The second episode of Series 4 of Primeval opened with the new credit sequence, and I still can't say that I'm fond of it. The best part of the sequence is the whole musical theme, which has always been one of my favourite television series themes.
That said, the second episode of the series started with one of my favourite gimmicks that, though not used all that often in the series, is good for an episode or three. Unlike episodes of the series where an anomaly opens and a creature comes through, this one began with an anomaly having opened some five years prior, and a creature - a Kaprosuchus (more on that later) - coming through. While this approach was used in the episode with the sabretooth cat and the camo-bat creature (Episodes 2.3 and 3.2 respectively), it's one that the series could have used more often, as I can't believe that every creature that has come through an anomaly over the centuries and decades has been dealt with immediately. Which could make for an interesting series of stories, given how many creatures came through over the millenia, but that's a debate and conjecture for another time. What made this more fun was my amusement at the whole bit with the baby Kaprosuchus coming through and being dumped down the toilet into the sewers by the woman in the house/apartment. A bit of an homage that, to the whole crocodiles in the sewers bit.
The varied plotlines in this particular episode didn't thrill me all that much, but there was some good stuff here. The basic plot of the firing of Connor and Abby continued in this story as it had to, and I was pleased to see Abby get hired as a handler for the menagerie. It was great to see Rex again!, but I have to wonder what happened to poor Sid and Nancy. Perhaps we'll find out next episode? Connor's plot was less interesting, but I perked up at the return of Duncan. I can't say that I missed him (his friend and ally, Tom, died in the episode with the Dodos, Ep 1.4), but it was somewhat shocking to see the depths to which he had fallen, and even moreso that it was indirectly Connor's fault. The fact that they teamed up to investigate stuff going on, which led them to the Kaprosuchus plot, was kind of nice in a coinky-dink way, but that's what we expect at times from Primeval.
The main plot of the Kaprosuchus loose at the factory-turned-homeless-shelter was good in its own way, and had the creepy element going for it for most of the story. The body parts, the excellent use of shadow (both from above and from below), the chase sequence in the cargo containers area aboard the ship, all gave the story some excellent moments, even if I was somewhat annoyed for Abby going off and getting the security bloke killed. That bit also raised some thoughts about the effectiveness of the new EMD weapons, but that's another matter. One of the things that did irk me about this is when the creature was in the cargo container and being hoisted, after they had captured it, how could they not figure that something would go wrong once the creature woke up again? That was just not a smart way of handling the creature, but perhaps it's in character with the way the new ARC functions. Not a very good solution, though, to be honest, but perhaps the only way of getting the creature off the ship, I suppose. The denoument with Duncan being trapped in a green container, and Abby and Connor having to go find him was a good, light-hearted way of wrapping up the plot.
I was glad to see that Connor was also brought back aboard at the end of the episode, and loved that Lester found a loophole in the whole "only military personnel" to bring both him and Abby back on-board in their proper roles within the ARC. Even more, I liked the whole fact that Burton was definitely not happy with what Lester did, but that he knew he couldn't stop the process of bureaucracy from winning out. And what kind of salary is Jess making, that she can live in an apartment like that? Sheesh! We've seen this before with Abby's salary working at the zoo paying for her neat place in Series 1 to 3, but come on! I'm not sure about the whole business with Abby and Connor being temporary flatmates with Jess, as she seemed to have an agenda going there of some sort, but I'm actually beginning to like her a lot more as the fourth series continues.
Speaking of character and personality, I saw some interesting stuff in this episode. Abby is showing signs of real independence in this episode, perhaps something that she strengthened during her time in the Cretaceous, despite the bumps along the way that she and Connor went through, but I have to say that I'm not sure that it's going to augur well for her relationship with Connor as the series goes forward (the small number of episodes will definitely hinder this plot potential, and will likely make things seem to come out of nowhere). And it certainly augur well for the poor security guard while they searched together for the creature in the cargo container bin area. I like that she's reasserting herself, since I felt she wasn't all that strong a character in the first episode of the current series, but we'll see where this goes with her. The whole bit with Becker getting Jess the chocolates was also a nice touch, and seemed to cement the idea that the writers are putting Becker and Jess together as a potential couple. That would seem to leave Matt up in the air relationship-wise, unless there's something else going on with Gideon that we don't know about. While there was nothing really new in the Burton plot and the Matt-Gideon plot, a few tidbits were dropped here and there, so that was all right. I've also started to wonder, based on their discussions, just what the connection is between Matt, Gideon, and the ARC, and whether it ties into a deceased or missing Primeval character, but nothing really solid to go on there as yet.
Insofar as the Kaprosuchus is concerned, I thought that the basic creature design was really good and that it was quite a bit more scary as an adult than it was as a baby at the beginning of the story. However, there is no evidence in the fossil record that the creature had those tusks, which definitely added to the fright element somewhat, but which weren't really necessary. That said, it was still pretty effective.
Overall, I thought this second episode of Series Four was interesting, had some decent dialogue and concepts to it, but was a bit of a let-down in terms of some of the writing and the sequence of events. I was glad to see the different plot without an anomaly opening in the present during the course of this episode, and just have to hope the writing improves somewhat, and that Primeval delivers on some of the potential of the new series to this point.
And that's my review of Series 4, Episode 2. Comments and thoughts always welcome. :)