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 Season 1 Finale Review – Topanga
A finale that had me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this would unfold.
Throughout its freshman run, La Brea has managed to deliver several unexpected twists with the latest being yet another jump to a new time period.
At least, that’s definitely what it seemed like happened on La Brea Season 1 Episode 10 when Josh, Riley, and Lilly got sucked up by the blue light in its final hoorah.
The light was the portal to 1988, so while we didn’t see where they ended up, it’s safe to say, the 80s are the new 2021.
And that happened juuust as Gavin, Izzy, and Ella jumped into the sinkhole in Seattle to set out on their quest to reunite the family.
I mean, could the timing be worse?
Just when you think everyone in the family is in 10,000 B.C., Josh goes and screws it up.
I kid, of course. While I love all the adventure and drama that the pre-historic ages offer, I’m intrigued to see how the trio navigates the 1980’s.
More specifically, how Josh can exist in the same timeline as his father, who is a young boy by the name of Isaiah.
The original story is that Gavin and Ella walked down a road together before they got adopted by different families in 1988. Since they didn’t go through the portal together this time, does that mean the present has been changed?
Gavin and Lilly also didn’t remember anything when they arrived in 1988 — hence why we’re filling in all these blanks. Does that mean Josh and Riley won’t have any recollection of what happened either?
Hey, at least the map of past and present sinkholes made it there safely with Lilly. Or did it? What if they didn’t go to 1988 at all? What if they went back to a different time period or even to the future? What’s to say? And how would Eve and Sam know?
The episode largely focused on the journey to get Isaiah to the portal that would transport him to the 1980s. And it wasn’t without its fair share of hiccups as Silas aimed to stop Eve at every turn.
While we still don’t know much more about Silas or where he’s from — though, I really enjoy a theory that a reader left suggesting that Silas is also Gavin! — Rebecca Aldridge revealed that he was a scientist like her who was also partially responsible for the sinkholes opening up. Are these two early researchers of time travel?
Once again, I’d really love if Rebecca was just a teensy bit more forthcoming with information, but at least she took Scott and showed him the skyscraper she built. And yes, it qualifies as a skyscraper in 10K B.C.!
It’s unclear how she got all the materials and managed to do all of this, but let’s not get bogged down by minutia (as the creator told TV Line ahead of the finale.)
It’s also unclear what is inside the building that stands out like a sore thumb, but my guess is research and, for everyone’s sake, some kind of garden that would provide them with nourishments.
These people have been putting in the miles — they need to refuel somehow and mushrooms simply aren’t going to cut it!
This, however, proves that Rebecca has been in this time period before and managed to get out. She’s the key to getting them home, so again, why isn’t she more forthcoming with information?
What is she hiding?
Going off of the theory that Silas = Gavin, I can’t shake the fact that I think Rebecca is Lilly. How else would she know so much and know Ella and Gavin’s real identities?
And why else would Lilly trust Rebecca wholeheartedly? Another solid theory is that she’s Gavin/ Isaiah’s mother. I vibe with both theories.
Back to Isaiah, though. Once Silas gave up trying to stop his grandson from abandoning him, he safely made it to 1988 because both Izzy and Josh stopped experiencing pain.
Shortly after, Josh disappeared, while Izzy made the conscious decision to leap into the sinkhole with dad and Ella.
I know that they’re desperate to save their family, but this sinkhole opened up in Seattle, which is 1,200 miles away from Los Angeles.
There aren’t cars, trains, or automobiles in 10K B.C., and while riding a wooly mammoth sounds fun in theory, I don’t think it’s advisable. Making a 1,000 plus mile trek without food or any kind of weapons seems daunting, risky, and downright stupid. I expected better.
That is unless they were somehow thrust into Los Angeles despite entering in Seattle.
Anything is possible.
Ella, who was pretty adamant that she wasn’t from the prehistoric ages just a few episodes, eagerly took the jump because she wanted to save Veronica after seeing a vision of herself as a child leaving behind her sister/kidnapper.
While the hatred towards Veronica was initially understandable, she’s made great strides in becoming a better person. She, too, was a victim of a kidnapping, and she had no other family aside from Lilly. It makes sense that she would want a fresh start with the girl she considered her sister.
However, it was also valid that Lilly wanted to reunite with her real family. Yet, she still has plenty of love for Veronica because she didn’t want to give up on her when she got caught by the trap.
While Lilly couldn’t make good on her promise to come back and save her, Ella definitely could. It was a heartbreaking scene but hopefully one that leads to a sweet reconciliation.
Other 10K B.C. Musings
- Paraa and Ty’s connection is so pure. He knows he’s dying, and while he could go back and ease his pain, he chose to stay behind because of his feelings for her!
- Markman definitely put his career on the line by trusting some map from the prehistoric ages, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. By taking action, he was possibly avoiding another catastrophe. Plus, now the government has another sinkhole to study that is more off the radar than the one in La Brea.
- Also, Markman has to be a believer now, right?
- Riley and Josh are also really adorable.
