‘La Brea’: The one where they steal the Dharma drops idea

La Brea
“The Way Home”
November 2, 2021

I’m going to completely switch it up this week, and begin with the present-day timeline. Last we left Gavin, Izzy, and Aldridge, they were at an archeological dig in the middle of Los Angeles reading a letter from Eve that Aldridge’s “team” pieced together — because it took an entire team of scientists to reassemble a letter that was torn into about 40 pieces. The letter blah blah blahs about how Eve is so sad she cheated on her insane alcoholic husband, but also, too, the light they fell into is beginning to close up, here on Day Five. And guess what? IT’S DAY FIVE HERE IN THE PRESENT, TOO!

Gavin is ready to jump into the plane and save everyone, but along comes our antagonist, Agent Markman, who is like,  “NOPE! I’m here to stop you for plot reasons.”

But this is interrupted by some guy working on the archeological dig, who announces that they just found the wreckage of a plane in an area that they had already cleared. It just showed up out of nowhere! Everyone hurries down to the site (violating 113 OSHA rules regarding safety equipment) and sure enough, the wreckage of Levi’s plane is mostly buried.

Aldridge calls for ground-penetrating sonar to be used and just as she suspects, there are “multiple bodies” near the wreckage. Gavin and Aldridge decide that this means the survivors tried to fix the plane and fly home, but it crashed, killing everyone on board. Gavin pleads with Markman to let them fly Aldridge’s Super Magic Plane into the sinkhole and save everyone before they try to fly themselves home and crash, but Markman’s like, “Nah, and also you’re arrested for no good reason.”

So, then Gavin, Izzy, and Aldridge are being held in some room somewhere — but Gavin’s not in jail? even though he was just arrested?

Anyway, they’re all hanging out together when Dr. Nathan shows up and is like, “Yeah, I’m the one who told Markman where the dig was because I had to make him think I was on his side. But I’m not! And I told him that Aldridge’s Super Magic Plane is in Oregon, so that will buy us some time to get back to the real Super Magic Plane and fly it into the sinkhole.”

But Gavin’s like, “OK, but we have to get a message to the survivors so they won’t get on the plane and die. That’s a thing we can do, right?”

So we’re just going to dot dot dot that because how they get a message to the others is revealed in the A-plot, which we will get to later. 

They all escape to Aldridge’s helicopter which apparently no one in the government seized or grounded, and fly back to San Luis Obispo. There, they prep the Super Magic Plane for their flight, and let’s just say Reddit is less than impressed by this whole scene:

Anyway, Markman and his team figure out that the Super Magic Plane isn’t actually in Oregon and a bunch of G-Man goons is suddenly driving up to Aldridge’s horse ranch. AND AGAIN, I NEED SOMEONE IN THE WRITERS’ ROOM TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHERE THEY THINK SAN LUIS OBISPO IS IN RELATION TO LOS ANGELES. Depending on what this dumb show needs it to be, it is either a 12-hour drive away, or it’s five minutes away, and I’m starting to become REALLY ANGRY ABOUT IT.

The G-men come driving up to the ranch and Izzy and Dr. Nathan go out to play dumb about where Gavin and Aldridge are, until from behind them, the Super Magic Plane takes off.

Gavin and Aldridge are flying towards the sinkhole when Agent Markman radios and informs them that they’ve scrambled F-15s to shoot them down if they don’t return to base immediately.

Gavin’s like “SUCK IT, JACKASS,” but Aldridge is less optimistic. Explaining to Gavin that they’re never going to make it, she straps on a parachute and tells Gavin that when he accused her of not telling him everything, he was right. What is happening to him is happening for a reason. Dr. Cryptic goes on to tell Gavin that her destiny is “down there,” and that his is “here, for now.” She then tells him that “another way to save them is to go back to the beginning. November 16, 1988. Remember that date.” And with that bit of NOT HELPFUL AT ALL INFORMATION, she jumps out of the plane and presumably into the sinkhole.      

Gavin still considers tempting fate and flying down the sinkhole, but then Izzy gets on the radio and begs him to land and he’s like “UGH, FINE.”

Arrested for the second time in the episode, Gavin is brought in handcuffs to Markman who informs him that Izzy is with Aunt Ione Skye, and the plane wreckage disappeared again — looks like his wife got his message. With that, the agents take Gavin away, presumably to a real jail cell this time. BUT WITH THIS DUMB SHOW WHO EVEN KNOWS.

Alright. So, over in our A-plot, Eve buries her message in a bottle while flashing back to the day she left Gavin’s drunk ass. The whole scene is just a set-up for Gavin to tell Eve in the past (or the future?) that he’ll find his way back to her.

