Series 3, episode 8
The team arrive at a race track, and as they get out of the car, Abby is bantering with Connor and Becker, and laughing with Sarah at the boys’ expense. After their bonding over the dracorex in the previous episode, it seems Abby is now a great deal more comfortable with Becker.
They get to the large warehouse and find the anomaly, and Abby steps in a patch of slime on the floor. She identifies it as some sort animal secretion, but offers no further speculation about what kind of animal (even Abby’s super ninja animal skills can’t discern a lot from a blob of goo, unfortunately).
We next see Abby picking the splattered remains of the giant insect off the front of the race car, and examining them, before putting them in a bucket. Abby gets all the best jobs! To be fair, though, she actually looks more fascinated than disgusted by the remains of the creature.
She gives it a preliminary identification as some kind of ant, but decides she’ll need to do a full autopsy.
At her flat, probably later that evening, Abby catches Jack going through her bag, and realises he has seen her hand held detector. She tells him to keep out of her stuff, sounding both annoyed and slightly worried. Jack continues to ask questions, and Abby tells him it’s a sat-nav for work, but her tone of voice is now angry and she’s losing patience with his sarcastic comments and prying questions. She walks off, taking her bag with her. It’s clear now that she really doesn’t trust Jack with her things, and is starting to get annoyed with him being around, probably not surprising after the business with Rex in the previous episode.
The next morning, Abby grabs her bag and phone and stuff, on the way out to work. Jack, who has been largely ignoring her to play a computer game, asks her what’s happening at the zoo, and she responds with, “The usual.” Jack then starts probing further again, saying he doesn’t know what ‘the usual’ is because she never talks about it. Abby just brushes him off and leaves. Then we see Jack has stolen her hand held detector.
Abby seems to consistently underestimate Jack, and clearly she hasn’t thought of a decent cover story, despite his questions, because she keeps just brushing him off and dodging around the issue rather than giving him an actual answer. While her irritation with him is now beginning to show more often, she still seems to be letting him lounge around the house all day, apparently not doing much of anything. And despite the fact that she told Connor it would only be for a few days, it appears a couple of weeks, may have passed since he arrived (assuming that at least a few days, if not a week, passes between one episode and the next except where it is obviously a two-parter, or obviously immediately follows on the next day which may be the case with episode 3.6 and 3.7).
In the ARC labs, Abby has finished examining the remains of the insect, and identified which modern insect group it is probably part of. She has also discovered that the stinger has evolved into an ovipositor – it lays its eggs inside a host body. She has to explain the latter part to Danny, appearing less than impressed with his blasé attitude, and complete lack of interest in the creatures. She also reports finding high levels of a chemical in the creature, the same chemical that Sarah found on the artefact. It’s Danny who voices the obvious conclusion, though – that they might have an anomaly to the same future that the artefact came from.
Abby may well have been doing lots of studying in the last couple of years, because back in series 1 she seemed a little out of her comfort zone when it came to dealing with insects rather than vertebrate animals. Now, however, she comes across as something of an expert. Of course, the alternative explanation is that it's yet another of the bad character continuity flaws of series 3, but let's be generous and assume that Abby has been brushing up on her insect skills, shall we?
When Jack answers the phone dropped by the soldiers on guard at the anomaly, Abby takes the phone from Connor straight away, and immediately jumps to the correct conclusion – “You stole my detector.” Jack responds with, “Well it serves you right for lying to me.” It’s no wonder Abby doesn’t like to tell him things if that’s his level of maturity.
As soon as he blurts out that they (the soldiers) are dead, Abby immediately goes from annoyed to worried, and looks to Connor. We hear her over the phone telling Jack to calm down and tell her what is going on, but he’s already dropped the phone and gone. It’s typical Abby, trying to stop people from panicking, and looking to deal with the practicalities first. There’s just slightly more of an edge this time, though, because it’s her brother who is potentially in danger.
At the anomaly site, Abby immediately realises that Jack has gone through the anomaly (a conclusion mostly reached simply due to the fact that there’s no sign of him). When Danny questions how Jack was even here, Abby admits he took her detector, but when Danny has a go at her for being careless, she snaps back that Jack went through her bag. We’ve seen her take responsibility for her mistakes in the past, especially in series 1, but this time it seems Abby won’t accept the full responsibility. Jack isn’t one of the team, and there is no need for solidarity within the group on this occasion.
While Danny, Connor and Sarah debate fixing the anomaly locking device, Abby walks up to the anomaly with the obvious intention of going through. Becker immediately argues they need to wait for backup, but Abby ignores him and goes through by herself.
