Primeval: New World: 113 “The Sound of Thunder: Part 2” Review
Reviewed by David Selby.
I’m very sad. Primeval, the show of my childhood, has finally reached its end. It’s very unlikely now that I’ll ever see a dinosaur emerge through an Anomaly for the rest of my life (excluding the inevitable re-watches). But it’s an end I’ve prepared for before; in fact, I thought I’d experienced it on two occasions (end of Series 3 and end of Series 5).
The worst part is that the end wasn’t even known about, meaning that this episode was written for more to come afterwards. We already had an answer to the show’s core mystery (why Anomalies are appearing), but there were a lot of loose ends. How many were actually tied up?
I find The New World’s effort to remain faithful to the original quite frankly embarrassing, at times. There’s a big thing made about Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts)’s return – now, he was fabulous in the episode, and one of the best aspects of it, but that’s about all this Canadian spin-off has managed to remain true to in terms of the original series (even that brief future reference in The Inquisition could mean anything: with the worldwide conflicts and environmental issues around at present, the future isn’t going to be too good anyway). We’ve had absolutely no confirmed future creatures, to my understanding (what happened to the future predators?), no reference to the global Anomalies and Dinosaurs from the Convergence, and now, in the final episode, Connor’s back, but with just one brief mention of the old arc team. Where are Matt, Becker, Abbey and Emily? Usually one of them is out doing fieldwork, at least. There’s no clarification to what the Series 5 cliff-hanger was all about; you’d think, in the instance of Mac (Danny Rahim)’s doppelganger, it would be the perfect time to bring up Matt’s mysterious double.
What particularly ticks me off, though, about not having seen any of the old team members, is: why? There’s been no actors, from what I can remember, who turned down the opportunity. I highly doubt any of the original cast wouldn’t be able to make it out to Vancouver to film the show they know and love – even someone like Jenny, who could be brought back for a couple of episodes. It seems mad, to me: as much as I love Connor, it’s not only about him.
Then there’s the fault with Mac’s sacrifice; it would have been very easy to keep it accurate to the first version back in Truth. Say, on Connor’s way back, he is attacked by the Albertosaurus, and rushes through the Anomaly, but it’s latched onto his jacket (not damaging it too much). After it’s gone through the Anomaly, Mac could then grab the jacket and put it on, realising what he has to do. It wouldn’t have to go exactly like that, but the jacket would have been a good catalyst; Mac looking at it, in a moment of awareness, observing destiny play out before his eyes. It would have been an excellent twist that the jacket we’ve seen is, in fact, Connor’s, and that the reason that Mac died was because he was working with Evan. That could have raised some interesting questions: if Evan hadn’t gone back and found Mac, would Mac have died? It could have had some fascinating implications on certain characters. It seems mad, to me, that with such an obvious way to stay truthful to the original events of Brooke’s death, they chose to completely ignore it.
And the infamous Colonel Hall (Louis Ferreira) was just horrible; I hated him, and I rather hope that blow towards the end was fatal. He was quite an absorbing character back in The Inquisition; determined to change Earth ‘for the better’ by whatever means possible, clever, authoritarian, serpentine and manipulative, willing to listen, but very much with his own agenda. In this, though he was irritating, interfering, and simply obnoxious. I could hardly watch him – I really hope he’s not brought back (if the show itself ever is), and if he is, that he has vastly improved.
My problems don’t end there. Once again, it was a ‘shoot the dinosaur for drama’ routine, when, really, it was only doing what its instincts told it (poor thing was being chased by flames towards the end of its tragic life). Furthermore, if Evan (Niall Matter) was so concerned about preserving the past, why did he decide to shoot it dead and thus cause the elimination of its children, grandchildren, and mess up the prehistoric food chain? Did it not occur to him that he may return to the world and find it overrun by insects? This is the man who was, after all, earlier on warning of all the infinite dangers of changing one small thing.
I was a little annoyed at the cliff-hanger, too. I’m always welcome to ending on a cliff-hanger because it pulls in a larger audience for the next series and increases the demand for its return. But if you’re going to, do the likes of the Series 3 cliff-hanger, where our protagonists have accomplished what they’re supposed to, but have found themselves in a tricky situation. If you start up an actual mystery (as this episode did), then if the series is never brought back, we’ll never know the answer. It also means that if another country such as the USA decides to make their own version (like the truthfully plagiarized USA usually does), we’ll have a brand new team, and two mysteries left over: one from the original series, and one from the Canadian spin-off.
After over 900 words of complaining, though, I’m still vaguely positive. The opening sequence was the best from the whole series, and wasted absolutely no time in bringing Connor back into the picture. It was one of the more ambitious, high-budget shots of the run of episodes, and brought back recollections of the UK series. Connor’s introduction to Dylan (Sara Canning) was amusing and we weren’t left waiting for her to ask him any obvious questions.
I’m glad that Angelika (Miranda Frigon) finally did the right thing in letting Connor and Kieran (Robert Lawrenson)back through the Anomaly, but she’s become very parochial lately, and seems to completely block out any visible risks to suit her and make her happy. But that’s fine; it’s not a writing fault, and if that’s how she was intended to be characterized, I’m happy about that.
Possibly the best scene, in my opinion, was Toby (Crystal Lowe)’s revival: it was dramatic, suspenseful, and poignant. I was genuinely glad to have her back (as was Mac). Mac’s sacrifice was a close second place; a superb twist; moving and thought-provoking, and brought great closure to his character.
Moving away from the writing, it was interesting how the director chose to film the final scenes in slow-motion again. It was a technique I found incredibly effective in some of the final scenes in Fear of Flying, and I felt the same way here. That scene wouldn’t have been a patch on what it was without the directing – nor the music. The music was another facet of the aforementioned scene from the third episode which made it so powerful and memorable. Something this series definitely got right was its choice of composer – mind you, the soundtrack to Primeval has always been superlative, anyhow.
Overall Verdict: 8.5/10
Despite all that moaning at the start, this episode wasn’t at all bad: it had a sound premise, linked well into the other stories, and Connor’s appearance was utilized to its fullest. But the faults are still very noticeable: the Colonel’s characterization was unbearable, and the ending wasn’t the way I’d hoped the show would go out. It seemed to make a huge thing out of bringing back Connor, but that’s all it seemed to respect about the original. But, I enjoyed it, and I suppose that’s what matters.