Scott measures the light to try to calculate how much time they have before it closes up again, and they’re “stuck there forever” and comes up with about 18 hours.

And before we go any further, let’s push pause here because I don’t understand why everyone keeps talking about how this is their ONLY CHANCE TO GET OUT OF HERE when they’ve already established that there have been multiple sinkhole events in recent years? I mean, sure, they might be stuck there longer than they want to be, especially with a bunch of poorly rendered CGI dire wolves running around, but there’s also no reason to believe this will be their only opportunity to leave?


Alright, so Eve tells Josh that it sounds crazy but she’s buried a message to his dad and sister in the hopes that he’ll receive it before the portal closes. She then tells Josh that Gavin’s visions are real and that he can see them in this place. Josh doesn’t believe her and brats that his dad is a loser.

Meanwhile, Levi continues trying to put calls out on the radio and Mr. Pessimistic Eyeglasses Guy is like, “WHY BOTHER?” So of course, there is immediately a response because that’s the kind of quality writing we’re dealing with.

The person on the other end says that she’s First Sargeant Engineer Diana Hoskins of the United States Air Force. While the rest of the camp crowd around, Levi explains to Diana that he knows about the Mojave mission and he’s there to rescue her. His plane crashed, though, and he needs her to help him repair it. She agrees that she might be able to help, and tells him that she’s in Santa Monica on the beach near a large rock formation.

And though Santa Monica is a good 10 miles from La Brea, the good news is that the jeep that one guy kept insisting on working on is up and running. How fortunate!

So, Levi and Eve, for some reason, drive to the beach and find a campsite. When Diana finally shows up, she brandishes a gun at them, worried that they had done something to her friend Jonathan. They’re like, “Yeah, bad news about your pal. We found him dead inside some weird bear cult’s temple deep in the forest.” Levi then proves that he’s there to rescue her by showing her the picture of her team that Dr. Nathan — her fiance — gave him, before being like, “so about my plane, think you can fix it?” and Diana is like, maybe! 

On the way to her plane, Diana explains that while her team came down through the Mojave Desert, they flew over to Los Angeles when the portal closed up and ended up crashing on the beach. Two of the crew died, and the rest of them split up looking for another way out. When Levi’s plane came through, Jonathan went looking for him and never came back. Anyway, her plane’s pneumatic system is still intact, so they might be able to fix Levi’s, hooray!

The three of them drive back to camp where they introduce Diana to the crowd and explain that they’re off to fix the plane, so everyone needs to get ready to leave. They drive off, and the rest of the survivors decide to draw names to see who goes on the first flight out since the plane only holds like five people. Among the first five chosen: Josh and Angry Son.

This makes Angry Son’s need to find the heroin a lot more urgent — because he’s DEFINITELY going to be able to haul a duffle bag full of China White on the plane — and he drags Scott out to the woods to start digging. Eventually, they do find something buried, but it’s not the drugs … it’s a box full of Confederate gold bars.

Right, so Levi and Diana fix the plane and Diana reveals that she’s Dr. Nathan’s fiance and she’s nervous about seeing her again. They then call the camp with the good news when something comes falling through the portal.

The entire camp (which is all of 33 people? apparently? even though a square quarter-mile of the second-largest city in America fell into that hole? ALRIGHT FINE) goes to see what it is, and are joined by Levi and Diana. They discover it’s a drone. And on the side of the drone is a panel marked “OPEN.” Levi obeys the instructions and discovers an iPhone with another message: “PRESS PLAY.” Levi complies and it’s a video of Gavin telling Eve that he received her letter. He knows Levi is trying to fix the plane, but it won’t work. They’ve found the wreckage of the plane in the future, and everyone on board dies. Gavin knows that it feels like Levi’s plan is the only way home, but it’s not. Gavin has a plane, and he is coming for her and Josh and everyone — she just needs to trust him.

The response from the crowd?

Levi and Diana return to the plane with Tony the Jeep guy, so that he can take the Jeep back to camp and chauffer the first group to the plane.

Eve tries to convince Josh to not get on the plane, that he needs to trust his dad, but Josh is like, “Nah.”

So Eve goes to Lady Cop, who she noticed was awfully quiet about Gavin’s message. Knowing that she’s a mom and her son is set to be on what is destined to be a disastrous flight, Eve convinces her to do what they can to stop it from ever taking off.

To that end, when Tony the Jeep guy returns with the Jeep, they steal the Jeep and drive back to the plane. There, they plead with Levi and Diana, insisting that everyone will die on the flight and they need to wait for Gavin. When Levi and Diana are like “No,” Lady Cop pulls her gun on them? For some reason? There’s some back and forth, it doesn’t matter, the bottom line is that Diana pulls her gun on Lady Cop, raving that it’s her last chance to get home. She then shoots at Lady Cop and misses, shooting the plane instead — so great job — and Lady Cop shoots Diana in the stomach.

