La Brea Stampedes Into the New Year With a Dramatic Episode

Stampede brings La Brea season 2 back with high stakes, drama and a herd of angry buffalo.

Well guys and gals, we’ve officially gone from 1988 to 2023 with the return of La Brea season 2! It’s been a pretty lean month in terms of returning shows, so I’m glad to report La Brea doesn’t waste any time and keeps things moving. Stampede pretty much picks up right were we left our time-tossed travelers. Gavin, Eve, Josh, Riley and Sam jumped through the portal to go and stop the source of the impending disaster back in 1988. But doing so means turning off the Lazarus for good. And while Gavin’s family is finally on board with that decision, Sam is not.

Gavin wakes up alone, though Eve quickly finds her way to him. Turns out the rest of the crew landed in different places. While Riley and Sam get reunited with the larger group in the Clearing quickly, Josh is mysteriously absent. Gavin wishes he could just focus on one disaster at a time, but he’s very worried about his mysterious vision of Eve’s death while near a tree with red, star-shaped flowers. It’s causing him to keep things to himself, and Eve isn’t happy about it. Unsurprisingly, neither is is daughter, Izzy, who is insistent about bringing their family together. Which is why Gavin finally opens up and tells her about his terrifying vision, seemingly of Eve’s death surrounded by red-hued trees.

LA BREA — “Stampede” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Neal as Dr. Caroline Clark, Veronica St. Clair as Riley, Jon Seda as Dr. Sam, Natalie Zea as Eve — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

In the Clearing itself, things start calm. Lucas has been saved from almost certain death, but healing his infection left some lasting consequences. Namely, one of his hands is now numb and useless. The man that used to be so full of rage and violent energy now has to content himself with the fact he’s not as capable anymore. Despite that, Lucas and many in the Clearing are trying to put down roots, building permanent structures. Which is when a wild buffalo decides to come barreling through the camp. They luck out, and nobody gets harmed, but there’s a problem. Where there’s one buffalo, there are plenty more, and an entire stampede has their migration path centered on the Clearing .

Even though Gavin and company don’t find Josh, they decide that time is of the essence, and they need to shut down Lazarus before a tidal wave does massive damage back in 1988. Gavin splits up, heading with Izzy to break past security at the tower. He figures he can play on his father James’ ego, and that he will let them in, giving Gavin a chance to do what’s necessary. By the same token, they’re not sure how James would react to Eve, Sam or Riley, and they know he doesn’t trust his wife Caroline. So they split up and head to a research station a few miles away from the tower, hoping to upload the virus once Gavin gives them an opening. I should note, a partial upload will shut down the 1988 sinkhole, stopping the cataclysmic tidal wave, while a 100% upload will permanently turn off the Lazarus.

LA BREA — “Stampede” Episode 208 — Pictured: Michelle Vergara Moore as Ella — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

There’s also an interesting side story involving Ty, Ella and Veronica. Ty remembers Ella is a talented artist, and asks her to make a wedding ring for Paara. When Elle and Veronica talk about the objective, they name drop the mysterious man called Aaron. The same one that drew Veronica and Ella into his web of crime, and who still holds such influence over both women. We really don’t know a lot about this person, but I’m more and more convinced he’s going to show up in 10,000 B.C. Especially after both women head to an amethyst cave to find a stone for the wedding ring, and discover the same red-hued tree that Gavin saw in his vision of Eve’s death. Apparently, it’s a tree Aaron was very familiar with. Even stranger, the same tree is being studied in a laboratory by James.

Lucas is trying hard to become the person that Veronica thinks he’s capable of becoming. Which in his case means going from a drug-dealing tough to a good person that cares about people. Thus the plan is suggested that they can divert the buffalo stampede instead of giving up and letting it destroy the camp. Working with others, Lucas has a vision to use abundant tar to set up a wall of flames and keep the massive animals from their path of destruction. At one point Josh wanders in and hugs Scott, though he’s being cagey. Mostly because he knows that if he tells the Clearing about Gavin and Caroline’s plan, they’ll be angry about getting stranded permanently in the past.

LA BREA — “Stampede” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh MeKenzie as Lucas, Rohan Mirchandaney as Scott, Chiké Okonkwo as Ty — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

It becomes very clear Sam is determined to stop Dr. Clark, and he tries to steal her virus. She anticipates the move, and he gets nothing. But that doesn’t stop him. He may have worked past his addiction earlier in the season, but now he is utterly set on reuniting himself and Riley with the rest of their family. Which means stopping the upload by any means necessary. Thus he races to get to the research station first.

After bonding with grandpa, AKA the mysterious James, Izzy discovers the same tree from her father’s vision. In so doing, she becomes convinced that her mother will die in 10,000 B.C. Meanwhile Gavin manages to take a guard’s taser, knock him unconscious and force his way to make the facility accessible to Dr. Clark. He misses the woman who works for his father hitting a silent alarm, however.

As Dr. Clark is uploading the virus, it’s clear something is wrong. Eve and her wander over and find Sam bashing the power source to the research station with a club of wood. He’s ready to finish the job, but Eve and his own daughter buy some time for the upload to proceed. They say he’s going to sacrifice the lives of thousands just to save a couple, and despite his anger, Sam is still a good person at heart. He’s just torn between impossible decisions.

Right as the wall of flames is working to reroute the first dregs of the stampede, something weird and utterly delightful happens. The aurora flashes and suddenly rain, fish and ocean debris start raining from the sky. Which means that the portal is starting to open in 1988. Worse, it puts out the fire just as the rest of the herd is heading their way. Thankfully, the ex-stoner, Scott, has a brilliant idea, and they manage to reroute the bulk of the stampede using car horns to scare them off.

James comes to convince Gavin to stop the upload. He claims that Gavin’s mother, Dr. Clark, was lying to Gavin. Better yet, supposedly he’s almost stabilized the portals, meaning there won’t be any future negative consequences from their use. Gavin is struggling to choose, and then Izzy tells him about the red trees, and says she’s convinced Eve will die if they stay. It’s incredibly tense, but ultimately Gavin stops the full upload with seconds to go.

LA BREA — “Stampede” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Vergara Moore as Ella, Josh MeKenzie as Lucas, Lily Santiago as Veronica — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Overall, a great return for La Brea season 2. Be sure and stay tuned to The Workprint for the follow up episode later tonight, Murder in the Clearing!

Josh Speer
Josh Speer
Josh Speer enjoys all sorts of things, but he grew up reading comic books. Stories of wonder and whimsy delight him, as do underdogs and anti-heroes. While admittedly a fan of many Marvel and DC characters (thwip thwip), of late he reads more independent comics. Big fan of Image, Dark Horse, IDW and lately even some Aftershock. Loves stories that are quirky, weird and which feature stunning artwork. Completely shocked that Marvel Netflix still exists on Disney+. Enjoys talking about comic books without getting lost in the minutiae, and focuses most on character relationships and development.

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Well guys and gals, we've officially gone from 1988 to 2023 with the return of La Brea season 2! It's been a pretty lean month in terms of returning shows, so I'm glad to report La Brea doesn't waste any time and keeps things...La Brea Stampedes Into the New Year With a Dramatic Episode