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?
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?
‘La Brea’ Canceled at NBC—Here’s What It Means for Season 3
La Brea has officially been canceled by NBC.
The series is gearing up for a third and final season, which will also see fewer episodes.
The news was announced on November 20, and while it’s not what fans wanted to hear, NBC is at least giving fans closure.
The final six episodes will premiere on January 9, 2024. It will be a lead-in to the season’s final two episodes of the hit fall drama Found.
The first and second seasons consisted of 10 and 14 episodes, respectively. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes then forced NBC to release the actors from their contracts.
With six episodes to tie up loose ends, let’s hope that the storyline will be wrapped up in a sufficient way that answers any and all questions and leaves fans feeling satisfied.
Zyra Gorecki, who plays Izzy, shared the news on her Instagram, writing, “I’m truly so proud of the work everyone put into #LaBrea Season 3. It was an absolute joy to be a part of. Thank you guys for all of your support these past three years.”
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The cast also includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie, Tonantzin Carmelo and Michelle Vergara Moore.
La Brea was NBC’s latest sci-fi series that transported audiences and some Los Angeles residents to 10K B.C. via a mysterious sinkhole. At the center of it is the Harris family, who are eventually reunited when it’s revealed that the patriarch Gavin (Macken) has deep connections to the prehistoric timeline.
As you await the third season, here’s a little season 2 finale refresher!
La Brea Season Finale Review – The Journey
Gavin, Eve, and co. found a portal—and then lost it—all within the span of a two-hour season finale of La Brea.
The series had an intriguing premise at the beginning, but it’s becoming so far-fetched now that it’s starting to become a little too difficult to keep up with time periods, character motivations, and shady organizations.
La Brea Season 2 Episode 13 picked up shortly after the Lazarus building explosion, and while most everyone was under the impression that it ruined any shot of finally getting back home, it turns out, Lazarus wasn’t all that important anyway. Everyone knows that if you’re going to dabble in time travel in the prehistoric ages, you need a few backups or so.
Moore’s diary, which was a key find thanks to shady Aaron, was the key to finding a second portal—one that he built in a secret location to protect it from those with more nefarious intentions… like Kira and James. Both of them somehow survived the explosion and were just waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
However, Gavin and the rest of the key members from the clearing were able to use the coordinates that Veronica figured out to get to the portal first. Naturally, their journey involved plenty of hiccups along the way, which was to be expected.
Upon reaching the “X marks the spot,” they found several dead bodies that were mangled by some kind of animal—we later learn that it was likely a giant lizard. They find a girl named Petra lurking around the area, but she’s not much help since she doesn’t speak English. That is until Scott realizes that she’s just pretending not to understand the language, but when he asks her to give him some insight into who his mother was, she promises to tell him everything she knows if he’ll help her find her.
She also shows him a picture of military barracks in 10,000 B.C., which is strange. The locket belonging to her mother features a symbol that Scott recognizes as he was on his way to interview with the company the day that the sinkhole changed his life. He laments that it cannot be a coincidence—and he’s right—and we later see that Levi has the same symbol tattooed on his arm, which leads me to believe that he has something to do with this new situation unfolding. I don’t think that Petra is his daughter, but I do believe her “mother” is Levi’s wife, and she’s out there somewhere. I think he also knows that’s the case, which is why he wasn’t all that torn up about blowing up Lazarus aside from the fact that it threatened Ty’s cancer treatment.
The strangest part about this show is how many shady organizations might have a hand in what’s going on. There was Aaron, James and Kira, who may not even be on the same page anymore, and now there’s whatever is happening with Levi and these new people they’ve uncovered—it’s hard to keep up, and it takes away the sort of innocence of the series.
James is the true definition of a villain. He pretended to want to be a better person when it mattered, but after Lazarus was destroyed, his true colors came to light. He didn’t care that Gavin was dying, and when he was better, he didn’t hesitate to knock him over the head to get what he wanted. Family meant nothing to him, which is frustrating because all this time we were told that family was the only thing that mattered to James.
Gavin fought back, pulling the trigger as he knew he had no other choice, and in his last moments, James revealed Gavin has a sister, who was not going to be happy with his decision. Honestly, why is everyone so cryptic on this series? Would it have killed anyone to mention this little tidbit ahead of time? I doubt the sister is Kira, so I’m guessing that it’s Levi’s wife/Petra’s “mother” who has been running some kind of military operation down here.
James’ ego has caused a world of problems, but when he ambushed Gavin and tried to use the portal for selfish reasons—completely disregarding everyone else around him—he actually destroyed it in the process. The malfunctioning system opened up several auras from different time periods, which is going to be so hard to keep track of, but it also sucked Eve into some unknown era. Where did she go? And how will everyone find their way back to each other now that the whole thing has been blown? And why is everyone so careless around these portals that should be so rare?
