Series 3, episode 7
Abby is searching the house for Rex, and ends up in Jack’s bedroom, where Jack is hiding under the duvet. He finally admits to her that Rex is at his mate’s house, although he says he ‘lent’ Rex rather than lost him at gambling. Abby yells at him, “You idiot!” and tells him Rex had better be home by the time she gets back from work. Jack makes the mistake of muttering, “He’s just a stupid lizard,” to which Abby throws a shoe at him, and shouts at him to show some respect, adding, “Lizards have feelings too.”
Abby actually takes it surprisingly well, but then, she doesn’t know the whole truth, and presumably believes Jack when he says Rex is coming back today.
At the ARC, Abby announces to Connor that she’s going to kill Jack, and tells him about Jack ‘lending’ Rex to a friend. Unfortunately, she has walked in on a conversation between Sarah and Connor after Sarah spotted Rex for sale on the internet (although Sarah didn’t know what Rex was). Connor fast-talks his way through the scene, managing to convince both Sarah and Abby that there’s nothing to worry about and everything is fine, until both women eventually lose patience with him and walk off. Abby looks fairly suspicious, or possibly just completely bemused by Connor’s odd behaviour.
When they arrive at the anomly site in the scrap yard, a worker is using a lifting crane to throw cars at the dracorex. Abby says, “He’s going to kill it,” and both she and Danny jump up onto a car and start shouting and waving to attract the man’s attention. As soon as he stops and gets out of the way (aided by Becker looking intimidating with his shotgun), Abby says the creature is injured and they have to help it. Becker comments, “I was afraid you were going to say that.” We’re already getting hints of the impending conflict of interests between these two.
Abby gets closer, and realises it has something stuck in its side (the broken tip of a lance, as it turns out). She leaps out of the way when the dracorex charges a car where she was standing, and while she clearly wants to help the creature, she goes along with Danny’s plan to herd it back through the anomaly by scaring it off with noise. Unfortunately, it turns round and is chased away by the appearance of a knight.
Connor identifies the dracorex, and tells them it is a herbivore, but Abby says it’s still dangerous, and that it’s wounded. Danny delegates Abby and Becker to look for the dracorex while he and Connor go after the knight.
This is the first time we have seen Abby and Becker working together without any of the other team members being present. As they chase after the creature in a car, Becker driving, neither of them are speaking to each other, and the only time Abby says anything is when she spots the creature, and to tell Becker not to let it get away. If it were Connor or Danny, there would almost certainly be banter and talking while they searched, so it perhaps suggests that these two are not used to working alone together at this point, and that they are not entirely comfortable with each other.
When they finally track it down to a garden centre, the tension between them becomes even more obvious.
Abby: I don’t want it harmed. We use tranquilisers, is that clear?
Becker: Look, it’s my job to protect you, not the creatures.
He readies his shotgun and heads off, and Abby follows. It’s not the most auspicious start, and it’s also not entirely clear which one of them holds rank in the field. When Cutter first introduced Becker in 3.1, he told Abby and Connor to do as Becker says – unless he (Cutter) thinks he’s wrong. But Cutter is no longer here and the team dynamics have changed.
The ironic thing is, when we next see them, they appear to be working well together, both moving stealthily as they track the creature, and their movements complement each other. If only they could agree on how to handle the creatures, you suspect they would make a great action team.
They finally find the dracorex in a large greenhouse, and Becker takes a position in front of Abby and aims his shotgun. Abby also takes aim with her tranquiliser gun, but seems to be watching Becker more than the creature. Abruptly, she points her gun at Becker, and when Becker looks at her in disbelief, she repeats that she doesn’t want it to be harmed. At that point the dracorex decides to charge towards them, forcing Becker to dive out of the way. He still has his shotgun trained on the creature as it staggers towards them, and again Abby says that killing the creatures is not the answer. Luckily for everyone, it finally collapses a few paces short of them, and they all breathe a sigh of relief.
Why did Abby not tranquilise it herself? She had more than one opportunity to take a shot, and back in 3.1 Becker had been willing to let them try tranquilisers first and only use live rounds as a last resort, so why could they not agree to do something similar here? Perhaps Abby was afraid of what a tranquiliser dose might do to the dracorex on top of its existing injury, which would explain why she was reluctant to shoot it. Unfortunately, on this occasion, her actions and stubborn attitude mean that she gives the impression that she cares more about the safety of the creatures than the safety of her teammates.
Once everything has calmed down and the creature has stopped moving, neither of them seem to harbour any ill feelings, and Becker is the one who says he thinks that Abby ought to have a look at it (of course, she was probably going to do that anyway, but it’s the thought that counts). Abby delegates to Becker when they realise they need to find some way of getting it back to the scrap yard, and Becker responds with his usual dry sarcasm. Now they are bantering with each other. Apparently all it took was a shared moment of adrenaline, and Becker agreeing to do what Abby told him to, to forge the beginning of their friendship.
