October 4, 2022
This show is bad and dumb and I hate it. Let’s begin.
Eve and Levi: they’ve been abducted by the Leather Daddies, and taken via wagon to a heavily guarded cave. Once there, they are sent into the cave and told to go to tunnel nine. When Eve tries to ask a Leather Daddy what they want from them, she gets slapped for her trouble. HE TOLD YOU: GO TO TUNNEL NINE.
The Leather Daddies explain that Eve and Levi and all the other captives have one job and one job only: dig until they find a particular kind of black rock. If they find the rock, tell a Leather Daddy immediately, and then KEEP DIGGING! Levi and Eve are given some tools and immediately begin asking a dude who looks like he might also be from the 20th century what the deal is. This dude, Virgil, explains that he and about a dozen others fell through a sinkhole at the La Brea tarpits, and Eve and Levi are all:
Virgil explains that the Leather Daddies are brutal and make them dig for these black rocks, but what they’re doing with them? WHO KNOWS. Virgil urges them to just keep their heads down and do what their captors say: if they step out of line, the Leather Daddies WILL KILL THEM.
After 15 minutes of digging, Eve starts whining that SHE CAN’T DIE DOWN HERE! So during the dinner break, Levi approaches Virgil and asks if there are any other entrances and exits to the cave. Virgil tells him there are rumors of a way out through the tunnels, but they’ll never find their way without a map. Levi then suggests that they sneak past the guards by creating a distraction, and asks Virgil if he’d be willing to be that distraction. But Virgil is like, “Dude, I just met you people. Leave me out of it.”
Back inside the cave, Eve decides it’s time she and Levi talk about their relationship because really, what better moment to have a heart-to-heart than while being used as slave labor in a mysterious prehistoric mine. Perfect. Ideal, really.
However, the Leather Daddies are suddenly attacking Virgil, and when Levi jumps in to try to stop them, he gets dragged away for his troubles. Terrific plan, great execution.
Eve is left alone in some sort of pit where she worries about Levi. But there’s no need, really, because he’s soon thrown in there with her and they begin making out. And really, when you think about it, it was very generous of their slavers to give them so much privacy for a little sexytimes. Because nothing gets one hotter than being shackled and beaten by prehistoric doms with an obsession with magnetite.
Oh and by the way: this entire story is intercut with Eve’s flashbacks to her relationship with Levi.
Levi comes over when she’s crying over a broken dishwasher and they are like “we’re friends!”
Next thing you know, they’re in bed. Eve is heading home to go start dinner and Levi is badgering her to come clean about their relationship. Eve explains that it’s not that easy for her because DADDY ISSUES. It’s then that Eve receives the phone call about Izzy’s car crash, and she rushes off.
Finally, Levi is at the military base, about to be deployed to Germany, when Eve shows up to try to stop him from leaving. He doesn’t hear her call out to him, and when she catches a glimpse of her wedding ring, she is like, “What am I even doing here?” and leaves. This adds absolutely nothing to the story that we didn’t already know.
Back at Camp A Plot, Gavin, Izzy, and Lilly/Ella arrive and are like, “Y’all aren’t going to believe this, but I’m Eve’s husband/Big Isaiah, this is Josh’s sister, and this is Big Lilly who now calls herself Ella for overcomplicated plot reasons. We came here through a sinkhole in Seattle that dropped us off here in prehistoric Los Angeles for reasons that have yet to be explained by the writers because they haven’t figured it out yet.” And Dr. Sam is like, “And you’re not going to believe this but your wife and her boyfriend were captured by some weird dudes in S&M outfits and your son disappeared with my daughter into a light portal with Little You and Little Lilly, sending all y’all back to 1988.”
THIS IS THE DUMBEST SHOW THAT HAS EVER DUMBED.
Gavin immediately recognizes the description of the Leather Daddies as a group his grandfather called the “Exiles,” and Dr. Sam is like, “Speaking of your grandfather: he’s in that box truck over there.” They explain that they are holding Gramps until he tells them how to find Aldridge/tell them how to return Josh and Riley to 10,000 B.C./find Eve and Levi, and Gavin is like, “I’ll get him to talk.”
Gavin heads into the box truck, and is like, “Hey, Grandpa, it’s me, I’m back.” He explains that these Exiles have kidnapped Eve and Levi, and he wants Grandad to tell him where the Exiles’ camp is. Paw-Paw is all, “How about I show you how to get there, instead?” But Gavin’s no dummy: he knows this is all a plot for Grandpa to escape, and he’s not having it.
Except Gavin is immediately like, “Fine, let’s go, and we’ll go alone even though no one is doing anything productive at camp and I could use a few other people to keep an eye on you and the idea of me and an AARP member taking on an entire gang of machete-wielding human slavers is absolutely laughable. But definitely, just the two of us will go out into the prehistoric wild.”
A+++ plan. No notes.