On the other side, Abby seems shocked by the landscape they find themselves in, and while she is obviously looking around for signs of Jack, she is at least sensible enough to stay with the group and not race off on her own in this strange world. She even joins in the conversation about how far in the future this might be. Theorising about what happened to this world isn’t high on her priority list at this moment, but Abby is still paying attention, no doubt so that she has all the facts that might help in the search.
When Becker suggests Jack might have been spooked, Abby replies that he will be somewhere nearby, “He’s not an idiot.” Connor’s, “Huh,” and Becker’s expression say everything about their views on that statement, presumably because those two are both aware of the truth about what happened to Rex in the previous episode. What is interesting is that Abby continues to defend Jack, despite all evidence to the contrary, and despite her own anger with him. Blood is most definitely thicker than water in this case.
When they spot the race car, Abby indicates with an almost triumphant smile, as if to say, look, there it is, I told you he was here. And also, presumably, relief that they have found him so quickly. As they head in that direction, Abby calls out for Jack, while the others move a little more cautiously.
Abby is utterly focussed on the car in the distance, and is completely unaware of the future predator that is stalking them. Even Connor notices it before Abby does, although Becker does shout a warning. Connor grabs Abby and drags her against the wall, covering her mouth so that she doesn’t attract the attention of the predator. Abby freezes, and doesn’t attempt to resist Connor at all. She doesn’t appear to have seen the predator at this point still, so it’s another sign of how much she trusts Connor that she doesn’t fight or argue if he suddenly does something like that in a dangerous situation.
Becker shoots the predator, and then they duck into cover. Abby immediately turns on Becker.
Abby: (Anger and blame dripping from every word) Well done. You’ve just alerted every predator for miles.
Becker: (Only slightly less angry) Well I didn’t have much choice, did I, Abigail?
Connor gives Becker and Danny a quick idiot’s guide to future predators, and Abby adds in the part about them using echo location to locate their prey – hence her outburst at Becker for shooting one of them. Throughout Connor’s info dump about predators, Abby is fidgeting impatiently, and her expression suggests she’s already thinking the worst case scenarios about what may have happened to Jack. Becker insists yet again that they have to wait for backup, and Abby immediately argues back that Jack might be injured and they can’t leave him alone, especially now they know there are predators.
As we’ve seen on many occasions before, Abby can only see the immediate problem, and acts impulsively.
It’s Danny who finally decides to go on, but not without telling Abby in no uncertain terms to calm down and stop running off. Abby acquiesces to his instruction, presumably because she recognises that at the moment Danny is the only thing stopping Becker from dragging them all back home.
The main problem here is that Becker and Abby are both being particularly inflexible. Becker no doubt recognises that in her current mood, Abby is likely to do something reckless that will get them all in trouble, while Abby is scared to death about what may have happened to Jack, and this is blinkering her to any other possible ways of approaching the problem. Their fledgling friendship isn’t ready for this amount of strain yet, and neither of them seems prepared to offer a compromise.
Abby does look to Connor for moral support a couple of times, and while he doesn’t join in the arguments, they share one of those looks that mean Abby knows that he will follow her.
Danny gets attacked by a baby predator, and while everyone is paying attention to his injury, Abby goes off ahead on her own. Becker spots her (chances are he was watching for her doing something like that), and heads after her, and when another baby predator appears he drags her into a building, waving the others in after them.
This is the crunch point. Becker, and then Danny both tell her to stop being an idiot and that they need to go back and get a proper search and rescue team (not necessarily in those words). Abby’s reaction when even Danny joins in is to look away with an expression of disappointment, but not surprise. Then Connor finally speaks up as well, and it all goes downhill rapidly.
Connor: Danny’s right.
Abby: (Shines a torch in Connor’s face) You too? (Her expression now is anger and disbelief).
Connor: I’m just trying to be sensible.
Abby: You’ve always hated him, haven’t you? (Connor shakes his head, stunned by the accusation). You’d be happy if he was dead. (Abby deliberately shoves Connor back, and he can only stand there with his trademark kicked puppy expression as Abby ignores them all and heads back out into the street again).
This is an extreme example of behaviour that we’ve seen before. Abby doesn’t deal well with people openly disagreeing with her, particularly not on issues that really matter. She also has a tendency to overreact to anything she might consider a betrayal, whether real or perceived. We saw this in 2.6 when she rejected Stephen after he failed to turn up at the mammoth incident and then publicly sided with Helen. We saw it in 2.4 when Connor tried to defend Caroline after they found Rex in the fridge. We’ll see it again in series 4.
