‘La Brea’: In which they steal ‘We Have to Go Back’

La Brea
November 15, 2022

I hate this show. It is bad and stupid and illogical, but this episode, the fall finale episode, is somehow MORE bad and MORE stupid and MORE illogical. This show makes me angry and gives me angina. Let’s begin.

We are in 10,000 B.C. where Paara and Ty and her team of furries sneak up on her ex-husband, Taamet, surround him, and take him prisoner.

Once back at the fort, they discover that Taamet is not their only guest: somehow Scott and Veronica managed to drag a very nearly dead Lucas from the clearing to the fort by themselves. Don’t worry about how they managed to do it: the writers certainly didn’t.

Scott explains that he saw a man in their camp with similar markings as Lucas, and thought that Paara and her people could help. And I guess we’re just going to overlook the fact that the man Scott saw was VERY MUCH DEAD, and therefore maybe Paara doesn’t know shit about shit?


Anyway. Paara is like, “Yeah, I got nothing,” but Taamet is all, “So did your buddy get these marks at the tower? Because I know how to cure this. Soon your friend will start going numb, and then he won’t be able to move at all. At that point, he’ll be hours from death — unless I help him. If my wife releases me, I’ll be happy to help your pal.”

Paara is all NO DEAL, so Taamet negotiates further: trial by combat. If he loses, he’ll help Lucas, if he wins, he goes free. Paara agrees to fight her ex, but he’s like, “NAH, I want to fight your new boyfriend, the guy with the brain tumor and hallucinations.”

Ty agrees to fight Taamet, but Paara is like, “The fuck you will,” before ordering her ex to be dragged away.

Meanwhile, in one of the huts, Lucas loses the ability to move his arms.

Oh no, I am so worried about him.

While Lucas laments that he’s a bad person, Veronica tells him about her mother’s ritual of writing down her regrets on a piece of paper and setting them on fire, before kissing him. No TV couple in the history of TV has had less chemistry than these two.

Elsewhere, Ty convinces Paara to let him fight Taamet, despite the fact that Taamet is a trained warrior and Ty is a dapper British psychiatrist from the 21st century who has had no experience with spears. But he insists that there are “other ways to win a fight.”

And by “other ways to win a fight” Ty means “distract Taamet by preying on his male insecurities and then trip him.”

But hey, it works, and Taamet is their prisoner again AND he has to give them the recipe for Lucas’ cure. This miracle herbal cure to an electrical burn doesn’t set in immediately, though, so Scott excuses himself to pay Taamet a visit in another hut.

There, Taamet demands that Scott holds up his end of the deal: if Taamet agreed to throw the fight, Scott would release him as soon as he handed over the recipe. Scott argues that Taamet lost fair and square and Taamet is like, “Well, now that you mention it, I left out one ingredient for the cure. If you don’t let me go, he’ll die.”

Scott, being an idiot, releases Taamet who runs away while yelling that Scott and everyone he knows will regret this.

Oh, and Lucas burns some regrets because this show is Very Subtle.

In 1988 A.D., our reunited heroes are concerned about an earthquake that struck 10 miles off the Santa Monica shore and worry that another sinkhole is coming. They need to find Caroline, and to that end, Levi points out that the transmitter that she left Josh could be of use. The beeps, he explains based on absolutely nothing, suggest that she could be 10 to 15 miles to the east of them.

THAT FIVE MILES DIFFERENCE IS A BIG FUCKING DIFFERENCE. And how did he figure out that it means that she is 10 to 15 miles to the east, exactly? Why not the south or north? Is the plan just to play a game of hot and cold with the transmitter, driving around aimlessly following the beeps? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT A PLAN.

But this is the only plan they have, and by God, the writers are going to make it work. Dr. Sam explains that his father lives nearby, and should conveniently be away on his annual fishing trip with his buddies — they could steal his van.

Which apparently they do, because the next thing you know, Eve, Gavin, Levi, and Dr. Sam are driving up on some warehouse where Caroline is being held by armed guards. NEVER MIND HOW THEY MANAGED TO GET TO DR. SAM’S HOUSE, NEVER MIND HOW THEY FOUND THE KEYS TO HIS DAD’S VAN, AND THEN FOUND CAROLINE BASED ON SOME RANDOM BEEPS. NEVER MIND ALL THAT.

Once they arrive, there is a minor disagreement about how to proceed: Gavin wants to just run in grab Caroline and go; Levi thinks they need to clear the property in case there are more guards than they can see.

They choose to go with Gavin’s plan, and it works, they save Caroline. But Levi, this moron, he runs off by himself to “clear the building” anyway and gets his fool self shot.

Somehow — again, don’t worry how — they manage to save Levi and get him into the van and speed away without anyone following them.