James destroyed everyone’s shot at getting back home once again, and now they have to share the land with new creatures including a T-Rex. Was that scene totally ridiculous? Yes. Have I been waiting for this moment? Absolutely. La Brea meets Jurassic Park sounds thrilling.
There was also a side mission to rescue Gavin after he was impaled fighting off a lizard while protecting Eve. He knew that his vision of her death was about to come true, so he risked his own life to save hers, however, Eve found a loophole, using the newfound portal to go back in time to leave him a warning so that he would survive the ordeal. It’s a bit of a cheat, yes, but can we blame her? She couldn’t just let her husband die. On the other hand, if they all just chose to go initially, they may have thwarted so many other problems.
- Riley and Josh finally made up—it’s about time! There’s too much to lose to waste time fighting and holding grudges.
- Riley found out that her parents were on the verge of divorcing before the sinkhole. It’s a random storyline that doesn’t really track since Sam has been so eager to go home to his wife but whatever.
- Veronica is pregnant with Lucas’ baby. He was adamant about staying in this era because he’s clearly thriving here, but his fears of going down the same dark path back home are just that—fears. He’s not the same person anymore. 10,000 B.C. changed him for the better.
- Sam also got Katherine’s number, and I have to question her addition. Is she Petra’s mother? I know there are probably a lot of people trapped down there but why did she join the expedition all of a sudden?
- I can’t even comprehend how they got all those materials down there to build not one but two portals.
- Ty finally got his cancer-curing meds and that’s honestly the only thing that matters.
What did you think of the season 2 finale of La Brea?
La Brea Review – The Wedding and The Swarm (211 & 212)
La Brea Season 2 Episodes 11 and 12 was a blood bath, with two significant characters meeting their demise and a question mark lingering for many of the main characters inside the Lazarus building when it exploded to smithereens.
Since La Brea is likely ending with a shortened third season, the creative forces behind the show might feel a little more comfortable killing off some of the bigger characters, especially as death on a time-travel show is never really final.
By the end of the episode, the two casualties, that we know of, so far, include Gavin’s mother, Caroline, and Veronica’s sister, Ella/Lilly. And both of the deaths are genuinely surprising as it feels like neither of the characters lived up to their fullest potential. Caroline had so much promise, and so much went unsaid as the focus was on her tireless work to stop her husband’s master plan and right her wrongs when it came to her son. It was a heartbreaking loss for Gavin as he just met his mother only to lose her once again without getting any closure or many of his lingering questions answered. They never had time to get to know each other because Project Lazarus was top of mind. For a show about time, it really hones in on what a precious resource it is.
As for Lilly/Ella, well, she was one of the original people in 10K B.C. alongside Gavin. She knew him when they were children, she traveled to 1988 with him, and then she came back to the prehistoric era to save Veronica, and for what? She should’ve played a much larger role in the grand scheme of things, but unfortunately, she was reduced to a minor character whose only useful purpose was to prop up Veronica. And don’t get me wrong, I love Veronica’s character growth, but it truly shouldn’t have come at the expense of her sister. Ella/Lilly just feels so underutilized, it’s aggravating.
The thing I did like about her death is that it was caused by the elements, which we don’t see often. 10,000 B.C. is a dangerous and rocky time period, so it’s unbelievable that so many people who were just dropped down there not only survived but thrived. The fact that there was only one epi-pen was just cruel—and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.
Veronica has been through so much trauma, much of which she’s still working through, and now she has to add losing her sister to the list. At least she has Lucas, who really came through with an adorable date at nature’s hot springs along with wine and pop tarts. I have no clue how anyone has managed to hold onto pop-tarts that long when food was scarce, but I’m not going to raise unnecessary questions.
Veronica and Lucas also found Silas, bleeding out after getting shot over the notes Caroline found in Moore’s cave, which seems to be a blueprint for how to get home. I don’t know if they mean anything now that the Lazarus building is no more, but we’ll have to wait and see.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out who shot Silas because it was the same person who killed his daughter, Kira, the woman that seemingly undermined James and took over Project Lazarus to do “right” by it. She claims to see the big picture of saving the world whereas she thinks James is too caught up with fixing his mistakes and traveling back in time to get a redo with Gavin.
The problem is that can’t trust either of these people or what they claim. For all we know, James and Kira could be in cahoots with this plan. James said he needed Gavin’s handprint to unlock the system, so maybe there was some kind of failsafe implemented to prevent James from launching Project Blue Moon. And that means Gavin just walked right into his trap.
