While a big part of me still preferred “The Wedding“, “The Swarm” also did a lot right for season 2 of La Brea. Unlike the last episode, this one was action-packed pretty much the entire time. Better yet, it turns our expectations on their heads in exciting fashion and leaves me wondering what to expect next from the series.
It starts with Caroline put in the earth, and Gavin, Eve and James standing to mourn her passing. James is determined to fix the portal and send them all home. He says he even has an ally that will assist them accessing the tower. While everything the man says seems truthful, I admit there was a part that still didn’t trust him as I watched the episode. Which isn’t kind to say, given everything that happened last time, but there it is.
As for Levi, he’s disappeared after the wedding, and Silas is alive but fighting an infection from his gunshots. Izzy is very worried about Levi and says he’s not himself, but Gavin wants to cut all ties with his old friend. As Gavin and company head to the tower, things are about to heat up at the Clearing.
They’ve built a rudimentary water tower, which seems like a great idea. Until someone is hammering a nail, slips and falls, and the earth shakes. It’s not an earthquake, though. It’s something far, far worse for the people in 10,000 B.C.
Riley and Veronica are out looking for a sextant to decipher Aaron’s coordinates. Veronica isn’t sure why Riley is tagging along, other than her ability to use a sextant, but it’s clear Riley just needs someone to talk to. It doesn’t hurt they’re about the same age, and Riley needs to vent about her fight with Josh. When both women return to the Clearing, they find it eerily empty. The only person is prone on the dirt. Suddenly they hear Scott telling them to be quiet, when a swarm of prehistoric wasps bursts from cracks in the earth.
Scott manages to get both women to safety in a truck before they’re stung to death. These wasps not only are much larger than modern varieties, but their poison is much more toxic. Worse, they’re hyper sensitive to sounds, so it’s nearly impossible to safely walk anywhere in the camp. To complicate matters, Veronica spies Ella on the ground, obviously in pain after being stung. She’s determined to save the woman who was a young girl before time travel chaos, and who is still like a sister to her.
Back at the Tower, Kira is fully in charge. Thankfully she doesn’t need a hostage anymore, so she lets Ty go. He tries hard to convince her to let everybody go home to their own time, but she’s determined to right the ship now that James isn’t the head honcho. So Ty uses his newfound freedom to return and find someone to warn about the situation.
Sam is out clipping herbs to make medicine for Silas when he spies Levi digging up explosives. He tries to reason with the man, but Levi is dead set on killing James and destroying everything he’s built. Later on, Izzy and Josh find Sam lying in the dirt after taking a beating from Levi. He catches them up and Izzy sets out to save Levi from himself, since he was integral in her recovery when she lost her leg.
James leads Gavin and Eve to an access point, and his ally turns out to be a Lazarus guard loyal to the old boss. He also informs them all that Lazarus is in chaos. Somehow when Kira took over, she accidentally corrupted the security network, and now people are evacuating and animals are loose in the building. Ty finds them before they enter the door. It’s clear he’s suffering again from a lack of treatment, but he’s still determined to help. Then as the door closes behind them, Levi surprises the guard, knocks him out and steals his keycard.
Inside the Tower, James utilizes Gavin’s deep security credentials to access the systems and start fighting back for control. Meanwhile they have to stop Kira and her guards from interfering, so Gavin and Ty set out to manually lock doors in their path. As they’re going around doing so, Gavin spies Levi behind an inaccessible doorway setting up explosives everywhere. He wants to destroy the entire tower. When Gavin tries to reason with him, he says that Gavin doesn’t understand. He didn’t just lose his wife to the sinkhole, he lost his daughter as well.
At the Clearing, Scott, Riley and Veronica quickly surmise their best bet is to drown the wasp nest in soapy water using the water tower, and then grab an epi pen and use it on Ella. Veronica starts to panic when she can’t find it, though Riley helps her get past her anxiety. The plan to drown them seems to go well, but Scott cautions they won’t know if they’ve killed all the prehistoric pests. Veronica needs to save Ella, and walks carefully until she manages to break a twig. This is met with a thunderous roar as surviving wasps burst out, and Veronica is forced to grab Ella and drag her into a locked metal room. Unfortunately, in the process she drops the epi pen.
Back at Jurassic Park, Levi evacuates everybody except Kira, and demands her help with something. As Gavin is wandering about locking doors, he runs into an escaped animal – a sabretooth tiger! Ty has to race back to save him just as he reaches the infirmary, and manages to do so in epic fashion by burying an axe in the tiger’s back.
By far the best moment of “The Swarm” is when Scott finds an unconventional way to get the epi pen safely to Ella. With Riley’s help, he layers up using a scarf, helmet and tons of duct tape. Then he grabs a super soaker and loads it up with coolant, making an impromptu flamethrower. He uses it to toast a bunch of wasps and reaches the epi pen safely. Just one problem – in her rush to save Ella, Veronica also got stung, and there’s only one epi pen.
There’s a heart-wrenching scene between the two women. Ella tries to convince Veronica to live, but Veronica can’t bring herself to doom her sister. So Ella selflessly takes the epi pen and uses it on her. Later on, it’s clear poor Veronica is overwhelmed, but Riley is a good friend and comforts her.
Just when you think you know how “The Swarm” will end, they throw in a twist. Eve is alone with James, and asking why he’s not more concerned about Gavin. He’s being evasive, and she finds him actively working on Project Blue Moon, despite the lies he’s told everyone. He draws a gun on Eve, they tussle and she gets a knife to his throat. Unfortunately he shatters a glass bottle on her head, and walks away. Turns out, I was right not to trust James after all!
It ends with Levi forcing Kira to transfer all power to the portal, which he’s conveniently ringed with explosives. Gavin rushes in and Levi draws a gun on him as the timer counts down. Then Izzy conveniently arrives and tests Levi’s resolve. He finally decides to turn off the timer, but it won’t stop. When he pulls a wire, it starts accelerating rapidly. Then the episode ends with people rushing out of the Tower moments before it explodes in a massive ball of fire.
While the last two episodes of La Brea have been really captivating, I can’t shake the feeling that events are accelerating towards an end. Not just of this season, but the entire series, which would fit the rumors I’ve seen swirling. Here’s hoping NBC manages to end the show on a good note, even if it’s way too soon.