“The Next Day”
September 27, 2022
Hello, please have a seat.
A few years ago I came up with this idea of a “hate blog” in which I would allow you people to choose which new broadcast show I would recap FOR ONE AND ONLY ONE SEASON. Last year, predictably, y’all chose the terrible NBC prehistoric mystery box series, La Brea. And I soldiered through. Even though this very dumb Lost-if-it-were-remade-by-third-graders made me insane each week with its lazy writing, one-dimensional characters, and distracting CGI, I got through it.
But then, foolishly, naively, I allowed you monsters to reconsider La Brea as an option in the first TV Foolishness Tournament. I genuinely thought you would choose something high-brow and classic: The Sopranos or The Leftovers. There was a chance, I thought, that you would choose a current buzzy series like The Boys. I also accepted that there was a good chance you would choose one of the other hate blogs that drove me to madness, like Manifest or The Orville.
No, for whatever God-forsaken reason, you wanted more of the saber-toothed dumbassery.
Let’s go look at how I concluded what I believed at the time would be my last La Brea recap:
And as for where this blog goes from here? Not back to La Brea, that’s for damn sure. Will I forget to delete the show from my scheduled programming? Yep! Will I allow episodes to build up and be too lazy to erase them for months? Absolutely! Will I eventually break down and watch season two to find out whether or not Josh really is Silas and if that tower is just an elaborate cow bar-coding factory and where the bear trap came from? Probably! Will I write a single word about any of it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You’re going to have to find some new nonsense show with which to terrorize me, and I look forward to whatever you monsters have in store.
Goodbye, La Brea. And don’t you even THINK about yelling “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!” at me.
And then all of you last month:
SO I GUESS WE’RE DOING THIS.
We begin the second season in Lake Hollywood Park which is filled with people picnicking and walking their dogs. Amongst them is Doc, a fluffy white thing who immediately pulls away from his 10-year-old owner and disappears into the brush. Moments later, the earth begins to shake and a sinkhole opens beneath the iconic Hollywood Sign.
The Y from the side comes tumbling down the side of the mountain, intact, somehow, and very nearly crushes our 10-year-old dog owner. But relax: she and Doc are just fine because they are not going to kill a kid and a fluffy dog in the first two minutes.
However, your trusty blogger is not fine because when I look at this shot of the Hollywood Sign sinkhole, all I can see is a demented Muppet:
Having been sucked into a time portal, Josh and Riley find themselves in Los Angeles … sometime. Fortunately, a 1988 Deus Ex Convertible drives by blasting Billy Ocean, and the Classic Coke-drinking teens passengers throw a cassette tape at our heroes — as those wacky 80s teens were wont to do — helping to give us some temporal context: they have, indeed, arrived in 1988.
As for their companions — Isiah/Baby Gavin and Lilly/Baby Ella — Josh and Riley happen to see them get loaded into a Nunmobile. Riley wants to save them, but Josh stops her and explains that the kids are going to be OK: Isiah gets adopted, grows up, meets his mom Eve, and they have him and his sister, Irritating Izzy. They are on their path, which is why his Back to the Futureitis has cleared up. As for them … a sinkhole won’t open up for another 30 years, so they might be stuck there.
Josh and Riley eventually break into a house whose owners conveniently left a door open and even more conveniently are on vacation for a week, a fact that they learn from the home’s answering machine message.
Which … look.
I know they gave Josh a throwaway line about how, “Back in the day, no one used to lock their doors … ” but I’m pretty sure even the laziest homeowners would make sure their entire house was locked up before leaving for a week-long vacation, especially if they changed their out-going answering machine message to alert the world that they wouldn’t be home for a week.
I hate this show.
After stealing some leftover pizza and watching a little Alf, Josh is like, “THIS ROCKS.” Because 80s puppet sitcoms and eating cold Dominoes is, in fact, infinitely better than scavenging mushrooms and being chased by saber-tooth tigers while hiding from feral fort people who want to electrocute you.
But Riley is all sad about being separated from their families and she doesn’t want to pretend that everything is just magically fine now (even though it literally is). Josh tells her that just being there with her makes him feel better, but she’s all, “WE ARE NOT BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND, JOSH.”