Things get even fuzzier because Levi was on a mission to destroy the Lazarus building at all costs—and he was willing to fight anyone who tried to stop him. Poor Sam was knocked unconscious when he tried to talk some sense into Levi. Gavin also couldn’t get through to his best friend because the trust between them was broken when Gavin learned that Levi attempted to enlist Eve to go behind his back and kill his father.
I get where Levi is coming from since he believes James is the source of all of his pain. We learned that not only did Levi lose his wife, Marisa, because of the sinkholes, but his daughter didn’t survive either. Levi wants revenge, which is understandable but upsetting. He was always the level-headed one, and to be quite frank, I was hoping he’d come from 1998 with new insight about Project Lazarus and James. I didn’t want Levi to be working from only a place of deep hurt, I wanted him to have a valid reason for attempting to blow everything up, with concrete evidence that James directly caused the deaths of his loved ones.
The only person that got through to Levi was Izzy, who felt as though she owed it to be there for him during his time of great pain. He was her light and support during the darkness following her accident, and thus, she fought like hell to bring him back from the brink. It was sweet considering that she previously felt as though Levi ruined her family. It almost feels like 10 years also passed for Izzy because she’s so much more observant and proactive despite being told to stay in her lane. I was kind of surprised by how passive Eve was about the whole situation. She’s clearly sticking by her decision to give things another try with Gavin, but considering how much Levi meant to her just a few days ago, she should’ve been as adamant about helping him as her daughter.
Unfortunately, once Levi set everything into motion, it was too late to undo it, and when he tried, all he did was speed up the timer on the explosives.
Fans didn’t get to see much of the action inside of the building once the clock started racing, instead only seeing the whole thing go up in flames, which begs the question—did anyone get out alive and survive?
Levi, Izzy, Gavin, and Ty all made a break for it, but Eve and James were in another room entirely. I don’t think Gavin would leave his wife behind after going to such great lengths to prevent his vision from coming to fruition, but James did knock her out right before so it’s unclear what state she was in. That poor woman has suffered so many concussions at this point.
In blowing up the building, Levi destroyed Ty’s chances at curing his cancer, which is honestly, inexcusable because Ty is an angel, right alongside any shot of getting back home. Prioritizing the greater good is necessary, but these poor people whose hopes of seeing a timeline with electricity were just dashed. Levi figured he had nothing left to live for, but what about everyone else? I doubt all hope is lost—where there’s a will, there’s a way, so maybe there’s still a chance, but without a proper portal, it’s going to be a lot more difficult.
That being said, at least James can’t go back to a past timeline and effectively erase Eve’s family from existence, so that’s a win.
You would think, as previously mentioned, that the elements of 10K B.C., and the dangers lurking within and beneath, would be the most threatening, but it turns out, a group of desperate people is more volatile than anything, no matter what time period.
Other Prehistoric Thoughts
- Does anyone else think Kira is Levi’s daughter in the future or something? I can’t shake the feeling that there’s a deeper connection here, and I’m not exactly convinced that his family died. He said a sinkhole caught them by surprise and his family didn’t survive, but did he see the bodies? For all we know, both his wife and daughter are roaming the nearby villages as we speak. Maybe they’re even at one of the villages that Paraa was rounding up to help search for Ty.
- Ty and Paraa’s wedding was beautiful, and you have to give it to them for finding a path forward amidst a pretty bleak situation. Who else can say they’ve experienced a wedding in 10,000 B.C.? Unfortunately, it ended on a rather devastating note—neither of them deserved it.
- Everyone changed out of their usual outfits for a brief moment! Yay wardrobe truck. I’m still thrown by how put-together and clean they still look without plumbing, electricity, and more, but good for them.
- We got more clarity about Aaron’s connection to 10K, and according to Silas, he was a computer engineer at Lazarus who stole the journal and traveled to the present day, which is where he kidnapped Veronica and Lilly. Lilly was already connected to this timeline, so I’m guessing Veronica will also play a larger role. I wonder where the coordinates she deciphered will lead to. Perhaps another portal?
- Gavin chose to trust James, despite everyone’s reservations, but in the end, James proved to be an unchanged man with selfish intentions. And the absolute disrespect that he had for Eve was sickening.
- Why do I suddenly want to taste alcohol made from fermented corn?
- Sam’s serious convo with Josh was cute. I know Josh felt betrayed that Riley kept the Moore finding a secret, but I do think he overreacted because of how secrets ruined his family. He didn’t even give Riley a chance to explain her side, nor did he consider the impossible position she was put in. Life is too short to fight over these kinds of things!
- Those yellowjacket wasps were absolutely terrifying.
- Scott taking charge once again was one of the best moments! He came out, guns a-blazin’, to get rid of the wasps! Ten points for creativity. What would they do without him and his knowledge?
What did you think of the episode? How will it all pan out?
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