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Abby Meta - part 9. Episode 2.3

Series 2, episode 3

At the start of the episode, Abby is, not unreasonably, irritated by Connor stopping to see Caroline when they are going to be late for work. She keeps making impatient gestures as she waits by the car for him, but when Connor kisses Caroline, Abby looks away.

At the ARC, Connor presents his new ADD to the team. Abby doesn’t actually say anything throughout the presentation, but at the start when Connor is babbling she has an amused expression (as they all do, to be honest). Nevertheless, when Jenny and Leek mock Connor for building a ‘satnav’, Abby gives him an encouraging nod. She seems to be generally approving and supportive by the end of the demonstration. They may fight amongst themselves, but Abby generally always tries to support team-mates when it comes to work, especially in the face of outsiders, or people who are less than supportive.

The team arrive at the theme park, and the first thing they do is examine the body of the man who was killed. Or rather, Cutter and Abby examine it, while Connor paces backwards and forwards with his hand-held detector, and Stephen stands off to one side.

Cutter: I’ve seen enough, Abby. Zip up the body. (Abby zips up the body bag) Claw marks everywhere. He’s been ripped to shreds.
Abby: If I was back at the zoo, I’d say it was a lion. See how the bones have been gnawed?
Cutter: All right. Big cat, then.
(Cutter and Abby turn to look at Connor, Cutter with a vaguely accusing expression. Connor looks defensive)
Connor: No radio interference. No magnetic field. No sign of an anomaly. (Cutter continues to look unconvinced. Abby looks like she’s deep in thought). You know, I checked, I double checked, every chip and circuit board in that detector. It’s working, I’m telling you. If there was an anomaly, it would have shown up. Stake my life on it.
Cutter: You might have to.
Stephen: No, maybe he’s got a point. Perhaps there is another explanation for this.
Abby: There are thousands of big cat sightings every year. Pumas, leopards, lynxes.
Cutter: Yeah, but none of them are big enough to do this kind of damage.
Abby: It could have escaped from a private zoo.
Cutter: Yeah, well, find out if anything’s been reported.
(Abby leaves, presumably to do as Cutter has asked).

Abby is the one who identifies the wounds on the body as being the result of a big cat attack, and Cutter accepts her assessment without argument, even though he does quibble over the size of the animal they might be dealing with. Abby responds with an assumption that we saw her make in episode 1.1 about Rex – that it might be something exotic that has escaped from a private zoo. She isn’t actually arguing with Cutter, just laying out alternative theories in the wake of Connor’s certainty about the absence of an anomaly, and Stephen also expressing doubts. Whether or not Cutter is actually convinced by the suggestion (and it appears he is not), he trusts Abby to be the one to investigate the private zoo angle.

As we’ve seen many times before, Abby (and Stephen) are the ones providing sensible, practical suggestions, while Cutter and Connor focus on more theoretical things; in this case, Connor fixates on his ADD, and Cutter fixates on the idea that it must be an anomaly, despite the lack of evidence.

They begin to search for the creature, and we see Abby taking a weapon (again, as in episode 2.1, a tranquiliser pistol) out of the back of the vehicle. She doesn’t look overly impressed when Cutter leaves Connor the keys to the gun cases, possibly remembering what happened the last time she gave him a gun! Abby and Cutter chase off through the wood to meet Stephen, and Cutter does not appear to have a weapon at all, suggesting he is trusting their safety entirely to Abby and her pistol.

Abby seems to be spending a lot of time with Cutter today, while Stephen goes off on his own and Jenny pops in and out and Connor is repeatedly left behind. Perhaps Abby doesn’t trust Cutter not to get himself into trouble if he doesn’t have someone watching over him, and since Stephen is no longer taking that role, Abby has decided it’s her job to keep him safe on this occasion.

A little later Abby tells Cutter that she has just heard from Jenny about farmer West, who has past history of illegally importing exotic animals, including lions, for private zoos. This would seem to perhaps vindicate Abby’s earlier theory, but there’s no evidence of ‘I told you so’ in her tone. Then we have a lovely scene where Abby gently teases Cutter, saying that Jenny obviously doesn’t trust him to deal with the public by himself. Cutter takes no offense at the teasing, and they laugh together. Abby is no longer quite the same ‘junior’ member of the team as she was in series 1, and it seems that her relationship with Cutter is on a slightly more equal footing than Connor’s relationship with Cutter, which still comes with the baggage of the student/teacher dynamic.