- Marybeth died! But is she really dead? She’s resilient, so I’m not convinced. However, if it is a death that sticks, at least she and Luke made amends before she took her last breath and she was able to die in his arms. All she’s ever wanted was to make up with her son. And while he’ll likely never forgive himself for wasting so much time with his mother, at least he stepped up when it really mattered.
- Can you imagine how things will go down once Gavin arrives and Eve is torn between her husband and Levi?
What did you think of the La Brea Season 1 finale? How obsessed are you with the show?
Do you have any theories?
La Brea Review – Ella’s Identity is Revealed (1×09)
La Brea has figured out the formula for keeping audiences invested.
But, unfortunately, as with every time-traveling show, it’s also gotten increasingly complex. To make sense of the shocking developments, you have to keep in mind the one thing Dr. Rebecca told the sky people in the clearing: time is a circle.
The past, the present, and the future are all happening at once, somehow.
And the rule of thumb remains true — if you change something in the past, it ripples down into the present and ultimately, the future.
After the revelation that young Isaiah is actually Gavin, much of the episode focused on Eve, Levi, and Josh’s plan to find Isaiah and safely get him to the top of a mountain that housed a sinkhole connecting to 1988.
Yep, that’s a thing.
Of course, they couldn’t just outright tell Isaiah that he was Eve’s husband in the future, but it’s a big ask to want a kid to leave his home and jump into a portal that takes him to a different timeline.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have a choice since Izzy and Josh’s lives were on the line.
And though they never said it outright, my guess is that Gavin would also cease to exist or would at least exist in a different reality if Isaiah didn’t go through the sinkhole.
The mission has now changed from “how are they getting out of this time period” to “how can they save Eve’s whole family while hopefully saving themselves in the process.”
While we don’t know how this is going to pan out, their fate doesn’t only hinge on Isaiah/Gavin.
In this week’s shocking twist, it’s revealed that Ella is Lily… yes, Veronica’s Lily, the one that was kidnapped.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how this is possible.
After all, Lily fell through the sinkhole with Veronica and Aaron (who was killed moments into his time in 10K B.C) from 2021.
How does she exist in both forms as an adult and a kid in the present?
It’s possible I’m missing something or I just don’t understand the idea of traveling through space and time.
Either way, in the present day, Gavin, Izzy, and Dr. Sophia have dedicated themselves to convincing Ella, who was found wandering on the side of the road with Isaiah in 88, that she’s also from 10K B.C.
It’s a wild thing to tell someone, and she’s obviously hesitant to believe it, so Gavin breaks into the dig site to find proof.
Eventually, Ella taps into some memories from her time in the past and digs up a map that we see Dr. Rebecca give her.
The map includes all the sinkholes and the exact dates they opened/ are set to open, including one in Seattle that is scheduled for the following day.
Rebecca stole this map from Silas, Isaiah’s grandfather, so it’s really suspicious.
Why does he have this in his possession?
I’m deeply intrigued by Isaiah and Silas and want to know more about them. How did they get here? Where did they come from? Why is Silas so hellbent on keeping Isaiah in this timeline?
And how does he know Rebecca?
Considering all the information Rebecca has and the fact that Silas recognized her, I’m still running with my theory that Rebecca is Gavin’s mother.
It’s also a mystery as to how Rebecca was able to escape this time period, though, I agree with Sam and Riley — if there’s a sinkhole to 1988 then there has to be a sinkhole back to 2021.
The option to go to 1988 was given to the sky people in the clearing, and while Veronica and Lily decided to take it, I also wonder what that will do if someone who existed in the 80s arrives in that time period. Is that possible? And how does their arrival in 1988 change the present?
Scott, on the other hand, decided to stay behind to unearth more mysteries in 10K B.C. After finding a cow, he saw that it was branded with a UPC code which means that more sky people are likely not too far behind.
I can’t believe no one else wanted to help Scott scout for the cow. She’s a source of dairy and meat, it was the only logical thing to do!
There were a lot of moving parts to the episode. Elsewhere, Ty and Para kissed in the midst of all the action, and it was so cute.
I love Ty, so I hope that his illness is cured by traveling back in time. Plus, I’m seriously shipping them as a couple.
Josh also found out about Levi and Eve’s relationship from Isaiah — talk about awkward — and confronted Levi about it after they were taken prisoner by Silas.
Honestly, Josh has every right to be mad, but he shouldn’t just hold it against Levi. His mother was just as responsible. And, let’s be real, even he’s aware of how disappointing Gavin was during those times.
He might be taking “father of the year” now, but that wasn’t always the case.
At least now Gavin’s visions have proven useful, and since he knows where he comes from, he no longer has to wonder about his childhood or who his family was. Losing his family to the sinkhole might have been the worst thing to happen to him, but it has also allowed him to fill in the pieces about his past.
And hopefully, he keeps filling them in.
What did you think of the episode? Were you shocked that Ella turned out to be Lily?
Do you want to know more about Gavin’s past? Who is Rebecca Aldridge and why is she so connected to all of this? Do you think anyone should travel back to 1988?
And now that Gavin, Izzy, and Sophia have the blueprints to the sinkholes that are set to open up, can they intervene and stop them before more people get swallowed up?
Can they use the map to reverse-engineer a way to bring everyone back home?