Gavin and Grandpa make their way through the woods, and Grandad suggests that Gavin cut him loose, but Gavin’s not having it, reminding that just, like, a day ago? Grandaddy was threatening the lives of Gavin’s wife and children. Grandpop is like, “OK, but what if I told you I did that to protect you? I raised you and loved you unconditionally … ” but when Poppy won’t tell Gavin how to bring Josh back from 1988, Gavin is all, “I call bullshit on that.”
Gavin demands answers as to where he came from and what happened to his parents, but this conversation is interrupted when Gavin gets his fool self caught in an upright noose trap. This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons: 1. his pocket knife falls out of his pants, and Pop-Pop runs away with it, and 2. cave bear.
But no worries: G-Daddy, now cut free, returns and with one (1) stab of a six-inch knife, kills the cave bear.
Gavin and Poppa arrive at the outskirts of the Leather Exile Daddies’ cave, but Grandaddy suggests they wait until dark to try to get inside. In the meantime, let’s chat about family! Gavin tells him about Eve and the kids, and Poppa reveals that Gavin’s parents are both alive and living here in 10,000 B.C. That said, he can’t tell Gavin anything about them, because
we have to milk it until the season finale it’s a SECRET.
With that, Grandpappy announces he’s going to go fill his canteen from the nearby spring because Gavin looks thirsty.
DO NOT DRINK FROM YOUR GRANDFATHER’S CANTEEN, GAVIN.
Gavin drinks from the canteen and immediately realizes he’s been roofied.
WHAT DID I SAY, GAVIN?
And that’s how Gavin ends up being dragged into the Leather Daddies’ cave, but fortunately with a cave map tucked into his pocket by Grampy.
Meanwhile, back at camp, Dr. Sam repairs Izzy’s broken prosthetic leg; Veronica and Lilly/Ella have an uncomfortable reunion, despite having been separated for less than 48 hours; the group is making plans to do some farming; and Scott returns — without Aldridge — and basically says, “DUUUUDE.”
Over in 1998, Josh and Riley make their way to the Hollywood Sign sinkhole, but quickly realize there is no easy way to jump into it, what with all the cops around. They head to the Santa Monica pier and eat some corn dogs, when they notice this squirrely guy watching them. Riley recognizes him as being at the Hollywood Sign, too.
When they confront him, he’s immediately like, “Yeah, I heard you at the sinkhole talking about the sinkhole, so I followed you.” He then explains that he’s a geologist at CalTech who has noticed a pattern of sinkholes around Los Angeles, and he is convinced that there is going to be a massive one within the week that will open up off-shore and will swallow Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice. So if they know anything about these sinkholes, they need to tell him everything before it’s too late.
And Josh is like, “sounds legit,” because these children are fucking idiots.
I swear the writers of #LaBrea are writing the plot during commercial breaks 😂
— Dpm (@Dpm23030327) October 5, 2022
So how did this dumb show rip Lost off this week? Admittedly, the connections here are a little more tenuous, but this is what stuck out to me:
Gavin gets himself caught in a snare trap laid by someone who arrived in 10,000 B.C. before he did:
In the first season of Lost, Sayid wanders into the wilderness after feeling guilty for torturing Sawyer, and gets himself caught in a snare trap set by Danielle Rousseau, the French woman who arrived on the island before the survivors:
And if I took this show seriously at all, I would tell you all about “The Hanging Man” Major Arcana in the tarot:
But I don’t, so I won’t.
Then there is this “black rock” that Eve and Levi are forced to mine. This is a stretch, but there was a Black Rock on Lost, too:
And while Black Rock the ship and mining for black rocks are not the same thing, I will remind you that the Black Rock was a 19th-century British trading ship that was carrying slaves and equipment for … mining.
And then there are two elements that other better shows have used and that Lost did not invent but used heavily: the use of flashbacks intertwined with present events and the symbolic use of names.
One of the defining narrative structures of Lost is the use of flashback (and flash-forward): each episode featured a character having some sort of adventure on the island which would be contrasted with a flashback from their life before the crash. Very often, whatever was happening to the character on the island would be a means of working through some past trauma off of the island. Similarly, the use of Eve’s flashback in this episode was to basically let us know she regretted letting Levi go in her previous life, and that she was afraid of losing him again in this place. It’s just not that deep, and unlike Lost, did not reveal anything new or interesting about either of their characters.
One of the other things Lost did for symbolic purposes was give characters names based on historical figures, often philosophers: John Locke; Danielle Rousseau; Desmond Hume; Edmund Burke; etc. On La Brea, they’ve been playing this game from the beginning: Eve being the most obvious example. And in this episode, they introduce “Virgil” who, as you might remember, was a first-century Roman poet most famous for writing the Aeneid. But more importantly for our purposes here, in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Virgil is Dante’s guide as they explore the circle of Hell, the underworld.
I could do a deeper dive on some of the other names on this series if I took this show seriously at all.
But I don’t and I won’t.
La Brea airs on NBC on Tuesdays and is streaming on Peacock.