Series 1, episode 2
The less said about Abby dancing around her flat half naked the better, but our first sighting of Abby in episode 2 shows her having fun with Rex, who is out of his tank and roaming freely around Abby’s flat. There are several other tanks around the room, presumably containing other lizards, although we don’t see any of them closely enough to be able to tell what they are.
Connor comes round (at some point they have obviously all swapped phone numbers and addresses with each other) to tell her about another possible anomaly, and Abby’s initial reaction is to tell Cutter. In fact, when it becomes apparent that Connor hasn’t told Cutter and wants them to check it out alone, Abby repeatedly suggests that they should tell Cutter first.
Then Connor discovers Rex, and Abby hesitates briefly before saying she didn’t want Lester’s people mistreating him again, and asks Connor if he’s going to tell anyone. Connor replies he won’t, and says, “you can rely on me.” It’s presumably the fact that Connor now knows her secret that makes Abby agree to go with him, as she clearly isn’t convinced that it’s a good idea to go alone without letting anyone know.
Even once they are out in the field, Abby keeps saying they shouldn’t be out there alone, and is suitably sarcastic and dismissive of Connor’s suggestion that she can hold his hand if she gets frightened.
Abby generally seems to be faintly amused by Connor, but also a little irritated at times. If looks could kill she may well have committed grievous bodily harm to Connor with her non-verbal reaction to his suggestion that they could huddle together for warmth. That comment is almost immediately followed by their conversation about Stephen, where Abby asks if Stephen is seeing anyone, and Connor then tries, and fails, to convince Abby that Stephen might be gay.
Is Abby oblivious of Connor’s obvious crush on her, or is this her way of deflecting him without outright rejecting him, by signalling her interest in another man, and that Connor isn’t really her type? Either way, Connor’s ‘gay’ comment spectacularly backfires on him, and Abby gets up and walks away without another word.
Despite Abby’s apparent irritation with Connor in this scene, it also shows their developing friendship. Even at this early stage, Abby feels comfortable enough with Connor to discuss personal matters with him.
Abby eventually sends Stephen a text telling him where they are and what they’re doing. Apparently she will only put up with Connor’s mad scheme for so long.
When Cutter does arrive and throws Connor off the team, Abby admits, “I’m just as much to blame as he is.” Cutter replies, “Just as stupid, maybe, but you didn’t shout your mouth off and you’ve still got skills I can use. You stay.” Abby doesn’t argue with this pronouncement, but she does look at Connor with sympathy as Cutter walks away.
From this we learn that Abby is willing to take responsibility for her actions, and to stand up for her friends. However, she’s also pragmatic enough not to argue too strenuously when Cutter decides not to throw her off the team as well. At this point she barely knows Connor, so there’s no real reason for her to stick up for him any more than she does here. Some might say that she supported Connor far more than he actually deserved, given that she had repeatedly told him it was a bad idea to start with. It’s possibly a sign of Abby team spirit and loyalty that she doesn’t try to blame Connor, or say ‘I told you so’, when it all goes wrong.
When Ryan comes out of the underground and the team discuss the creatures and the atmosphere, Abby is there in the circle along with Cutter, Stephen, Claudia and Ryan. She doesn’t contribute anything to the discussion, but she is included, and Cutter clearly addresses his, “Right, let’s go,” to both Stephen and Abby when they get permission to investigate themselves.
Claudia attempts to stop Abby from going when she sees that they are all wearing the black combat gear (and since when did the soldiers have spare kit lying around that would fit someone of Abby’s size?). Cutter stands up for Abby, claiming, “Abby’s got more practical experience with animals than the rest of us put together.” This is the second time this episode that Cutter has mentioned Abby’s skills with animals, so he clearly has a great deal of trust in her abilities, even after they’ve only worked together on one occasion so far.
When Claudia still protests, Abby claims she has just finished a study in insect behaviour. Technically true, assuming she is now working on the parasites in elephant dung project, but not exactly relevant to what they’re dealing with here, a fact that Abby admits to Stephen once Claudia has gone. She also admits, “Spiders aren’t really my thing.” Stephen tells her these are actually scorpions, to which Abby replies, “I feel better already!” in the same tone of voice she used to Tim in episode one when her reaction to the parasite job offer was, “Sounds unmissable!” Abby again uses humour and sarcasm as a cover when she is out of her comfort zone.
