“Murder in the Clearing”
January 31, 2023
OH YOU THOUGHT I FORGOT ABOUT LA BREA? Nope. I just became momentarily distracted by a different, equally stupid show. But I’m going to finish this if it kills me. And friends, it just might.
Last we left our unlikable heroes, Gavin had been manipulated by his father into not destroying his time travel machine because he had a vision of Eve dying under a flowering tree. Gavin obviously waited until the last second to make his choice because NO TROPE LEFT BEHIND.
Dad explains that he will help Gavin return Eve to the present, but his mother’s little stunt has damaged the machine. “SO FIX IT,” Gavin demands. But it’s not that simple: Dad gives Gavin some scribbles, and explains that this is proof that there is a solution to making the machine work safely. The scribbles are equations made by a Dr. Moore, some friend of Mom’s, but this Dr. Moore guy went missing over a year ago.
SIDE QUEST ALERT: Dad wants Gavin to manipulate Mom into helping him find this Dr. Moore. Gavin is all, “Yeah, sure, she’s going to want to help you fix this technology that she just spent all this time trying to destroy.”
But before this bit of logic can be worked through, Eve arrives in a huff. She’s pissed that the virus didn’t upload, and her first thought was, “I should go directly to the heavily guarded danger tower that my husband had to infiltrate in an attempt to destroy his father’s life work, and waltz in without having any idea what the situation is inside. Who knows? Maybe my husband and daughter are dead! Let’s go see!”
THIS SHOW IS VERY DUMB, BUT WE’VE ESTABLISHED THIS.
So she shows up, and Gavin’s like: “I CAN EXPLAIN. I had another vision and you were dead here in 10,000 B.C. because red flowers or something, but my dad said he can get you back to the future and so I couldn’t destroy the time machine but it’s all cool because I’m going to fix everything!
Eve’s like, “You deal with your daddy issues, I’mma head back to the clearing, bye.”
Eve, Gavin, and Izzy all return to the clearing five minutes later.
And I am going to need someone to explain the geography of this stupid show to me. How far is the tower from the clearing? Is it a multi-day hike or is it five minutes away? Because it seems to change depending on the writers’ needs in a particular episode.
The point is, the family is reunited with Josh, and he explains that the survivors are PISSED at learning that they destroyed the time travel machine. When Izzy asks her brother why he told them, he replies, and I quote: “IT WAS RAINING FISH, IZZY.”
As if that was the single most insane thing that has happened to any of these people in the past month.
Josh explains that people wanted to know what was going on, and I would like to know why he didn’t just tell them: “Well, we’ve learned that using the time machine opens up the portals in the future, and the last time the machine was used, a portal opened up off the coast of Santa Monica,” and end it there? There’s no need to tell them that his parents were actively working on a plan to destroy their one opportunity to go home. WHY WOULD YOU DESTROY THEIR HOPE AND MAKE YOUR PARENTS THE VILLAINS OF THIS STORY?
Have I mentioned that this show is dumb and bad?
Seconds after arriving in the clearing, there is a scream from the woods: it’s Riley, and she’s discovered a dead body. Our protagonists run to her aid, and discover our murder victim is none other than Wyatt. You know, fan-favorite Wyatt, whom we just met and named last week. Oh no, not Wyatt.
Seriously, if you are an extra on this show and you learn that you just got a name and three lines? Book your plane ticket back to Los Angeles because you about to be killed off, friend.
The group determines that Wyatt has been stabbed and notice a strange symbol marked in the dirt, a symbol that Scott immediately recognizes, though he says nothing.
Dr. Sam announces that they need to start finding witnesses, and Lucas gets all pissy and is like, “OH FIRST YOU WANT TO DESTROY OUR ONLY WAY OUT OF HERE, AND NOW YOU WANT TO START INVESTIGATING THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF ONE OF OUR OWN?”
And it’s like: 1. Dr. Sam was actually on Team Do Not Destroy the Machine, and 2. Yeah? Maybe looking for witnesses to this guy’s murder isn’t a terrible idea?
The point is: Lucas and Scott appoint themselves Cagney and Lacey in this particular investigation. And the first person they question is Grandma Caroline: “OH SO YOU JUST SHOW UP AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, OUR BEST FRIEND WYATT IS DEAD? ISN’T THAT CONVENIENT?” Dr. Grandma Caroline is like, “Y’all are a joke,” and meets up with Gavin who explains that they need to go find her buddy Dr. Moore.
