October 25, 2022
Once again: this show is bad and stupid and I hate you people for making me watch another illogical season of it.
Now that the dire wolves have been dealt with and Paara’s savages aren’t angry with them anymore and the deadly fog has passed, our survivors can get on with their Big Plan. And that Big Plan is:
- Go back to the cave mines that are guarded by armed scary dudes in leather
- Hijack a wagon full of black rocks
- Take the black rocks to this mythical skyscraper and sneak in
- Use the stolen key card to get to a time portal which they definitely will be able to find and know how to use
- Go back to 1988 and bring their teenage children, Josh and Riley, back to 10,000 B.C., thereby putting their lives in danger once again on the presumption that they will somehow be able to return to 2021 at some later point
As everyone prepares to implement the Big Plan, Eve says her goodbyes to Ty as he prepares to go live with Paara and her fur-obsessed tribe. Ty tells her that the sooner she decides between Levi and Gavin, the better it will be for everyone. BUT THEN WHAT WILL WE DO FOR TENSION, TY? ANSWER THE WRITERS THAT, TY.
As for Ty, he and Paara and his duffel bag …
And let me just stop right here and ask, where the hell did he get a duffel bag and what is in the duffel bag? Do these people just have endless supplies? And while we’re on the topic, where are these people getting shampoo? toothpaste? deodorant? HOW ARE THEY SO CLEAN? Levi, Eve, and Gavin were just in a subterranean coal mining cave, and yet their clothes and persons are completely pristine. WHAT IS THIS DUMB SHOW?
… ANYWHO. Ty and his convenient duffel bag head back to Paara’s village, where everyone stares at him, wondering what the hell is in his duffel bag. Paara is like, “Don’t worry about it, they just haven’t seen me with anyone but my ex-husband.” When Ty asks her what happened to her ex, she claims he passed away AND SHE’D RATHER NOT TALK ABOUT IT, TY, SO STOP PRYING.
Back to the Big Plan.
Eve and Gavin find Izzy at Aldridge’s grave, and Gavin explains that Aldridge told him that his mother was going to help them: that his parents were scientists who built this supposed building. Izzy protests that this doesn’t make sense: his mother is in 1988.
WELL. Not to be pedantic, Izzy, but if time travel does exist in this universe — and apparently it does because your 17-year-old brother is currently hanging with your 30-year-old grandmother — technically, your grandmother is simultaneously existing in every moment in time that she has, is, and will exist in. STOP THINKING SO LINERALLY.
Gavin and Eve try to tell Izzy that she is going to go to Paara’s village while they carry out the Big Plan, but this lasts all of 5 seconds until Izzy throws a tantrum and demands that she go with them, and they’re like, “~sigh~ FINE.”
Once again, terrific parenting by Eve and Gavin. A+++ job of being the adults, guys.
The group that is going to carry out the Big Plan includes: Eve, Levi, Gavin, obviously, Izzy for no good goddamned reason, Scott, Lucas, and Dr. Sam. As they walk to the cave mine, the group is startled when that Virgil dude literally deus ex machinas his way in front of them. He apparently escaped from the bad Leather Daddies, don’t ask a lot of questions, it’s not important. What IS important is that the Leather Daddies are abandoning the cave mines, and taking the other prisoners to a second, more inland location. Virgil insists they are on a suicide mission if they return to the cave mines, and everyone’s like, “Yeah, no shit, Virgil,” before sending him back to Camp Not Even A Tertiary Plot In This Episode.
Upon arriving at a ridge that overlooks the cave mines, the group realizes that the Leather Daddies are taking the other prisoners away right now, and Lucas protests that they need to save them.
Apparently the answer is yes, so the group splits up: Levi, Scott, and Lucas will be on Operation Save Some Randos; Eve, Gavin, Izzy, and Dr. Sam will be on Operation Steal Rocks.
Operation Save Some Randos follows the prisoner caravan and Scott tells Lucas his whole sob story: when he was 13, he watched his older brother drown at the beach and he wasn’t able to save him and he now uses pot to deal with his anxiety. That’s it. That’s his big tragic story.
Meanwhile, Levi comes to the obvious conclusion that they are going to need more manpower to take on the Leather Daddies and abandons Scott and Lucas to keep an eye on them while he heads to Paara’s village.
Scott and Lucas continue to follow the Prisoner Caravan until they discover that the Leather Daddies’ plan appears to be to put the prisoners on a raft and sail them across a river at which point Scott, Lucas, and Levi won’t be able to save them anymore.
To prevent this, Scott gets the attention of the Leather Daddies, encouraging them to chase after him while Lucas sets fire to the raft. And then, at the last possible second, Paara and her people are the next to deus ex machina their way onto the scene and fill the Leather Daddies with arrows to the chest. The prisoners are saved and with that, all of Scott’s brother/anxiety issues are resolved. How tidy.
After Operation Save Some Randos leave, Operation Steal Rocks manage to fall into a booby trap that — as it turns out very conveniently! — drops them into the cave mine. But uh-oh! The cave mine room they are dropped into is filled with giant prehistoric cave spiders! But good news! Gavin immediately finds an escape hole for them and the whole crisis lasts approximately 10 seconds.