In the scene when the three of them go down into the tunnels to investigate, Abby is the one who finds the anomaly. She goes off searching ahead of Cutter and Stephen, who stick together at first. When the centipede attacks, Stephen puts himself in front of Abby and pushes her to get away, and Abby doesn’t appear to argue with this, but nor does she turn and run. She stays with them until the centipede directly attacks and she and Stephen are forced to run and leave Cutter behind. As usual, Abby is brave and doesn’t panic under pressure,
Outside again with Claudia is probably the first time that Abby loses her cool. When Claudia pushes for more information about the centipede, Abby cries out in frustration, “We don’t know! No one does.” Despite her assertion earlier about the study in insect behaviour, Abby doesn’t have the knowledge of prehistory that Cutter, Connor, and to a lesser extent Stephen have, and she is out of her depth and worried about Cutter.
When Stephen insists on going back in alone, Abby’s initial reaction is that he shouldn’t go without backup. But neither does she make any further attempt to stop Stephen, or to alert anyone else that he has gone.
Once Claudia discovers what Stephen has done, Abby tries to stick up for Stephen at first, but then silently accepts Claudia’s tirade with the same resigned expression that we saw when Cutter was shouting at her and Connor earlier in the episode. Yet again she tries to stick up for a friend, but accepts responsibility when she knows she has made a mistake.
When Stephen is brought out of the tunnels injured, Abby is shocked and worried, and it is her rather than Cutter who stays with Stephen as they are loading him into the ambulance. Stephen tells her she’s beautiful, to which Abby replies that he’s delirious, apparently laughing off the compliment. Stephen then asks her to have dinner with him, and after an initial hesitation, Abby says she will have dinner, and stay for breakfast in the morning, presumably implying she will sleep with him. Throughout the conversation she keeps telling Stephen that he isn’t going to die, and at the last moment she jumps into the back of the ambulance and goes to the hospital with him. As with the kiss for Cutter in the previous episode, it seems surprisingly intimate for someone who she barely knows. Of course, this is not exactly a normal situation, and she acts impulsively when there is a strong possibility that she might not see the other person again.
At the hospital, Abby does a reasonable job of balancing the need for secrecy against the need to give the doctor as much information as possible to save Stephen. After promising she will get the doctor whatever she needs, Abby’s parting demand is, “Just keep him alive.”
Abby reacts with typical light hearted sarcasm to Connor telling her if he doesn’t make it back she can have his Star Trek top trumps collection. However, she does look worried as Connor, Cutter and Ryan head into the centipede’s burrow.
Later, Abby is sitting at Stephen’s bedside in the hospital. When Connor comments that she likes him (Stephen), Abby replies, “I don’t know him.” Now that they are out of the immediate danger situation is she having second thoughts? Is it beginning to hit her that this job is dangerous and that any one of them might actually die, and that relationships forged in adrenaline-fuelled peril situations may not necessarily work in the normal day to day world?
She listens to Connor’s prattle about his crush on Buffy the Vampire Slayer without reaction, but does smile and giggle with him at the end (and it does appear to be laughing with him rather than at him at this point). Her smile gets even bigger when Stephen begins to come round, and she gets closer, watching him. Whatever second thoughts she may have been having are put to one side now that he’s waking up.
She visits him again later and overhears his conversation with Claudia. As soon as they are alone, Abby immediately jumps on his admission that he can’t remember what happened, and pushes to find out if that includes what he said to her in ambulance. When it becomes apparent that Stephen has no memory of asking her out, Abby immediately dismisses it as not important, and doesn’t enlighten Stephen as to the details of their conversation. She seems embarrassed, and is perhaps taking this as an opportunity to forget the whole thing, maybe supporting the idea that she has begun to have second thoughts about it.
This, in fact, will be an ongoing theme throughout all series. In pressure or dangerous situations, Abby acts on instinct and lets her emotions show with any man who she has feelings for. Then, later, when she has time to reflect and think about it, the vast majority of the time she pulls back and ignores or denies anything she may have let slip in the heat of the moment.
Link to part 1 - episode 1.1
Link to part 3 - episode 1.3