Season 1 Episode 3

The Eternal Fire

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Jul 22, 2008 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
17 votes

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Episode Summary

The Eternal Fire
The team discovers secret chambers under the city of Bath. Those are dated to Celtic times and tell the love story of a queen and a Roman soldier.

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  • pc message muslims good christions bad a group of "maverick" archaelogists discover the true cross destroy it and go to the pub plus gratuitous beheading scene

    the history archaeology and dialogue were all awful.

    geophysics shows prefect delineated bodies, not just a blob as in real life.pieces of 2000 year old cedar pulled out of ground [with blood stain]

    in perfect condition by passing nurse.

    carbon dating on find done at local chemist while you wait.

    so piece of cedar from middleast 2000 years old and with blood on it ,what could it be, then cut to picture of jesus on the cross ,in case you have the iq of a houseplant.

    finally swing from ropes in underground cavern singing jerusalem to stop deranged knights templar wannabee i kid you not.

    maybe rewritten and better acting, could be for children.

    sorry this should have been for first episodemoreless
  • I Need A Protractor To Measure The Angle Of Our Love - another of my snarky recaps. Character names are replaced with nicknames, just to be awkward.

    We open with a shot of a Roman legionary, I get excited because maybe the BBC are going to air an episode of Rome by mistake. My hopes are dashed when the caption appears, "England v Italy AD63". Oh dear. There's a burning village with scruffy looking Celts running around. Then we cut to present day Bath where England are playing Italy somewhere but not in Bath itself (don't worry, the football isn't mentioned again in this episode, it was just an attempt at a limp joke by the writers).

    It's Valentine's Day as some berk is dressed as a heart and handing out balloons for free. Then there's an earth tremor at a nearby restaurant. The drama! Roll opening titles.

    Well, that opening was underwhelming, it wasn't a patch on the violence at the beginning of the earlier episodes. Plus, there wasn't really much of a hook, the images were pretty random and unlinked. Burning village, football fans, Valentine's Day, earth tremor. Doesn't really suggest what the episode will be about or draw the viewer in, unless they're aiming for the Roman, football fanatic, pyromaniac, romantic, earthquake enthusiast demographic.

    So the team assemble and head over to Bath because apparently they've got nothing else on. No-one's asked them to go there, Gruff Detective has just decided to investigate because she has some crazy theory about Bath and the Romans which will make no sense over the course of the episode. Oh yeah, we also get a journalist giving a news report about the tremor and a toxic gas leak. The journalist can't act. Again. Seriously show, stop the fake news reports now.

    The team meet a snotty geologist, well I'd be snotty too if I had to examine rocks all day. He's obviously intimidated by the wild and crazy world of archeology (especially when Dolly introduces himself as an 'erotic adventurer') and tells them not to go into the underground bit where all the earth wobbling took place because it's all unsafe and stuff. Then he leaves without showing them out of the area. So obviously the team just ignore him and begin digging underground with their usual lack of finesse and skill.

    There's some wild speculating from Gruff Detective as she's convinced that Boudica was here. It's based on those old academic methods of guesswork and imagination. The team finds some Celtic remains that leads the team to proclaim a ring and a bracelet as "a settlement's worth of stuff!"

    Gruff Detective starts spouting her theory about Celtics being burned (just as if she'd watched the teaser at the beginning of the episode). Her theory is based on one historical source, which is also incomplete, at this rate she wouldn't pass GCSE history. Also, Dolly is seriously perverted this week, he can't open his mouth without using words like 'nether-regions' or 'breasts'. This doesn't make him an interesting character, it just makes him a potential sex offender.

    Gruff tries to convince Man With No Gimmick that Boudica was here by using her imagination. He isn't convinced being that there's absolutely no evidence. Rookie and Dolly are sent back to the university to do some strontium tests. I don't know anything about that but I bet they do it wrong. We also get some terrible dialogue ("The ground was shaking like a kid's funhouse!") and some exposition about Gruff's mad mother. Dolly says that Gruff's mum used her imagination until she went insane. Quick people, stop imagining!

    Gruff and Man With No Gimmick start talking about their past together and start twittering on about Christmas tree angles. The angles will be important later as they'll appear in some truly awful dialogue.

    There's another earth tremor and the two get trapped underground as Gruff decides to dive into a deeper chamber and promptly gets sealed in. Man With No Gimmick starts shouting that they'll get crushed if they so much as sneeze. Guess you should probably stop shouting then.

