NBC’s mystery box series that has been compared to everything from Lost, Manifest, and the oft-maligned Terra Nova is back for Season 2 with even more prehistoric beasts and enigmatic characters. But, unfortunately, time is not linear in the world of La Brea, so the more things change, the more they stay the same, as witnessed by La Brea Season 2 Episode 1, which changed the game by giving us more of the same.
When we last saw everyone, Riley, Josh, Lilly, and Isaiah, aka Gavin, had gone or been sucked into the portal to 1988. Adult Gavin, Izzy, and Ella, the adult version of Lilly, had gone through the portal in Seattle, leading them hopefully to Eve. Unfortunately, they don’t know yet they won’t be reuniting with the whole family. It’s a complicated but symmetrical swap that pulls adult and child versions of the same people out of one place to be replaced by their counterparts. Eve is reeling from the loss of her son, and the group wants answers from Silas. Meanwhile, Rebecca is still being secretive.
Gavin, Izzy, and Ella
Gavin’s trio thinks they went through the portal to Seattle in the past and are preparing for a long haul. Like the first group we saw end up in the Ice Age, they quickly encounter some massive beasts. Gavin adapts faster than the original group because of his time spent there with Silas as a child. Luckily he is a better-than-decent hunter and kills a boar for the group to eat. But, unluckily for Gavin, there are more significant hunters among them, and he learns the hard way that there are lots of things in this timeline that want to kill them. He escapes from the woolly rhinoceros, but he knows it is hunting them now.
The group bonds over shared secrets. Ella tells Gavin about her kidnapping as a child and her sister Veronica. No one is having visions anymore, though, so neither one of them can see or feel their loved ones. These three make for an interesting group as Gavin and Ella are the spiritual focal point of all the groups. On the other hand, Izzy is struggling with a broken prosthetic, which could become a significant problem. Gavin’s previous experience has prepared him for life here, and he determines that the giant animals are not a threat if they can trick them with noise. Gavin distracts the hunting rhino with the family of rhinos, and our trio escapes unscathed. La Brea Season 2 Episode 1 ends with them realizing they are in Los Angeles.
This grouping, along with Rebecca and Scott, has the most potential for future storylines. Their ties to the past and present make them unique and give them skills others don’t have, assuming their visions eventually come back. Scott and Rebecca represent science, with Ella and Gavin holding the faith side of the equation.
Rebecca and Scott and the tower
Rebecca took Scott to the building, and as usual, she was cagey. She tells him the people in the building want her dead and anyone with her. Rebecca also says it will be disastrous for everyone if she doesn’t get inside the building. It’s hard to trust anything she says, though, so who knows what her end game is? For now, Scott agrees to help, and she shows him a hidden staircase leading to an underground tunnel. That tunnel leads to the tower and all the answers he seeks. Whoever is in the building they have the ability to get modern technology to that timeline. If Rebecca is being truthful, this group may be manipulating the portals, which is dangerous for everyone.
We know a new sinkhole opened in 1988 near the Hollywood sign. Did Riley, Josh, and Lilly cause that when they got sucked into the portal, or did the people in the tower do something to the portals which created the sinkhole and sucked in the group? We should get some answers soon, but with all good shows like this, the more answers we get, the more questions we think to ask.
Josh and Riley
Isaiah is successfully back in 1988 as a child and was picked up by the nuns. That loop is closed, and Gavin and Eve’s children are intact. We have no idea where Lilly is, though. A clever misdirect led them and us to believe they had overshot the mark and ended up in the 1950s, but the pair is indeed in 1988, along with leg warmers and cassette tapes. Lucas is thrilled to be vacationing with Riley but seems oblivious that they are stuck there unless another sinkhole opens. The next known sinkhole is due thirty years from now, and Riley doesn’t want to wait to see her dad again.
I’m not convinced that the writers are doing Josh any favors in La Brea Season 2 Episode 1. Jack Martin is likable and extremely relatable with his floppy hair and all-American boy vibe, but this strangely blase attitude towards his family is bizarre. Is he so in love with Riley that he is willing to toss them aside? Riley is anxious to get back and doesn’t think sitting around eating junk food and watching ALF is the best course of action. Josh, by contrast, seems content squatting with no plan at all. Is this a product of his immaturity or lazy writing?
The important thing is a rift growing between the two and an unexpected sinkhole that may be the key to getting home. Hopefully, Josh doesn’t go all Swimfan on Riley and sabotage their ability to find a new way back to their families in the Ice Age.
All the rest, and who are the men in black?
Sam and Levi are interrogating Silas because he may know what happened to Josh and Riley. Silas isn’t cooperating, though. It appears he isn’t telling them what he knows, not because he doesn’t understand, but because he understands too much. Was Silas once in the tower with Rebecca? He is the least of their troubles, though, as the group is fracturing in many ways.
Sam is beginning to panic, and without his meds, he is breaking. He has no problem with violence, and Ty and Levi are worried he is dangerous. Our group can’t afford for Silas’ group to be angry with them. Silas offers to show them how to get to the tower. He tells them Rebecca knows how to help them. While Ty watches over Sam, who is guarding Silas, Levi and Eve head to the tower. Ty uses his connection with Paara to buy them some time and tries to reach out to Sam about what is troubling him, but he has closed down.
Ty(Chiké Okonkwo) continues to be my favorite character. There is such a grounded quality to his kind demeanor he is an asset to every scene, breathing lived in emotionality to his interactions. His illness is a severe problem, however, that we need an answer for sooner rather than later. The series can’t afford to lose another complex person. We already lost Marybeth at the end of Season 1. She was the only woman in the group who wasn’t written as a stereotypical female. Marybeth was tough, intelligent, and capable, whereas the majority of the other female characters tend to be victims constantly needing rescuing. She is the closest La Brea got to a Brienne of Tarth, and her death leaves a massive void.
Levi and Eve are dancing around each other. It’s uncomfortable to watch them skirt around their affair. Before things get too messy, though, several important things happen. They are reunited with Lucas, who had to bury his mom alone. We all love a good bad boy, and Josh McKenzie’s Lucas is just that. The only thing better than a bad boy is a reformed one. After Marybeth finally tells him the truth about his dad and is stabbed to death, he is poised for a major redemptive arch. He is the same reckless aggressor, though. When they hear Veronica screaming for help when black-clad warriors took her, he leaped into action.
The group managed to rescue Veronica but ended up losing Eve. This new group has weapons not natural in this era, so they must be from yet another sinkhole. We don’t know who they are and why they want all the women they seem to be kidnapping. Paara has spoken about other groups, and some of them are violent. I’m guessing these are one of those deadly groups. Maybe something has left their women sterile, or only men fell through their particular sinkhole? Levi promised never to leave Eve again and kept that promise by getting himself captured to be with her. Yet another rescue party will have to be launched, but first, they should talk to Silas and Paara. I’m guessing they know who these men in black are.
There are a lot of side plots to keep up with, and La Brea Season 2 Episode 1 wasted no time throwing us right back into the fire. This sudsy addictive series is only getting started. Find all our La Brea coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.