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20 January 2013 @ 05:26 pm
PNW: Truth  
Now that was really excellent. Not at all the sort of story I'd have expected from a Primeval episode, or at least not a story approached in this way.

So the worst part of the story is, in fact, the premise. Hallucinogenic dinosaur puke is an idea straight out of fanfiction and not the more, umm, nuanced category of fanfic. However, cheesy as the concept is, it was used as a clever and illuminating short cut to examining the lead character in the show.

In lots of ways this episode reminded me of some of the episodes of early Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The surface science-fictional plot is being used to play out explicitly a drama that is would otherwise be low key and mostly internal. The whole premise of Primeval:New World depends upon Evan Cross's tendency towards both obsessive paranoia and a god complex, but most of the time he has these drives well under control, or at least well hidden. I had assumed that these rather troubling aspects of his character were going to be ignored but instead Truth puts them out there, amplifies them, and demonstrates just how dangerous he actually is when he goes over the edge.

I don't think we ever saw the original show attempt something this ambitious in terms of character exploration, nor have the bravery to risk displaying their "lead" character in such a bad light. I'm very, very interested to see if, having acknowledged Evan's flaws, they revert in an episode or two's time to a situation where everyone is friends again and we are allowed to assume the dinosaur puke was the sole culprit - or whether we are going to see more of this side of Evan: his conviction that he knows what is best for everyone; his ability to trust very few people and his refusal to trust even them completely; his single-minded obsession with the creatures that come through the anomalies; and his unshaken belief that he is the best, if not the only, person who can handle the situation. I suspect strongly that we are going to see more of it, and I suspect that the reveal of Leeds' "treachery" (because I'm assuming that Leeds is capturing rather than repatriating the beasties and I also imagine that Evan will perceive that as a betrayal) will trigger a further crisis. I also do wonder if Ange will end up working for Leeds (there was a throwaway remark in Clean Up on Aisle Three about how he needed someone to act as an administrator for the military which looked to me like foreshadowing of something) and how Evan will react to that.

The relationship between Evan and Ange was one of the highlights of a good episode. You could probably write volumes about what is going on there: their long-standing friendship, his attempt and failure to move on from his wife's death, her decision to get out from a relationship which in spite of surface appearances was clearly going nowhere. I was slightly annoyed with the way this was played slightly as a three episode hiccup on the route to Evan and Dylan, but I'm beginning to have more faith in the writers team than I had in some of the original series' teams and I hope this isn't a complication that is going to quietly go away.

Oh and did you notice how this ended up being an episode about how the women had to rescue the men? I'm almost prepared to forgive this show for the treatment the original meted out to Jenny and Helen. Not to mention the fridging of Samantha - and I wonder if it's a deliberate joke that it turns out to be Mac who is, literally, in the fridge.

I think this is easily my favourite of the episodes of Primeval:New World so far. It's doing something the original series never really attempted. It turned the show around and potentially sent it off in an entirely different direction. It smashed through any possibility that this first season was going to rest content with a static set up and monsters of the week. I think the show has been on an upward trajectory for several episodes now and this is definitely a high point. The show is also beginning to remind me very powerfully of the first season of the original Primeval, which also wasn't afraid to spring surprises and which gave the impression of paying more attention to the plausibility of the set up and characters (give or take the fact it's a show about dinosaurs coming through rips in time) than the later seasons did.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/86577.html.
Celeste: new world: dylanceleste9 on January 20th, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
I loved this episode too, I was really impressed by what they did with it in spite of it being about hallucinogenic dinosaur puke! As much as I love the dinosaur aspect of both New World and the original, really the characters are what keep me coming back, and the character stuff in this ep was super interesting. (Plus, yes, awesome ladies! I think New World has done excellently with the ladies thus far.)

I'm just hoping that, as you said, they don't revert too quickly back to the status quo, which is what I felt happened with the earlier Evan-Mac tension. It didn't occur to me that Ange could end up working with Ken, but I actually love that idea, as I love Ken and Ange together and I also think it would add another interesting layer to her relationship with Evan.
louisedennis: primevallouisedennis on January 22nd, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
I do think Ken and Ange are seriously cute together. If I ship anyone in this show it's those two.