|Episode no. :||1|
|Broadcast :||22 July, 2006|
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A Mammoth Undertaking
|Your opinion :||T-Rex Returns/User Reviews|
T-Rex Returns - broadcast in France as Le retour du Tyrannosaure (The return of Tyrannosaurus) and in Spain as El regreso del tiranosaurio rex (The return of Tyrannosaurus rex) - is the first episode of Prehistoric Park.
When the episode begins, the park workers are constructing the enclosures that will house the park's prehistoric inhabitants. The park's creator Nigel Marven explains that the location of the park is optimal for housing such creatures: the climate is warm and tropical (something especially necessary for housing reptiles), and there are natural barriers like a mountain range and the ocean enclosing the area, should an animal ever escape. Nigel also knows exactly what he's going to bring back first: the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.
In his base, Nigel explains that he will be traveling to the very end of the Cretaceous period to ancient Montana in order to find a Tyrannosaurus. Fossils show that the superpredator was fairly common in that time and place, so it shouldn't be a problem to find one. Nigel and his crew set off through the Time Portal to begin their mission.
Once the crew has set up camp in view of a large mountain, Nigel heads into the nearby forest. He notices some interesting signs in the undergrowth: small plants have been stripped of their leaves, and there is a distinctive three-toed footprint marked in the ground.
In a grove of bushes, there is a rustling noise, which may be the mystery creature. With a loud alarm cry, Nigel's attention is drawn to an odd looking creature with a long neck, a beak, and bright blue skin, which turns out to be an Ornithomimus. Other individuals pop their heads out from the bushes, and it becomes apparent that this animal is the sentry keeping a lookout while the rest of the flock feeds. Nigel decides to catch one of them, and manages to nab one while the rest of the herd runs off. He attempts to calm his catch down by putting a sock over its head, but this is difficult while the animal is struggling. Because he is wrangling with the Ornithomimus, Nigel fails to notice some unsettling noises coming from the forest.
Suddenly, the herd runs back the way it came, apparently being chased by something else. Nigel's concentration is broken and his target escapes, but he has something else to worry about: three hunting Tyrannosaurus have stumbled upon him. Nigel makes a break for it and runs deep into the forest, where the predators cannot pursue him due to the risk of tripping over the fallen trees. Empty-handed, he returns to camp as the sun sets.
In the morning, Nigel is washing his face at the river his team camped next to when a herd of Triceratops arrives for a morning drink. While watching them, he explains what their full name Triceratops horridus literally means, "horrid three-horned face". Nigel doesn't know why, because he thinks they are beautiful animals.
Nigel resumes his search and comes across Tyrannosaurus footprints on a volcanic field. He follows the track-way to a pack of Tyrannosaurus that have made home on the fields. Nigel hides behind a rock and waits for the tyrannosaurs to leave, and then searches the area looking for a nest of eggs. He believes that if he can bring eggs back to Prehistoric Park, it will be much easier than herding adult animals through. However, the only eggs he finds are crushed and shattered, having hatched a long time ago.The day ends, with still no luck. But something much more worrying is approaching: a giant meteorite dubbed the K/T meteorite is due to hit the Earth at about this time, and it is believed to have caused a massive extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs themselves. Already, there are signs that the meteorite is nearing, because as Nigel sits by the campfire he can see a barrage of small shooting stars burning up in the atmosphere. The shooting stars themselves cause no harm, but they herald the coming of the much larger threat.
The next day, there is trouble: the pack of Tyrannosaurus has arrived at the river where the herd of Triceratops is feeding. The pack charges, and the herd is thrown into chaos. The larger Triceratops try to fend the predators off, while the juveniles scatter in a stampede, knocking Nigel off his feet and bruising his forehead. One of the juveniles becomes confused and runs into the opposite direction, straight into the jaws of the alpha female Tyrannosaurus. However, the juvenile's mother comes to its aid, eventually spearing the carnivore's leg and foot. Upon the alpha female's injury, the rest of the pack runs away and abandons her. Desperate for a meal, she starts moving towards a sub-adult male Triceratops who is feeding on bushes. Seeing an opportunity, Nigel activates the time portal and tries to get the Triceratops's attention with his jacket, similar to what a matador would do. Seeing the incoming Tyrannosaurus, the herbivore runs, and charges straight into the time portal. Nigel follows it, beckoning for the tyrannosaur to come through as well, but the carnivore simply stands and stares at the portal in confusion.
Back at Prehistoric Park, head keeper Bob is there at the time portal to watch the Triceratops come through. It certainly isn't a T. rex, but Bob seems pleased anyway. As the dinosaur is moved into a holding pen, staff from around the park flock over to see the park's first prehistoric resident. Among them is head vet Suzanne McNabb, who gives the male a clean bill of health.
Nigel is back in his base, deciding where to put the new dinosaur. He remarks that in the Cretaceous, grass still hadn't evolved yet, so the Triceratops needs a paddock with more shrubs and bushes in it. He decides on a paddock by the river, and marks the new enclosure Triceratops Creek on his map. Nigel then meets up with Bob, and together they name the new resident Theo. Bob releases Theo into his new home, and then gets back to work on building the Tyrannosaurus paddock, T. rex Hill. It has all the amenities the king of the dinosaurs could want: forested areas to hide in, a small pond, and a large hill from which it can look out upon its domain.
