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09 March 2013 @ 03:34 pm
PNW: Inquisition  
Oh dear!

I really do honestly try not to let massive gaping plot holes ruin a story for me. I suspect this irritated me so much because, just as I had decided Ken Leeds was my favourite character, they write an episode which makes complete nonsense of his actions.

There was actually quite a lot to like in this episode. Character-wise it was an excellent introduction to Major Douglas, who appears to be a Primeval villain with people skills. Wonders will never cease. The contrasts between Douglas' interrogations of Leeds and Evan were nicely drawn. I was less enamoured of the sequence with Ange Finch. I can buy that she wants to make a confession, but I was skeptical that she would choose to confess to Douglas, let alone when Evan was in the room and the whole meeting was clearly designed to put pressure on him. It presented Ange as someone vulnerable and manipulable and almost edged her towards Damsel in Distress territory - though it thankfully pulled back from that. This seemed at odds with what we know of her.

Obviously Major Douglas is mad as a box of frogs, so it figures that his plan would be equally barking. Evan is also mad as a box of frogs. They are nicely matched. Evan has amassed a slightly cult-like group of followers, of whom Ange is the only heretic, and I'm prepared to believe that they buy into his slightly loopy take on how the anomalies should be handled. However Douglas would appear to have convinced a much larger group of people of the non-loopiness of his plan... I'm sort of less convinced about that, but I'm prepared to let it slide.

However, I do not understand what is supposed to be going on with Leeds at all. In The Great Escape we are shown that Douglas goes behind Leeds' back in order to recover the terror bird and Leeds is shaken and concerned when he learns of this. Given Leeds gave the terror bird to Douglas, I assumed that his surprise was that the animal was being kept alive, and experimented upon, that he possibly deduced from that that other interference was going on with the anomalies, and that this is why he then helps Dylan and Evan. However in Inquistion Leeds reveals that he's fully aware not only that the army is collecting specimens from the anomalies whenever it can get its hands on them but also that he believes such interference is an acceptable risk. And, really, only a particularly short-sighted badger wouldn't work out that some experimentation was probably going on somewhere on these specimens. In which case why, oh why, does Douglas conceal the terror bird's escape from Leeds, and what, oh what, was Leeds supposed to be shocked and concerned about? I was also irritated that by the end of Inquisition Leeds has signed up to become an Evan-is-always-right groupie*, despite his legitimate and robust defence earlier that minor interference through the anomalies could do no harm. I have been mostly really impressed with the work Primeval: New World has done to make its characters consistent and interesting, so it was really disappointing to see it all collapse into such a mess here, especially with my favourite character.

Having watched the first half of the finale, I was also amused at Evan's surprise that Leeds had been incarcerated. Presumably Evan thought Leeds just enjoyed wandering around in orange overalls, wearing hand-cuffs. Which, I suppose, takes us back to Evan Cross - Box of Frogs - Mad as.

I can see what was going on here. They wanted the series antagonists to be a shadowy military conspiracy, and it is really difficult to create one of those that is a clear and serious threat; easily explained to viewers; reasonably plausible of itself (at least within the fiction) and which can reasonably plausibly be dismantled in a 50 minute slice of telly at the end of your season. The need for a "clear and serious" threat meant that they needed the military to be doing more than collecting a few animal specimens, even with the implied vivisection angle**. So we have Douglas' mad plan which is presumably what we are meant to assume Leeds was being kept in the dark about. But sadly the work wasn't done to join the dots between what Leeds knew, and when he knew it, and so we have him acting to circumvent Douglas before he ever knows of Douglas' real purpose.

*Obviously Evan is always right because he has protagonist privilege, but that shouldn't effect character decisions within the show.

** A fellow viewer was in giggles by the time Dylan and Mac reached the super secret blood-drenched operating theatre. A realistic animal experimentation lab, this was not.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/92174.html.