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Primeval 4.5 - Oh, I suppose I'd Better Say Something....
ryan
lil_shepherd


The icon pretty much sums up what I felt about this one. Indeed, I found it very difficult to be bothered commenting here, though I had a fair amount to say about it on the livewatch over on primeval_denial

Oh, lord, this was a boring and very silly plot, though with one or two nice touches (such as when the landlord decided to switch the pint and the half pint of beer (very, very badly drawn) because it was plain which one of Abby and Connor had the balls.) I have never, incidentally, been in an English pub where the landlord acted like that, and I have been in lots of small village locals where they don't see tourists too often. In every case I have been welcomed. And I'm damned sure that Irish landlords don't try to turn away custom, either, though, despite the red diesel plot strand and the slipping accents, this was plainly set in England.

Indeed, the most fun to be had in this episode was spotting the bloopers. One or two of them are possible to explain away (maybe Abby and Connor did snatch up their earpieces as well as their guns because we didn't see the detail) but most were not. And the ARC is seriously undertstaffed. Is Becker the only soldier left, so there is no backup? What happens when people go on holiday? Amusing as it was to see Lester doing Jess's job (and not that badly, considering) what happens when she is at lunch? Look, I learned to work switchboard at one stage because the regular operator, you know, had breaks! That was in a firm of architects, not something vital.

Then there was Matt. Now, I could accept Cutter being occasionally stupid in Season 1, because he wasn't actually on staff - there wasn't a staff, not really - and he wasn't supposed to have a "military background", and, anyhow, there were no rules to break. But Matt is the sort of bloke who I detest both in real life and in fiction, relying on charm to get away with stupidity that puts other people's lives and jobs at risk.

In fact, this episode had all the signs of being a filler (a filler! in a seven part series!) with lumbering yokels who wouldn't have lasted five minutes in real agriculture (or as a landlord, for that matter), with some hilarious FX (that shot in the river where it was coming for the angler - and the half eaten fish, oh, gawd) and a Gothic sub-plot that wasn't half as suspenseful as it ought to have been because Matt was so stupid and I don't know Emily well enough to care. Burton was around to be put in his place by Lester, and to make Connor an offer he really should have refused. (Incidentally, what happened to the Connor who was fascinated by dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, and was studying under Cutter, and wasn't an electronic genius...?)

Lester was wonderful, but, as far as I am concerned, that is the only good thing about this entire episode. Definitely the worst episode of the series so far.

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When I would go to pubs with tree_and_leaf in Oxford, I'd often order a half and she would order a pint, and the bar staff would give her the half and me the pint... not quite the same as what happens to Abby and Connor, though.

I enjoyed this one as I thought there was more internal character consistency, but I thought the actors had to work particularly hard at making the script work.

Well, I suppose Matt was consistently bone-headed and Lester was consistently sarky, if that's what you mean.

I liked it a lot more on my second viewing of it, but it's definitely going to be the duff one of the series (bit like 3.02, but at least that had Cutter in it!)

I agree to some extent about Connor. In S2, when presumably he was slightly different, like the other characters after the timeline change, he was more of a computer/electronics geek - the ADD, etc - but he still retained his fascination with the creatures, which does seem to have been lost along the way. People's interests do change, I suppose, but it doesn't quite fit.

The lack of back-up thing does annoy me, especially as Becker was absent as well. If they're not going to have a military back up team, they at least need a reason as to why not. Even if all they're doing is 'sealing the perimeter', they ought to be there in the background.

The ARC was always a bit understaffed, but in the old one they could get away with it (and we sometimes saw techs manning the ADD in the background. One of them even had a name, as I recall). In this spiffy new one, not so much. Again, some sort of a reason, however feeble, is needed to explain the lack, then we can just forget about it.

I like Matt, but he doesn't have Cutter's excuse for going off on his own (and mostly, Cutter did take someone with him, or tell one of the team what he was up to). Fair enough Matt has his own agenda and his secret mission, but why are the others not questioning the way he's going about his leadership of the team?

One of the promblems I'm finding with this series, although I'm actually enjoying it more than I did most of S3, is the passage of time. As far as I can tell, most of the previous five eps have taken place in a matter of days, leaving no room for the assumption of of-screen between-ep developments like the gradual development of the ADD back in S2 or the rebuilding of the ARC and working out the artefact in S3. Everything seems to have happened in the course of one week!

The individual bits of the ep were fun, but it failed to add up to a solid whole. Possibly the greatest surprise is that Adrian Hodges co-wrote it.

Not only do these episodes appear to have taken place in less than a week, but, contrariwise, Burton says he has been watching Connor with a view to the job for some time. (I forget the exact wording, but it is clear that he means months rather than days.)

I may be quite wrong, but my suspicion is that this script was written in a hurry, hadn't come up to scratch, and Hodges re-wrote it. I see his hand in the Jess/Lester scenes...