Will Isaiah make it to the mountain so that Josh and Izzy are spared? Will Eve find a way to save Josh and Levi from Silas?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
La Brea Review – Origins (1×08)
Well, well, well.
Now, that’s a twist. Things are starting to get personal… like really personal.
We knew everything was centered around Gavin, but now we’re finding out a little more as to why Gavin is such a crucial piece of the puzzle.
In the final moments of La Brea Season 1 Episode, Dr. Rebecca Aldridge revealed that Isaiah, the young boy in the village who took pity on Eve and the rest of the “sky people” when they were caught snooping around is actually young Gavin.
“I’m from that place,” Gavin mutters as he has yet another vision.
Only now we know that these aren’t visions, they’re some kind of repressed memories.
And since Isaiah was spying on the newcomers, Gavin was seeing what he was witnessing. It all makes sense!
This revelation opens up a can of worms and questions, mainly: how?
How is this possible?
It definitely seems as though Rebecca had some kind of personal connection to Gavin considering his grandfather recognized her immediately and informed her that he wasn’t going to let her take him.
Could it be that Rebecca is Gavin’s mother? Yes, I actually wrote that sentence.
Playing with various timelines allows the show to explore the wonkiest of possibilities.
How did Gavin get to 10K B.C.? What is his grandfather? Rebecca was very adamant about the fact that he’s not who they think he is, but honestly, would it kill her to give any more insight into what she knew?
The grandfather stabbed her for crying out loud so the least she could do is give up all the knowledge she has on the situation.
If she was Gavin’s mother, it would explain why she knew so much about him in the present day, though, and why she was so eager to withhold information from him.
The next question that comes to mind is how did Isaiah/Gavin escape?
And it confirms that there is a way to make it back to the present day despite the green light closing up.
Imagine how Eve feels right about now knowing that she’s literally been hanging out with her husband in child form. How eerie.
Gavin isn’t the only person with ties to the prehistoric world as Ella somehow also plays into it.
At first, I thought that maybe Paara was actually Ella, and then I thought that maybe Ella is Riley’s mom and Sam’s wife.
I was almost sure of it when Izzy met Riley’s brother, Ethan, at the vigil. It would explain why there’s such a focus on these two families. Will she tell him everything she knows soon enough?
However, it didn’t seem like she was the woman Gavin was looking for so that lead might be dead.
When Rebecca jumped from the plane, I thought it was possible that she parachuted all the way down to the past, but I wasn’t sure.
She knows so much more than she’s letting on, so my guess is that she’s been there before, which is how she also knew that there was a way to get out.
Again, if she could just tell them what she knows that would be so helpful.
A meeting between the newcomers and the villagers also revealed that many more sinkholes like this one have opened up before, including one in the ocean which is how the village was formed in the first place.
I love that the series is addressing all of our questions. The answers might not come all at once, but they aren’t leaving us hanging either which is promising and likely a reason so many people are coming back.
With a second season locked it, there’s obviously a long-term plan in place that doesn’t require the audience to be kept in the dark the whole time.
The series has found a way to be forthcoming while keeping the suspense all at the same time.
Much like little Isaiah, it’s laying a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow and each reveal is juicer than the next.
I’m hooked — La Brea is the best show to grace our screens.
Much of the episode saw the newcomers looking towards the villagers for help in terms of survival. After the storm wiped mostly everything they had, including those mushrooms, they had no idea how to sustain themselves in this world.
Thankfully, Paraa entrusted them with her village’s secrets mainly because of the relationship she built with Ty.
I’m still rooting for them romantically.
Of course, with all these new revelations, things are getting quite complicated, but at least they’ve found people that they can turn to as a guide.
The people in the clearing aren’t alone, which should quell some anxieties.
And the anxieties were in full swing.
Sam opened up about his PTSD to Riley, which bonded them in a completely new way.
However, that was only after he handcuffed Veronica to the steering wheel of a car, which triggered a near-death anxiety attack.
Here’s the thing — Veronica cannot be trusted. She kidnapped Lily and proved on multiple occasions that she’s a violent person by slapping Lily around and hurting Ty.
But it’s also a little dramatic to leave her tied up in the current predicament since that means she’s not able to defend herself from external forces.
Sam may have meant well, but he crossed a line, and I’m glad the rest of the team was there to pull him back.
Elsewhere, Josh and Riley allowed their relationship to blossom proving that there is a silver lining to any situation.
What did you think of the episode?
Are you loving La Brea as much as I am?
Manifest’s calling card may be that it’s all connected, but that also rings true for La Brea — despite the hundreds of years standing in the way, the past and present have never felt more connected.
Do you think Rebecca will survive the stabbing and finally give up everything that she knows, including her connection to Gavin/Isaiah?
What do you think the deal is with Ella? Is she Gavin’s long-lost sister? And why did she drive away? What does she know that she doesn’t want to share with him?
And is there any rhyme or reason to these sinkholes? Why these specific people?
Also, are you team Gavin or team Levi? I’m rooting for Gavin, but man, it’s hard not to root for Levi as well. Eve is smack dab in the middle of two really great dudes who love her unconditionally.
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