ITV1’s Primeval bowed out tonight on a major cliffhanger, but managed to fill the final hour of series 4 with plenty of surprising twists along the way.
Seriously, what a great hour of television. I’ve always considered Primeval to be a poor imitation of the Doctor Who style family sci-fi drama. But for the last few weeks the show has entered a different league.
Tonight’s series finale sees a bedraggled Danny Quinn stumbling back through an anomaly, and Matt saying goodbye to Emily as he continues his quest to find the person responsible for destroying the Earth. Shocking revelations all round tonight – here are a few massive spoilers:
- Matt’s from the future! That’s right, our Northern Irish hero is part of a team sent back from the apocalypse to stop the end of the world. The problem is…they don’t know the who, when or how behind the events…
- Helen Cutter’s not dead! Actually, she is dead, but there’s a creepy link between Phillip Burton and the ex Mrs Cutter that Quinn has discovered through papers Helen had. Burton’s not happy when Quinn challenges him about this and promptly tells Lester that Quinn might be unstable.
- Ethan’s not actually Ethan! Yep, in a bloody clever twist, we discover that Unhinged Ethan is actually Quinn’s lost brother from last series. Getting stuck in prehistoric Britain as a 14 year old is enough to send anyone over the edge. And Danny’s reaction as he discovered his brother was irredeemably psychotic was tragic.
- Matt expects anomaly technology to be abused – making the point that the technology exists in the present but we don’t have the knowledge or the ethics to use it properly.
It was great to see Jason Flemyng wasn’t too Hollywood to rejoin the cast for this episode – Danny Quinn’s return was utterly unexpected. I was a huge fan of Quinn last year, so having him return was awesome. Having him dive back through an anomaly in pursuit of his deranged brother after having joined up several dots, plot wise, was a bit of a disappointment. I’d have loved him to replace Becker Brylcream.
Anyway, on to the episode. Most of the action takes place in a prison where a strange anomaly has appeared. (By the way, did anyone else think the moron who got eaten at the start was a Liam-Gallagher-by-numbers?).
The anomaly keeps allowing the same Terrorbird to come through, sort of like a Scooby Doo chase scene – it goes through one anomaly and back out another! What’s actually happening is that two anomalies have opened on top of each other. And the magnetic field generated is causing satellite anomalies to appear. Ethan/Patrick and Quinn disappear down one anomaly, and Emily uses the other to return to her own time.
Romantic old Matt – “I’m sending you home because I’ve got to save the world and I can’t let your Victorian brand of sultriness to distract me.” I can’t imagine getting too distracted by Emily…she can’t even high-five.
The episode ends with Matt redoubling his efforts to find the lunatic who caused the end of the world. And elsewhere, Connor is making a breakthrough in his anomaly research. He races to tell Phillip Burton, and Burton pulls the most suspicious “trust me, I’m the bad guy” face in the history of television.
A lesson for scientific geniuses – when you discover something that could chew up the planet and spit it out again and your boss asks you to keep it quiet, don’t listen to him.
One criticism though – the characters are still awful. I don’t know how anybody could be remotely interested in Abby and Connor’s relationship, because there is no on-screen chemistry between them. Abby is a total robot – always focused on work. And Jess never really endeared herself. Becker’s deathly dull.
Oh, and the ARC. When Phillip got locked into a room a few episodes back it was virtually impossible to open up the facility, but when Ethan is rampaging around with a gun to Emily’s head, he can walk out unchallenged? Utter nonsense. But I won’t dwell on these niggles, because the story arc was so much better than I expected it to be. A great series closer for Primeval.