Operation Golden Age" from Doctor Who's Invasion of the Dinosaurs. In a plot worthy, I think, of the writers of Primeval, Operation Golden Age involved a bunch of influential and yet certifiable nutters who decided that Earth had got too polluted and that humanity needed a new start. They planned to achieve this by sending a select group of humans back in time to the age of the dinosaurs (said group having been duped into thinking they were travelling to another planet) - time travel, you know, being easier than space travel obviously. For reasons which are currently eluding me, a vital part of this plan involved getting the government to evacuate London by bringing dinosaurs forward in time to rampage around various tourist attractions. You can see why Burton's chance remark immediately made me think of this. I eagerly anticipate the moment when he explains to Connor why he needs to get on a spaceship to New Earth.

I wish I had the confidence that the writers of Primeval are going to go somewhere interesting with these over-arching plot threads. The Burton plot looks depressingly likely to end up with Burton revealed, shock horror!, as some kind of baddy and Connor as his dupe. While Emily and her band of time travellers seem all set to come from other eras in name only and in all other respects to behave exactly like people from the early 21st century. We shall see.


This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/32659.html.
 
 
 
fredbassettfredbassett on January 27th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
The lock down was definitely mind-numbingly stupid.

I like the time-traveller idea, and as you say it could be fun in a fic. It's teh sort of thing that would probably have given Cutter apoplexy.
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on January 28th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
I do want to know more about them - we seem to have so little to go on so far, but if they've not coughed up some details by episode 7 then I imagine I shall have no end of fun making stuff up *g*
lukadreaminglukadreaming on January 27th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
The pacing feels off generally this series and there's still too much sloppy writing. I don't have the confidence they'll follow up the plot threads hinted at.

Emily's outfit is very cool.
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on January 28th, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's sloppy writing or poor direction to be honest. I'm finding a lot of the action scenes a bit hard to follow, in that it's often not entirely clear to me exactly what the specific threat/obstacle of the moment is nor how the resolution is achieved (this may be because I'm often crotcheting at the same time, admitedly). On paper the sequences of events may look fine and it's just the direction that makes it look like the story has reached its climax before it has. That said, IIRC, the B-plot of most episodes has been wrapped up before the final A-plot problem is revealed - that may contribute to the sense that the final set piece is tacked on, and that's a writing problem that is fairly easily fixed. However I'd need to rewatch carefully to see if that is the case (or page through some screencaps I suppose)
telperion_15: Connor Mission Controltelperion_15 on January 27th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
I think Connor and Jess should have had to cross a room booby trapped with swinging blades in order to reach the open switch.

LOL, they needed the chompers from Galaxy Quest! *g*
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on January 28th, 2011 09:59 am (UTC)
Given the way Burton's security design instincts clearly work, I'm amazed this wasn't the case!
reggietate: connor-matt-lesterreggietate on January 27th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
The lockdown was daft, but I found it quite enjoyable in actual execution. I'm less sure about dragging more people into the plot, though Emily and Ethan are becoming a bit more interesting now.

You're right about the pacing, though, and also, they can't seem to work out how to handle the passage of time properly.

Philip would seem to be the obvious villain, but I suspect what he's doing is something that will lead inadvertently to the catastrophe we've seen in the previous series, rather than be something deliberate. Unless he's wholly misjudged him, I don't think he could expect Connor to go along with something that would cause direct harm to anyone.
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on January 28th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
It must be said I wasn't even that convinced by the execution - the resolution involved Jess handing things to Connor and Connor trying to remember a password - not actually that dramatic and a depressing underuse of Jess.

I think he's up to something shady (else why the secrecy from even Lester?). My guess is there's going to be an "end justifies the means" rationale behind he's aware his plan is going to be bad for some people. And I think he would absolutely expect Connor to do something to harm someone if the cause was "good" enough. The man appears to have the people skills of your average Dark Lord.