John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Primeval: New World Season 1, Episode 6 Thoughts (Spoilers)

I caught the sixth episode of Primeval: New World, "Clean Up on Aisle Three", last night, and thought I'd offer my thoughts on the episode here on the blog. Given that there are major spoilers in the write-up below, I offer this entry under a cut to allow those who don't want to be spoiled about the episode to forego this entry if they so choose, and come back to it once they've seen the episode.

This sixth episode of the series was quite an interesting one, and while not the best of the batch of six episodes so far, definitely had some great moments. The plot of this one goes something like this: An Anomaly opens at a Canadian Tire store (!!) and disgorges a pack of small beasties, Daemonosaurs, that kill a night watchman and take up residence in the store. Alerted to the Anomaly present in the store, Dylan, Mac, and Evan show up and take on the creatures, which display an intelligence and cunning that allows them to give the team a good fight. Meanwhile, Ange informs Evan that she's received a job offer from an East Asian concern, and is going to accept the job.

Written by Peter Hume, the episode is one that takes place pretty much in a single locale - the interior of the Canadian Tire store in question - as well as the Tank and a waterfront locale where Ken Leeds and Ange Finch meet at his instigation. The episode has a few moments of humour, some interesting depth of character that reveals more about Evan, Dylan, Ange, and Ken Leeds, and also provides the viewer with some good action scenes. The script for this one has a bit of everything. The episode was directed by Amanda Tapping, of Stargate SG-1 and Sanctuary fame, who is also somewhat accomplished these days behind the camera. This is her first of three directing efforts on Primeval: New World Season One, and she does a really good job here getting some of the interesting camera angles on the characters and the situation in the Canadian Tire store (I have to wonder, did they shoot this in an actual CT store, or is this a set?), as well as some lovely, good choices for the camera angles of the scenes with Ange and Ken Leeds at the Vancouver waterfront area.

One of the concerns that I had about this episode was how they would handle the aftermath of the characters' dealing with the events of "Undone", but I needn't have worried about this. The character development was quite adequate in "Clean Up on Aisle Three", with Mac and Evan having a tentative working relationship at the beginning, as he explains to Evan that he came at his call because it's a job that has to be done and he's doing it to honour Sam and to prevent stuff like what happened to her from happening to others. That said, he's not pleased to have his rifle taken away and having to use the new-fangled taser weapon that Evan introduces to him and Dylan via what I thought was an interesting demo. Speaking of those weapons, I wonder how much of the R&D money Cross Photonics put into those? Ange's shocking revelation to Evan at the beginning of the episode that she has received a job offer and is going to take it makes a lot of sense in the aftermath of the events of "Undone". To be honest, this plot element isn't surprising, given the events of "Undone", the fact that she feels like Evan doesn't care about her or Cross Photonics these days, and that there might also be something between him and Dylan. However, given the length of time that has passed since Brooke's death, Ange has hung in there quite a while for Evan, so why stop now? The relationship between Ange and Lt. Ken Leeds is quite cute at this point. His offer to meet with her as he has some news occurs on the waterfront, and he treats it like a date, complimenting her hair, smiling, but while she's discouraging, he's got hors d'oeuvres and a bottle of wine from 1954. The news he shares with her, that Project Magnet has received new funding and that he'll be able to put the government backing into the Anomaly business, is greeted by Ange's discouragement, as she tells him he doesn't know what he's getting himself into. Couple that with the conversation on the ancient phone that Ken Leeds has with a government superior, and there's more going on here than meets the eye. And Ken Leeds may be a player in the final episodes of this first season of the show.

For his part, Evan still hasn't gotten over the events of "Undone" and the death of his two employees, but he knows that the creatures being spewed out by the Anomalies have to be dealt with no matter what. The episode is an excellent one that challenges Evan's morals and beliefs and emotions, and I have to say that I like that he's finally becoming a bit more human about all manner of stuff in his life, as I really didn't like the Evan Cross of the first few episodes. With the exception of Toby, who wasn't present in this episode at all, Evan Cross seems to be building some real bridges with his fellow characters, even if he's still hiding some of the truths of what he knows. We'll have to wait to see how the final seven episodes of Season One bring any more of this set of sub-plots to light.

