Episode 2.4 is the fourth episode of the second series of Primeval. It was broadcast as Underwater Menace [1] in North America, as Der Kanal (The Canal)[2] in Germany and as Disparitions (Disappearances)[3] in France.


"An Anomaly opens underwater, dragging a teenager into a flooded drain leading to a canal. As the team launches a frantic search, Jenny narrowly escapes with her life when her boat is attacked by a shark - although the youngster is not so lucky. The team is convinced he was killed by the big fish, but Cutter is not so sure, believing there is a different creature out there."[4]

Full synopsis

At a park on the Isle of Dogs where a basketball game is occurring, one of the teenage boys, Lucien Hope, is dragged into a rapidly-flooded drain while retrieving the ball from it. At the same time, the Anomaly Detection Device goes off with a new Anomaly alert at the ARC, but the Anomaly apparently closes before the detector can trace its exact location.

Cutter and the team go to investigate Lucien's disappearance at the drain, where the overflowing water has since drained away. Looking at how the drain suddenly flooded when Lucien disappeared against below-average monthly rainfall, Cutter concludes that the Anomaly was underwater. Cutter and Stephen head down into the drain to look for any evidence that Lucien is still alive; and while they're down there, they hear an inhuman vocalised singing, but whatever creature is making it disappears into the water before they can see it. Cutter points out that the creature can only escape out into the local canal.

The team launch a search of the canal for the creature which progresses well into the night. Throughout the search, it is clear that there is a lot of tension between Connor and Abby, who are constantly arguing over Caroline. At one point Cutter finds the molted skin of an animal, which he believes came from a mammal. Later, Abby thinks she sees something in the water, and while she argues with Connor, something hits their boat and causes Jenny to fall out. The crew then see a shark-like dorsal fin cutting through the water towards Jenny. She frantically tries to swim back to the boat, but the creature is approaching quickly. Cutter and Stephen’s boat arrives just in time, and Cutter pulls Jenny to safety while Stephen shoots and kills the creature.

The shark-like creature's body is subsequently taken back to the ARC to be examined. Upon pulling a teeth-covered proboscis out of the creature's mouth which it must have fired out at its prey to pull them in, Cutter concludes that they aren't dealing with a creature from the past - they are looking at a future evolution of the shark. Cutter proceeds to cut the creature's body open to confirm Lucien's death - Cutter's search of the stomach reveals Lucien's basketball and one of his sneaks swallowed whole, but no human remains. This leads Stephen to believe that there's another future shark out there that was responsible, but Cutter remembers the singing they heard in the sewer (which a shark lacks the vocal chords to produce), as well as the mammalian hide, and believes that it could be something else. Cutter speculates that the other creature is a mammalian aquatic predator like a seal or walrus. When Cutter and Stephen take their respective arguments to Lester, Stephen is convinced that it must be in the canal, but Cutter points out that if the creature is a mammal then it may be able to leave the water. Lester sides with Stephen in searching the canal the next day.

Meanwhile, when their work is done, Connor and Abby return to her flat, to find Caroline asleep on the sofa and Rex trapped in the fridge barely alive. Abby blames Caroline for the incident, who claims it was an accident before she swiftly departs the scene. As a result, Connor and Abby's friendship swiftly begins to deteriorate.

Stephen is convinced that there must be a second shark in the water and that is what killed the teenage boy, but Cutter isn't convinced. He thinks there is a different creature out there, a marine mammal, and he feels certain they are looking for it in the wrong place. Despite orders from Lester to the contrary, Cutter decides to follow his hunch and explore beyond the canal. In his search he spots and pursues a suspicious-looking man, who he recognizes as the cleaner from the shopping centre where the raptors appeared. The man knocks Cutter out and escapes before he can be questioned.

Soon after, Cutter faintly hears the “singing” of the creatures again, this time coming from below the water at the canal. With the help of Connor and Abby (who, much to Cutter's annoyance, are still at each other's throats), he records the sounds. They then play the recordings back, hoping to lure the creature to them. The plan works a little too well when the large, seal-like creature jumps out of the water and grabs Abby, dragging her beneath the water. The team desperately search the canal looking for Abby but they can find no trace of either her or the creature. Stephen and Cutter presume she must be dead and reluctantly call off the search. Connor is beside himself with anger and worry when Lester arrives, who promptly has Jenny take the distraught Connor home, fires Cutter for disobeying orders and indirectly causing Abby's death, and puts Stephen in charge of the operation. However, Cutter remains in the area watching the search. In secret, Jenny provides Cutter with information about a flooded warehouse, which Cutter deduces could be the lair of the creatures. Cutter contacts Connor and apologizes for what happened as well as for for being arrogant, and convinces him to help find the creature rather than let Abby's death be in vain. Connor does so, explaining to Cutter that he is only helping in regret for the cruel and spiteful things he and Abby said to each other before her death. Cutter consoles him with the thought that Abby knew he cared for her. They search the warehouse that has apparently flooded and Connor is overjoyed to find Abby and Lucien are still alive: the creatures were storing them for food. This excitement is short lived when Abby is taken by one of the creatures, dubbed 'the Mer'. Connor goes off to search for her, while Lucien and Cutter are left to fight the remaining Mer on their own. Fortunately, Stephen, who has been scanning the drains with a remote control submarine, sees what is happening and arrives just in time to swing the battle in Cutter's favour, using a machine gun to cut down the Mer without mercy.