Nigel heads back to the Cretaceous, and travels to a spectacular-looking waterfall at the mouth of the river. He samples some of the fresh, sweet water and spots a couple of pterosaurs in the sky. However, all this will be destroyed once the meteorite hits the Earth. At the side of the river, Nigel spots a Tyrannosaurus footprint that seems to drag along the gravel; he suspects it is the footprint of the female that was injured near the campsite. He continues to track the predator, and eventually finds that is after a Triceratops carcass drifting down the river. He is forced to hide alongside of the river as the Tyrannosaurus angrily patrols the bank above him, and then starts following it in its pursuit of the corpse. The Triceratops is eventually caught among the rocks, and the female strains to grab it, but she cannot reach it due to her injured leg. Unsuccessful, she leaves, and Nigel continues to follow her.
Back at the park, Theo is displaying some interesting behavior, ramming at a small tree in his paddock with his horns. Bob and Suzanne head over to investigate, and Suzanne notices that his frill has turned brighter colors since he arrived at the park. She speculates that it might be the dinosaur's breeding season, and that excessive hormones in his body might be causing him to become more aggressive, which would mean fighting for other males in his own time. She thinks that Theo might be ramming the tree because he believes that it's his "friend". Upon hearing this, Bob hatches up a plan, which he refuses to tell to Suzanne. Instead, he heads back to his workshop and gets down to business.
In the Cretaceous, Nigel and his team have an idea. They know that the female Tyrannosaurus has been following the river, so they are going to take advantage of this fact. They have gathered up many large logs and pieces of wood and have created a sturdy wall some distance from the water. The idea is that when the female arrives, she will be funneled between the wall and the river into a small space where the time portal will be set up. However, when the female does arrive, she is chasing a herd of Ornithomimus. They barrel straight through the time portal, much to the delight of Nigel and much to the dismay of Bob. However, there is a straggler in the herd which the female chases, crashing through the wall of logs and killing the Ornithomimus. Then, instead of eating her prey, she picks it up in her jaws and carries it back the way she came. Confused, Nigel follows the Tyrannosaurus to see where she goes.
At the park, Bob has put the Ornithomimus herd into a paddock designed for ostriches. He figures that since they look similar, they will have the same requirements. Once the herd is taken care of, Bob heads back to his workshop and continues working on his grand plan, for which he has enlisted the help of several other park workers.
Back in Cretaceous Montana, Nigel has followed the female Tyrannosaurus and her meal up a mountain. Near the summit, she stops and Nigel realizes the reason for her endeavour: two baby tyrannosaur chicks, hiding among the rocks. Before she can feed the chicks, however, a rival Tyrannosaurus approaches, who has apparently followed the mother up the mountain for the dead Ornithomimus. A battle between the two ensues, in which the mother's head is smashed against the rocks. She falls to the ground, fatally injured, and the intruder walks away with the dead Ornithomimus in its mouth. Nigel cautiously approaches the mother, who raises her head and gives one last roar at the zoologist before finally dying.At that moment, the K/T meteorite enters the atmosphere, and strikes the Yucatan Peninsula with a tremendous force seven billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. The devastating blast front will spread around the planet at over two hundred times the speed of sound, enormous wildfires will ensue across nearly all of the exposed land, and the sky will be clogged with ash and send the Earth into perpetual darkness for over a year. All this is just over three minutes away from Montana, and Nigel must act fast. He sets up the time portal as fast as he can and turns it on. Then, he attempts to entice the two now-orphaned Tyrannosaurus chicks with a ham sandwich from his backpack. It takes some work, but the two chicks follow him through the time portal, just seconds before the edge of the blast front arrives, incinerating the area and putting an end to the reign of dinosaurs.
Bob and Suzanne are there to watch Nigel and the two Tyrannosaurus emerge from the time portal. The three humans celebrate as they meet up outside the portal and watch the two chicks run into one of the holding pens. Later, as they are fed a slab of meat inside the holding pens, Suzanne checks up on them to make sure they are in good health. The two siblings, male and female, have already seemed to form a rivalry as they squabble over the meat.However, there is still one other problem. Theo the Triceratops has become even more aggressive, and Suzanne leads Nigel over to the edge of the paddock. As they talk, they are forced to jump back as Theo charges at them, ramming his horns through the wooden fence. Thankfully, the posts hold. Nigel notes that he has seen this behavior before in male foxes as they reach maturity. Then, to everyone's surprise, Bob arrives in a tractor covered with large, stocky tires and two poles sticking out of the front: the Triceratops Tractor. It is designed for Theo to charge at so he can let off a bit of steam. Bob lets Nigel hop aboard with him and tells Suzanne to slide open the paddock door so they can get inside. Once there, Theo charges at them from behind to the Boys surprise, and Bob and Nigel begin jousting with the Triceratops while a bemused Suzanne watches.
Back in his base, Nigel remarks that the Triceratops tractor is great fun, although they must be careful to let Theo win every time. Fossils of male Triceratops skulls show injuries that were dealt by jousting with other individuals, so they must take precautions not to hurt him at all.
Later, Nigel, Bob, and Suzanne all meet up by T. rex Hill, where the two Tyrannosaurus chicks have been moved in. They decide to name the two Terrence and Matilda, and Nigel soon spots the two running around and playing with each other. The three staff members realize that it's going to be quite a challenge to keep them. Let's hope Prehistoric Park knows what it's getting into...
- Ornithomimus (first appearance)
- Tyrannosaurus rex (first appearance)
- Triceratops (first appearance)
- Nyctosaurus (unidentified, first appearance)
- Ornithocheirus (puppet)
- Iguanodon (exhibition)
- Red-tailed Boa (first appearance)
- Prehistoric Park (first appearance)
- Oxford University Museum of Natural History (only appearance)
- Montana (only appearance)