‘La Brea’: In which they have the AUDACITY to rip of ‘Lost”s best episode

La Brea
November 1, 2022

This is a bad show and I hate it. Let’s begin.

It’s 1988, and Josh and Riley are at Caroline’s house eating all of her breakfast cereal. She brings them downstairs to the basement to show them her plan to stop the sinkholes/upcoming tidal wave: a computer virus. From what I understand, the first time travel experiments took place in 1988 (1985 would have been a better choice, but I digress), and she’s using that computer code to create a virus to ~waves hands around~ somehow shut the Lazarus program down.

I am having a confused.

“Like I said, I came to ’88 to access the first experiments in time travel. I’m using that code to create a virus that’ll shut the Lazarus program down.”

Does she mean that she came back to 1988 to create a virus that would disrupt the original time travel experiments and prevent time travel from ever happening or does she mean that she has come back to 1988 to collect code to take back to 10,000 B.C. and disrupt the Lazarus project there? Because one of these makes sense (but would result in Josh and Izzy never existing) and one of these is just dumb and feels less likely to work.

Anyway, there are people trying to stop her from doing this, Caroline explains just as the power goes out. But don’t worry, that’s not these nefarious forces at play, that’s just a fuse being blown down at the ice rink down the street from which she is siphoning power. Now, I don’t know much about computers or coding, but it seems like having an unreliable source of power while you’re trying to do some sort of complicated coding is a bad idea?

WHATEVER. Caroline sends Josh and Riley down to the ice rink to replace the fuse and to have a little couple’s skate moment. While they’re busy skating to “Hungry Eyes” (terrible song), Caroline radios them on the walkie-talkie to kill the power: they’ve found her. As someone descends down her basement steps, Caroline calls to Josh and Riley to not forget to eat their Wheaties.

By the time they return to Grandma’s house, she’s long gone, and the place has been ransacked. Josh remembers Caroline’s obvious clue: “don’t forget to eat your Wheaties,” and dumps out the cereal box where he finds some sort of transmitter.

Josh and Riley decide to go back to the Santa Monica pier to find her father — except there’s no pier in sight. It looks a lot more like Venice Beach, if Venice Beach were located on a placid Australian bay. The plan is for Riley to tell her teenage father that there is a time portal to 1988 inside the big building in 10,000 B.C. so that he will have a memory of this information — WHICH HE ALREADY HAS — as an adult in 10,000 B.C.

Seriously, this is the best message she can think to impart to her father across millennia?

But no one consults me on this, so Riley walks up to some teenager who bears absolutely no resemblance to her adult father and shows him a message, ordering him to commit it to memory, before adding that in three days he needs to make sure to be nowhere near Santa Monica.

See, they had to put his name on his shirt, otherwise we would have no idea who this was supposed to be.

Meanwhile, in 10,000 B.C., our heroes arrive at the building in their wagon. The security guards stop them, but then let them through, but then stop them again when some mysterious people inside the building demand that they all be detained. Fight fight stupid fight, and Gavin is captured.

Everyone else escapes unharmed except for Lucas who manages to get himself tazed and he is rapidly developing that electrocuted pattern on his hand that one dead guy had in the first season. You know, the guy you completely forgot about it?

Scott and Lucas head back to Camp C Plot, where that one dude with the long hair and glasses and bad attitude is advocating to be the new leader in the absence of every single competent person.

They wrestle Scott into the hospital bus where Veronica confronts him about leaving without saying goodbye to her, and Scott withholds a Baby Ruth candy bar from Lucas.

Lucas later apologizes to Veronica for being a jackass, and tells her that if they were back in Los Angeles, he’d take her to his favorite dive bar. And then he promptly goes into shock, the burns having spread across his chest.

Oh no. I am so worried.

As for the rest of these dum-dums.

While they were fighting with the security dudes, who should also show up at the scene but Silas. Eve, Levi, Izzy, and Sam decide that will track him down because he’ll know how to get inside The Building. Once they catch up with him, he’s all, “No, I won’t help you, it’s for your own safety” — for about two seconds, until he agrees to help them sneak their way inside.

Silas leads them to a large ditch that leads to a giant grate, which he claims is a passageway into the building. They just have to get past the giant territorial prehistoric bird guarding it. Eve volunteers to distract the bird while the others run to the grate, which they do successfully. When it’s Eve’s turn to make a run for it, Silas shoots the giant prehistoric bird with an arrow to secure her safety. This of course  begs the question, “Well, why didn’t they just do that in the first place?” to which the writers respond, “We have all this Bad CGI money laying around, what are we going to do: not use it?”

Once inside the utility tunnel, or whatever the hell it is, Dr. Sam has his memory that Riley just gave him in 1988, and he announces that she and Josh are waiting for them in 1988 at the Santa Monica Pier. (Or on some beach in Australia somewhere. Potato/Potatoah.)

Meanwhile, inside The Building, Gavin meets the man in charge who is — say it with me — his father, James.

And Dear Old Darth Dad just vomits out all the exposition:

He and Gavin and Gavin’s mother, Silas, and presumably Aldridge, they’re all from Los Angeles in the year 2076, where the world is an unsustainable shitshow, dying of extinction, famine, and a lack of natural resources. So when Gavin’s mother became pregnant with him, James came up with the Lazarus Project: a time travel initiative that allowed them to return to 10,000 B.C., harvest needed natural resources study the flora and fauna to help prevent extinctions in the future or something.

