So, I realize this review is horribly late since episode three airs tonight, but what can I say? I was seriously distracted by Downton Abbey blogging this week. :) Episode two of this season of Primeval opens with a flashback to five years ago, when a random woman found a creepy lizard-like creature ransacking her living room and flushed it down the toilet. If you can ignore the logisitics of that actually working (that lizard was HUGE - seriously what are toilets like in the UK? LOL), it is nice to see the show address what happened to creatures who came through anomalies before the creation of the ARC. Flash-forward to the present, and we find Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) and Abby (Hannah Spearitt) being debriefed by Matt (Ciarán McMenamin) following their return after a year-long absence through an anomaly. The standout performances in this episode easily belong to Connor and Lester (Ben Miller). The ever-prickly Lester continually goes to bat for Connor and Abby - of course, he only compliments them when they aren't around. One has to maintain one's imagine, no? *wink* Besides revealing that yes, he does indeed have a heart, it's fun to watch Lester cope with Philip Burton (Alexander Siddig), the billionaire investor who funds 50% of the ARC's operations. Philip doesn't seem to really have a point, other than to undermine and annoy Lester. Hopefully the showrunners have a master plan for his character, otherwise I fear he is destined to simply clutter up the team.
This episode was a great venue for showcasing Connor's personal journey since the show began. Dismissed from the team thanks to the new "army experience" rule, and with no immediate prospects in sight, Connor decides to do a little creature sleuthing on his own. He runs across an old friend from his college days - Duncan, played by James Bradshaw. Duncan was part of Connor's gang of college friends - all conspiracy loving geeks. The group was torn apart when Connor joined the ARC team, and one of their number was killed by poisonous dodos (seriously, it was creepier than it sounds) in episode four of Series One. Duncan has really regressed, I guess you could say, while Connor has managed to mature (most of the time, haha)thanks to the faith Professor Cutter placed in him early in the show. This episode was a reminder that it easily could have gone the other way for Connor. Duncan and Connor's scenes were also a lot of fun, especially at the end of the episode when Duncan congratulates Connor on "making it" by dating Abby - Connor's geeked-out response, and then his quick reversal when he returns to join Abby in the car is hilarious to watch, and very well played by Potts.
I was only annoyed by Jess (Ruth Kearney) approximately 50% of the time she was on-screen this time around. She seems to be a genuinely nice person, in spite of the slightly creepy way she keeps talking about "knowing" everyone since she's read their files (over and over and over again in the case of Becker, methinks!). What I would like to know is what the heck is the pay scale at the ARC? Because Jess's apartment is RIDICULOUSLY nice. Not to mention ridiculously furinished - you couldn't help but notice that she has four rotary phones, lined up to spell out her name. Is that some stupid trend I'm not aware of? LOL! However, her crushing on Becker (Ben Mansfield) is still painfully awkward. But I LOVE the fact that he's not giving an inch - and the scene at the end where he remembers to bring her chocolate was kinda cute.
I was pretty pleased with the creature/chase portion of the show. As far as the world of the show goes, having the Kaprosuchus terrorizing a homeless community living near its lair felt like a pretty believable set-up. However, Jess's insessant online stalking of Matt when he leaves the ARC to follow Connor and Abby to the creature site really annoyed me after about sixty seconds. I just feel like there has to be a better way to prove her worth to the team than her penchant for nosiness...but maybe that's the route the showrunners are taking, so who knows?! *sigh* Which brings me to Matt...what kind of team leading idiot goes into the field with no weapon? I really want to like Matt's character, since I do like McMenamin, but he's so stiff on-screen it's hard to really get a feel for the character. I will be shocked if Matt doesn't get eaten by a creature before the end of this season - with his continued meetings with Gideon (Anton Lesser), and hazy motivations, I'm guessing he's doomed.
I really liked the chase through the container yard at the docks. That was a nicely creepy, tense set up, since with the containers stacked high, and everything looking the same, it would be quite frightening to be tracking down a rogue dinosaur in such a constricted area. It was also fantastic to see Connor prove himself in the field. We all knew they *had* to let him back on the team, but nonetheless it was fun to see him prove his mettle. And the final scene, where he confronts Lester demanding his job back, not knowing things have already been decided in his favor - that, my friends, was one of my favorite moments in the entire series. Lester's deadpan delivery of "well, you're back on the team" and Connor taking full credit for it and high-fiving Becker was absolutely HILARIOUS. Andrew Lee Potts had me laughing so hard, so many times in this episode - he really is the heart of the show now, and deservedly so in my opinion.
Looking forward to tonight's episode, which promised the arrival of humans through an anomaly (I doubt it's Helen reincarnated, but you never know with this show). Here's hoping that the show finds a point for Philip and Gideon soon, and that maybe, maybe Matt loosens up a bit.