In what has been one of the most difficult journeys, La Brea reaches its penultimate episode this week with “Father and Son.” In the last episode, we learned a huge twist was sitting there in front of us, the survivors got some help from the ancient villagers, and melodrama ensued. This is a show that’s easy to hate while also easy to appreciate its eye-rolling melodrama for what it is: Shmaltzy over-the-top stupidity.
Episode nine opens with Eve (Natalie Zea) rushing to get help from Aldridge (Ming-Zhu Hii) who tried to kidnap Isiah (Diesel La Torraca) who is one of the villagers in the last episode. Spoilers ahead folks, but Aldridge revealed the little boy Isiah is none other than Gavin (Eoin Macken). Aldridge effectively gives a small group of the survivors a new mission this episode to get Isiah through a portal that’ll send him to 1988 so that he can live his life out as Gavin.
Customary of La Brea, when a character asks how she knows all of this she says “it doesn’t matter.” What she means is, “it doesn’t matter because I need to save this information for a sexy reveal later in the show.”
If that sounds confusing, it sort of is, especially since this episode begins to introduce time travel problems in a lazy way. Lazy in part because the show never tries to define how time travel works in the episode and relies on the viewer to piece together the conundrums.
This episode spends a good deal of time on characters trying to wrap their head around the new information surrounding Gavin. Once again, it’s hard to believe these characters can’t fathom something like this when they clearly know with certainty they were time-traveled to the past. This focus ends up being rather tiresome and boring since it telegraphs what they need to do early on and then has them putz around avoiding dangers. One danger involves a character saving someone from a sabretooth tiger with a car and another is avoiding a group of angry villagers.
As usual, there are subplots that are relatively pointless but fill out the time. Scott (Rohan Mirchandaney) saw a cow and devotes time to find it so the survivors can get milk. This subplot acts as a means to rehabilitate Veronica (Lily Santiago) who has keen cow knowledge and can easily bond with Scott since she’s a violent kidnapper who is misunderstood and Scott is a pothead who is misunderstood. Yes, that’s about as dumb as it sounds, but the show expects the viewer to fall for it.
The only other subplot involves Ty (Chiké Okonkwo) continuing to fall in love with the ancient villager leader Paara (Tonantzin Carmelo). This subplot feels like a slow build.
When the episode cuts from the main A-plot of Eve trying to get Isiah to a portal narrowly avoiding death to Scott and Veronica opening up their hearts to each other it’s like dramatic whiplash. It’s hard to care about these characters giving us the backstory on themselves–and looking for a cow–when another group is facing life or death. Writing that sentence is as absurd as it sounds.
Gavin’s plot continues to develop in the timeline set in the modern-day but there’s very little drama. He’s attempting to connect with a woman who is also from the past but she’s reluctant to help and doesn’t believe him. Essentially he keeps nagging her until she changes her mind. Much like many moments in the show, the character changes her mind when the plot requires her to do so in order to offer the viewer new information.
If you thought there weren’t more mysteries gearing up, the final few minutes offer up a few new doozies. One of the mysteries involves a barcode on the cow and it’ll have you rolling your eyes as Scott wants to solve it and stay in the past. Why you’d stay in the past when there are wild animals, the threat of starvation and lack of resources is anyone’s guess. This is also a seemingly random late edition of a mystery that has no bearing on anything we know and seems thrown in.
La Brea is a show that has tried your patience every step of the way with its only saving grace being that it’s well shot and the melodrama is so bad it’s good. Sadly, this episode doesn’t offer much in the way of schmaltzy acting and bizarrely bad plot development making it a tiresome experience. It’s simply boring, drawn-out, and unbelievably stupid.
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