Reviewbr> "Four hours? I told you to seal the perimeter, not drystone-wall it" - Claudia Brown
A golfer is attacked and killed by something unseen from the sky leading Nick Cutter and team to descend on the local golf club with the full force of Lester's authority. After some investigation the team determine that a Pteranodon might be the culprit, mainly as the large flying reptile goes into apparent attack mode when Connor tries to re-capture an errant Rex. However things are not going to go according to script as the real prehistoric villains are a flock of hungry Anurognathus who are attracted by blood.
Nick Cutter and Claudia Brown are under siege as our flock of hungry hunters go on a rampage, with things looking grim. Surprise help is at hand however in the form of Helen Cutter as the team look to have met their match. Can Nick and Steven return the Pteranodon to its timeline? Will Connor survive at Abby's house after unwittingly allowing Rex to escape? And will Helen come to terms with the heating up relationship between Nick and Claudia? Oh and will the military ever get over Steven tasting dino poo to determine what the Pteranodon ate?
Let's get the science lesson out of the way quickly here. Pteranodon was a pterosaur that existed in the late Cretaceous period in the present day U.S. It was a large flying predator that lived on fish, smaller reptiles, and insects. While the large flying creature is considered a reptile it is not classed as a dinosaur. In contrast Anurognathus was a small pterosaur that lived during the Jurassic period, see the issue here with the episode? Also problematic is the fact that Anurognathus was insectivorous with no evidence to suggest it behaved like a school of fictional piranha. Still artistic licence, let's not get bogged down in too much science when there are golfers to be stripped of flesh!
Of course without the mixing of epochs there's still a real problem with episode five of Primeval for those of us that got mired in detail. If Abby is so concerned about keeping the flat heated up for Rex, oh and has separation issues, why exactly is there a large window open high up on the wall? I'm thinking we're talking a plot device that stuck out like a Koori at a National Party convention. Just a minor irritation really, but sometimes plot contrivances are so obvious that you stumble over them on the course to enjoying the show.
For some reason this episode didn't gel with me and in my worthless opinion it presents the worse single outing of the first season. There's certainly nothing I can put my finger on when it comes to finding issues, besides the aforementioned plot issue, but for some reason I was all out of love when it came to watching Cutter and team a second time in the interest of scribbling some thoughts about the episode. Guess every season has its low points, regardless of franchise, and this just happens to be Primeval's nadir for season first.
One of the major areas of attack the show has suffered from is through the lack of black Actors in leading roles, say what?!? I would point out there isn't an Asian, Downunder, or Jewish Actor either for what it's worth. Sometimes the PC brigade need to get the carrot out to be honest. This episode starts with a scene involving a black Actor, and just in case we don't get the hood, its set to typical black music! There might be a contrivance or two going down here, but really, the dude's a golfer, maybe some top of the pop schlock would have been more appropriate. Director Payne does well however in hiding the creature of the week and throwing some awesome hints at us, loved the dude trying to get his ball back from the water hazard. The scene would have been enhanced by the dude's playing partner becoming the first victim of the day however in one of those twists that keep us lapping up Tellie dark genre offerings. But strong enough start, if for once we considered every black person as just being out of the hood.
For mine the weakest of the first season episodes, though I can't give an overriding reason as to why that is the case
Another slight irritation with the episode is the time spent in getting Claudia Brown's top off, no it's not a tissue moment you perverts, but they belabour the whole thing to the nth degree. Cutter, Steven, and Claudia are on top of a high rise and Cutter want's Claudia's red top to attract a flying critter, the crowd went crazy, as luck would have it Steven has a red Tee, the crowd is suddenly silenced. So no Victoria's secret moment, though later in the episode Claudia is sans shirt for those wanting to know. If Abby can prance around in her knickers then what's the issue with Claudia showing off other items of British lingerie? There's almost a school yard feeling to the whole thing that I found very strange, almost as if the Producers had remembered they are meant to be prime and proper since the BBC is flogging the DVDs. Get over it people, either go with the T&A or don't, but hedging bets isn't going to cut the ice around these here parts.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the episode however was the light coming through the windows in the golf club. Someone had tried to dampen it down by drawing the curtains but it didn't save some frames of the episode that were simply destroyed by the strong lightening in use. Poor production effort right there to be honest.
What the episode does get right is advancing various relationships as the Anurognathus go down, much to the enjoyment no doubt of the show's female audience demographics. Cutter and Claudia are showing the old sexual tension, I give it one more episode before they are doing the wild thing. Abby is starting to notice Connor, though that could be more due to the bumbling nature of Connor's life rather than his animal magnetism. And what's the story with Helen Cutter, while it might seem something of another contrivance that she just so happened to be in the right spot at the right moment to save Claudia's bacon, I've been noting a sub-plot involving the character being on hand throughout season one, wheels within wheels if you like. With only one more episode to go, the resolution to this particular plot arc might not be forthcoming till season two.
Naturally there were a few other things I liked about the episode that kept me bright eyed and bushy tailed. The anomaly being aerial was a nice touch, and reminded that they can happen anytime anywhere. Connor got to do the comedic role again, always a high light for those of us that enjoy a bit of fun in amongst the serious. And the whole Anurognathus thing was pretty cool, wonder if it was a wink to Hitchcock's classic The Birds? The Production standards were once again high, if we forgive the lighting in one scene, with the CGI in particular well-conceived and executed. ITV have certainly shown they can throw a Sci-Fi show together to match the best professional outings that the BBC have delivered in their long and exemplary catalogue.
As stated above not my favourite episode of season one, though no doubt others will dig the beat being delivered here. I can point out a few issues with the episode but can't really highlight the single factor that didn't deliver for me. I'm not going to recommend this one, but if you are a fan of the franchise then no doubt you'll be all over it regardless. If after getting your flying reptile on, then dig on in, however the only things in danger here are Claudia's top and Rex.