[Review] Primeval: New World, Season 1 Episode 8, "Truth"

Courtesy of Impossible Pictures
Back in episode one, I commented that the shoehorning of the "Cross' wife getting eaten by a dinosaur" flashback was a terrible idea, as it immediately removed any tension the character's past might have generated. The audience should have felt as in the dark about Cross as the other characters on the show did. This episode revisiting that sequence put me on the defencive. Would the show somehow manage to salvage that early mistake.

The answer: sort of. This episode wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. After watching it, I had a difficult time forming any opinion of it at all. It seemed more like a make up session, a one episode sojourn to correct what the writers obvious agreed was an early mistake. Except they went too far again, and concluded too much.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that often puke on their captors.

Normally I'd start off with a description of the animal involved, and how the show had managed to screw it up for the sake of making monsters out of mole hills. And this week did feature a Pachycephalosaurus, one of the more iconic dinosaurs. And featured it for about five minutes with some of the worst CG the show has had. Not as bad as the grizzly bear from last week, but bad. The scene just before the title card, where it busted the window in slow motion, was very terrible, partly because it wasn't clear from the rest of the motion in the shot if it was happening in slow motion or not. Everything was moving at it's own speed.

Fortunately, they treated the animal with respect and stayed true to it's nature. A territorial herbivore who only poses a cursory risk. And then wrote it out before the first break. Apparently, unless it has teeth, there just isn't a story to be had. So, they invented the hallucinogenic puke as this week's mucus based macguffin, and took the action back to home base. Where we got a second dinosaur, and my personal favourite carnivore, Allosaurus, and whose size seemed to fluctuate depending on the shot (though maybe that was just me, but when it takes the bite out of the wife, it looks closer to T-rex proportions). But the episode wasn't about either of them.

It was about Cross, and his past. And had the series kept things closer to the chest, this would have been a fantastic reveal episode. Roughly half way through the season, a perfect moment to pause and redefine the series based on new character developments. If Cross hadn't revealed to anyone how his wife had died, this episode could have been revelatory, and kept the stuff about Mac for later on. Instead, they had to blow through both reveals because neither was able to full support the weight of the episode. No matter how many times they recycled the footage from the first.

The Mac reveal was good, I'll be honest and say I didn't see it coming. But it was a huge leap in logic for Mac to immediately figure out the complexities of multiple time lines, and draw the conclusions he did. It makes sense, because clearly that was the explanation the writers wanted, and didn't want to wait for it to be figured out organically. It also creates a plot hole the size of a giant shiny ball of space/time. The Allosaurus and Arc-Mac came through the same anomaly. So, it either connects to the far past, or the slight future. Either direction makes no sense for one of the two travellers to be there. Mac clearly asks to be sent home, and tosses his weapon in. This implies it leads to the future, which begs the question of where the dinosaur came from. If it led to the past, then why was Arc-Mac there, and how did he intend on getting home? Now there is a future gun sitting in the Jurassic, and if Arc-Mac had his way, a corpse.

The dramatic character stuff that happened at the end, with both Mac and Ange leaving in a huff, rang false to me. Mac viewing the dead and frozen version of himself as the "real" Mac seems empty. He said in the bug episode that if it weren't for Cross, he'd have joined the military and be dead by now, and was glad of Cross. Here he has the proof of his statement, and his reaction is counter to his stated belief. He seems put off by the fact that Cross did in fact save his life. Also unnecessarily dramatic was Ange's taking off after Cross called her by his wife's name. While he was hallucinating. She took it way too personally, it wasn't as if he had done it during a tastefully shot love making scene. He mistook Dylan for an Allosaurus, and took a shot at her. She has more of a reason to be upset, yet she took it fine. I understand, emotions, and all that nonsense, but you'd think there would be a little consideration given for extraordinary circumstances. Ange knows full well how much Cross cared for his wife, and yet seems surprised that those feelings haven't completely evaporated now taht he's with her. That seems selfish to me. And again, I'm disappointed, as I often am in television romances, that the writers seemed more determined to end the romance between Cross and Ange before it ever got going.

Now the show takes a short break. And my hope it that the second half of the series finds an even keel. There is an arc brewing with the Project: Magnet stuff, and while I would hope for some resolution to the Mac and Ange conflicts, my suspcision is they'll just come back and everything will be as it was again (I base that on Mac's previous fits thrown on the show). The new year also promises guest appearences by Eureka's Colin Ferguson (who was oddly heavily featured in the initial promos), SGU's former commander Louis Ferreira and genre favourite Lexa Doig. Let's hope the episodes are worth their time.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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