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Abby Meta - Part 20. Episode 3.7 - athene
Abby Meta - Part 20. Episode 3.7

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

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23 comments or Leave a comment
nietie From: nietie Date: June 24th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked it that Abby and Sarah both had a huge part in this episode.

But once again I think the bahaviour of the characters is subordinate to the storyline. Abby and Becker seem a lot like Cutter and Stephen in the previous series with their discussions about saving the creatures or saving the team members/humans. And of course Abby pointing the gun at Becker has to emphasize that.

But all in all this ep had a lot of girl power and Sarah finally had a significant part in it.

deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 24th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Abby did very much seem to be taking over Cutter's role of arguing to save and protect the creatures in this episode, which was nice, and shows they hadn't completely forgotten the way things used to be.

I suppose an obvious parallel is Cutter shoving Ryan in 1.5 when the pteranodon was chasing Connor - he could have been putting Connor's life in danger doing that, just as Abby puts Becker in danger here.

But once they stop arguing over how to deal with the creatures, I really like the way that Abby and Becker work together in this.
nietie From: nietie Date: June 24th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although their interaction seems a bit awkward at the beginning, I like the Abby and Becker moments, especially later in S4 and S5.
clea2011 From: clea2011 Date: June 24th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I finally got around to rewatching this one the other day and enjoyed it more than I remembered, mostly due to the Abby and Becker scenes and perhaps because I hadn't watched it for so long that it was like a new episode!
They'd definitely struggle to keep the dracorex in the flat. Might deal with the Jack problem though! *g*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 24th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
This one really isn't one of my favourite episodes at all, it's on a par with 3.2 for how little I ever rewatch it. I think the best thing about this ep is the Abby/Becker interaction, and of course the bit with Connor's Army at the end!

But that said, it is a good episode for Abby doing her thing with the animals and being competent and taking charge.

I like the idea of a creature eating Jack. In fact, whenever I rewatch 3.8 I do have a tendency to wish the predators or the insects had got him!
freddiejoey From: freddiejoey Date: June 24th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Close to my favourite episode ever!!

Love the knight!!

Thanks for a terrific meta.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 24th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I'm not a fan of this ep generally, but it does have some lovely individual moments and scenes within it.
judithjohn From: judithjohn Date: June 24th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have wonderful memories of Sarah from this episode and I love the adorable little scene with Abby and Connor talking about the dracorex.

Thank you
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 24th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. It is a good ep for Sarah, and I love how Connor immediately just *knows* what Abby is thinking about the dracorex!
knitekat From: knitekat Date: June 24th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a nice episode, not a favourite, but it certainly has some nice bits ;) It is a very good episode for Abby and Sarah, although once more they are at the mercy of the plot.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 25th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's definitely one of the better eps for both Abby and Sarah in this series, and they are both being competent.
natchris From: natchris Date: June 25th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the timey wimey aspect of this episode when Becker and Abby argue over what should be done with the knight.

Thanks for another interesting meta,
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 25th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
celeste9 From: celeste9 Date: June 25th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I do think Abby and Becker make an interesting pair, they are both stubborn to a fault! As you said, if they could ever actually agree they'd make a fabulous team.

And that scene with the tranquilisers bothers me for the reason you pointed out, that it makes it look like Abby cares more about the creatures than her teammates. I don't actually believe that's true, but it's very sloppy writing that makes it seem that way. I love that Abby's first instinct is to protect the creatures, but I can't imagine she would ever willingly put someone in danger to do so.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 25th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep, they're both ridiculously stubborn ,and that's part of the problem, both here and in the next ep, 3.8. It wouldn't have taken much to compromise - try tranqs first and only use real guns as an absolute last resort, but instead they both opted for completely polar opposite postions!

And yet, once they're both working to the same aim, they do seem to make a great team.

I really don't think that scene where Abby threatens to shoot Becker works at all. If she wanted to stop him shooting the creatre, there were plenty of other ways to do it without actually threatening him!
joshinator From: joshinator Date: June 25th, 2012 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I love recalling the many twists and turns of Abby Maitland.

Thanks again for all your hard work
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 25th, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks, glad you're enjoying it.
dreamer_98 From: dreamer_98 Date: June 25th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Abby and Becker's dynamic in this episode is interesting. They seem to be close friends in the later series, but here they don't appear to know each other very well, and they clearly have different priorities when it comes to the creatures.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 25th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think this is the first occasion that Abby and Becker have ever really worked together without other members of the team being around as well. They certainly dont get off to the best of starts, but that may be because they don't know each other that well at this point.

It's interesting to see how close they seem to become in series 4 and 5, after such a rocky start here. Perhaps the introduction of the EMDs as non-lethal weapons takes away the major source of argument between them.
lsellersfic From: lsellersfic Date: June 27th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do wish Primeval had attempted travelling into human history a little more often, though I don't think it is handled particularly well here - or at least the Danny can do anything stuff irritates me unreasonably. It's a good Abby episode though.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: June 27th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I feel exactly the opposite - I didn't (and still don't) want them to do historical time periods, I'd far rather stick to distant prehistory. For that reason, and also the 'Danny is ridiculously awesome at absolutely everything' thing, this is one of my least favourite episodes from the whole of Primeval.

But yes, it is a very good one for Abby.
cordeliadelayne From: cordeliadelayne Date: June 30th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice write-up! It's nice to see how well respected Abby is, when she has the chance to show what she can do. And I'd forgotten how cute that last scene was with her and Connor :D
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 1st, 2012 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)
this is probably the best 'Abby episode' in the whole of series 3, and it's great to see her doing her thing. I love how Connor knows exactly what she's thinking about the dracorex!
23 comments or Leave a comment