Oh and apparently at some point, Izzy told Dr. Grandma Caroline that her dad decided against destroying the time machine, which she seems very chill with considering it was her life’s work that she was nearly killed for? BUT OH WELL, RIGHT?
As for who is going to go find this Dr. Moore, it will be Gavin, Dr. Grandma Caroline, Josh, and Riley … for some reason. Eve has decided to stay behind and
get herself in some sort of new stupid trouble search for beloved Wyatt’s murderer.
The Dr. Moore Expedition head up to the top of some hill where Dr. Grandma Caroline claims her good buddy Dr. Moore used to go to “clear out the cobwebs” and almost immediately, they find the moldering corpse of Dr. Moore. Josh also finds a key on the body, or, as Gavin says when he picks it up, “I THINK THAT’S A KEY!”
Those are some amazing detective skills, Columbo.
Dr. Grandma Caroline suddenly remembers the location of Dr. Moore’s secret cave lab and the group searches it for his notes on the time machine. And I should point out here that the cave is covered in papers and documents and yet the decision is made to split up, despite the fact that only one person in this group will have any idea if they find the documents they are looking for.
Fortunately, I suppose, after about thirty seconds of searching, Riley finds a secret hidey-hole with some documents shoved into it. Dr. Grandma Caroline confirms that they are the notes they are looking for, but Dr. Grandma Caroline tells Riley to keep her mouth shut: if Gavin learns they found these notes, he’ll just go tell his Daddy and we don’t want that. When Gavin and Josh re-enter the scene a moment later, Dr. Grandma Caroline and Riley are like, “Nope, didn’t find anything, I guess we should leave after being here for all of two and half minutes.”
Back at the clearing, Eve helps organize a search party for the murderer, ordering everyone to find a buddy, a weapon, and take a whistle.
HOLD UP, WHERE DID THEY GET WHISTLES? WAS THERE A WHISTLE TRUCK THAT FELL INTO THE PORTAL, TOO?
Jesus Christ, this dumb show is going to be the death of me.
Right, so Eve heads out with some worthless red shirt whose name we don’t know … yet … and his flip flop immediately blows out. When he goes back to the clearing to put on a pair of boots, Eve notices someone running through the bushes, and instead of waiting for her buddy or blowing her whistle, this dummy starts heading deeper into the woods to investigate. And that’s when some unseen assailant shoves her into a deep hole in the ground.
Honestly, this is just Eve paying the stupid tax right here. Can’t even follow her own damn rules.
When Eve wakes up, she finds herself pinned underneath a boulder, and next to a little friend, a bunny who also appears to be injured. Fortunately, Eve has a flare gun in her bag, and fires towards the opening, only to have it ricochet around impotently and knock some of the premonition flowers onto her head.
The flare, however, draws the attention of a cave bear, but Eve has something else in her magic bag to deal with that: a handful of Slim Jims which she throws away from her. The bear, in its efforts to reach the Slim Jims, happens to step on the boulder and roll it off of her pantleg — or somethng — freeing Eve. She grabs the bunny, leaves the bag, and runs off into the darkness that the cave bear came from.
SO LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS WHOLE SEQUENCE.
First of all, she seems to have fallen down a pretty deep hole, and isn’t more injured other than a mild concussion? But also, she couldn’t aim a flare through this enormous opening?
And is the boulder on her leg or her pant leg? Because if it’s her leg, that leg will be broken as shit. Broken so badly, she’s not getting up and running away. Broken so badly, she might actually lose it or die of an infection. But if it’s her pant leg, THEN SHOW US IT IS HER PANT LEG SO THAT WE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING.
But instead, the minute she’s freed, she leaps up, grabs the rabbit, and runs into the darkness where the cave bear just came from without knowing if, you know, there might be more cave bears. But I guess it’s the only exit — the cave bear had to come from somewhere, right?
Also, why the rabbit? What about your supplies WHICH ARE IN PRECIOUS SHORT SUPPLY? What about the whistle, Eve? Where are you going to get another whistle, ma’am?
The point is, this sequence is dumb and this show is dumb and I hate it.
Meanwhile, over on Law & Order: Neolithic Era, Lucas and Scott question people, including that irritating Jonah guy, and the new dude, Virgil. When Dr. Sam reveals that Everyone’s Favorite Character, Wyatt, was stabbed with a 7-inch knife, Lucas zeroes in on Virgil who was 1. missing around the time Wyatt was stabbed, 2. has a wound on his hand, and 3. is missing a 7-inch knife from the roll of professional chef’s knives that he just happens to have down here in 10,000 B.C.
