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La Brea Series Premiere Pilot Review Season 1 Episode 1 La Brea Series Premiere Pilot Review Season 1 Episode 1

La Brea

La Brea Series Premiere Review – It’s the Tarpits (1×01)

LA BREA -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: Zyra Gorecki as Izzy Harris -- (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

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A natural disaster bubbling up from underneath the La Brea tarpits isn’t exactly new (see: 1997 film Volcano), but the idea of a series that strands a handful of people in a primitive world definitely is. 

And thus, there’s no arguing that La Brea is a fun and fresh concept for NBC.

The Jurassic Park meets Lost meets Debris meets Hunger Games vibe immediately draws you in and makes you want to find out just what happened to the poor souls that were swallowed up by the massive sinkhole in the heart of Los Angeles. 

It’s a mystery that has all the best elements — time travel, a government conspiracy, and the basic instinct of survival. 

And, if you decided that none of those things are impressive, at the very least, it has Jon Seda. A girl will follow Antonio Dawson anywhere. Only Only on La Brea, he stars as Dr. Sam Velez, a vet-turned-surgeon that brings an air of badassery to the core group of characters trapped in the prehistoric timeline.

Let me also preface this by acknowledging your skepticism. I understand wholeheartedly if you’re wary about getting sucked into yet another show just for it to get canceled.

NBC has an abysmal track record when it comes to serialized dramas hinged on a supernatural element (see: Debris, Manifest, Emergence… okay, that may have been ABC, but the skepticism stands regardless). 

If we’re basing the show’s success based on history, the show will likely get canceled a few episodes in leaving fans hanging with more questions than they know what to do with.

Then, one of two things will happen… either Netflix (or some other streaming service) will swoop in to save the day and give fans some semblance of closure, or you’ll wonder what the show’s endgame was going to be for the rest of time. The latter is more likely. 

The even happened with Steven Lilien and Bryan Windbrandt’s God Friended Me, though, even that premature cancellation provided a finale that was up to one’s interpretation.

But,,, if you’ve gone through all these likely scenarios and potential risks and you’re still deciding to give this series a try, well, welcome.

So, where do we begin?

La Brea Series Premiere Pilot Review Season 1 Episode 1

LA BREA — “Pilot” — Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Zea as Eve Harris, Jack Martin as Josh Harris — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

The pilot wastes no time jumping into the action. 

The first scene finds Eve, a woman estranged from her husband, Gavin, driving her teens, Josh and Izzy, to school. 

It’s a mundane, routine morning when suddenly, the ground beneath starts concaving in. It swallows up the crossing-guard, and you know something insanely terrible is about to go down. 

This sets off a CGI-tastic sequence of events where Eve somehow reverses half a block in a perfect line without hitting anyone to outrun the literal plunge to her death. 

As the buildings around crumble and fall into the widening hole beneath, Eve and her children keep pushing forward, even Izzy, who has an amputated leg. It’s equal parts incredible, questionable, and impressive. 

Josh’s humanity gets the best of him when he stops to save a young girl who tripped, and he falls in. 

Eve then tries to save her son, and when she realizes Izzy won’t let go of her, she forces her to and also falls leaving behind her daughter as the only survivor.

Izzy’s father, Gavin, is smack-dab in the middle of trying to get a job with the army again. We find out he’s a pilot who was in an accident and discharged due to mental issues. 

He claims those issues have subsided, but considering he just had some kind of strange vision of a dessert right before entering the building and blocked it by taking a swig from his flask, things aren’t as great as he’s making them out to be.

And while Gavin doesn’t necessarily make a compelling case for himself, he’s also not entirely as crazy as everyone believes. 

It quickly becomes apparent that he’s knows exactly where the people who fell through the sinkhole ended up because he’s been there. 

Not only that, but he’s getting visions of it, which means he can likely somehow communicate with his estranged wife and son.

But where are they exactly?

 If we’re following the breadcrumb clues laid out in the episode, the group has ended up traveling back in time somehow. Based on the extinct animals mentioned — – ie. the teratornis and the saber tooth tiger — they went back millions of years ago to a time before human activity was recorded. 

How is that possible? Well, that seems to be the question the series will aim to answer, in an overly complex way, I’m sure, throughout the first season. 

We know some things offhand. For starters, the glowing green light in the sky (there’s always a glowing light) is a tear in the fabric. 

Izzy and her aunt also refuse to believe Gavin until he proves that he’s not insane, high, or drunk by finding Eve’s wedding ring next to the rock in his vision. Again, it’s unclear how the ring was lost in the prehistoric timeline but appeared in the present day, but it does seem as though anything that existed in Los Angeles in the prehistoric days and still remains today is the only connection these worlds will have to each other. After all, cell signal ceases to exist once in the “past.”

