Primeval: New World: 102 “Sisiutl” Review
Reviewed by David Selby.
I’m not a pessimist, but I must confess that I did not have very high expectations for this episode. That’s because the first of the run left me very underwhelmed, and it didn’t seem anything like the Primeval I knew. The question: did this episode make up for the weaknesses of the last?
The characters were, in many ways, unchanged from last time. Evan (Niall Matter) infuriated me heading into the tunnels without any weaponry (unless you count an ineffective pistol), and thus I lost a lot of patience for his character. Despite this, however, he is growing into a very interesting character and even what I’ve just deemed as a flaw could be a facet of him which is explored: he happily walks into the face of danger. Does he just care more about his scientific discoveries than his own life? A character like Nick Cutter whose ambitions outdo even his survival instinct could theoretically be an excellent team leader. Apart from this, though, there were no major developments. His wife’s death is evidently a delicate matter, but what I’d like to see now is him opening up to another character such as Angelika about this.
Dylan (Sara Canning) was, once again, a strong, independent character, demonstrating a unique dynamic with Leo (later discussed). Crystal Lowe’s performance as Toby was more than satisfactory, yet her character was very poorly realised. She seems to be lacking the majority of human emotions, which, in my experience, isn’t a good thing. I hope she gets some emotional change later on. Mac (Danny Rahim) also remained unchanged, and therefore my opinions concerning him are largely undecided. Ken (Geoff Gustafson) is looking to be an outstanding character; a passionate ‘geek’ who’s following a project which has had its time. And once again, Angelika (Miranda Frigon) was my favourite, especially as she is proving to be a higher status than the show’s protagonist himself. I really am intrigued to see how her relationship with Evan plays out.
Moving onto the plot – and this is where it gets fascinating; I actually really enjoyed this week’s idea. Last week’s concept was very monotonous; an Anomaly opening up in an expanse of woodland and letting a few raptors through (with a couple of extra creatures here and there). The setting was normal and unexciting, and the dinosaurs weren’t all that memorable. Yet this week, the premise was simple but effective: a giant eel, lurking in the rivers of a village amid the vibrant backdrop of anti-oil protests. The guest characters were also admirable Uncle Ray (Lorne Cardinal) and Leo (William Belleau), particularly because of their interaction and the way that Uncle Ray presented a character with more authority, whilst Leo progressively gained his confidence. If I didn’t know better, I’d have said that they were a Father and son, and that Leo was moving out of his father’s influence. It also made Ray’s realisation more enjoyable because of how sceptical he’d been throughout the story.
The best aspect of the story for me would be the twist that the supposed eel turns out to be a Titanoboa, and the team realise that it can move onto land. It increases the threat and adds far more isolation to the narrative; they thought they had the creature contained, when, in fact, they didn’t.
The conclusion was stronger too; whilst the method of ‘saving the day’ wasn’t particularly notable, the final scenes were very dramatic and tense. The ending left me feeling a lot warmer towards The New World than the last episode had.
My only real criticism was that there were no progressions on the series arc. Again, this could be a good thing; straying away from where Primeval tried to be too clever, but now they’ve begun to develop one, an advancement would be nice, and please tie up Primeval’s loose ends eventually.
Overall Rating: 7/10
A far better episode than last time. Nothing outstanding, and still not up to classic Primeval standards, but thoroughly enjoyable, and equally unique.