She then suggests that they leave the awesome free house they are staying in … to try to get back to their families … somehow. Josh doesn’t point out that they have no plan for that, and instead raids the house’s piggy banks, collecting $100 in the process. But he’s not a dirty thief: he leads a note suggesting that they buy Apple stock (which is easily the most clever thing to ever happen on this show which tells me someone not on the writing staff must have come up with it).
And that’s when Josh notices the Deus Ex Times newspaper headline about a sinkhole swallowing the Hollywood Sign:
The thing is, the Hollywood Sign didn’t fall into a sinkhole in 1988: so by this logic, this might be a portal back to 10,000 B.C. and I guess they’re going to go jump into it? This is a dumb plan.
Back in 10,000 B.C. Aldridge and Scott are outside the Unexpected Modern Tower, but they have not gone inside just yet, because Aldridge wanted to regain her strength after having been stabbed by The Old Guy like 12 hours ago. She’s ready now, somehow, but she warns Scott that the people inside the building will want to kill them.
On the other hand, if they don’t go to the building, all of his friends over in Camp Ridiculous Plot will die. Scott’s like, “Well, when you put it that way … ”
Aldridge leads Scott to a murky pond, lifts the top of a rock, presses a button, and the water in the pond drains, exposing a staircase that will take them into a tunnel that leads into the tower. Scott, doing his very best Hurley impression:
Over in Camp A Plot, Dr. Sam and Levi are questioning The Old Guy and getting nowhere. Ty reminds Eve that Aldridge claims Dr. Sam helped create the sinkholes — as if this is a fact that Eve would have forgotten in the past 24 hours — before letting her know that no one has any idea where Angry Son and Angry Lady Cop are. Also missing: Scott, Aldridge, and Veronica, Ty informs Eve because she apparently suffered some sort of head injury off-screen and has no idea what happened in the past day.
Inside the now Torture Box Truck, Levi and Dr. Sam continue to question The Old Guy: Why was it so important to him to keep Isiah/Baby Gavin here? How does Dr. Sam
drag his daughter back to the year 10,000 B.C. so that she’ll be trampled by a wooly mammoth? bring Riley back? But The Old Guy is not cooperating and instead spits the water offered to him back in Dr. Sam’s face.
Outside the Torture Box Truck, Levi confronts Dr. Sam on his tactics and notices that Dr. Sam seems to be having the detox shakes. When Levi points out the obvious: that Riley is safer in 1988 than she is here where DIREWOLVES ARE EATING PEOPLE’S FACES OFF, Dr. Sam argues that they are going to find a way back to where they belong — 2021 — and that he wants her to be with him when that happens.
Eve and Ty interrupt this conversation and remind Dr. Sam and Levi that Paara and her people are allowing them to question The Old Guy, but that they are going to want him back when they return this afternoon with food for them. And it’s best to not piss off your source of food.
Dr. Sam insists that The Old Guy GOES NOWHERE until he talks.
Tired of The Old Guy’s bullshit, Dr. Sam leads him to the forest’s edge, puts a gun to his head, and demands he tell him how to get his daughter back. The Old Guy tells them that he can’t help them get their kids back, but Aldridge can. As for where she went: she’s headed to a 30-story glass and steel tower a day’s walk from here.
“A high-rise building?!? THAT’S UNPOSSIBLE!” Eve, Levi, Dr. Sam, and Ty say to each other WHILE STANDING IN 10,000 B.C.
Eve and Levi choose to go seek out this tower, while Dr. Sam and Ty will stay behind and
torture babysit The Old Guy.
At camp, Ty confronts Dr. Sam: he can tell something is going on with him. But before he can pry it out of him, Paara, her off-brand Uggs, and her tribe arrive with food. Ty pleads with her for a little more time with The Old Guy, promising to personally bring him back to her people once they find Aldridge, and Paara is like, “Sure, why not, what could go wrong?”
Cut to Eve and Levi walking through the woods. They soon find Angry Son sitting at Angry Cop Mom’s grave. While Eve and Levi are comforting Angry Son, a group of leather daddies armed with machetes and knives (which, as Levi helpfully points out, didn’t exist in 10,000 B.C.) happens to pass right nearby, dragging Veronica along as their prisoner. What a coincidence! How fortunate!
What lazy writing!