Gavin asks why the rest of the team — his mother, his grandfather, Aldridge — aren’t there with him, and Dad is like, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it,” before wondering what Gavin was looking for in the building. When Gavin explains that Aldridge told him there was a portal there that could take him to 1988 and be reunited with his son, Dad is like, “Yeah, that’s a lie, I don’t know why she lied to you like that. OH WELL. Liars gonna lie.”

And before we move on, Dad also says, literally, “The last time I saw you, you were an infant,” before 30 lines later asking Gavin, “Any of this familiar at all?” adding, “Oh, I suppose you were too young to remember, but you used to love it here. We’d play hide-and-seek. I’d read you the Latin names of all the flora.”

I guess that game of hide-and-seek with AN INFANT was pretty easy to win for Dad.

A+++ writing once again, team. You’re doing a heck of a job, guys.

The father and son reunion is interrupted with news that there are intruders in the utility tunnel. Gavin tags along with Dad and the security crew to find Eve, Levi, Dr. Sam, Izzy, and Silas who gets his sass on when confronted by his son-in-law James, demanding to know what lies he’s been filling Gavin’s head with. Gavin informs the group that Aldridge was wrong: the portal in the building doesn’t go to 1988, but Dr. Sam and his new memory is like, “Oh yeah? Then why did my daughter just find me in 1988 to tell me that someone named ‘Caroline’ used it to bring herself to that exact year?”

Dad is like, “My bad,” and with that, he takes the entire group up to the portal, sets it to 1988, and the group (minus Silas) walks through.

Somehow, they make their way to the Santa Monica Pier …

… don’t worry about it … where they are reunited with Riley and Josh. But the happy reunion doesn’t last long before there is a bit of a rumble in the earth, and Riley warns them that there’s another sinkhole coming … but they might be able to stop this one.


As if it wasn’t bad enough to just rip off Lost‘s character Eloise Hawking, they are really going to steal CHARLES WIDMORE NOW?

OK, so, in this dumb show’s endless attempt to remake Lost, but worse, they have stolen almost wholesale the entire Eloise-Charles-Daniel dynamic. As I pointed out in the previous episode, Gavin’s mother Caroline bears a resemblance to Lost‘s Eloise Hawking: they are both mothers of time travelers who understand that they have to sacrifice their own relationship with their child for some “greater good.”

So here’s the thing. Eloise’s son, Daniel, also had a father, obviously. And that man was a fellow “Other” with Eloise on the island, Charles Widmore. Eloise left the island before Daniel was born and as a result, Charles had no relationship with his son.

After he leaves the island, Charles goes on to be a successful titan of industry, though he is obsessed with returning to the island and becomes one of the main protagonists on the show. Ultimately, he is the one who sends his son Daniel back to the island where he will meet his fate in the past.

Now, I don’t know what La Brea has planned in terms of Gavin, James, and Caroline. However, their story feels like a Cliff’s Notes version of the Eloise-Charles-Daniel relationship. Caroline and James have had some sort of falling out that has them working on opposite sides of some mysterious issue, with their son, Gavin, caught in the middle. James appears to be a powerful man running some sort of large organization who is obsessed with “saving the world,” who up until this moment had no idea what had happened to his son.

And whatever, you know? Mysterious corporations doing evil things and daddy issues are at the root of 99% of all dystopian sci-fi fantasies. You could argue that they stole this whole story not from Lost but from Star Wars, and I’d have to award you all the points. I can’t be that mad about it.

What I can be mad about is the whole Dr. Sam/Riley/telling someone something in the past that they can use in the future thing which ALSO happened on Lost, but in a way that wasn’t A COMPLETE FUCKING WASTE OF EVERYONE’S TIME.

So. If you asked most hardcore Lost fans what their favorite episode is, I would guess that at least 50% — maybe higher — would name the Desmond-centric episode, “The Constant.” In this fourth season episode, for complicated reasons that are too laborious to go into right now, Desmond Hume’s present consciousness travels through time into the past, exploring the downfall of his relationship with Penny Widmore, daughter of the aforementioned Charles Widmore. But doing all this time travel is detrimental to one’s consciousness, degenerating it with each jump. The only way to stabilize one’s consciousness is to find a “constant,” an anchor of sorts, someone who exists in both time-spaces. Desmond realizes that Penny is his, and in 1996, despite her having dumped him, Desmond goes to Penny and asks her for her recently changed phone number so that he can “call [her] in eight years,” promising to leave her alone if she does so. Penny gives him the number and shuts the door on him, and Desmond’s consciousness returns to 2004 where, for reasons that are complicated, Desmond has access to a phone. He calls her from the mysterious island and she miraculously answers, and explains that she’s been searching for him for the past three years. This interaction eventually leads to everyone being saved from the island. 

So, TL;DR: Desmond goes into the past, collects a phone number which he calls in the present/future, saves the day.

Meanwhile, over on Lost‘s dumb 5x photocopy made with low toner levels, Riley goes back in time to tell Dr. Sam something that he already knew and to give him a meet-up spot in Santa Monica.

~making Beeker the Muppet noises~

I hate this show.

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

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