Becker helps her get the dracorex into a makeshift field hospital, but it’s clear that Abby is now calling the shots. Abby says they need a vet, but when Becker replies he’ll call the ARC, Abby then says there isn’t enough time, and that she is going to have to do it. This does, perhaps confirm that Abby isn’t a qualified vet herself, but that she has picked up enough skills and knowledge (presumably from the zoo) to be able to give it a good try.
She finds a first aid box and some wire, and then appears to have a moment of doubt. Becker recognises this, and says, “You can do this, Abby.” She nods, and gets down to it. Abby takes charge, and directs Becker to help her, getting him to pull the lance out while she holds the dracorex and stabilises the wound. She also finds time to comfort the dracorex, telling it yet again that she is not going to let it die. It’s another nice little scene for their growing relationship, and shows that even if Becker might disagree with her approach to the creatures, he does respect and have faith in her abilities.
This is Abby doing what Abby does best – dealing with animals, improvising, and having enough confidence in her abilities to take charge and tell others what to do in a situation where she is the expert. I noted in the last episode that Abby had been much less prominent and proactive since Danny became leader, and it’s notable that here, when Abby and Danny are physically in separate teams, Abby has a chance to shine again. Danny’s gung-ho attitude to the creatures clashes with Abby’s approach, and you have to wonder if he would have let her attempt to save the dracorex if he had been there with them, and how much Abby would have stood up to him. Of course, in Primeval, the team leader and hero of the show can’t be shown to be wrong, so it’s possibly a deliberate separation in order to prevent them from openly arguing with each other here.
When Sarah joins them, talking loudly on the phone, Becker shushes her, presumably so that Abby can concentrate. She is stitching the dracorex with the wire, while Becker seems to be helping to control the bleeding.
Later, Connor turns up and takes over from Becker. Connor asks how the dracorex is doing, and Abby tells him the wound is okay, but it is shock that is killing the creature. She thinks if it can survive for another hour it might be okay. Connor asks if there’s anything he can do to help, and Abby seems both momentarily surprised, and also grateful, for the offer. She takes Connor’s hand, but it’s only for a moment so that she can show him where to apply pressure to the wound. She is entirely focussed on the creature, and right now that is all that matters to her.
A while later, Abby is sure that the creature is going to be okay, and she breathes a sigh of relief. Connor smiles with her, although it’s likely that his emotional investment in the creature is because it is important to Abby, rather than about the creature itself.
Abby is still tending to the dracorex when the knight return, holding Sarah at sword point. Connor tries, unsuccessfully, to block his path, and when it becomes apparent that the knight is going to kill the dracorex, Abby scrambles over the creature and puts herself between it and the knight. Abby fights him, putting her kickboxing skills to good use again, and manages to knock the knight to the ground before Sarah intervenes and tries to reason with the knight again. She fails, and the knight makes another attempt to kill the dracorex.
This time, Abby doesn’t try to fight, she simply puts herself bodily in the way of the sword blow, shouting that she will not let him kill it, so the knight determines to cut them both down. Becker arrives, but Sarah stops him from shooting the knight, claiming that it will change history, while Connor argues that he is going to kill Abby, they have to stop him.
The knight readies himself to attack again, and Abby simply stands there, preparing herself for the blow. This is enough to make the knight hesitate.
Knight: You would sacrifice yourself for this savage beast?
Abby: (Defiant) Willingly.
When the knight is finally persuaded to give up his quest to kill the creature, he breaks down, sobbing. Abby looks shocked and upset at his outburst, and kneels beside him and takes his hand. It’s likely she is coming down from her own adrenaline high right then, and can sympathise with him.
Abby can be either quite hit and miss, or else extremely deliberately selective in her ability to read other people, but on this occasion she calls it perfectly. By showing that she is willing to sacrifice herself for the creature, she proves to the knight that she and the dracorex are not the ‘demons’ that he believes them to be. It’s a good, but dangerous, piece of psychology. At first I wasn’t entirely convinced that she actually did it on purpose, but if she didn’t think it would stop the knight then she would probably have carried on fighting him, rather than just standing there blocking the way, so it must have been at least partly planned on her part.
When the knight has gone, Abby and Connor are standing side by side at the anomaly site, and have a conversation that shows just how well they both know each other.
Connor: So, what you going to do with the dracorex?
Abby: I’m going to wait until an anomaly opens to the right time period and then put him back. (Abby’s shifty smile all the way through this answer suggests she has no such intentions in the slightest).
Connor: (Turns to Abby with a knowing grin) You can’t keep him, you know. I mean, for one thing I don’t think he’d fit in the flat.
Abby: I wasn’t going to. (Off Connor’s look) Well, not forever.
As with the diictodons in 3.3, they are both on the same wavelength, and Connor knows her well enough to know exactly what she is thinking.
Link to part 19 - episode 3.6
Link to part 21 - episode 3.8