They drive Diana back to camp to be treated by Dr. Sam, but yeah, no, she dies.

That’s when Scott and Angry Son come back to camp, carrying the box full of gold like it’s  a box full of towels, and they’re like, “Wait, what just happened?”

And then that night the portal closes up with no sign of Gavin and Josh is all, “I TOLD YOU DAD WASN’T COMING AND NOW WE’RE STUCK HERE BECAUSE OF YOU. THANKS.”

Oh, and there’s also a C-plot where Ty goes out to the woods to find Veronica who has run away having been found out she helped kidnap Lily. He finds her at her “father’s” grave and tells her that they’re working on the plane and will be able to leave soon. She doesn’t exactly want to go back, fearing that she’ll go to jail for the whole kidnapping thing. But Ty tells her that Lily told him that she’s a kidnapping victim, too. She insists that her “father” was a good man who freed her from her old life, but Ty points out he’s gone now and her family is waiting for her. Veronica asks if she can say goodbye to her “father” and Ty, this dummy, turns his back on her, so of course she clobbers him in the head with a giant stick.

This show is the worst.

Alright, so they figured out that the people in the future/present can communicate with those trapped in this strange place by sending something physically through the portal?


And then there’s the lady who has been trapped in this strange place a little too long and is starting to lose it, and poses a danger to others?


But that’s not what I am most angry about this week. Oh no, that would be the time travel paradox that these idiots are making the most of because they are lazy hacks. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you are aware of the Grandfather Paradox. In short: if you were, for some reason, able to go back in time, you would not be able to alter any part of the past that led to you traveling into the future. Basically, you couldn’t go back into the past and kill your grandfather before he was able to father your mother because then you wouldn’t exist in the future to go back to the past and kill your grandfather. Got it?

What I’m saying is that the Back to the Future rules? As clean and neat as they seem, they don’t actually work. Stick with me here: Marty goes back to the past and almost prevents his parents from falling in love and having him. Except, if he prevents his parents from falling in love, then he’s never conceived, and therefore he’s never sent back to the past to prevent them from falling in love. It’s a paradox.

But apparently, Back to the Future rules are what we’re dealing with on this very dumb show, as demonstrated by the appearing and disappearing plane at the archeological site. It’s irritating because it’s lazy writing (how did they conclude that quickly that the bodies near the plane must have been from a crash? why is everyone so calm about a plane buried in the archeological record just materializing and dematerializing in front of them? HOW DID THEY JUST FIRE A DRONE INTO THE PORTAL AND EVERYONE WAS SO CHILL ABOUT IT?), but it’s also inherently paradoxical.

Unless we are dealing with multiple universes here, Levi’s plane has always crashed and been crashed and they would have found it in the dig before he ever took off if they looked in the right place. Follow the timeline here: Levi flies into the portal, crashes, they try to fix the plane, but then Eve and Lady Cop disrupt that and Diana shoots the plane, preventing it from ever taking off. Now I understand the logic that the only reason that Eve disrupted the flight in the first place was because Gavin warned her to — but since the plane never attempted to fly away, it never crashed, and there’s no reason for Gavin to have known that it would crash and warn Eve. Unless, of course, we are talking about parallel universes in which everything can be thrown out the motherfucking window.

AND THEN THERE IS THE RING: Eve falls into the portal and loses her ring. It stays in the same place for 12,000 years until Gavin digs it up, and gives it to Levi to give to Eve 12,000 years in the past to prove to her that he can see her in his visions. Fine. But here’s the thing: now there are two rings. Eve currently has her wedding ring, but it also HAS TO STILL BE WHERE SHE DROPPED IT WHEN SHE FELL INTO THE PORTAL OR GAVIN CAN NEVER GIVE IT BACK TO HER.

Children, there is a valuable lesson here: DO NOT TRY TO FUCK WITH TIME TRAVEL IF YOU ARE A HACK WRITER.


I hate this show.

La Brea airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 8/9 p.m.


3 thoughts on “‘La Brea’: The one where they steal the Dharma drops idea

  1. I’m a couple of eps behind. So can’t comment on this one yet. But I LOVE your recaps. I scream some of what you say at the tv when I watch them, and my spouse says, what is wrong with you it’s just a tv show. Yet I persist in ranting. Thank goodness you are with me in this, Madame T.

  2. “Alright, so Eve tells Josh that it sounds crazy but she’s buried a message to his dad and sister in the hopes that he’ll receive it before the portal closes.”

    I just wanted to add that this trick of communicating with the future was also used on “Phineas and Ferb”.


    At least they’re stealing from good shows!

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