Primeval: New World: 112 “The Sound of Thunder: Part 1” Review
Reviewed by David Selby.
After somewhere around seven years’ worth of series’, cancellations, revivals and procrastinations, Primeval, it seems, is finally nearing its conclusion, as we enter the final two-part story of the sixth and probably final series of the originally British time-travelling thriller.
The show has undeniably changed from the initial format. It started off as a brilliant, albeit conservative, science-fiction programme about a professor, his ‘geeky’ students and his enigmatic wife; a band of dinosaur-hunters who dealt with the creatures that came through Anomalies. It wasn’t too daring, and, whilst there were some light subplots, there wasn’t a huge focus on the characters the way there is now. It was ITV’s answer to Doctor Who. Six series on, however, a lot has changed, and the whole setup has morphed into something new. There is much more focus on character development, and a lot has been discovered about the Anomalies – in fact, I don’t think it’s even trying to be like Doctor Who anymore, which is probably a good thing. But I still think it’s important that a final series (little did they know this whilst filming) pays homage to its predecessor. That’s a reason why I particularly enjoyed this episode: it’s quintessential Primeval.
I’m still a little indecisive about whether the recurrent opening is an established tradition or simply a tried-and-tested cliché. But the nature of this week’s ferocious predator meant that the ‘opening death’ had a slightly surprising touch; the villain remained unseen; unique and mysterious.
The little scenes at Project Magnet at the start were good, because they made decent use of the events of last week’s courtroom-drama esque episode, The Inquisition. The relationship between Ange (Miranda Frigon) and Evan (Niall Matter) is at its most tense, and as Ange’s opposing views to Evan make her feel cold towards him, I spent most of the episode feeling much the same towards her.
Toby Nance (Crystal Lowe) is perhaps the character I’d say has changed for the best since the start of the series(with the exception of Ken Leeds). In fact, I remember jokingly commenting on her very ‘superficial’ character back in the third episode, Fear of Flying – from my review, I quote: “Even Toby improved, with two signs of human emotion: […] I’m nigh on impressed”. The fact that Toby is now one of my favourite characters has shown how much a writer can make their creations progress over the length of a series. She’s become strong, well-grounded and intelligent; never ceasing to amaze Evan with her zeal and alacrity, even working for the team on her potential deathbed. I’m glad they picked Toby as the sting victim because she’s the one I’m the most concerned for.
I was glad to finally see the return of the Anomaly junction, especially as the high concentration of Anomalies was briefly explained by scientific theory, meaning that there’s been some clear thought into their return. It puts a spin on the storyline which was beginning to bear a large resemblance to the second episode of Series 1 – it seems a little convenient how Evan and Dylan (Sara Canning) found the right Anomaly straight away; I’d have liked this episode to be a little like the time-chase from the Series 3 finale.
Ken Leeds (Geoff Gustafson) was once again fascinating to watch; displaying both moral and immoral qualities, leaving the audience uncertain about him. I hope we’re able to reach some kind of conclusion next week, where Ken will hopefully go one way or the other.
Finally, the creature wasn’t used terribly well, and seemed a bit… slow? I’d have liked it to be a bit more threatening. But the ending made up for this, with one of the most emotional and edge-of-your-seat cliff-hangers yet.
Overall Verdict: 8.5/10
Whilst the Canadian spin-off is quite a bleak version of the original, it is, in many ways, more adventurous and action-packed, whilst also being a lot more character-centred and adult; a refreshing change, with some superb concepts. This episode was a prime example of this, and, whilst it’s hard to judge as it is the first in a two-parter, it was very entertaining, and has given me hope that the series will be resolved well next week.
What am I looking for in The Sound of Thunder: Part 2? Well, for a start, I’d like to see Ken Leeds get some closure. I’d like to see the Colonel’s cold ambition cause him to learn a harsh lesson about messing with nature, and I’d like Ange to learn the brutality of her actions. I don’t mind a cliff-hanger, because it raises the chances of another series, but I hope some of the core mysteries are explained, particularly Mac’s duplicate. I’m excited to see how Primeval tackles its first official two-parter, as it’s able to take ideas to flesh out so that we can see them in all their splendour.