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 Fall Finale Review – 1988 (207)
And that’s a wrap on the first half of season 2.
But did La Brea transport you to a satisfactory point in the story? Personally, I can’t say that it did.
I was feeling pretty indifferent about the finale up until the final few seconds. I know that the series has to end an episode, especially one that isn’t going to be on again until January 31, with a cliffhanger, but it made me so mad. After everything they’ve been through across all the different timelines, did Gavin not learn anything about being honest and forthcoming with his family, especially as they pertain to his visions?
The memory basically indicated that going back to 10K B.C. was going to be dangerous, if not deadly, for Eve. I know Gavin would never willingly put Eve or his family in danger, but withholding what he was deliberately omitting an important fact from the vision so that his family would jump into the sinkhole and go back in time once again alongside him.
Why wouldn’t he tell his family to stay in 1988 where they would at least have a greater chance of survival with this newfound knowledge? And if there is a way to get back, he would find it and return to them?
I know the family just got back together and their whole motto is that they would never separate again, but it just seemed careless considering the dangerous reality of the mission at hand.
Caroline informed Gavin, who initially agreed to stay behind in 1988 and build a life with his family, that, aside from his father, he was the only one who could get through security so that they could upload the virus and shut everything down. And that means that he would become trapped in 10K B.C…. and that’s considering he would even manage to infiltrate the building again and accomplish what needed to be done. Surely, his father is going to put up a fight considering the lengths he went through to send agents to 1988 to stop Caroline in the first place.
It was a massive leap into the unknown for most of them, aside from Gavin, who saw that there’s possibly a dire outcome for the very person he loves the most.
That being said, James designed this whole glass building in the past, so my guess is he has a fail-safe that would bring him and his loved ones to his timeline. I’m not convinced that there’s no way back home just yet, so maybe being in 10K B.C. where all the masterminds are is their best bet to getting back to 2022.
Sam and Riley both decided to jump into the sinkhole and back to 10K B.C. in hopes of finding a way back to the present and their family. I think Riley’s decision was largely influenced by the fact that Josh and his family were also going back to the prehistoric ages as she likely wants to explore their connection further.
The only person that didn’t jump into the sinkhole was our boy, Levi. He lost the battle for Eve’s heart, and while it was the only outcome that made sense for the storyline, man, I was heartbroken. I really wished that Eve would follow her heart because, at every turn, it was very clearly pulling her toward Levi. However, when it became that Gavin needed to go to 10K B.C. and her kids were in agreement that they needed to support their father in the way they didn’t when they thought he was just a drunk, she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter if she didn’t want to lose them all. Choosing Levi meant that she would be turning her back on her family and potentially never seeing them again. And Eve could never survive that—she could never survive being without her kids.
As Ty once warned her, Eve had to make a choice, and she chose to stay faithful to her promise to Gavin and the family. They were a unit that had to stick together. Levi was naturally heartbroken and disappointed, but he understood. He didn’t try to fight it or convince Eve because he knew that there was no chance of winning this one when her mind was already made up. She would never be happy with him in this scenario.
And while a beer on the beach in the ’80s sounds really great after all that they’ve been through, it was also bittersweet. Levi is all alone in this world–he has no one else here. At least in 10K B.C., he had a group of people who were in this situation with him, but he was completely alone in 1988. Not to mention he could never reunite with these people or even keep in touch with them as they wouldn’t be in the same era as him. It wasn’t a goodbye for now, it was a permanent goodbye. And that’s honestly more terrifying than any Wooly Mammoth.
While I definitely trust Caroline way more than I trust James, I still can’t shake the feeling that she’s not telling Gavin everything. He seems to be on a need-to-know basis for information, which simply isn’t ideal when his whole family is gambling their existence. When everyone has something to gain, it becomes harder to believe that they are telling the truth.
Back in 10K B.C., things weren’t any more promising. Scott tried to broker a deal with the Exile leader in exchange for the cure for Lucas, but Tamet played him like a fiddle. If Scott hadn’t meddled, Ty would’ve won the trial by combat using psychological warfare—he had an upper hand that truly messed with Tamet’s mind. Unfortunately, Scott tried to be helpful and resourceful for his friend (he wanted to be the hero he never was), and was forced to set Tamet free, which means he will surely try to get revenge on Paraa and her people. And the one person he truly can’t stand is Ty because he is now dating his wife, who Tamet still has feelings for. Man, this sure really loves its love triangles.
