It feels odd covering the fall finale of La Brea after a two-week hiatus. I’m not a fan of the fall finale phenomenon in general. I get it, businesses like to milk November and December for all the holiday moolah they can get with TV specials, but it just really hurts the momentum of a season 2 that had been going swimmingly all year. That now unfortunately skids to a screeching halt.
1988 starts moments after the earthquake we saw last time, a portent of the massive tidal wave that’s only 40 hours away from destroying Santa Monica and the surrounding area. Since the Harris family still has time and are finally back together, they’re reminiscing about the good times, especially Eve and Gavin. But Levi’s clearly not happy about that and breaks up the good vibes with his discovery.
The device Dr. Clark left hidden is a radio transmitter. By following the progression of the beeps, they can locate where she was taken. To my huge surprise, they do so instantly. Sam and Levi take out her guards. Gavin rescues his mother. Levi goes total action hero to clear out the rest of the guards in the building before a gunshot goes off, as his reckless behavior, got him shot. Even though the bullet went through he needs immediate medical attention. Luckily, Sam and Riley are around who know how to repair the damage.
One group stays to help heal Levi while the other goes with Caroline to finish her virus. Izzy is worried about splitting up again, but there’s nothing that can be done for it. Though she’s desperate to have her family whole, Izzy doesn’t want her parents to reunite for the wrong reasons. I will say, I appreciated her sibling bond with her brother Josh, and especially enjoyed them trading barbs and talking about the past. In particular, they note that their dad seems like a whole person now even if Josh still feels guilty for not believing him earlier. Though they’re both acting, they do a great job of expressing familial love.
As for poor Levi, he’s not ready to let Eve go and even tells her again he wants to start a new family with her despite the good advice from Sam to let her make up her mind and spend some time with her husband and children. However, that’s all is secondary to the new problem revealed by Dr. Clark. Her virus will shut down all the portals, eliminating the threat of the sinkholes entirely. There’s just one issue: no portals mean everyone has to decide if they’re going to remain permanently in 1988 or return to the dangers of 10,000 BC.
Speaking of which, things are pretty tense in the prehistoric hellscape. Though it starts calm with Ty and Paara managing to capture Taamet way too easily, there’s a problem. Lucas is dying and only Taamet knows how to cure him. He tells Paara to let him free once he saves Lucas, or allow him trial by combat. When his ex-wife foolishly agrees, he challenges Ty instead of her. She refuses, but it’s clear it’s only a matter of time until Lucas dies, and Scott is desperate to save his once bully, now friend.
Despite the odds clearly stacked against him, Ty gives a brave speech about how he found life again in 10,000 BC and he’s willing to die to save Lucas. So he’ll do the trial by combat. However, he’s not going in without a plan. Meanwhile Lucas himself is really in a dark place. He feels he deserves to die for dealing heroin, and only the urgent counsel of Veronica (and an unexpected kiss) gets his head out of the shadows momentarily.
Back in 1988, things get complicated just as Dr. Clark finishes uploading her virus to a thumb drive. Lazarus agents return to her home, and the Harris family has to escape the house. Later Gavin hatches a plan to get the threat off their tails. Levi and Clark act as decoys when Gavin comes zooming by, knocking the three agents into the Hollywood sinkhole.
The most exciting action scene in the fall finale is the trial by combat. It’s clear Paara wasn’t joking when she warned Ty that her ex is sadistic and deadly. They’re both armed with spears, but only Taamet is proficient with one. Ty has a good plan, though, and uses his long-honed therapy skills to get in the Exile’s head. He makes him sloppy and angry, and manages to trip the man when he’s asking for recognition of his victory. The end result is they get the undisclosed cure for Lucas’ condition, which has to be due to some prehistoric toxin.
There’s just one tiny problem – Taamet didn’t get beaten. He threw the fight thanks to a deal Scott secretly made with the man. If he threw the fight, Lucas would get the cure and the Exile would be let free. Scott tries in vain to wriggle out of the deal, saying Ty beat him fair and square. But then Taamet says he left one ingredient out of the cure. When Scott rushes to let him free, he knocks the pothead back, promising vengeance when he returns.
As expected, 1988 ends with the Harris family making a big decision. While they were eager to start over in the 80’s, there’s a problem. For Dr. Clark to upload her virus, she needs to override a genetic lock. Which means Gavin will need to return to 10,000 BC with her, essentially stranding himself there once the portals are closed. Eve isn’t willing to let him go, despite their complicated history. So the entire Harris family agrees to return to the past. So does Sam and Riley, since they want to reunite with the rest of their family in their own time as well.
Before everybody (except apparently Levi) jumps into the sinkhole, La Brea throws one last curveball our way. Right as they’re about to jump, Gavin has his first vision in quite a while. It seems to show Eve dying. What’s unclear is how he’s having a vision again, since previously they were his memories streamed through time by his younger self, Isaiah. But now that child is safely adopted in 1988. Does this mean it’s a vision of the future? Or perhaps something more sinister? All I know is it’s going to be a long wait for the second half of La Brea season 2.
There was a scene when Caroline and Isaiah/_____ return to Caroline’s apartment to get some device to stop the virus. Caroline removed a USB flash drive hidden in a smoke detector. Maybe I missed something but I don’t recall USB flash drives in 1988.