This impression is further reinforced when they set off into the woods at night to look for the creature. Cutter refuses to let Connor have a gun, and tells him, “If you’re worried, stay close to Abby.” As the others all smirk, it’s obvious who they all think is the sensible, practical, action hero of the pairing, and by extension, the one who wears the trousers!

Abby appears to be the one doing all the actual searching, while Connor rambles on, trying to justify his actions earlier when he accidentally shot the man in the lion costume. Abby takes the opportunity to have a little dig, but then, Connor accidentally shooting people may still be a sore spot for her. When Connor comments that Abby looks, “really hot,” through the infra-red night vision goggles, Abby responds with a long-suffering, and slightly irritated, “It’s infra-red, Connor, not X-ray.”

The following day they start with Cutter, Stephen and Abby having a meeting about where to lay traps. Cutter tells Stephen to take Connor with him, implying, presumably, that Cutter intends to be working with Abby again.

As they prepare the traps, we see Abby driving and competently using a JCB. This is a new and previously unknown skill set, but perhaps not entirely unreasonable with her zoo background? She puts it to extremely good use to distract the sabre-tooth when it attacks Cutter, and successfully manages to whack the cat quite hard a couple of times before Cutter decides to lead it away by himself. Abby definitely gets bonus points for improvised weapon use here. She also wins the ‘sensible plan’ award, by following Cutter and turning up with an extremely large rifle and scaring the sabre-tooth away before it pounces on Cutter (I’m fairly certain it’s a tranquiliser rifle, but it’s difficult to tell). This the first time that Abby has solo-saved one of the others on the team, and she did it without being showy or throwing herself unnecessarily into danger. It’s typical Abby, in other words.

Abby doesn’t do a lot of note in the rest of the episode, although when they are discussing the buried body, Abby is the one who catches onto Cutter’s train of thoughts first – that someone is covering for the cat and hiding it. Abby and Stephen are the ones who confront farmer West and rescue Jenny, with Connor as (fairly useless) backup. As they leave the farm, Abby says to Connor, “Happy now?” when he finally gets his hands on a gun by taking West’s shotgun. Judging by her expression, I have no doubt Abby will be taking it away from him at the earliest opportunity.

When Stephen chases Valerie’s car and confronts the driver and checks the back for animals, Abby consistently backs him up with her tranquiliser pistol, although she lets Stephen do all the talking.

In the final confrontation with Valerie, it’s difficult to tell whether it is Stephen or Abby who actually shoots the sabre-tooth and saves Cutter. I always assumed it was actually Stephen, but cordeliadelayne thinks it was Abby (link to her Stephen meta). If it was Abby, it means that she has saved Cutter’s life twice in this episode.

Back at the ARC, when Leek attempts to blame Abby for the ‘death’ of the cat, suggesting she may have overestimated the tranquiliser dosage, Cutter immediately jumps to her defence.

Cutter: Don’t you dare. Abby knows exactly what she’s doing.

This episode is a good one, probably the best one, for showing the relationship between Abby and Cutter, and the mutual respect and trust between them. Abby may be young, but she is the undisputed go-to member of the team when it comes to animal care and tranquilising. And pretty nifty in a fight, too.

Link to part 8 - episode 2.2
Link to part 10 - episode 2.4

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35 comments or Leave a comment
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reggietate From: reggietate Date: April 28th, 2012 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always assumed it was Stephen who shot the cat because he's using the rifle and it's more likely to be accurate at a distance, and he's known to be a crack shot. But there's nothing to suggest that it couldn't be Abby.

Where emotions are not involved, Abby has a very level head.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I've always thought it was Stephen as well, to be honest. I watched the scene several times, and when the camera cuts to the guys at the car, Stephen seems to be the one with his gun in a firing postition. Cordy does make sensible suggestions as to why it should have been Abby, though, and since we never actually see who shoots, it's open to debate.

Oh, Abhy is probably the most sensible, common-sense person in the whole team when it isn't about emotions!
telperion_15 From: telperion_15 Date: April 28th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do love the Abby and Cutter interaction in this episode!

