Lucy! The return of Jenny Lewis...well, now Jenny Miller! Oh, right, I'm getting ahead of myself here.
The sixth, and penultimate, episode of Series Four brought the return of Jenny Lewis to the series for the first time since the mushroom man episode of Series Three, I believe Episode 5, and it was an episode that had a bit of something for everyone in it.
In many ways, this story was not about the ARC crew pursuing yet another Anomaly, but was about Jenny and her wedding. Actually, about the fact that Jenny is happy now that she's been away from the ARC for close to two years, but still has the chops to deal with creatures and the like if necessary. This story was also about the relationships of Connor and Abby and Matt and Emily, as well as the relationship between Becker and Jess, although the latter story was a bit rough for my taste (more on this part later). The third story going on, the pursuit of Ethan by Matt and his being caught so easily in the trap laid by Ethan, a man supposedly either a Victorian or from 1902 or so, depending, was interesting in its own way, shedding more light on Ethan's past and his origins. But in truth, the real gem of this story was the return of Lucy Brown, and her character Jenny Lewis.
Because of the various circumstances surrounding the Fourth Series of Primeval, the absence of the various actors from Series 3 (other than Hannah Spearritt and Andrew-Lee Potts) left a really large hole to fill in the story. While I had accepted that Jenny Lewis's story was over, I still miss both her and her alter-ego, Claudia Brown. Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised at Jenny's return to the series, and even more so upon the realisation that Jenny was getting married! I think it says a lot about her character and her central sense of self that she has been able to move on with her life, and it was fun seeing how upset she seemed inwardly at seeing Connor and Abby once more. I was delighted in her total shunning of Matt in the first scenes of her return, but to be honest, I found that she was rather peripheral to the story somewhat, other than the "ladies evening" the night before the wedding, and the role that she played in Emily's exerting her own rights to do as she wished and not play the obedient Victorian lady to Matt's rather sexist behaviour and beliefs in this regard. The episode reinforced my belief that Jenny always was a strong character, but her withdrawl from the ARC made sense at the time, and still does, given what she had seen and learned, and it was with a good deal of relief that the episode acknowledged these past rooots.
Some of the most enjoyable bits of this episode for me were the bits with Connor and Abby dealing with Michael, Jenny's fiancée, and Connor's gaffe about getting married in this sort of country estate setting. The look on Abby's face said it all, and her quickly escaping to grab some more champagne was quite well done. I also loved the scenes with the revelations about Emily's being married, and Matt's acceptance of that, as well as her finally being somewhat asertive in the story and not being the passive character that she's been in the first three episodes of her story arc or whatever this is. Matt's telling her some of the truth about himself, while still being enigmatic as heck, finally does shed some light on the character, and confirms my belief that he and Gideon both hail from the destroyed future world that we saw at the end of Series 3. Emily's ability to fend for herself was very clearly demonstrated when she and Abby were outside after the attack during the wedding, and the creature leapt through the windows, and Emily caught it on the mace she was wielding. There's more to Emily than we know, I'll warrant. Getting back to Gideon, I really was taken somewhat by surprise that Matt was revealed as Gideon's son, and was quite sad at Gideon's passing. The scenes between actors Ciaran McMenamin and Anton Lesser were quite beautiful and touching, and it was a good change to finally see some emotion on Matt's face at his father's death. I'm not sure whether Matt's actually playing Emily or not, especially in light of Gideon not wanting him to get involved with her, but with Gideon's death, one has to wonder about the Matt/Emily relationship, although her being married may put a sock in it. I also rather liked the scene where Jenny clocked the adult hyaenodon with the candelabra, but did think the creature went down a bit too easily. In addition, one of the creepier elements of the story was the various curtains and areas that were curtained off in the basement of the country estate. These made both the appearance of Jenny Lewis lovely, but also the use of torches and light down there made the appearance of the adult hyaenodon even more scary. Lovely stuff, even though it reminded me a lot of the use of this set-up in Doctor Who the last few years, in the new Cybermen episodes.
And what of the critters in this one? The story, focusing on the wedding of Jenny Lewis and the presence of the Anomaly at the lovely country estate, was one that needed a creature that wasn't too much of a threat, but that could be used to focus on Jenny and her reunion with Connor and Abby, as well as being an episode with personality and character development of the various characters. The hyaenodons made the perfect menace for this story, the little ones being cute yet dangerous, while the adults were dangerous, but not the threat that some of the other creatures we've seen in Series Four (or earlier series' episodes for that matter) have been. The problem that I had with these creatures was the same one that I had with the smilodon in Series 2, Episode 3 - the movement of the creatures wasn't smooth and fluid, and the realization of the creatures just didn't seem right on screen. Don't get me wrong; Primeval does a marvellous job on dinosaurs and the like, but the smilodon and now the hyaenadons in this episode just haven't worked well for me, although they were certainly both menacing enough.
The scenes with Jess and Becker were welcome after Becker's absence in the previous episode, but a bit too forced and cute, I thought. While I like the relationship that is developing between the two, and the manner in which their relationship is being allowed to come about, I found the scenes between them to be a bit too saccharine for my tastes. Even the scene when Jess was disarming the bomb for Becker was, while handled well, treated a bit less than seriously, but that said, it was great to see Jess out in the field in this episode. She actually managed to develop some personality in this episode, perhaps because she was allowed out of her "sitting at the console, running the show" mode, and I came to see another side of her in this episode. That said, Becker, as an SAS fellow, should have been looking for booby traps and trip wires and the like. Not to mention, he should have waited for Ethan in the hideout, not outside of it. Made Becker come off as a bit incompetent, but his presence in the episode was welcome after last week's absence.
On the subject of Ethan, the new information that came to light in this episode was interesting. The fact that he took the identity of a 19th Century anarchist, Ethan Dobrowski (why he took on this identity I'm not sure), and has a working knowledge of demolitions in the modern day definitely peaked my interest, but it was the scene where he's making the bomb that will later be used against Becker that brought things home to me. In the scene in question, he has an old couple of photos that one might take in a photomat in some shopping mall or out in Brighton that confirmed (at least for me) my belief that he is Danny Quinn's lost brother, Patrick. That, and the sequence when he went to visit his family's old house, and the woman recognised him. And the fact that when he was there, he heard the voice of his mother saying, "Look after your brother, Ethan". Just more proof of my theory, that.
Overall, I rather liked this episode and was thrilled at the return of Jenny Lewis. In many ways, the story made me rememeber what I liked about Series One and Two of Primeval, and the relationships between the various characters in those days. However, this episode developed the relationships of the various characters, shed some more light on Ethan and Emily, and gave us a fun story of hyaenodons at a wedding to watch. When it comes down to it, what more could one ask from an episode of Primeval? Looking forward to the current Series wrap-up, and hope there are some proper answers to some of the questions that these six episodes have raised.
So, that's Episode 6. Just one more episode for this Series, and then we wait for a while before seeing Series Five. *sigh* Hopefully my comments and thoughts on the episode made sense.
Comments and thoughts always welcome, as per usual. :)