Connor finds Abby just as she is dragged through the anomaly by a gargantuan red-skinned Mer, called the MerQueen. He gives chase to find himself on an apocalyptic shoreline millions of years in the future: the sky is dark and lightning strikes frequently. On the rocks below, the creatures gather, fighting among themselves for food. Connor finds Abby below a cliff ledge beneath him, being menaced by one of the Mer; he slays the creature by hurling a rock at its head. Abby tries to climb up but she loses her footing on the ascent, leaving her dangling with Connor holding her by one hand, her weight threatening to drag them both to their deaths. The Mer, seeing their prey is escaping, launch an attack, including the huge red-skinned MerQueen that took Abby. She begs Connor to let her go, saying there is no point in getting them both killed, but Connor refuses, simply saying, "I love you." As all seems lost and Connor is about to lose his grip, he throws his hand out...and Cutter grabs it, having followed through the anomaly with Stephen. Cutter and Connor pull Abby to safety, seconds before the MerQueen can get her, and then Stephen and Cutter, who have brought guns with them, open fire on the red-skinned Mer below, killing the beast.

Back in the present day, Lucien is sent home to his family, thanking Abby and Connor for their help, referring to him as 'her boyfriend', a claim Abby denies. Lester arrives with Leek; Lester orders the anomaly site to be sealed in concrete, grudgingly thanks Cutter for returning to their aid, and criticises Stephen for failing to expand the search. In private, Abby asks Cutter if what they saw through the anomaly is their future, but Cutter explains humanity will be extinct long before then, or perhaps mankind will simply return to the waters from where they came: the Mer could potentially be descended from humans. Back at her flat, Abby and Connor discuss what was said back in the anomaly: before they can admit their feelings for each other, an interruption in the form of Caroline intervenes.

Meanwhile, in a secluded car park, Oliver Leek is in a meeting in his car with 'the Cleaner', who is speaking via video-link, and a shadowy figure on the back seat. Leek warns the Cleaner mistakes like letting Cutter see him are jeopardising 'the operation' and warns him to stay out of sight in future. Once the Cleaner has cut communication, Leek promises the figure in the back of his car such mistakes will not happen again. The figure leans forward - revealing herself to be Helen Cutter - and warns Leek that similar failures will not be tolerated, and coldly comments she may have made a mistake in choosing Leek to aid her. Leek promises that it won't happen again, as he 'has a lot riding on this', and then Helen vanishes from the car, leaving Leek visibly shaken.

Cast and crew





Objects and technology




  • Cutter mentioned to Jenny that it's been eight and a half years since Helen's departure through the Anomalies, placing this episode as taking place around six months after early episodes in Series 1 and possibly Episode 2.1.


  • This episode is one of five to receive Audio commentaries by the producers/director.
  • The Wilhelm Scream is heard from a main character and not a random victim. Connor screams it when the MerQueen swipes him into the water.
  • This is the first time, onscreen, that Abby and Connor have travelled through an Anomaly, though it is the second time because they travelled through one in The Lost Island.
  • This was the first time a future world was shown on Primeval.
  • The real-world location used for the anomaly site in this episode was Abbey Mills Pumping Station in London. The Future shoreline was filmed in the Canary Islands.


  • When Cutter pulls the basketball out of the Future Shark, the ball bounces past Abby's right side, but a scene cut shows her momentarily looking to her left, then it cuts back to her looking right.
  • When Lucien is in the stretcher and calls Abby over, Stephen, Nick and some Special Forces soldiers are waiting in the background, however a few moments later, in another shot, they are gone but walk back into the same positions from behind a wall.

Story connections

  • Cutter mentioned he recongnised the Cleaner from the Shopping Mall, in Episode 2.1. Connor mentioned how he had seen the Cleaner disguised as a soldier in the ARC, in Episode 2.2.
  • Connor mentions his love for Abby to her, his indications are seen in almost all previous episodes.
  • In Episode 2.5, Connor talks to Stephen about how he told Abby that he loves her.
  • The Mer return in episodes 2.6 and 2.7.


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