    Dolly investigates his one historical text and discovers that his copy is missing parts of information. He gets the other parts from a contact in Italy. The contact wears loads of make up and leopard print clothing, maybe the Italian Bonekickers are erotic adventurers?

    Gruff and MWNG find a mosaic with Cupid on it. Gruff cries and proclaims "Love is at a 45 degree angle and cannot be straightened!" I have to stop watching because I'm laughing so hard. This is so awful. Before the lines can kill the actors' performances, poison gas attempts to kill them instead. They flee into another chamber that contains a magically preserved jelly apple and firebombs. Yeah, that's right Roman firebombs. The two of them pick one up and decide to break it on the floor, it explodes in their faces but miraculously doesn't kill them or burn them even slightly.

    Meanwhile, Rookie gets a mysterious phonecall. The caller asks her if Gruff has received the 'book' and then hangs up. Ooh, mystery. A mystery with a big sign pointing at it proclaiming 'MYSTERY!'

    Dolly's manuscript tells him that the Romans tested the firebombs on a Celtic village, it also mentions a warrior queen. Wow, actual evidence that supports Gruff's crazy unfounded theories that she pulled out of her behind, who'd have thought? Dolly decides to find Gruff to give her the news but he discovers that the other two are trapped. He shouts "mea culpa" and slaps a wall. That's some great anger mixed with frustration there. Or not.

    Gruff and MWNG have to navigate a firebomb minefield but emerge unscathed, they then find Boudica herself preserved as a red, human sized, jelly baby. No-one takes a bite out of her though which is a missed opportunity. Gruff imagines the history behind the body with her magical imagination powers. We see that Boudica kills herself when confronted by an evil, fat bearded Roman. Her Roman lovers gets revenge for her and beats the bearded one to death with some unconvincing violence.

    Dolly uses CLUES to wander around the Baths and into "The Great Drain!" to try and find an entrance to the hidden love chamber of Boudica. I should point out that the chamber looks pretty fake, the walls are obviously plastic moulds, it's like watching old Doctor Who (which I do regularly).

    MWNG asks Gruff to use her imagination to figure a way out of the chamber. What she actually does is use logic to deduce that the builder of the chamber must have had an exit as he didn't die down there. The show insists that only Gruff's crazy imagination could've figured that out. Dolly finds the exit behind a symbol in "The Great Drain!" and Gruff and MWNG escape to safety.

    Dolly then gives the story of Boudica a happy ending by claiming that the Roman went back to Rome and burnt it down and scattered Celtic coins over the remains. Yeah, whatever Dolly, stop making stuff up.

    They all go home to listen to MWNG's boring speech about arhceology. It's real Playschool stuff. "People don't fit into boxes." "Their lives are kinked, they're at an angle." "Yes, we need evidence, but evidence will only get us so far, and then we need to dream a little. Because it's by dreaming we make that vital leap back into another time." This is quite possibly the most cliched and worst soliloquy I have ever heard. Gruff opens up a package that contains the mysterious book. It's her mother's Grail Diary! Oops, make that Sword Diary, it's honestly nothing like Indiana Jones and The Last Crusdae. Honest. Finally we see a picture of the magic sodding sword in the Roman mosaic beneath the baths. Meta-plot!

    This was truly awful television. The show writers seem to research by using Wikipedia. Next week the team get involved with Iraq. Ooh, slightly topical.moreless
  • Boudica, Bones and Background.

    I must admit I was beginning to think that the BBC had commissioned a lame horse with this series, but last night I was gladly proved wrong. Yes there was another secret chamber and members of the team were put in mortal danger but so what? Doesn't every series have a hook of some sort? In this episode we discovered much about the backgrounds of Professor Gillian Magwilde and Dr. Ben Ergh; information that I believe provides much needed texture to the characters. This episode was by far the most most moving so far both in terms of the present day events and also the archaeological backstory. If the BBC can put out more episodes like this I feel the series has a chance at a second season.moreless
Julie Graham

Julie Graham

Professor Gillian Magwilde

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Viv Davis

Michael Maloney

Michael Maloney

Professor Daniel Mastiff

Adrian Lester

Adrian Lester

Dr Ben Ergha

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

Professor Gregory Parton

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions