‘Primeval’: Series 4 Episode 2 review

After the necessary re-establishment of the ARC team in the series opener, Primeval gets back in its stride with a more traditional monster-focused episode. This time its a big crocodile-thing, which seems to be munching through homeless people like a hungry teenager just back from school.

We’re also reintroduced to Duncan, who regular viewers will remember as one of Connor’s nerd mates. Unfortunately poor Duncan has degenerated further into a paranoid conspiracy theorist, complete with a wall full of photos, coloured pins and charts. The twist is, of course, he’s absolutely right – there are dinosaurs and other unpleasant creatures popping up regularly every weekend. If only he noticed that it seemed to be happening at the same timeslot…

With Connor locked out of the team, he’s left to go all Scooby Doo and investigate things himself, which leads to a lot of sneaking around the docks hearing noises just around the corner. Using the budget-friendly less-is-more technique actually works well and when we get the serious CGI action with the beast as a ‘big reveal’, it is more successful than it would have been had we been splattered with it all the way through.

The newer team members are a mixed bag over this episode: team leader Matt gets to be enigmatic and mysterious, Becker gets to be more bland and militaristic, and Jess gets an even more depressing bit of character development – not only is she ‘the one with the short skirts’, she’s also a love interest for Becker. Perhaps future episodes will have her doing the washing up.

Elsewhere though, things are not as they seem (as they never are in this show, which has a track record of goodies secretly being baddies to rival 24). The shadowy professor-looking figure from the previous episode meets up with Matt again and there are hints that wider forces are at play behind the scenes at ARC, possibly someone dangerous within the team. In the same vein as the mythology strands of The X Files, the writers are clearly mixing up monster-of-the-week stuff with a wider, er, arc (sorry) that pulls everything together. Let’s just hope that sneaky time-traveler Helen Cutter isn’t behind it all. Again.

Overall, another satisfying episode that doesn’t reveal too much but keeps things moving along nicely. More please.

Airs at 7pm on Sunday 2nd January 2011 on ITV1.

> Order the Series 4 DVD on Amazon.