Not only do these episodes appear to have taken place in less than a week, but, contrariwise, Burton says he has been watching Connor with a view to the job for some time. (I forget the exact wording, but it is clear that he means months rather than days.)

Yes, and as Connor has been in the Cretaceous for a year, and at the old ARC for something like a year before that, it seems unlikely he could have come to Philip's attentions much before Philip was brought in on the anomaly project. I suppose it's remotely possible he could have seen what Connor's achievements were with the ADD, anomaly-closer, creature database and so forth, done a bit of digging about him and decided he might be exactly what New Dawn needs, but even then his genius wouldn't necessarily be that obvious. We know Connor has the brilliance he has because we've seen him over the course of months, but Philip can only know what's on file, and what others may have said.

I may be quite wrong, but my suspicion is that this script was written in a hurry, hadn't come up to scratch, and Hodges re-wrote it

It's possible. I think it I was AH and money was tighter than usual this series, I'd have written the majority of the eps myself, particularly the more key ones, rather than get in substandard writers.

Incidentally, I've now seen this episode three times - once with subtitles - and it has failed to hold my interest on all three occasions.

I'd assumed that bit with Burton meant that he'd been watching Connor before they went missing, but that doesn't sit well as an idea with how easily Burton went along with Kicking him off the team.

Is there a credit for a script editor for this season?

Nor do I. That kind of continuity is the script editor's job to keep an eye on, as opposed to the sort of continuity that has a chap ride up the hill on one horse and down it on another (which I have seen in a feature film - and they weren't in the least similar horses, either!)

Whoever did/does their continuity supervision has never been any good :-) Cutter began ep one in a purple shirt, and switched to a striped one somewhere on his way to the Forest of Dean. And then there's The Hair change between S1 and S2.

At least the producers were furious with Jan Chappel when she had her hair done between the cliffhanger ending of Blake's Seven's Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2. There was much speculation about the Liberator's hairdressing capabilities in fandom...

LOL!

But honestly, how hard would it have been to send Dougie off for a wash and blow-dry and slap a bit of gel on? And it jars so much more because he has Surprised Hair in the pre-credit sequence and Sad Hair afterwards, in the same ruddy episode! :-)

As I recall, 3.02 didn't have much Cutter in it!

No, not much! :-( About six and a bit minutes-worth, actually. Most of the rest of it was pants, though the Jenny-Connor bits weren't bad, and occasional bits of Danny.

The pub bit with the landlord didn't strike me as odd, as I know both English and Irish pubs where non-locals would be treated like that as the landlords don't give a toss about what is clearly passing trade.

But I did think that part of the plot was far more Irish rather than English.

The lack of military backup seriously pisses me off. Becker has to have time off, so where is the back up team? GAH!

I wasn't convinced by the Lester at the computer although it made a lovely scene, but Mr FB's take on that was that Lester didn't want Burton to know that Matt was off on a frolic of his own, which is why he covered the comms and didn't have a random techie doing it.

Abby and Connor aren't a strong enough pair to carry and episode for me, and Matt spends too long doing his own thing for me, so the lack of Becker did reduce my enjoyment and Lester ended up carrying the whole thing, as usual.

Burton is being used more as a plot device than a character, and he's filling the role that Jack filled in the last series.

It'll be interesting to see Jenny's return tonight. I hope you'll be joining us on the watch!

You've been unlucky with the pubs, then, and I have to say that no landlord can afford to ignore the passing trade nowadays, whatever they did in the past.

Did Lester know that Matt had skived off at that point. I thought that Lester still thought he was with Abby and Connor, but then I wasn't paying all that much attention on all three watches. *sigh*

The sort of pubs I'm thinking of are ones which still have their reliance on local custom not townies passing through.

Yes, Matt was off doing his own thing and Lester did appear to know, but I'd need to rewatch to get the details.

Most of that type of pub are being closed and sold off for housing.

The Hunter's Lodge Inn on the Mendips is one of the few I know which can exist on that sort of trade, but there are a few in Wales and Yorkshire that I know which haven't changed much. Mind you, they're all cavers pubs.

And that isn't passing trade?

Nope. They class as locals as much as the farmers do.

Passing trade is townies who come out because the pub has got a mention in the Grauniad or somewhere.

Not as far as the breweries are concerned!

LOL, there are far fewer Grauniad readers than cavers on the Mendips.

The Hunters remains a genuinely unreconstructed pub, with a flagged floor (original)and no food costing more than £3.95. Roger's faggot and peas is legendary in the caving world.

Oh, it's likely both Ina and I will join the Livewatch. Turns out the monsters are some sort of hyena and not Dire Wolves. Pity...

I wasn't convinced by the Lester at the computer although it made a lovely scene, but Mr FB's take on that was that Lester didn't want Burton to know that Matt was off on a frolic of his own, which is why he covered the comms and didn't have a random techie doing it.

That does sound plausible.

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