The other character who received a modicum of character development here was Dylan Weir. This starts with Dylan dressed for a date with a fellow named David (whom we hear about when she's talking to him on her mobile) and when she tells Evan about the circumstances of the date. Dylan also seems always prepared, as she changes out of her high heels to a pair of work boots before she, Mac, and Evan enter the Canadian Tire store. She's also coming across as being somewhat religious, or at least having a respect for other people's religious views and the like. In a scene reminiscent of the episode "Fear of Flying", Dylan picks up a Hindu religious item, and lays it reverently on the half of the body. There is also a scene/shot that emphasises her humanity and empathy for the poor, dead Hindu man, which we can safely assume from his thing with Shiva in his aspect of the Lord of the Dance. The other thing I like about Dylan Weir is her instinctive feel for behaviour, both in people and creatures. She's the one who puts together some of the behavioural markers for the Daemonosauruses, by drawing comparisons to modern animals, and this works very effectively. She also the one who puts Evan on the right track for what he's got to do in terms of his relationship with Ange. Dylan's getting to be the most enjoyable character to watch in the series so far.

The creatures of this episode are Daemonosaurs, a creature that was only recently discovered back in 2011, and so some latitude and leeway was taken with these beasties. (Really need to check the episode end credits for the series to see if there's a scientific or palaeontological advisor for the series.) They were quite well realised and executed in terms of the CGI, and gave the Cross Photonics team headaches in terms of dealing with them, as their intelligence and communication abilities gave Evan and company fits. Toppling boxes on the team members, stealing their guns (the shinys!), escaping the traps, all really handled well. Dylan's correctly figuring out that if they can make the pack's alpha male go back through the Anomaly the others would as well, was handled nicely, and was logical for her to come up with. The best part of this episode for me was that, for a change of pace, the Daemonosaurs can be clearly seen, and this made them all the more effective. Good lighting choices by director Amanda Tapping. That said, I'm pretty annoyed that the creatures aren't named in the episode at all, although perhaps this will be rectified in a future episode. Someone's got to be compiling a database or something of the prehistoric beasties and dinosaurs that Evan's Special Projects Group is coming across.

Several of the highlights for this episode for me include: the sequence in the Canadian Tire store when Evan uses a hockey stick to slapshot one of the daemonosaurs into a display, knocking it out completely; Evan and Dylan discovering that the little dinos love the taste of dog food, and use it to bait a trap to capture the creatures in dog travel containers; the bit where Evan and Dylan try to lure a second daemonosaur into the trap they've set for it, but the creatures have learned from the previous one's capture; the lovely sequence on the Vancouver waterfront, where Ange and Ken Leeds have their discussion over wine and snacks and there's definitely an attraction to her on Ken Leeds's part but Ange is obviously in love with Evan, and the discussion they sort of have about this; the two bits with the Chinese food that bookend the episode, showing that Evan and Ange are a couple meant to be together, even if neither one of them is willing to admit this, to themselves let alone each other, although Evan takes a huge step in this regard at the end of the episode.

When all is said and done, "Clean Up on Aisle Three" isn't a great episode, but it certainly was good. It had two plots going on - the taking down of the Daemonosaurs and the Evan-Ange-Ken subplot - as well as the element of Ken Leeds about to get a bit of power in this whole business, and the "Will Ange accept the new job offer or won't she?" matter. The directing on the episode was very nice, and showed that the director (Amanda Tapping) understood that this is a science fiction show, but she kept matters focused on the characters, and not the technology and the other elements that could have made the character plots vanish into the background. I also loved some of the Canadianisms that were present in this episode, starting with the Canadian Tire store, the references to hockey, and a few other things. There were a couple of things I could quibble about, but they just don't seem worth it as I was thoroughly entertained by this episode of Primeval: New World. And that's the whole point, isn't it?
Tags: personal, primeval: new world, review, thoughts, tv hut

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