Angry Son decides that they need to save Veronica, but Levi points out that they are wildly outnumbered. Eve suggests one of them should return to camp and get help while the other two keep an eye on Veronica. But Angry Son is a DOER, not a WATCHER, dammit, and he decides he will single-handedly rescue Veronica himself, DAMMIT.
Angry Son, Levi, and Eve team up to rescue Veronica, but as they are making their getaway, Eve manages to get her dumb ass caught by the leather daddies. And for whatever reason (plot purposes) Eve is placed in the leather daddies’ cart and carried away, while all of their other prisoners — who are helpfully wearing light brown skins so as to helpfully differentiate themselves from their captors — are forced to walk behind said cart. ANYWAY, stupid story short, Angry Son brings Veronica back to camp while Levi gets himself deliberately caught by the leather daddies and put into the cart with Eve.
Finally, Gavin, Irritating Izzy, and Lilly/Ella. Last we left these particular idiots, they learned a sinkhole was going to open up in Seattle and rushed to get there so they could leap into said sinkhole and join their family and friends in 10,000 B.C. This was their plan. They had a plan. So go ahead and ask me if part of this plan was to bring with them any practical supplies that might help them survive in 10,000 B.C.: food, flashlight, more clothes, first aid, antibiotics, weapons, sleeping bags, a compass …
Go ahead: ask.
Right. So. They arrive in 10,000 B.C. with nothing but the clothes on their backs and start the long hike down to Los Angeles (which, at 20 miles a day — which is a LOT of miles a day when one of your hikers is missing a leg and you’re running away from saber-toothed hippos and shit — would still take them around 48 days to reach their destination).
On the first day of their hike: Gavin successfully hunts a boar with nothing but a spear, and manages to butcher it with a pocket knife; Idiot Izzy wanders off by herself in a prehistoric nightmare land for no good goddamned reason and manages to crack her prosthetic leg; the entire group is chased around by a wooly rhino; the group later meets a baby wooly rhino who leads them to more wooly rhinos and they are only saved when the first wooly rhino fights with the new wooly rhinos; and then, in the stupidest, laziest twist of this entire show so far — WHICH IS TRULY SAYING SOMETHING — they find themselves at the site of the remains of the Hollywood Sign, and can see the La Brea campsite on the horizon because they aren’t in Seattle at all, they are actually in prehistoric Los Angeles along with everyone else.
YOU HAD A YEAR — ONE YEAR! — TO WRITE A WAY OUT OF YOUR SEATTLE PREDICAMENT, AND THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME UP WITH?
Alright, let’s list all the things they stole from Lost in this episode:
We’ve got the former military guy willing to use torture on a hairy dude for information:
To be fair, Sayid actually does torture Sawyer on Lost, he doesn’t just idly threaten to do so unlike Dr. Sam.
We have a man on a hunt for boar who is suddenly confronted by a dangerous awe-inspiring creature:
Which stops him in his tracks:
But don’t worry: he manages to kill the boar and feed his people:
And then there is this whole plot where the heroes must travel to a distant tower that may hold the secret to getting them home. But look out, heroes! There are people who do not want you to access the tower:
Finally, we have the one character having to explain to another character how time travel works:
MILES: What the hell are you doing, Tubby?
HURLEY: Checking to see if I’m disappearing.
HURLEY: “Back to the Future”, man. We came back in time to the island and changed stuff. So if little Ben dies, he’ll never grow up to be big Ben, who’s the one who made us come back here in the first place. Which means we can’t be here. And therefore, dude? We don’t exist.
MILES: You’re an idiot.
HURLEY: Am I?
MILES: Yeah. It doesn’t work like that. You can’t change anything. Your maniac Iraqi buddy shot Linus. That is what always happened. It’s just…we never experienced how it all turns out.
HURLEY: This is really confusing.
MILES: Yeah, well, get used to it. But the good news is that Linus didn’t die, so that means the kid can’t either. He’ll be fine.
KATE: Didn’t look like he was gonna be fine. What if you’re wrong?
MILES: Well, if I’m wrong, then I guess we all stop existing, and none of it matters anyway then, does it?
Whatever happened, happened, Riley. It’s just not that hard to understand.
And in conclusion, I hate you all for doing this to me again, and I shall never forgive you.
La Brea airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 8/9 p.m.