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26 December 2012 @ 07:10 pm
PNW: Undone  
A bit of an oddity this episode. It makes sense of some of the material that has come before, and does some nice work with the characters but, at the end of the day, felt a little disjointed.

The story is very much a game of two halves, with the opening section on the college campus more of what has come before. We're now five episodes into the series and there's a familiarity to watching this particular anomaly team work together. I imagine this was very much deliberate.

Then there is the very rapid tonal shift to the much darker second half. It makes sense of the inclusion of the Samantha character in Fear of Flying. I had thought her sub-plot with Mac was rather half-baked there but it worked as an introduction and build-up for the character here and helped paper-over the fact that she is ultimately intended as a one-episode wonder of a sacrificial dead girlfriend. I really liked the way her death was used to highlight a spectrum of approaches to the pre-historic creatures from Evan's idealistic determination to rescue as many of them as possible, through Dylan's more experienced viewpoint that accentuated the need to destroy proven man-killers, up to Mac's very personal determination to take revenge. In a show that, in its UK incarnation, occasionally struggled at differentiating characters or, more importantly, making their disagreements seem believable, this was very well handled. On the downside, the anomaly team were suddenly considerably less competent than they had hitherto appeared and the hunt through Cross Photonics, in particular, was a mess of which they should have been ashamed.

Oddly though, I'm not sure the serious material fits as well with Primeval:New World as it does in the original Primeval and I can't quite put my finger on why. Of course, it may just be that the shift from the light-hearted first half of the episode to the darker second half made that darker second-half feel out of place. Possibly it's just the "grammar" of US-style TV shows has been heavily signalling Primeval:New World as somehow "fluffier" than its UK equivalent - the rather gorier deaths notwithstanding. I suppose it's also fair to say that, in retrospect, Samantha, as a character, is introduced entirely in order that she can die and really has little else to her. This is in contrast with Ryan, in particular, in the original show who had precisely the same role in the overall story but was given a longer run at the character and, as a result, has been much harder to write off as a stock character sacrificial victim.

Ultimately I think this episode is a failure. The shift in tone is too sudden and there hasn't been quite the necessary build up to it. However, it also highlights a lot of things that Primeval:New World does well and, as failures go, at least it's a fairly decent one and is still I think, a sign of a show on an upward trajectory.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/84746.html.
a_cubeda_cubed on December 27th, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
JMS once said about an episode of Babylon 5 (one of the few universally acknowledged as poor to bad) that if you never fail, you're not pushing the envelope hard enough.
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on December 28th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
In comparison to the original show, which had a distinct penchant for killing its characters off, this wasn't a complete surprise. But I think it was a surprise, given the way the Canadian version has presented itself thus far and is definitely attempting to push forward some character development rather than keeping them all static.

That said, two of the three male characters now have a fridged wife/girlfriend.
athene: connor and g-rexdeinonychus_1 on February 17th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
Not having access to Watch, I've finally resorted to youtube and started watching New World this week, and I made it to ep 5 on Friday. I've now watched this episode twice!

I think this is my favourite episode so far, it's certainly the one that has actually had me gripped the most in terms of action and peril (and on an entirely shallow note, I appreciate the fanservice of two Mac shower scenes in one episode!).

I doubt it's deliberate, but in many ways it reminds me of Primeval ep 1.4, the one with the dodos, because ultimately it has a similar character arc of someone who has, so far, been treating the whole thing as something of an adventure - Connor/Mac - suffering a personal tragedy that makes them wake up and smell the dinosaurs.

For me, New World was pootling along for the first three episodes and while it was interesting, it wasn't gripping me at all, or igniting any desire to be fannish about it. Ep 4 was a step up, especially with the Ken twist at the end. Ep 5 made me sit up and take notice in the way that ep 1.4 did for me with original Primeval. I just hope they don't hit the reset button on the characters and their relationships in the next episode.
louisedennislouisedennis on February 17th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is a good episode with then two fairly strong, but more placeholder eps, and then another really good one (IMHO) at episode 8. Episode 9 is another more placeholdery type episode and I've not got beyond that yet. I'm actualy quite excited about what they may be building up to for the season finale, by episode 9 they've got quite a lot of longer term plot threads in the air.

They don't hit the character reset buttons, never fear and I agree with you with the first three episodes being a bit pootly. I think Sisiuti is the weakest so far.