Without wishing to state the obvious, the closer and more trusted the person who is disagreeing with her, the more extreme Abby’s reaction becomes. She barely reacted to Becker’s final demand for her to stop and think, because she probably expected nothing else from him. She appeared disappointed when Danny joined him, because previously Danny had been supporting her and she had thought she could rely on him. When Connor finally suggests that maybe the other two have a point, it’s enough to push Abby completely over the edge because Connor is the one person who she thought she could completely trust and rely on, no matter what.
So Abby does what Abby always does when she’s hurt and angry and feeling betrayed – she lashes out at the person who has hurt her, and that, yet again, is Connor.
Abby runs off and Danny goes after her, followed by the others. Another predator appears and homes in on Abby and Danny, and Abby turns and presses her hand against Danny’s heart – she knows the predator will sense them. They freeze, cornered against a wall, and are only saved by Connor yelling and attracting the predator’s attention. Abby stares at Connor, and he tells her to go, while the predator heads towards him. Abby waits until she (presumably) sees the predator die, shot by Becker, and then heads off again without a word (I’m actually assuming that she did see the predator die, because otherwise it means she abandoned Connor to be ripped apart by the creature, and no matter how desperate she is to find Jack, I refuse to believe she would do that to Connor).
Danny catches up with her again a short way off.
Abby: I didn’t ask for your help.
Danny: Well you’ve got it.
Abby: He’s the only family I’ve got. I have to help him.
Danny: Listen, I’ll make you a deal. We go to the car, if Jack’s there, then great. If not, we go back, we get support, and we start the search again. I will not give up on him, I promise.
For most of this conversation Abby refuses to look at Danny. She only turns towards him when he offers her the deal. She’s still scared and angry, and she tries to push him away at first. What she says about Jack being her only family is interesting, and this is the first time we’ve heard it. What has happened to their parents? We never find out, unfortunately, but we can speculate.
One obvious suggestion is that their parents are dead, which may explain how Abby can afford all those huge flats if she had inheritance money to live on as well as her job.
The other obvious suggestion is that they were taken into care at some point and have had no contact with their parents for some time. This would tie in with the way that Abby has always seemed reluctant to discuss her past and her family, and also with the way she appears to feel responsible for Jack – as the older sibling, it’s possible that she felt protective and took care of Jack when they were removed from their parents. It also fits well with Abby’s fierce independence, and her trust/betrayal issues. We will never know for certain, but based on all available evidence, it seems the most likely scenario.
And speaking of trust, her final agreement with Danny’s offer probably reflects the fact that she knows Danny has lost his younger brother to the anomalies as well, so he, among all the team, is most likely to understand and share her determination. Although to be perfectly honest, I have my doubts as to whether she would have willingly left if they didn’t find Jack at the car.
Abby again runs ahead to check the car, and turns back to Danny with a terrified and devastated look – there’s no sign of Jack. Before it can come to an argument, they hear Jack calling for help from a nearby building. Abby looks relieved, but she’s not exactly jumping for joy yet – she knows they’re not out of the woods. Abby calls down to him, but gets straight to the point, telling Jack he has to keep quiet rather than trying to comfort him. When he starts complaining about the disgusting creatures down there, Abby comments, “He’s okay.”
Connor and Becker arrive, and Danny goes down to rescue Jack. Why doesn’t Abby go herself? Maybe she realises she’s pushed it enough with Danny, and that she needs to back off a bit, or maybe she’s being practical and knows that Danny is physically stronger and stands a better chance of being able to help Jack to get out if he is injured.
Abby is smiling by the time Connor and Becker reach her, and there’s a very brief hand on her shoulder from Becker. Now they’re not arguing and the end is in sight, they’re all one team and they’ve got each other’s backs. Danny calls for a rope, and at first Abby and Connor try to pull Jack out, while Becker stands guard. They can’t take the weight, though, and Abby calls for Becker to swap places with her, which he does, giving her his gun. She may be wilful and independent, but Abby is also practical and realistic, and right then she knows they need the strongest people helping to get Jack out, and right then that isn’t her.
Only a few moments later, however, Abby sees the gathering predators, and again swaps places with Becker as he takes the gun back. Abby and Connor are once again trying to pull Jack up, and can only stare in shock and horror, Abby shouting his name, as Becker attracts the predators and lures them all away, apparently sacrificing himself to give them time to save Jack.
When they finally get out, and Danny throws explosives into the building, Abby tries to protect Jack from the resulting explosion, while Connor tries to protect Abby. Danny can apparently fend for himself!
They take refuge in an abandoned bus.
Danny: (To Connor) Becker?
Connor: (Shakes his head). He tried to save us.
Abby: (To Jack) You okay?
Jack: I’m in agony. If you’d told me the truth I wouldn’t even be here. Where are we? How come it took you guys so long to get here? I mean, I was terrified.
Abby: (Standing up and all but shouting at Jack) Becker sacrificed himself to save you. Is that all you can say?