At this point in my notes, I wrote in irritation and frustration: “THIS IS THE DUMBEST SHOW EVER.” But, alas, dear reader, I hadn’t even arrived at the dumbest part yet.

So. The group brings Levi back to Dr. Sam’s house where Dr. Sam treats his gunshot wound, while Gavin, Eve, Josh, and Izzy take Caroline back to her house so that she can retrieve this supposed virus she’s been working on. Caroline stashed the virus on a USB, despite the fact that USBs were not invented until the ’90s.

THE POINT BEING, I understand that this woman is from the future, and therefore in theory has access to USBs despite the fact that they won’t be used for another 8 years. BUT THE COMPUTERS SHE IS WORKING ON WOULD NOT BE COMPATIBLE WITH USBS. Also, if she has access to this technology that wouldn’t be available in 1988, why wouldn’t she use technology from her time — 2076 — which would presumably be even more advanced. MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST USE A FLOPPY DISK?


Oh, and Gavin and Caroline sorta talk as mother and son. She assures him that his father is a more dangerous man than he seems to think, but he’s like, “Yeah, but he sent me through a time travel portal to see my son, so he can’t be that much of a dick, right?”

Caroline then explains her plan, such as it is: through the Hollywood Sign sinkhole she will return to 10,000 B.C.; there, she will take this “virus” she’s created and uploads it into the Lazarus system — even though presumably the system also probably doesn’t use USBs either, since, you know, it’s from fifty years from now –; this stops the sinkholes and closes the portals for good.

Which means: no one gets to go back to 2021. Your choices are: stay in 1988, buy Apple and Amazon stock, bet on the Chicago Cubs in 2016; Saudi Arabia over Argentina in the 2022 World Cup; Buster Douglas in 1990. OR — return to 10,000 B.C. and be eaten by a direwolf after spending a couple of weeks subsisting on a diet of mushrooms.

This dumb show.

Gavin and Eve make the obvious decision: they’re staying in 1988. But Dr. Sam, he’s determined to return to 10,000 B.C. so that he can … somehow … return to 2021, despite the fact that one of the world’s experts on the subject has just said that can’t happen.

And you know what? Fine. Fine! But if you know you’re going to return to 10,000 B.C., and you know you’re going to be there for a little while — maybe forever — might be a good idea to pack some supplies? Some first aid items? Weapons? Water filters? Flints and other fire starters? Some sleeping bags and more MREs? Right? RIGHT?

Yeah, they don’t do that.

Upon arriving at the angry muppet the Hollywood Sign sinkhole,

… a journey that involves everyone, including the recently-shot Levi, Caroline reveals a bit of a hiccup in their plan. It seems the Lazarus system has a complicated security system that is “genetic” based. Only two people can get past the lock: Gavin’s father … and Gavin. Either he goes back to 10,000 B.C. with her, or the sinkhole/tidal wave happens, destroying Santa Monica. It’s a real trolley car paradox!

As they discuss this conundrum, more of James’s goons arrive to try to capture Caroline. But it’s fine, Levi has a plan.

They send Caroline out of the bushes, hands up, ostensibly to turn herself over to them, BUT THEN! Levi and Gavin drive directly at the goons on a pair of ATVs, magically dodging every bullet shot at them by the bad guys, and they knock them into the sinkhole.

Leaving everything else aside — the plot armor against bullets, the idea that three people would just stand there waiting for an ATV to knock them into a giant hole, the coincidence that the ATVs were right there with their keys in place to begin with — the thing that really bothered me about this scene is why on EARTH is the man who just got shot not 2 hours ago one of the ones on the ATV and NOT THE FORMER NAVY SEAL WHO APPARENTLY IS JUST STANDING AROUND WATCHING ALL OF THIS UNFOLD WITH HIS THUMB UP HIS ASS?

Lord, grant me the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other.

That bit of business taken care of, Gavin then breaks the news to his family that he has to go back to 10,000 B.C., and they’re like, “OK, we’re coming with you!”

As for Levi, he takes the Apple stock option, and you know what? Good for him.

But just before these dumb dummies are about to jump into the sinkhole AGAIN without any sort of supplies or real plan, Gavin has another vision, this time of Eve, apparently dead, with red flowers falling on her. Eve, recognizing that Gavin is making his Vision Face, asks him what he just saw, but he lies and says it’s nothing because that’s always worked out well for him in the past.

And then everyone (except Levi) jumps into the sinkhole instead of staying in 1988 and becoming easy billionaires.

Alright, go fetch Momma a drink. A brown drink. A double.

Because this goddamned show had the goddamned audacity to do this:

They actually did it.

I need to go lie down. Please bring my drink to me in my darkened bedroom. You’ll find me on the floor.

La Brea airs on NBC and streams on Peacock. It will return on NBC on January 31.

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