The silver lining is that Lucas survived to see another day, though it was looking pretty bleak there for a minute. Veronica was so scared that he was going to die that she took the plunge and kissed him, which also instilled some hope and fight for survival in him. However, Tamet told Scott that he left out a key ingredient in the cure that would ensure Lucas survives, and while I initially thought he was messing with Scott, the fact that Lucas still can’t feel his hand concerns me. I’ve grown a soft spot for Lucas, so I hope that they figure out what’s going on with him sooner than later. I don’t hate his relationship with Veronica, but I do hope that there’s more to their connection than simply being in the same place at the same time and going though a shared experience. I do think they were both lost and flawed individuals who have the power to help each other become better and live a more fulfilled life.
I wish the episode was a bit more forthcoming with information. It was clear that Caroline would eventually finish the virus and they would end up going back to 10K B.C. It wasn’t even shocking when she suggested that Gavin had no other choice. All of the moves on the finale were predictable. That being said, they set us up for some great premiere content. What happens when they all finally arrive to wherever the sinkhole leads? Will they get split up? Will they all survive? Since they only have about 24 hours to upload the virus before the tidal wave swallows Los Angeles in 88, will they make it in time? Will they ever see Levi again?
And how will they get the rest of the people that fell through the sinkhole into the prehistoric ages back to the present-day without a working portal?
- It was risky for Sam to steal his dad’s car knowing that he could easily run into himself in this timeline. Isn’t that the first rule of time traveling?
- I feel like the first meeting between Caroline and her now adult son (who she just saw as a kid) lacked so much emotion. I was hoping for so much more after all the build up.
- I really loved Veronica’s story about her birth mom’s ritual of burning away the parts of herself she didn’t like. It’s cathartic and definitely helped Lucas get rid of all the pain and regret he was harboring that made him feel like he didn’t deserve a second chance at life. The fact that so many people were risking it all and fighting for him was proof that he was reformed and definitely deserved it.
- What was up with Sam telling Riley that the Harris’ aren’t their family? These people are connected in a very unique way, why does he not want anything to do with them?
- Are we about to see a 10K B.C. wedding? Ty proposed to Paraa and they are tying the knot! I love Ty’s storyline because he proves that you can find beauty in what some may consider the worst parts of your life.
What did you think of the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and I’ll see you in 2023!
When Does ‘La Brea’ Come Back On?
Fans may have been quite upset when they tuned in on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, only to find that La Brea wasn’t airing a new episode.
The hit sci-fi series took a week hiatus, likely so as to not interfere with Election Day coverage, but don’t worry, a new episode will air next week, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.
And it’s not just any old episode as the drama will wrap up the first half of its second season. Yep, that’s right, the La Brea midseason fall finale will be airing next week.
Here’s the synopsis for La Brea Season 2 Episode 7 titled “1988”:
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No matter how far-fetched, La Brea Season 2 Episode 6 finally provided some answers.
And we were even introduced to the show’s ultimate villain, who walked the walk, talked the talk, and looked the part—James, Gavin’s father. The “I am your father” reveal was underwhelming because it was kind of to be expected, but I’m not knocking it just yet because there’s something unnerving about James. Nothing about him screamed “you can trust this man,” so I’m glad Gavin kept his guard up despite finally getting some clarity about the family he always wondered about.
The episode picked up with Gavin, Eve, Sam, and Izzy arriving at the gates to infiltrate the Lazarus Tower, but they didn’t stand a chance as there were eyes on them from every corner; they were immediately identified and Gavin was captured.
Within moments, Gavin learned the truth about his past, but thankfully, he wasn’t buying James’ act. You could tell that James was trying to paint everything through rose-colored glasses and not telling Gavin the whole truth about the Lazarus project, which is that while it may have originally been well-intentioned, it was causing real-world damage far greater than whatever was happening in 2076, which is the year James, Caroline, and Gavin are actually from.