I also love - in a slightly incredulous, disbelieving way - that she knows how to use a JCB! *g*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
The Abby-Cutter interaction is probably the best thing about this episode, to be honest. I adore that scene when she's teasing him about Jenny not trusting him with the public.
freddiejoey From: freddiejoey Date: April 28th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great summary of Abby's interactions in a great ep
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
nietie From: nietie Date: April 28th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although it was one of my least favourite episodes, I liked the teamwork between Abby and Cutter.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I now what you mean - it's not one of my favourite episodes either, but the Abby-Cutter interactions are lovely and funny. And Abby gets to fight off a sabre-tooth with a JCB!
knitekat From: knitekat Date: April 28th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not a favourite episode, but it is a good one for Abby.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
that seems to be a common theme through the comments. I hadn't realised so many people weren't fans of this ep. It's not one of my favourites either, but yes, it's a really good one for showing Abby's strengths.
clea2011 From: clea2011 Date: April 28th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great summary of Abby's part in the episode.
Valerie behaves so stupidly over her cat but I wonder what Abby would do if say Rex grew up into something dangerous? (obviously he won't, but she does protect creatures that could be dangerous from time to time). Just a random thought.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Good point! I suppose you could point to the mammoth and say that it has killed people when it was loose on the motorway, and simply by its sheer size it is dangerous, but Abby still wants to protect it. But you might be right - I think if Rex did suddenly become dangerous she would still try to keep him secret and protect him.
celeste9 From: celeste9 Date: April 29th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It's interesting that they don't treat Abby like a junior member anymore, but she really is wonderfully practical and competent so it's a good job she gets some respect for it!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I do like the way that Cutter defends Abby when Leek tries to blame her at the end. It shows how much Cutter trusts and respects Abby and her skills.

Bt there is definitely far less of the sense that Abby and Connor are 'junior' team members in series 2, and they have both found their place within the team, rather than being more like hangers-on.
flaccidduck From: flaccidduck Date: April 29th, 2012 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Abby in this ep

*Does not mention that also loves Cutter's bum....*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Lol! There is a gratuitous bonus scene of Cutter all wet and muddy!
natchris From: natchris Date: April 29th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
More interesting Abby meta.

Thanks muchly
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you liked it.
dreamer_98 From: dreamer_98 Date: April 29th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Great observations about Cutter and Abby's relationship in this episode. I never thought about Abby taking over duties of 'protecting' Cutter in the field like Stephen used to. Clearly Cutter trusts Abby completely.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. It had never occured to me until I was rewatching for the meta that Abby seemed to have taken over the 'looking after Cutter' duties in this ep. They both obviously have a lot of professional and personal respect for each other, and are comfortable enough to tease and makes jokes.
joshinator From: joshinator Date: April 29th, 2012 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Your Abby meta has been epic!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you're enjoying them.
lsellersfic From: lsellersfic Date: April 29th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Fixating on something minor. B got to drive a JCB once out on his brother's wood chopping business in the US (where you don't need loads of health and safety checks and licenses and so on to be allowed into the cab) and he said it was pretty easy. I imagine basic usage of the one we see Abby in might not be too hard to acquire especially, as you say, through the zoo work - though I've no idea what the certification requirements may be. I think you can hire the little ones domestically though so that suggests its not too difficult to get the right paperwork if you need it.

More generally I think this must be one of Abby's best episodes for showing her being mature and competent and getting on with things. Not being put in the roll of babysitting Connor probably does her character a lot of favours at this stage.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
That's useful to know. I honestly have no idea how easy/hard it is to drive and control one of those things, so it;s good to know that it;s not entirely unreasonable for Abby to be able to do it.

True, this is one of the few episodes in series 2 when Abby *isn't* mostly paired off with Connor in the field, and we end up seeing her behaving far more maturely and working incredibly well with Cutter.

It would have been nice if they had mix-n-matched the team up a little more often, rather than separating them into Cutter/Stephen and Connor/Abby so much. They do mix the teams up a bit in series 3, but in series 2, and the latter half of series 1 there's a far more obvious recurring split within the team.
fredbassett From: fredbassett Date: April 29th, 2012 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
The JCB defiitely wins the Improvised Weapon of the Year Award.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: April 29th, 2012 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep, it certainly does!
kristen_mara From: kristen_mara Date: April 29th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hannah said she got a bit too close to a crew member in the JCB *G*

Great look over Abby's role and reactions in that ep.

I don't think it's mentioned in S2 that Abby is still working at the zoo - or have you found any refs? The same with N&S and the uni. Just seems to be dropped.

deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 1st, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that we are supposed to be believe that in the 'new' timeline of series 2 that they have all given up their previous jobs and are working full time at the ARC. Certainly the university and zoo are never mentioned again, and despite the fact that Caroline thinks Connor is a student, I suspect he's just told her that as a cover story rather than him actually still being a full time student *as well* as all the ARC work.
talliw From: talliw Date: April 30th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never realised how much Abby/Cutter interaction has been in this episode
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: May 1st, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
there's loads! It's probably ine of the best episodes for pairing these two up together, followed closely by ep 3.3 when they were rounding up the diictodons at the hospital.
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