Television doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to be good, but it does need to capture your interest. So far, NBC’s La Brea has introduced an interesting setup mixing a disaster movie and the supernatural with a random group of characters ranging from a normal mother to untrustworthy detective types. The third episode of La Brea aired today and it sends its characters into survival mode now that they know the level of danger at hand.
This is a show many have compared to Lost thanks to the ensemble cast of strangers attempting to get along and survive under supernatural circumstances. Instead of a mysterious island, in La Brea, the characters fell into a sinkhole that transported them to the same location in Los Angeles only thousands of years into the past.
A problem with the last episode was laughable CGI which rears its head right away with episode 3 when a giant ground sloth shows up. It’s so-so at best, but it gets the job done as everyone flees for their lives and the giant sloth snatches up all their food. With somehow all of their food fitting on a single blanket, a bunch of the characters head off to forage for food. Probably not the best choice given they still don’t know what kind of threats are nearby or how dangerous the terrain can be, but this show is hellbent on splitting the characters up.
Meanwhile, Gavin (Eoin Macken) continues to prepare to go back in time with government technology. Not much has been built up to make this portion of the plot make a lot of sense, but if you’ve seen disaster movies like Armageddon you know to turn off your brain and go with it. Giving him a bit more color is the introduction of Gavin’s old soldier buddy Levi (Nicholas Gonzalez) who never believed Gavin really had visions. Turns out he was right and Levi is now eating crow.
As the survivors split up — because that’s always a great idea with saber-toothed tigers running around — Eve (Natalie Zea) and Ty (Chiké Okonkwo) go hunting for rabbits. Enter a subplot involving a bear and being trapped in a cave. While this is taking place, Riley (Veronica St. Clair) must drain her father Sam’s (Jon Seda) back of fluid. It feels a bit early to be introducing another medical emergency in a show that literally just resolved the first one, but it’s clear at this point mini threats and dramas suck up a lot of the time spent in the sinkhole past.
The show continues to attempt comedy — this episode has a juvenile joke about a survivor eating grass — but ultimately it’s taking itself way too seriously to be enjoyable. Either the producers should have gone super serious and well researched or go full camp. All the elements are here for a more campy fun adventure from the poor CGI, to the characters splitting up and stupidly getting themselves nearly killed, but alas every actor plays things super seriously. At one point Ty dives into a mysterious algae-invested pool without warning and you want to laugh. It’s not for laughs but is instead a pre-commercial stinger.
It’s clear at this point the show only has so many minutes to spare and is rushing along too quickly. That goes for Ty and Eve bonding in this episode, which is hard to believe since they’ve only known each other for 48 hours max. It was evident in the first episode this may be the case since Gavin was rushing details across about what was really going on with the sinkhole but at this point, you need to accept nothing much will be earned here.
“The Hunt” ends up being a more enjoyable episode thanks to some new revelations about who was here before. The repetitive medical emergency of the week and seemingly constant dumb mistakes being made isn’t helping make these characters enjoyable, but at least it’s keeping the dangers moving along. It’s a show that can’t quite balance super-serious sci-fi disaster movie and campy setup.
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