And finally, the government is totally aware that something shady is happening and is keeping it from the public. Shocker.

Since Gavin made them aware that he knows about their drone, they’re likely going to tap him in to get some clarity.

As Gavin aims to find out what happened to his family, Eve isn’t completely useless. By the end of the hour, she’s figured out that they are still in Los Angeles, albeit a different one than they’re used to, so that’s a start. 

This group of strangers will have to count on each other and their survival skills to somehow get out of this mess, and that begins with fixing up Josh’s leg. 

Thankfully, he has Dr. Sam — who is definitely going to become Eve’s love interest — at his disposal. But let’s hope no one else becomes wolf bait because they only have one ambulance to pull supplies from. 

There are definitely a handful of characters in the primitive timeline.

Josh, Riley (Sam’s daughter), and Scott (the poor guy who was high when he took the plunge) are bound to have a love triangle. 

MaryBeth said she’s a cop, but there’s something off about her.

While she clearly understands the idea of “every human for himself” and anticipates things getting ugly when supplies start running out, it was also kind of messed up of her to hide the protein bars for a “rainy day.” She definitely can’t be trusted.

And then there’s Ty, who I can’t really figure out. He’s a psychologist, so I guess that’ll come in handy when everyone starts losing it, although, it isn’t super helpful that he was already on the verge of committing suicide.

For some reason, I got the vibe that he had been there longer than everyone else, but I think I may have made that up.

But there’s a huge chance they aren’t alone, alone as we see a brief glimpse of a man watching them after they sent up the flare. 

He looked as though he was there for quite some time and was distrustful of humans. Considering Gavin has been there before, maybe he was the other man on the plane that crashed?

The final few moments of the episode find the group rejoicing as they get the medication to help Josh only for them to get ambushed by a saber tooth tiger. 

Will they get killed? Likely not, but it’s a considerable obstacle for them to get over when they’re already limited on supplies and without a connection to their own reality. 

What do you think opened up the sinkhole? Did the Tar Pits have anything to do with it? What’s up with Gavin’s visions? What caused the rift in the sky? What are the odds they’ll come across a dinosaur? That may or may not be the only reason I’m watching.

Let us know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below! 

Will you continue to watch week-to-week?

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    Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

    La Brea

    La Brea Series Finale Review – How Did It All End?

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    La Brea Series Finale Review - How Did It All End?

    Everything that was once broken was made whole again on La Brea Season 3 Episode 6—the conclusion to a wild story that needed to be seen (and live through) to be believed. 

    Falling through a sinkhole and landing in 10K B.C. doesn’t sound like something that will turn your life around for the better, but everyone (well, mostly everyone) came out better because of it. 

    Despite many bleak moments, there was a thread of hope, with the series ending on a hopeful note, proving that no matter what life throws your way (an angry T-Rex, even), there’s always a way to overcome it and come out on the other side, stronger than ever. 

    We saw that strength through many character developments throughout the show’s three seasons—though we can all safely agree that it was Lucas and Scott who had the biggest transformation after being forced to navigate the complexities of the prehistoric ages.

    While I was rooting for everyone to make it, I was especially crossing my fingers for those two to have a happy ending; and when Lucas stayed behind to help Gavin and his family while Veronica went through the aurora to 2021, I was worried that he wasn’t going to make it.

    Thankfully, through sheer luck, determination, and wit (who would ever consider incorporating a T-Rex into their plan?), along with a group of allies from the Village, they were able to defeat Maya Schmidt and her squad of soldiers. At times, it felt a little too easy—these people had machine guns, after all, but they were somehow defeated by gut punches and spears—but then you have to remember all that they’ve already been through; they’ve earned this “easy escape.” It’s a shame that these auroras weren’t around and accessible earlier so that everyone could just walk right through back to their timeline and call it a day, but there’d still be the little issue of Maya Schmidt’s dangerous technology.

    After the aurora—their only hope of getting back to 2021—blew up, things once again seemed rather grim, until it dawned on Gavin that this is the moment he’s been waiting for! Not only was he a trained pilot who spearheaded the flight project, but he was in possession of the microchip (that I’m hoping they destroyed after) that could turn said jet into a time machine. Who needs an aurora when you have the holy grail?

    Once it was established that they all had a way home, the only obstacle left on their path was a dinosaur, who didn’t stand a chance against that torque. Though, I will say I’ll never have to wonder if a T-Rex would win in a fight against machine guns… but I was surprised they didn’t even injure him. 