Once inside the main part of the caves, Izzy, in her ongoing campaign to be the Most Annoying Character, decides that this, right now, is the perfect time to whine at her mother about getting back together with her father.
Our heroes decide that they’ll jump some guards, steal their uniforms, and take a wagon, and I’m only shocked that the ol’ Wookie prisoner gambit wasn’t a part of this plan.
But also, you would think that after multiple escapes in a matter of days which have involved slaves attacking the guards with shovels that the Leather Daddies might be a little bit more on guard when it comes to being attacked by slaves with shovels.
You’d think wrong.
The foursome put on their little costumes, load up the wagon, and heads towards the gate. There, they are stopped by Taamet who asks them in English why they are late. Gavin answers that there was a lot of rock to load, and Taamet stares at each of them VERY CAREFULLY before waving them through the gate.
Now, let’s just pause here for a minute and chew on this.
First of all, Eve and Izzy are very obviously women even under heavy masks and correct me if I am wrong here, but there didn’t seem to be a single female Leather Daddy amongst them in the earlier episode.
But second and more importantly, why is Taamet speaking English to his fellow Exiles? They have their own language! If Taamet was in the least bit suspicious about the wagon’s passengers, wouldn’t he speak to them in their own language? NOT ONLY THAT, but this would have been an opportunity for Gavin to bust out with their native language to save the day and get them through the checkpoint. “NOPE,” said the writers. “WE ARE JUST GOING TO KEEP GOING WITH THIS THING WHERE EVERYONE IN 10,000 B.C. SPEAKS PERFECT ENGLISH FOR NO GOOD GODDAMNED REASON.”
Right, so they ride the wagon out of the gate, only to have guards from inside the cave mine sound the alarm, and the Leather Daddies begin to give chase … on FOOT.
NEED I REMIND YOU, THESE BITCHES HAD HORSES TWO EPISODES AGO.
Oh, and also, there’s a whole question about whether or not horses were native to the Americas before the 16th century to begin with, but we’ll just chalk this one up to Time Travel Portal Shenanigans and leave it alone.
So the Exiles chase the wagon into the woods, where our heroes park it and hide in the bushes so as to ambush them. Fight fight stupid fight and Paara and her team come and deus ex machina the day. Again.
However, our leader of the Exiles, that Taamet guy, he manages to get away. Paara and her bow and arrow chase him down, but when she sees who it is, she can’t bring herself to shoot him because, obviously, he’s her “dead” husband.
Taamet had led an unsuccessful rebellion in the village, and thus he and his leather daddy friends became the Exiles. Anyway, because Paara couldn’t bring herself to shoot him, he’s definitely going to come back for revenge.
Everyone then heads to The Building. Scott throws his vape pen into the brush for some archeologist to find 10,000 years from now; Dr. Sam tells Izzy that she’s a “survivor” (is she, though?); and Gavin decides now is the perfect time to try to have a conversation with Eve about their relationship and insist that he’s not giving up on them.
Finally: THE BUILDING.
Meanwhile, in 1988, Grandma explains to Josh that his dad wasn’t born in 10,000 B.C., he was born “in the future” which is REALLY VAGUE, LADY. They (again, vague) went to 10,000 B.C. in an attempt to “save [their] world” but ended up doing more harm than good. The time travel experiments began in the 80s, which is why she’s in 1988. She’s going to get data from these early experiments, take it back to 10,000 B.C., and fix the mistakes that have caused the sinkholes and potentially a tidal wave. (Of course, if she’s successful, she’s going to only create more timeline problems, but I guess we’ll get to that when we get to that.)
But first, Caroline needs to be reunited with her son. Josh stops her: Isiah has to be adopted and become Gavin Harris, or Josh will cease to exist. Grandma is like, “OK FINE,” before telling Josh and Riley to meet them at her office in two hours.
Two hours later, Grandma is not at her office, and her substitute tells them that he’s filling in for her while she deals with a “family matter.” When these two teenage strangers press him on it, he happily volunteers that he heard her on the phone with “Child Protective Services,” because THAT IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING HE WOULD SAY ABOUT HIS COLLEAGUE TO TWO RANDOM PEOPLE OFF THE STREET. Riley realizes in horror that Grandma is going to try to adopt Isiah, despite Josh explicitly telling her not to.
Cut to: my very favorite scene in this entire stupid show so far.
Grandma enters the CPS office, goes to Front Desk Lady, and announces “I am here about an adoption.”
Because that is definitely how adoptions work.
When the front desk lady takes a phone call, Grandma turns her attention to the nearby glassed-in playroom where the children are being held.
Y’all, it’s a kid terrarium:
And this just makes sense. CPS is absolutely run like an animal shelter where you can just go in, announce that you’re here “about an adoption” and then go take your pick of which kid you want from the kid terrarium. Which, of course, is where they would keep children who have been abandoned, abused, or removed from their families because they were in dangerous situations: a giant, glassed-in playroom, where any rando can just walk in off the street and stare at them like a weirdo.
