La Brea Season 2 Episode 8 Stampede Review And Recap- Red Flower Theories And Is There A Major Character Twist Being Set Up?
In serialized network shows, formulas work. They give viewers a blueprint for what to expect week after week. It’s a reliable playbook that allows the audience to sink into the story. It doesn’t always make for the most inventive or surprising story, but it does create trust. La Brea doesn’t have the punch of Apple TV+’s Servant or the emotionality of Manifest, another formulaic network sci-fi show bought by Netflix when its streaming numbers couldn’t be denied. What it does have, though, is a tried and true method. Throw some kooky characters, a handful of heroes, including a reformed bad boy, a loosely defined sci-fi disaster, and a whole lot of danger, and let them escape tragedy week after week, and you’ve got a network hit. The other thing that is as reliable as the sun is an episode reveal with overarching ramifications. La Brea Season 2 Episode 8 gave us exactly what we were expecting while also setting up the potential for something more creative.
After having a vision of Eve’s death and jumping back into the sinkhole with Josh, Riley, Sam, and Caroline, the group is back in 10,000 BCE. At the end of the winter finale, the group decided to go back one more time to upload Caroline’s virus into the tower computer and shut down the Lazarus program for good. The virus ensures no further sinkholes, earthquakes, or tidal waves will happen and saves lives. Unfortunately, it also means none of them can ever go home again.
With time running out and Josh missing, the group splits up and pushes on. Izzy and Gavin will go to the tower because that will not raise any red flags for James. Gavin will open the system from the portal room, and Caroline, with the rest of the group, will go to a substation and upload the virus via a flash drive. It’s a straightforward plan that mostly works except for Sam’s moment of doubt, squashed by his sense of right and wrong, and a moment of weakness from Gavin, who couldn’t risk losing Eve.
Gavin got into the system, but Izzy, who continues to be an annoyance more than anything, tells him about the red flowers that she found in James’ tower. James had told her the pretty tree only grows in this time, so she knows Eve must die in 10,000 BCE. She reasons with her father that if they can get out of this time, Eve will be saved. That’s potentially true, but this hardly seems like a reasonable trade-off considering Gavin’s visions aren’t exactly clear road maps, and thousands of people may die for him to save one. So far, Zyra Gorecki’s Izzy reads as nothing more than an NPC who distracts and redirects our group away from the end game.
Back at the clearing, Ty is visiting and lending a hand, and Scott is still hoping he can keep his secret safe. Ty knows someone let Paara’s ex-husband go. He just doesn’t know who. It’s only a matter of time before everyone learns it was Scott. Scott does make himself useful again this week using his ever-growing pile of knowledge. His expertise in animal migration helps them avert an ancient buffalo stampede with a wall of fire and later a Kansas City Chief’s Stadium worth of car honking and yelling. Scott is both an asset and a liability, and that makes him unpredictable and interesting to watch. Rohan Mirchandaney continues to be a bright spot in this series as the flawed and goofy Macgyver of the group.
Scott is at his best when playing off of Lucas(Josh McKenzie). The odd couple makes each other better and is always fun to watch. Lucas needs the advice and support that Scott offers to grow as a leader, and the clearing needs someone to unite them. This will become increasingly important if Ty’s health continues to deteriorate. As important as the red flowers are to both Eve and Veronica and Lilly’s stories, I wonder if they might also factor into a cure for Ty’s cancer. Ty is on borrowed time, and his collapse at the end of La Brea Season 2 Episode 8 proves it. There would be a nice symmetry to Ty’s cure, bringing the greatest pain to others.
There’s some shady storytelling in La Brea Season 2 Episode 8 that requires some suspension of reality. A virus that works partially when it is 85% uploaded is not really a thing, and the signposting of Veronica and Lilly’s abductor and a potential future Izzy acting as the Director of Operations in James’ project is crude at best. If this series has told us anything, you can’t outrun your past or future. How this plays out for Lucas, who is stepping up to be the kind of selfless leader he wants to be, remains to be seen. He wants to be better for Veronica and honor his dead mother. His hand and his temper may be problems he can’t get around, though.
Admittedly, I am intrigued by getting a glimpse of Veronica and Lilly’s abductor. As much as I want to fault some lazy writing, La Brea is a guilty pleasure. There are a ton of questions I need answered. How did Veronica and Lilly’s abductor see the flowers in 10,000 BCE? Is their kidnapper someone we have already met from another time? Could it be James or Taamet? Are either James or Caroline trustworthy? Is anyone concerned at all about the ocean that came through the aurora? How lucky was everyone that a whale or shark didn’t fall on top of them?
La Brea Season 2 Episode 8 is the story of three fathers. Sam and Gavin make choices for their loved ones that put others at risk. Ultimately Sam makes the right call and stops trying to destroy the power supply and the upload, but Gavin does not. This family consistently makes decisions that put their interests ahead of others while asking everyone around them to sacrifice. Eve needs to step up and stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, she appears to be the only one that gets sacrifice starts with yourself.
Hopefully, the writers will realize that Natalie Zea(Eve) is a star and let her take the lead. Eoin Macken(Gavin) is undeniably talented, but La Brea will suffer until the writers give him a character stronger than he is short-sighted. I want to see the contrast between Sam and Gavin more pronounced. It will benefit the show and the individual characters. The third father at play here is James, who is obviously giving off evil villain vibes but is probably acting on something akin to what makes Gavin betray his group. What will happen when these two learn they have more in common than they think? What else is James hiding? 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.