    Throughout the episode, Gavin, Izzy and Helena jumped from 10K B.C. to 1965 (where they found Josh) back to the prehistoric era, without ever finding Eve. Helena claimed that she was in agreement that destroying the servers at the Pasadena research farm was necessary to end it all, but the only thing we had to go on was her word. Thankfully, her word was golden, and mere hours later back in their present timeline, the whole Harris family reunited under a tree that was significant to Gavin and Eve. Given what they’ve all just been through, I was expecting Eve to be a little more disheveled, but I guess everyone looking fresh and clean despite their adventures has always been the show’s running joke. 

    The Harris family wasn’t the only one that started broken but found their way back to each other, as 10K B.C. made it very clear to everyone that family is worth fighting for and they never knew what they had until it was gone. 

    Sam trekked to 1965 to find Riley, who was receiving treatment in a hospital, though not the right treatment as MRIs and procedures that she needed for a collapsed lung simply weren’t discovered or made common practice yet. The good news is that Sam was a doctor with the necessary skills to get her treated, before somehow (I wish we’d seen this) sneaking her out of the hospital and getting her through a portal to 2021 so she could get the necessary antibiotics. Riley pulled through—and like Eve, looked flawless after her brush with death—and reunited with Josh in 2021, as they professed their love to each other and called back on the first time they laid eyes on one another before they fell through the sinkhole. They’ve come a long way with a solid foundation that has survived several time periods. In the end, they always found a way back to each other.

    Riley and Sam also reunited with her brother and mother, with Sam making good on his promise to do right by his family with this second chance.

    Lucas also pulled through and made it back just in time to see an ultrasound of his “strong” baby with Veronica. There was so much joy in this moment since it was a moment that neither of them ever thought they’d live to see. Veronica finally opened up about her fears of having a baby in the prehistoric ages, and those fears were warranted as mere moments later, they were outrunning a T-Rex. But it’s one heck of a story to tell a child conceived in 10K B.C. 

    And Scott was right, what happens in 10K B.C. doesn’t stay there as they were all now connected and bonded by shared trauma and an experience of a lifetime that no one else would ever truly understand. Scott, however, wasn’t one of the lucky ones who met a significant other after falling through the sinkhole, though he used that time to work on himself and become the man that he knew Emily, the one that got away, always knew he could be. 

    Upon returning to 2021, he sought out his ex and promised that he was now a man worthy of her love—and his confidence earned him the girl. 

    The only thing I’m bummed about is that we didn’t get to see Scott, Veronica, and Lucas’ brunch date (though I’m hoping that’s a standing weekend appointment), nor did we get any closure on Petra. Scott mentioned that he was taking her to her grandparents since her mother was killed, but it would be nice to see if Scott checked in on her every now and then since they formed a sweet bond together. I hope this isn’t Petra’s villain origin story and she doesn’t follow in her mother’s footsteps trying to recreate the whole situation—though that would be a good excuse for a sequel! (I know, I know, it just ended!) 

    Ty said goodbye to his longtime friends (and I’m bummed that the triumphant trio of Ty, Gavin and Sam has been broken up), but he was never focused on getting back to 2021; he found purpose for himself in 10K B.C with the love of his life. I am surprised that none of these people decided to jump into 2021 given the chance; I can’t imagine living with the fear of getting attacked by dinosaurs is something you get used to. However, I do love that he stayed true to himself and prioritized his happiness. The risk was all worth it to him as he came down here a many without a future and stayed a man with a very promising one. 

    LA BREA — “The Road Home Part 2” Episode 306 — Pictured: (l-r) Rohan Mirchandaney as Scott, Chiké Okonkwo as Ty — (Photo by: NBC)

    The person I expected to jump to 2021 was Leila since she talked so much about getting out of her village and seeing what else is out there. I assumed that her love for Izzy would bring her back to the modern world, but that never happened, and we never got proper closure between them aside from Leila saving Izzy’s life. It was a sweet gesture and a moment that showed just how far both of them have come on their journeys of being warriors—though I wish their romance didn’t just fizzle out due to circumstances. 

    And finally, my biggest complaint is that it wasn’t exactly clear how much time had passed since they fell into the sinkhole once everyone was back in Los Angeles. Was it a few days? A few months? Would their homes just simply be waiting for them? How did they all just jump back into their everyday lives without as much as a hiccup? Considering Scott knew where to find Emily and she hadn’t moved on, I don’t think that much time passed, but it would’ve been nice to get a clear timeline. 

    Mostly everyone got their happy ending—and as far as final episodes go that stare down the hard task of wrapping up a very complex situation, it provided a fitting conclusion to a bonkers series that relied heavily on dedicated and patient audiences suspending disbelief.