It came with the whistles.
Detective Lucas makes a citizen’s arrest and throws Virgil into Truck Jail, but Dr. Sam’s not so sure: what is Virgil’s motive? And that’s when Ty and Izzy emerge from the woods with another knife that is also 7 inches long, covered in blood, and bearing the same symbol that they found drawn in the dirt. It must have been the Exiles, not Virgil. Looks like Detective Lucas owes someone an apology.
After Detective Lucas stomps off stage left, Scott confesses to Dr. Sam about letting Taamet go to save Lucas. Dr. Sam signs that he needs to tell the others about Taamet, but Scott urges him to not tell everyone about his part in it. Dr. Sam’s like, “Yeah, you don’t get to call the shots on this one, Dingdong.”
Later, Dr. Sam assures Scott that he didn’t create this mess; Taamet did. He then tells Scott that he faced a difficult decision, and he chose the one that would save his friend’s life, and he needs to not be so hard on himself.
Around this time Eve comes stumbling out of the woods and they shuffle her into the Hospital Bus. Gavin finds her there later, and upon seeing the red flower of doom on her jacket (which somehow miraculously stayed in place this entire time), he’s like “OH NO MY VISION!” Eve agrees that maybe there’s something to it and that from here on out they need to be on the same page about everything, including his father. Gavin tells her about the cave and the key and informs her that he needs to go talk to Daddy about it, and she’s like “YOU ARE GIVING ME A HEADACHE, GO AWAY.”
Elsewhere, Ty goes to the tower to see if maybe they can treat his brain cancer in their infirmary. The guards just walk him in and he joins James at dinner. There, James explains that they cured cancer in the 2060s, and yes, they have the technology available to them there in 10,000 B.C. In exchange, James would like someone to talk to. Well, whaddya know, but Ty is a psychiatrist, so that works out pretty neatly.
Finally, Lucas apologizes to Virigl, who is all, “No worries, bro.” And the minute Lucas walks away, Virigl pulls out a piece of fur with the symbol on it and tosses it into the fire because BAD WRITING.
Alright, because I’m clearly mentally done with this dumb bad show, it took me until this episode to realize that I missed a huge Lost allusion in the mid-season finale, “1988.” In that episode, Scott, a survivor of the portal opening, releases Taamet, a (presumed) native and enemy of the survivors so as to save his friend Lucas.
This is very similar to the absolutely shocking Lost episode, “Two for the Road” in which Michael, a survivor of the plane crash, releases Henry Gale/Ben Linus, an “Other” who had been on the island when they arrived, and an enemy of the survivors so as to save his son, Walt.
Now, Michael killed fellow survivors, Libby and Ana-Lucia, to release Benry, and Scott certainly didn’t kill anyone by releasing Taamet. HOWEVER, in this episode, when Wyatt turns up dead, Scott worries that he is indirectly responsible for Wyatt’s death by having released Taamet.
There’s also the larger theme of our protagonists realizing that they can’t necessarily trust those whom they assume are their fellow survivors. On Lost, Hurley creates a “census” of the survivors after Claire insists that a man was attacking her with needles. In doing so, he comes to realize that not everyone in their camp was actually on the plane with them in the crash, that there are “Others” on the island with them.
We discovered very quickly on La Brea that there are people already in 10,000 B.C., but it wasn’t until this episode that we learn that Virgil might have disguised himself so as to blend in with the survivors.
NOW. I have not watched the rest of the season, and can’t say for sure that Virgil is actually an Exile who pretended to be a survivor so as to infiltrate their camp. Maybe he’s just a murderous fucko who is trying to deflect blame by using the Exile’s symbolism. But regardless, either answer is dumb and defies logic and good writing.
Finally, and I admit this is a bit of a stretch, but Eve falling down into the cave hole. ..
… reminded me A LOT of Juliet falling into the bomb shaft in “The Incident, Part 2.”
Granted, there were no cave bears menacing Juliet in the bomb shaft, and Eve manages to survive her fall — somehow. BUT … I mean … come on.
Anyway, I hate this show and I’m going to go make myself a martini to try to forget that I watched it, bye.
La Brea streams on Peacock and will return on NBC … at some point. Who knows/cares.