Stars: Andrew-Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt, Ciaran McMenamin, Ruth Kearney, Ben Mansfield, Ben Miller, Alexander Siddig, Ruth Bradley, Jonathan Byrne, Brendan McCormack, Patrick Gibson, Ciaran Flynn, Lauren Coe
Writer: Paul Gerstenberger
Director: Cilia Ware
Network: BBC America
Original Telecast: January 22, 2011

Most of the ARC team is dispatched to handle a herd of venomous, hybrid reptile/mammals invading McKinnon school, a mission complicated by the presence of several annoying students kept after hours in an amateur reenactment of THE BREAKFAST CLUB in the latest episode of PRIMEVAL.

There’s a stuck-up girl (Lauren Coe) with an attitude that just begs to be taken down a peg via the tender attentions of a therocephalian, and two geeky boys (Patrick Gibson, Ciaran Flynn) that might have merited some sympathy if they didn’t try to humiliate the girl by uploading her personal phone videos to the school’s CCTV system. But it’s all academic (heh) since the school is now a battleground.

Back at the ARC itself, Philip (Alexander Siddig) has decided , after the events of last week’s episode, to exterminate all the creatures currently held in their headquarters, which naturally breaks Abby’s (Hannah Spearritt) heart since she cares more about dinosaurs that could tear your throat out in a second than human beings. This is supposed to reinforce Philip’s role as the slimy, evil boss, but there’s a problem with this one: he’s right and Abby is wrong, or at least unrealistic.

Abby’s irrational belief that she can almost single-handedly care for a growing horde of lethal animals taken out of their proper times in the hope that maybe one day some of them can go back home is absolutely insane. It’s meant to push all the right buttons for the animal-inclined, but it just doesn’t equate. Sure, Philip also wants to kill Rex, our resident cute winged lizard, which is perhaps excessive, but can you compare a kitten, puppy or baby dragon to a spinosaurus or a mammoth – or a Future Predator – capable of taking out dozens if not hundreds of people and destroying huge swaths of real estate?

In our oh-so-PC world, even the fantasy monster hunters of PRIMEVAL have now taken to using tasers instead of guns – mustn’t hurt those killing machines with six-inch fangs, they might be something’s mommy. Ideals are wonderful, but there are huge differences between the animals that deserve protection and an anachronistic menagerie of monsters that shouldn’t be here anyway and represent a constant threat to the safety and security of the human race.

In these circumstances, Abby’s ideals are woefully out of place, and her selfish decision to attempt a jailbreak during an anomaly crisis is not only short-sighted, but dangerous, making her a serious liability to the team. Fortunately, her would-be confederate Jess (Ruth Kearney) sees the light when she witnesses a helpless student murdered by one of these ‘endangered’ beasts, although Lester (Ben Miller) takes up Abby’s cause by threatening Philip with exposure as a dinosaur killer. That threat still doesn’t carry much weight; all Philip would have to do is prove to the world, with very little effort, that it was them or us, and this guy would surely be a master of media manipulation. Hell, I believe him already.

On to other issues. When I was a kid, I liked HALLOWEEN II, but I always found it ridiculous just how empty the Haddonfield hospital was during Michael’s rampage. PRIMEVAL also exists in a universe in which countless ornate buildings in the UK, all festooned with glass and chrome, simply lay abandoned, with plenty of wide open spaces for CGI dinosaurs to roam. Granted, this episode is set in a school after hours, so there’s a reason, but it sure is a vast and cavernous place. Between this and the lavish apartments everyone on the team can apparently afford, the UK is looking quite spacious and under-populated with plenty of cutting-edge facilities open for occupation. Maybe the anomalies have made lots of people disappear?

As for our ongoing mysteries, there’s no Gideon scene this week, and the Emily/Ethan storyline feels superfluous to requirements. Oh well, see you next week for more monsterific action and perfunctory drama!

…All right, even if they do get rid of the rest of the creatures, at least keep Rex. He needs to stay alive to accept the BAFTA anyway.

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