    I think we can all say that we appreciate the developments of the modern world so much more after watching the series…and we definitely don’t need a time machine to the prehistoric ages anytime soon.

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    La Brea

    La Brea Season 3 Episode 5 Review – [SPOILER] Dies

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    There’s a lot to digest on La Brea’s penultimate episode (Season 3 Episode 5), but there’s never been more of an incentive to take down and destroy Maya Schmidt and everything that she’s built. 

    Everyone learned the hard way that Maya was a dangerous woman at the head of this whole operation running outside of Ladera Air Base, which is stationed throughout many moments in time, including 10K B.C. and 1965. 

    Her main objective is to equip fighter jets with the time-traveling device, though she’s missing one key ingredient to making it all happen—a fossilized plant that Scott wrote about in an essay—hence why she scouted him to get intel and likely why they are all in the prehistoric ages, to begin with. But what makes it super terrifying is the fact that she plans to sell her invention to the highest bidder, without taking into account all the damage that it might cause to the world and ignoring all the very real destruction already happening with the sinkholes.

    And thus, the mission isn’t about just saving Eve—though it’s a huge piece of the puzzle for Gavin as he’s determined to reunite his family and make good on the promises he broke to his sister Helena (which, quite honestly, that storyline just doesn’t track and I could’ve done without her inclusion in the storyline)—it’s about saving the world from an evil, ruthless villain. 

    At the end of the episode, they try to find the detention center where Eve’s being held, only to stumble upon an aurora instead. The red one, as we’ve learned, leads to 1965, so they all decide to walk through it and get the girl, find Josh and Riley (finally), and light things on fire.

    It’ll be interesting to see them all play in a more current timeline as we’ve pretty much gotten used to them operating in the prehistoric era, but it does beg the question—will they ever return to 1965? How will they save all their other friends from the Clearing?

    Of course, going between time periods isn’t as difficult as one assumed previously, thanks to the convenient auroras, but plenty of people have left behind those they love in 10K B.C., including Izzy, who was developing a real connection to Leila (before she found out that Leila was working for Maya as a spy in hopes of getting a shot at a new life in the present day. Hopefully, they’ll be able to bounce back from that), and Ty, who returned back to the past in hopes of finding Paraa, only to realize she never made it back home from her trip with James. Will he ever see her again?

    One of the most heartbreaking moments of the episode, though inevitable considering the dangers posed by this time period, was Levi’s death. However, it was a valiant one as he went out going above and beyond to save his friends, including Gavin, who he has been trying to find peace with ever since he destroyed the trust built between them by sleeping with Eve. 

    After Scott was taken into custody by the military, he realized Levi was a traitor, but then we found out he was actually just infiltrating because he wanted to find Eve and help everyone out of this mess (does this mean Levi knew the whole time that Gavin was communicating with Maya and didn’t say anything? It’s just not adding up.). Levi’s story, admittedly, got a little jumbled with his time jump and his desire to get revenge for his late wife and daughter, which I don’t think ever happened… unless they were killed by Maya’s Rye group. 

    Still, Levi was a constant from day one, so his loss was deeply felt, and when you say Izzy broke down, you couldn’t help but shed a tear alongside her. There are always casualties of war—and he took one for the team so that they could make some real progress. 

    As we move into the season finale, the hope is that everything falls into place in a way that provides a fitting conclusion to this wildly twisted, chaotic, and oftentimes, unorganized and hard-to-follow, adventure. I’ve enjoyed La Brea at face value, but I do think that they tried to do too much with too little time, and some storylines, like Gavin’s sisters’ inclusion, simply didn’t resonate the way they hoped.

    The finale needs to do a few things—like reunite the Harris family, along with Riley and her dad, and give closure to Ty and Paraa, one of the fandom’s favorite couples. It would also be nice to see James and Silas again considering they were such a key part of the storyline in the first few seasons. 

    Will Veronica and Lucas choose to go back to the present or will they hang back in 10K B.C. having found that they enjoy their life there more? Neither of them really has anything to go back to in the present, aside from luxuries like fast food, technology, and modern healthcare (comes in handy for a baby), and no dinosaurs, oversized crocs, or the like. 

    And finally, I hope La Brea doesn’t take a page from Manifest’s playbook and undo all the progress that they made. It worked for Manifest, but it would be detrimental to La Brea considering how much all of these characters have grown—for the better—during their escapades in 10K B.C. They’ve gained a new perspective and outlook on life that has forged a better path for them and their families, and even if they do make it back to the present, I hope that they keep those experiences with them and close to heart. 

