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12 February 2013 @ 07:37 pm
PNW: Breakthrough  
This was a nice but somewhat slight episode. The show clearly needed a pause after the excitements of Undone. Something that established the new status quo, and focused on the core "dinosaurs travelling through time" premise.

I liked the way Howard Kanan was introduced as a contrast and, I suppose, warning to Evan about the direction his life could take if he allowed himself to become too bitter, too obsessed and too cut-off. I also appreciate the greater emphasis New World places on the excitement that the physics of the anomalies would generate.

On the down side, having done very well in the first few episodes of the series to portray the anomaly team behaving sensibly in the face of wild animals, Dylan's behaviour here was very disappointing. She reiterates repeatedly that the Triceratops is harmless, though it quite clearly isn't and I wondered a bit why the writing was undermining her in this way. In fact Dylan's characterisation is a bit of a mess in this episode. At the end she has her speech, essentially to the effect that none of the creatures are malicious, but throughout she is drawing a somewhat specious line between carnivores and herbivores, implying that the latter are more deserving of compassionate treatment than the former. Someone somewhere hasn't really thought things true. Similarly, all the running around being chased by the Triceratops was really mind-numblingly silly. The "animal handling" side of the show has been let down several times over the past few episodes after its good start which is a big shame.

That said, I did appreciate that the show was giving us a "harmless" (for some rather quixotic value of harmless) creature, and that it was clearly aiming for a gentler and more up-beat tone as a contrast to the traumatic events of the previous week. Breakthrough also appeared to be setting up several plot lines to take the show through the second half of the season: Kanan's disappearance into the Cretaceous, Toby's investigation of the original ARC, and Leeds' obstructive assistant (though really I would have expected someone - either Leeds or Toby, to follow up on why her message hadn't been passed on). I do hope that these are all carried to a conclusion. The parent show didn't have the best record when it came to keeping track of its loose ends.

I thought this was a nice episode. The show needed a change of pace back to something more formulaic, straightforward and up-beat and Breakthrough provided that. Ultimately that does make it look a little like a filler episode, and I'm not convinced it was as well thought through as some of the others in the series, but it was nicely done for all that.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/89863.html.