Can even Connor Temple prevent Colonel Hall from interfering with the course of history?
Like all stalwart fans of the Primeval franchise, I’ve almost got used to the on-again, off-again nature of the show, so there’s a certain optimism in still entitling this a review of a series 1 episode, rather than simply describing it as the finale. Certainly at the writing and planning stage last summer, there was no way that the production team could have known that the plug would be pulled – but the episode, in hindsight, does bring both this branch, and possibly even the whole of the franchise, to a close.
Looking at it as a straightforward episode of New World, it resolves the cliffhangers thanks, in part, to Primeval’s version of a deus ex machine (Connor ex anomalia?) as a member of a British ARC team comes through to the Wood Between the Worlds and chances into the same anomaly through which Evan and Dylan went at the end of the previous episode. And even luckier, it’s Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts) who does so. Fans of the original show will enjoy seeing him: he’s more confident in these post-Philip days (and it would have been lovely if it had been possible to involve other members of the team) and he and Abby have finally tied the knot. (Well, we have to assume it’s Abby he’s married: it could be another totally stupid situation like Doctor Who’s The End of Time, where the past history is torn up, and he’s with someone else altogether… but not that likely.) There’s a neat sidestepping of the exact date they come from – although the evidence on that is slightly confusing: it’s definitely after Connor and Evan met, but from the way Connor reacts on hearing the date, there’s something wrong with going straight back. Hopefully that will get explained.
The whole “change the past” element becomes vital to the episode and provides some good opportunities for the next season: Connor makes it clear to Mac about how changes affect people (like Evan and Dylan at the end) who are within an anomaly (well, within an anomalous time zone, presumably he means, not within the anomaly itself), which means that all bets are off for the next episode. If the production team want, Evan could be in charge of Project Magnet (as Nick Cutter effectively found himself in charge of the ARC at the start of Primeval series 2), or Ken Leeds could be Pope.
But, to be pessimistic, what if this is the end of Primeval on TV? Altering events in 2006 could actually mean that the whole series has been retconned out of history and none of the events ever happened… Nick is still a professor, Abby is working as a vet, Connor is an annoying student. A world without Primeval? Let’s hope we don’t need to find out.
Verdict: A strong season finale for a series that deserves more time to expand. 8/10