The Cave is a solid episode of La Brea, and it does a good job of streamlining the action so we’re not struggling to follow tons of different storylines simultaneously. The main arc deals with Eve and Levi being kidnapped, but there’s also plenty of screen time for Gavin and Riley and Josh. Better yet, we get some backstory for Gavin’s mysterious childhood, as well as learning more about the marauders that have been kidnapping people in the prehistoric past.
We learn pretty early on that the kidnappers are called the Exiles, thanks to Gavin’s memories growing up with grandpa Silas. All he knows is they’re dangerous and use horse-drawn wagons. Eve and Levi quickly discover the Exiles want one thing, a particular black rock that their prisoners are forced to mine. The Exile camp is spartan and cruel looking, with spiked gates, tall fencing and a massive portcullis locking their workers in the titular cave.
As Eve and Levi spend the episode in discomfort, we get more backstory from several different flashbacks. First it’s shown why Eve and Levi hooked up. Gavin was hard drinking and she was forced to do everything for her family, including fix a dishwasher by herself. Levi’s shoulder to cry on eventually turns into a friendship with benefits. Levi wants desperately to make things official, but Eve was hurt by her father having an affair when she was 15, and she doesn’t want to hurt her children the same way. Ironically she says this moments before Izzy’s horrific accident, and then she’s overwhelmed by guilt.
Gavin’s group is triumphant when they make contact with the original survivors in the Clearing, until they realize the people they came to rescue are all missing. I liked how a grown up Gavin reconnects with Sam, who helped bandage his hand when he was called Isaiah, and Ella connects with Ty. She also reintroduces herself to “big sister” Veronica. It goes well for a moment, but it’s clear Veronica is tortured by her past, which revolves around someone named Aaron. She pushes Ella away, and later tells Ty there are some things that you can’t be absolved for.
Cave boy decides to do something risky, and talks with his grandfather about rescuing Eve and Levi from the Exiles. Everybody warns him not to trust Silas, but Gavin finally decides to go solo with him to find them. Silas tries to get chummy with his grown up grandson, telling him he’d do anything for him. But Gavin reminds him of the horrible things Silas recently did to his wife and children, which Silas claims were for his sake. Then things get complicated and Gavin gets caught by a snare and dragged up a tree limb, only to foolishly drop his knife when trying to free himself.
A massive bear ambles along and gets punchy, swiping at poor upside down Gavin. Things look dire until Silas comes behind the beast and kills it with a knife to the noggin, before tossing the blade up to Gavin. I know, I don’t trust Silas either, but for now he seems to legitimately care about his grandson. Later Gavin trades stories of his adult life with grandpa, asking about what happened to his parents. Despite being told they’d died years ago, Silas reveals they’re both alive, but that he promised to take care of Gavin and to keep their secrets. Understandably his grandson is upset, but Silas won’t speak further on the topic.
As for Riley and Josh, at first they go to the new sinkhole in LA. Though it’s cordoned off by police, Josh wants to rush past their barricade. Riley tells him that’s a horrible idea, and that they should come try at night time instead. While they talk, a strange man in the crowd pays a lot of attention to them, and later is stalking them. When confronted by Riley, the man reveals his name is Franklin Marsh, a professor of geology who has suspicions about the sinkhole, but can’t convince anybody else.
Franklin found a pattern that predicts more sinkholes are coming, and that the next one will be life altering. It’ll open up in the middle of the ocean and create the biggest tidal wave in human history, devastating a huge swathe of land. Despite wanting to return to their parents, Riley and Josh agree this is more important, so they’ll stay and help him try and prevent or mitigate the damage.
Though there’s not a lot of exposition in the actual cave itself, other than plenty of flashbacks, we do meet Virgil. Supposedly he’s another LA refugee. I don’t know if I’m extra paranoid because of years watching LOST, but I instantly thought he was secretly the leader of the Exiles. This episode doesn’t lend my theory any credence, sadly. When Levi and Eve convince Virgil to help them try and escape, he gets badly beaten. Levi tries to help, but he gets beaten in turn, only to get returned to Eve later, where they tearfully reunite.
One of my favorite scenes from The Cave is when Sam uses his experience with the Wounded Warriors Project to help repair Izzy’s busted prosthetic leg, using tar and duct tape. She recognizes Sam from a vigil held for those that fell into the original sinkhole, where she met his son Andrew. It’s a touching moment, and made me care more about these characters.
The episode culminates in some shocking moments. First Silas drugs Gavin and leaves him right at the doorstep of the Exiles. Then Scott returns to the Clearing with a cryptic warning. Right when things looks totally dire, and Gavin is kidnapped, he recalls a hazy memory. Grandpa Silas put a map of the cave in his pocket, telling him it can lead him and his family to freedom once he gets caught. Which leads me to wonder how Silas had such a map, and whether this means he’s a member of the Exiles himself.
Overall a very solid episode, though perhaps not as exciting as last week’s La Brea. Hopefully we get more tidbits and secrets revealed in the coming weeks!