James tried to gloss over the reality of the damage his plan was causing by explaining his desire to help humanity from famine, extinction, and the death of natural resources, and while that may be true, he left out a lot of information… like the fact that everything he’s doing is bleeding through the timelines and altering reality and destroying the earth as we know it. NBD!
James’ credibility was also shot the minute he lied to Gavin about the portal, proving he still thinks of him as some naive child rather than acknowledging that he’s an adult man with a world of experiences. Gavin has a good read on people—he trusted Silas and Aldridge, and neither of them had much to gain from lying to him.
While Gavin didn’t know the extent of it what James was really hiding, audiences were able to piece it together with the information obtained by Riley and Josh in 1988 via Caroline, who revealed that she was trying to stop Lazarus and close the portal to prevent the natural disasters and ripple effects that kept occurring… aka the intensifying and increasingly devastating sink holes.
Caroline also informed her nephew and Riley that she was being “hunted,” and by the end of the episode, the mysterious group of people, who I guess work for James, found her and shut down her operation. The timing of it was especially suspicious as it seems that James didn’t know Caroline was in 1988 until Gavin told her, which is when his people went to capture her. If that’s the case, James truly is evil.
Thankfully, Josh and Riley weren’t there at the time, so they remain incognito, and Caroline left them a fail-safe plan inside a box of Wheaties. It’s unclear what the device does, but with all these brilliant minds finally—Gavin, Eve, Sam, and Izzy all arrived in Los Angeles— in one place, I think they’ll be able to piece it together. The question is, where do they go from here? Do they risk it all again and go back to 10K B.C. to stop James and save everyone in the Clearing? And how would they even go about doing it? The portal, and the world, obviously can’t handle the strain of continuous time jumps.
Their arrival, however comforting to Josh and Riley, likely wasn’t good news for the tidal wave gearing up to eviscerate Los Angeles. The earthquake was proof that Caroline wasn’t lying about the effects of the portal on the planet.
While there were a lot of tense moments, we did get some relief with Josh and Riley finally admitting what we all know—they have the hots for each other. And the roller rink scene, though brief, gave some serious Stranger Things vibes… much like in season 4, it’s the calm before the storm.
Riley also got this genius idea to locate her teen dad in the ’80s and relay a message to him, hoping he’d get a new memory in 10K B.C. and remember it. I don’t precisely understand the logistics of it, but it worked, so I guess we now know that we can communicate without technology across different time periods.
Back to James and Lazarus—no matter how well-intentioned the original idea may have been, there are obviously dire consequences to time travel and siphoning the past’s resources to help the future that no one realized at first.
It seems Caroline, Silas, and Aldridge realized the error of their ways and broke away from James in order to prevent further catastrophes, but it got out of their hands. They’ve all been working together ever since to stop him, even putting their lives on the line. Caroline and Silas are now the only ones actively trying to undo the damage and essentially stop James, who seems power-hungry and ego-driven—both qualities that don’t make for a good leader. James even mentioned Gavin played in the tower as a kid (which we’re not even sure is true), and if that’s the case, they’ve been doing this for quite some time. Is the damage even reversible?
It’s admirable to want to save people, but at what cost? There has to be another way to save the future without destroying the past and present in the process. Not to mention the harm that the sinkholes have already caused with so many innocent people transported to a world they know nothing about where it’s basically survival of the fittest—they are suffering and stranded without any basic necessities, and James doesn’t seem to care about any of them, including Gavin’s friends in the clearing.
When Scott and Lucas jumped into the action to help save Eve, Sam, Izzy, and Levi from the Lazarus guards, the latter ended up getting electrocuted with a rod that caused a gnarly infection that began spreading rapidly through his body.
And I’m mad about it. Lucas has had tremendous character growth, going above and beyond to help others and do the right thing. He doesn’t deserve this.
Scott tried his best to stop the infection by rigging a tourniquet, but it didn’t work, and when Lucas and Veronica were finally having a moment—I’m honestly rooting for them—he fell unconscious.
At this point, it doesn’t seem like the infection spreading through his body is reversible, and with all the people that have any pull in 1988, his chances of survival are slim.
He needs a miracle to survive this as we all saw what happened to the last guy with the same markings.
What did you think of the episode? Do you like the direction La Brea is going in?
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