Primeval: New World: 108 “Truth” Review
Reviewed by David Selby.
What can I say about Truth? Well, I can tell you confidently that I’ve been looking forward to this episode from the start, in fact, to quote a comment I made on the episode guide two months ago, “the two that have me most anticipating them are Fear of Flying; an apparently fast-paced rescue story which should be a pleasure to watch [I was right there – my favourite of the series so far], and The Truth: Evan, battling his inner demons, telling the truth to other and in turn discovering more about himself, with a lot of tension between characters and still a background threat”. Was I right about this? Did the episode live up to my expectations? Was it good? Yes, it was good. But it didn’t live up to my expectations.
Due to the Albertosaurus being revealed as a hallucination, we didn’t have a ‘proper’ creature incursion to speak of, so the presence of the Pachycephalosaurus was a rather good idea, but in terms of usage, poor. Whilst the complications of its appearance were explored later on, it seemed almost pointless being there, and was forgotten about very quickly. The kind of ‘creature cameos’ that stick in my mind are those like the ones in Series One Episode Four (which turned out to be an escaped pet), or Series Three Episode Ten, with all the various vignettes. But there didn’t seem to be anything unique about this one, apart from the sneeze.
Ken Leeds (Geoff Gustafson) was back, curiously, with his team in full strength; throughout the series he’s gone from being an excessively-suspicious failed bore with a pseudo-secret-agent base to a tough, secure and influential military figure. How this has shaped his persona is unclear, but it’s becoming a very intriguing arc, and the tension with Evan (Niall Matter) is bound to lead to something.
It all kicked off when they arrived back at Cross Photonics; Evan (Niall Matter) having macabre delusions as side-effects of the ‘prehistoric slime’, and the rest of the team fighting to not just save Evan but maintain their own survival. The initial arrival of the Albertosaurus was a very shocking scene, and caused a few jumps from the audience, though it was too quickly revealed that it was a vision; it was made obvious that its being there was too large a coincidence, that there was no Anomaly, and that Evan had lost it.
Evan became suitably and excessively terrifying, endangering the life of Dylan (Sara Canning) and developing a serious downer over her. Some parts were executed flawlessly; Evan’s distrust in the other team members, the reminiscences of his tragic past, and his exchange with Angelika (Miranda Frigon) (discussed later). But others felt overstretched; almost contrived, and a waste of screen-time considering that the start was ridiculously rushed. There were minutes where I just felt a bit bored, and some of the ‘truly exciting’ moments of revelation weren’t anywhere near as captivating as they should have been – I think I’m due a re-watch.
The truth about Mac (Danny Rahim) was definitely one of the highlights, and although it was very confusing at first, and left a lot of questions to be answered (particularly the fact that his existence is now a paradox), I’m glad it was decided on, as it meant that being a sci-fi show, the long-awaited ‘timey-wimey complications’ (no doubt also inspired by British success Doctor Who) had made their way into Primeval. I’m also glad that the ‘frozen soldier’ arc was tied up, though I’d now like to see more of Mac’s time at the arc: was he important? How did he get trapped on the other side of the Anomaly with the Albertosaurus? And did he work with Matt, Connor and Abbey (did he know anything about the bizarre cliff-hanger from Series 5?!)?
And finally, the ending was absolutely great; the scene between Evan and Ange was unconditionally beautiful, and allowed Evan to finally confront his demons. The saddest part was when Angelika realised that he wasn’t seeing her; instead his dead wife, whom he hasn’t truly got over. It’s interesting how that was the first thing he hallucinated about. It’s also interesting that Ange was the one who reminded him of his wife enough to picture her, and that Ange was the one who had the strength to tranquilize him.
Overall Verdict: 8.5/10
A very good, thought-provoking and poignant episode of twists and turns, but with a few negligible, but still noticeable faults. I now hope to see more of the Ken Leeds arc in the final five episodes of the series.
And after all that, I think I ought to drop a note by about the cancellation of The New World: it’s a dreadful shame. I’ve heard that the series ends on a cliff-hanger, which is awful, giving as it means that it’s made the same mistake that both the third and fifth series made; finishing unresolved when there is a huge risk that the show may not even be coming back. It’s clear that Primeval will forever go through phases of being cancelled and brought up by another channel, and frankly, it’s time for it to stop. I believe personally that Primeval should be brought back for either a last series or a feature-length special, featuring both the revived and original cast (though the latter obviously can’t consist of characters like Cutter), finally unravelling the mysteries behind the Anomalies and the Future Predators, and tying up loose ends, otherwise, the writers are going to lose control.