BUT WAIT, BECAUSE IT GETS BETTER.
Josh and Riley rush to the one (1) CPS office in all of Los Angeles, where they watch as Grandma introduces Isiah to a nice family. Grandma explains to Isiah that these are Curtis and Amanda Harris, her colleagues, and they want to adopt him.
AGAIN, THIS IS NOT HOW ADOPTION WORKS.
Grandma then tells Isiah that he’s an amazing little boy, and he’s like, “I’m sorry, who the hell are you?” Grandma tells Isiah that she knows him from a long time ago, and while she wishes she could adopt him, he’s meant to go with her friends. One day he will understand.
YOU DON’T GET TO JUST GO INTO CPS AND DEMAND THAT THEY GIVE OUT KIDS TO YOUR FRIENDS. WHAT IS THIS SHOW?
Outside CPS, Josh and Riley are like “Zomg, how did you know those people would adopt my dad?” And Grandma reveals that when they told her that Isiah grew up to be Gavin Harris, she realized he would be adopted by her friends, The Harrises.
NOT HOW IT WORKS.
Josh assures her that they do a great job raising his dad, and with that bit of plot wrapped up in a much-too-neat bow, the three of them head out to prevent this tidal wave that we know didn’t happen because it didn’t happen.
Alright, so as La Brea goes on its own dumb path, it becomes less and less like Lost, and more of its own dumb thing. That said, there are always going to be some similarities: notably the time travel element and everything that comes from that (time loops, paradoxes, characters interacting with each other at different ages); the whole being trapped in a strange place with no obvious way to get home; and the whole hostile native piece. Because of this, I feel like I’m beginning to repeat myself while looking for ways this show is mirroring Lost, and I hope you forgive me if I become redundant.
This week, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was the revelation that there was a power struggle within the indigenous population (Although are they indigenous? WHY DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH?) and an attempted coup or revolution by Taamet.
And that’s all the information we have about this: “Taamet led a rebellion against our village. I found out and exposed him. He and his followers were forced to leave our home. Taamet’s people went on to become the Exiles.”
Put a pin in this because (without having watched the next episode as I write this) I suspect we will learn that Taamet might have been encouraged to attempt this rebellion by some outside forces, possibly outside forces that he and the Exiles appear to be working with inside the Lazarus building.
As for how this is similar to Lost, this is a little convoluted but stick with me. The island’s history — pre-crash — involved an ongoing group of people who were brought to the island by its supernatural leader, Jacob. These people were already on the island when the DHARMA Initiative arrived, a scientific research project who were there to study the island’s strange properties. DHARMA and the natives, whom DHARMA called “The Others” were in constant conflict for decades until one of DHARMA’s own members, Ben Linus, betrayed his people for The Others, and committed The Purge, killing DHARMA’s members. The Others then took over DHARMA’s facilities and occasionally impersonated them when the crash survivors arrived.
So there are some basic similarities: a native population; a scientific project; a rebellion; and our group of heroes who are dropped into the middle of all of it. The difference, of course, is that Taamet’s rebellion was unsuccessful, whereas Ben’s was quite successful, and he served as the leader of the Island for at least a decade.
The other element that is feeling similar, but is not quite fully baked yet, is this character of Caroline Clark, the scientist who is desperate to fix mistakes that she has made by going into the past and mucking with it. She tells Josh and Riley that she’s from the future (at least the future to 1988, so who knows how far into the future, exactly) and, “We went to 10,000 B.C. as part of an experiment. We were trying to save our world, but we ended up doing more harm than good. That’s why I came to 1988. I’m-I’m trying to fix those mistakes.”
Interestingly — and perhaps tellingly — she understands that she can not tinker with Gavin/Isiah’s future, but instead, she must facilitate it by giving him to his adopted family (EVEN THOUGH THAT IS NOT HOW ADOPTIONS WORK, DAMMIT).
She is very much being set up to be an Eloise Hawking character. On Lost, Eloise was a native to the Island, an Other, who, in 1977, while pregnant with her son Daniel, shoots and kills her now-adult son Daniel who had time traveled to the island. She becomes desperate to fix this mistake and helps some of the heroes of the show dismantle a hydrogen bomb so they can detonate the core and change the timeline. However, Eloise is knocked out by another character for her own safety, and sent off the island where she has her son. Eloise raises Daniel knowing the entire time that she will kill him when he becomes an adult — because she’s already done so.
Interestingly, Eloise keeps Daniel on his path, even though she knows its tragic end, because she comes to understand that it is for the greater good, and whatever happened, happened.
TL;DR: We have two mothers who are mixed up in time travel who sacrifice their beloved sons because they know it is the path that the universe demands of them.
WELL, THAT WAS A LOT OF WORDS FOR A SHOW THAT DEFINITELY DOES NOT DESERVE THEM.
And in conclusion: Kiddie Terrarium.
La Brea airs on NBC on Tuesdays and streams on Peacock.