    What did you think of the episode?

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    La Brea

    La Brea Review Season 3 Episode 4 – Fire Storm

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    If it’s not dinosaurs destroying the Clearing, it’s forest fire spreading quickly and threatening the home that they’ve built within Paraa/Ruth’s village. And on top of that, throw in a dash of betrayal from Maya Schmidt—because who didn’t see that coming, right? Well, apparently, Scott didn’t, which is kind of upsetting because I feel like he should’ve been weary from the moment Gavin and Sam were saved by her at the Ladera base. Coincidence? I think not.

    There were only two ways this could pan out—Maya would’ve legitimately helped Gavin and co. or she would’ve betrayed them, and the latter is far more enticing. 

    Maya just so happened to be around when Gavin and Sam got caught snooping around the airbase, and then immediately had the solution to Gavin restoring his memories. It’s almost as if she, oh, I don’t know, needed him to remember something. 

    Gavin blindly believed Maya because his need to save Eve superseded everything else, and the implications of that have major consequences. 

    Eve is just one piece of it, but Gavin—and thus Sam and even Ty—prioritized saving her over doing the right thing for humanity and the world.

    Back in 2021, Gavin was kidnapped by the woman from last week’s episode who was stalking them and wielding a gun. Eventually, we learned that her name was Helena and she was Gavin’s sister, who was on a mission to right the wrongs her family committed and preserve their legacy—but she needed Gavin’s help.

    I’m not even going to try to understand the time-traveling aspect that happened here, but it seems Gavin’s memory loss was pretty extensive since he forgot he had a whole sister before even arriving in 10K BC. 

    However, he trusted Helena enough to help her open a vault that contained the stolen hard drive that Maya Schmidt is on the hunt for in 10K B.C.

    Maya hoped that by allowing Gavin to tap into those memories and remember where the drive was, he’d go above and beyond to get it and she would be able to snatch it from him and complete her mission to turn fighter jets into a time-traveling machine that could give military an advantage in war. 

    Gavin successfully managed to send a message through the tarpits to Scott in 2021, who was now in the fold with Ty and Sam, though he didn’t exactly trust them. Through this scene, fans were able to get to know the person Scott was before falling through the sinkhole—the one who lost the woman of his dreams. He’s come so far despite all that’s been stacked against him.

    And then it was time for Gavin of 2021 to make a choice—give his sister the drive to go back to where the program originated (1965, which is presumably where Josh and Riley were transported to) and shut it all down, effectively saving the world, or go to 10K B.C. and risk it all to save Eve. 

    The wise and correct choice would be to help Helena, but considering personal motivations and emotions have a huge draw here—and Ty, the person who would’ve typically thought rationally desperately wanted to see Paraa again so he was agreeable—Gavin chose to hand the drive to his 10K B.C self and thus let it get in the vicinity of the wrong hands. 

    He didn’t even try to keep it a secret, holding the drive right in the purview of Maya, whose villain was showing. 

    Also, what did she do to our angel Scott? And why isn’t anyone more concerned that “they” aka the military people took Scott? No one even questioned that she wasn’t caught right alongside him. I wish Scott had taken his findings about Maya being a bad guy and told Gavin and Sam before confronting her.

    Scott was the only one who connected that Maya was the woman from Gavin’s vision, but hopefully, before Gavin just hands over the only thing that can ensure their exit from 10K B.C., he’ll think about the consequences of it getting in the wrong hands.

    There’s been no word of Riley or Josh (though knowing the time period they are in definitely helped), nor is there any insight into what’s going on with Levi, though he’s likely chilling somewhere with Eve at the airbase. 

    Veronica and Lucas seemingly abandoned any hope of returning to the present day, focusing on adjusting to their new life in 10K B.C. instead. Veronica feels a sense of pride and purpose by joining the ranks of the council (and this time, she had Lucas’ support), and while her decision to walk into the fire was careless considering she’s pregnant, she was also key to breaking open the dam and helping them fight the fire. She proved her worth already, I just hope she exerts a little more caution and puts her family first. 

    Also, you’d think with these auroras being so prevalent, more people would be seeking them out to find their way back to the present day!

    As for Lucas and Sam, they adopted a lost little wolf—which almost cost them their lives when they ran into the burning woods after it—but it’s nice that they have an emotional support animal that they can all lean on when times get tough. This is likely how domesticated dogs came to be, and it tracks with the group’s “save everyone in need” mentality.

    Now, if Gavin could just start prioritizing everyone over his wife, it would be nice.

    What did you think of the episode? We only have 2 left until the series finale—do you think all of our burning questions will get answered in time?

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