Danny: (Pushing past them) Keep that kid away from me.
Jack: Who’s Becker?
Connor: He’s the man who just took on a pack of killers to save your skin.
Abby: So? So, what? (Abby grabs Jack and drags him to his feet, shoving him and getting right in his face) He’s dead and it’s your fault. Stupid, selfish... (Jack cries out in pain as she shoves him) I thought you were dead. Come here. (Abby pulls Jack into a hug and rocks him a little.)
Jack: Sorry. I’m sorry.
Abby: (Turns to Danny) Can we go home?
We, the viewers, are all well aware by now that Jack is a selfish idiot, but this is the most extreme example yet, and this time even Abby loses patience with him. She finally stops indulging him and lets rip with several things she has probably wanted to say for some time.
Jack is the exact opposite of everything that Abby prides in herself – team loyalty, accepting responsibility for your own actions, bravery, and compassion. She loves him because he is her brother, but at the same time she clearly doesn’t like the kind of person he is, and she can’t believe he is still acting like this even in the current situation. Abby, of course, is still scared, and also now no doubt feeling guilty about Becker, considering he was the one who argued most strenuously that it was a stupid plan, but was still willing to risk everything to make sure they succeeded in Abby’s mission.
Again, this seems to indicate that Abby may have taken a lot of responsibility for Jack when they were young, and also perhaps indulged him to over-compensate for the loss of their normal family life. This may be how Abby herself turned out so mature, while Jack turned into a spoilt brat.
At the end, Abby turns to Danny and asks to go home. All the way so far she has been the driving force of the mission. Now that they have found Jack, and now that Abby probably recognises she is starting to come down from the emotional and adrenaline high, she looks to Danny to take over and lead them.
They realise they are surrounded by predators, and when Connor outlines their options (basically, they are going to die here), Abby looks to Connor rather than to anyone else.
They take their chance when the predators are distracted, and Abby leads the way as they all run for the anomaly. She’s also the first one to run to Becker when he reappears to save them yet again, the relief in her voice obvious.
After they get home, Abby and Jack have another talk, and when Jack asks what actually happened, Abby replies, “If I told you, Becker would have to kill you, and he’s already looking for an excuse.” Now things have calmed down and everyone is safe, she can joke again. I’m fairly certain that comment was also within Becker’s earshot, implying neither of them is particularly holding a grudge about things that were said in the heat of the moment earlier.
Abby admonishes Jack not to frighten her like that again. This sounds more like something a parent would say to their child, reinforcing the idea she may have at least partially raised him in the absence of parents. Jack decides it’s time he left, and Abby agrees, looking a little relieved. She may feel responsible for him, but there’s only so much she will put up with, and also she just wants him to be as far away from danger as possible. Jack then tells her the truth about what happened to Rex, and Connor’s part in it.
Abby goes to Connor, standing a little over him on a stair balcony, and stares at him with a serious expression until he becomes uncomfortable. This is an interesting way of setting the scene, because it’s a reverse position to the last occasion when they had a significant exchange about their relationship in 2.4, when Connor was standing on a raised floor in their flat and Abby was looking up at him.
Connor: Why are you staring at me?
Abby: Jack told me what you did.
Connor: (With an expression that suggests he thinks he’s about to get shouted at again) Whatever it is, there’s a reasonable explanation for it.
Abby: He told me about gambling Rex and you getting him back.
Abby: You could have made Jack look really bad, but you didn’t. Why not?
Connor: I know how much you loved him. I didn’t want you to be hurt. Sorry.
Abby: Even after I said all those horrible and unfair things about you hating him, you still kept quiet. (Pause) You did all that for me.
Connor: (Looks like he’s bracing himself) Abby, I... I want... I mean... (He looks frustrated and sighs) I feel that we... I want to say...
Abby: (Finally takes pity on him) Connor. (Abby smiles) Shut up.
And then she leans down and kisses him, gently at first, but then she reaches down and slips a hand around the back of his head and holds him while she prolongs the kiss for some time. We don’t see Abby’s expression when she finally breaks the kiss, but she then walks away without saying anything else.
Apart from being the moment that every single Connor/Abby fan has been waiting three years for, this is also the first time that Abby has been the one to initiate anything significant between them. She lets Connor try, and fail, to get the words out until she eventually decides to take control of the moment before he makes a mess of it. Abby undoubtedly means it as a thank you, and as an apology as much as anything else, but she has also just had a real wake-up call about how far Connor is prepared to go to protect her. That, on top of all the emotion of the day, makes her act spontaneously, and Abby shows just how much she does care about him.
Link to part 20 - episode 3.7
Link to part 22 - episode 3.9