‘Primeval’: Series 4 Episode 4 review

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We’re halfway in now and the new series of Primeval has so far been a bit hit and miss, but this fourth instalment changes all that, with a chilling and suspenseful episode that even has a few touching moments in it.

The episode kicks off in a Breakfast Club style with some teenagers on weekend detention, but things soon turn nasty when an anomaly appears and half-reptile/half-mammals start lurking in the corridors. These monsters are reminiscent of the Future Predators of the previous series in that they are quite terrifying monsters with paralysing venom and a stomach that means they don’t care whether they eat teachers or schoolchildren.

The tension is finally cranked up, with Matt, Connor and Becker having to work their way through the school in a labyrinth style after the doors are locked, inevitably splitting up the characters. It’s pretty dark stuff for Primeval and one death in particular certainly shocks for a Saturday family entertainment programme. The fact that this death also brings out some emotion from the rather bland Jess is certainly not a bad thing.

Abby’s secondary storyline is also much better than last week’s feeble Conner-centric strand, in which she tries to save the dinosaurs from the blatantly evil Philip. This storyline has a thought-provoking message about how humans think they have the right to act as God and certainly gives you pause for thought, while it also gives the criminally underused but always excellent Ben Miller some cracking lines as Lester.

While Matt is busy battling monsters in a dimly lit gym, the Emily/Ethan storyline continues to intrigue. However, the storyline just doesn’t seem to fit in with the general idea of the show. While arguably formulaic, Primeval’s premise centres on the team fighting a monster of the week, so to have a storyline featuring no monsters and a murdering psychopath seems like an odd fit. Here’s hoping that it’s all heading towards something larger down the line.

Definitely the finest hour of Series 4 so far, and possibly the best episode in quite a while, it provides a chilling atmosphere that will keep children and adults alike on the edge of their seats. Now let’s hope Primeval can keep up this quality for remaining three episodes of the series.

Airs at 7pm on Saturday 15th January 2011 on ITV1.

> Order the Series 4 DVD on Amazon.