La Brea’s “Maya” feels forced

We get a break from the excitement of the first two episodes, and I'm not having it.

Tuesday’s La Brea episode did indeed take us back to 2021, though not for anything too interesting. Perhaps I’m expecting too much, but let’s break things down and see.

In 2021 Ty and Sam have explained shit to Gavin, who is not very receptive. To the point that he bails. Now it’s a hunt for Gavin.

Back in 10k B.C. Sam and Gavin head out on a recon mission that goes south quickly. First, it’s a woolly rhino, then a mine field, and finally just a good old-fashioned guy with a gun (congrats on making onto the IMDB, Aaron Cottrell!).

2021 reveals a second mission: Ty wants to help his estranged ex-wife (Sophie played by Annabelle Stephenson). She’s an alcoholic, like Gavin, and rebuffs his efforts, like Gavin.

Meanwhile, a lot is going down in 10k B.C. For one thing, Lucas has political ambitions – you know, for the good of the people. Unfortunately, Veronica’s efforts to help don’t work out as planned. Sam and Gavin get rescued by the very lady they’ve been looking for, Maya! She gives them some answers, explaining she, Gavin, and a bunch of other pilots were part of a government project to weaponize time travel. It’s why Gavin’s memories are missing. Maya’s job was to erase the pilots’ memories to keep the project hush hush. Maya was planning on whistle blowing but the government got wind and dropped her and Petra in 10k B.C. Lastly, we’ve got Izzy having a day out with Leyla. Although her mom introduced her as a warrior with a tone of pride, Leyla says her mom would rather she study council biz. She wants to bag a boar to prove she’s a good warrior but when her and Izzy come upon one, she winds up in a tar pit. As she gradually sinks and Izzy tries different methods to free her, Leyla opens up about her self-doubts and how her recently deceased twin brother was the only one who believed in her.

Far in the future of 2021, Ty meets with Sam who has found Gavin in a bar. Though Sam tried talking to their drunken friend without success, Ty lays down some tough love. He reveals the tragic soon to be fate of his ex-wife and how she won’t listen to him, then tells Gavin he’s a coward for not facing his problems.

Gavin’s 10k B.C. self isn’t having any easier of a time. Maya says she can use magic mushrooms to unlock his memories. Sam is skeptical but Gavin goes for it. Lucas has his ambitions crushed when Veronica reports that she got the council seat invite. It’s, uh, causing tension of course. On a happier note, Izzy’s rope idea to rescue Leyla succeeds, and just in time because a boar shows up and nearly spoils the win. In a reversal of fortunes, Leyla’s arrow is true and the boar itself becomes spoils.

2021 Gavin shows up at Sophie’s doomed AA meeting letting out his truths – one of which is to stop pushing away people who want to help you. It gives Sophie the guts to hear Ty out.

10k B.C. Gavin’s ill-advised mushroom trip guided by Maya technically bears fruit but also causes him to have a seizure. He gets some rest and when he’s awake him and Sam discuss what he remembered. He stole a microchip, and it’s possible the person who said they’d help find Eve is really just after his memories and that chip.

Finally, 2021 sees Ty and his ex-wife talk it out, and the three men pack into Sam’s car on the way to form a plan. But a mysterious woman follows them!

Overall, this is an OK episode. Not my favorite, but I didn’t hate it either. I was just “meh” about it. The 2021 storyline was necessary with regards to Gavin sure, but did we really need the stuff with Ty’s ex-wife? I suppose the answer is a reluctant yes, because it helps Ty break through to Gavin, but still… it didn’t need to be as many scenes. You could have just done the bar scene where Ty explains what’s going on, and the AA scene. Even that final scene with her could have simply been him tucking her into the car after they’d talked. It really didn’t add much in my opinion. It felt like forced filler.

On the 10k B.C. side you’ve got Sam and Gavin’s adventure, which at least gave us Maya and a huge piece of the puzzle in terms of Gavin’s buried memories.

Leyla, another new character we didn’t really need, does provide the show with a new LGBT couple, since the one from the first season died? It’s a question because I genuinely don’t know what happened to them. They just straight (pun!) disappeared. I will say the relationship also gives Izzy something else to do besides be petulant, and while it does feel forced, I think that’s a final season 6-episode issue more than anything. My guess would be the original idea was to have this build up to mid-season, an adorable side story of finding your person, but c’est la vie. As they say, you know when you know, so good on you girls!

Finally, there’s Lucas and Veronica’s unintentional power feud. I get heavy Lady Macbeth vibes here, but that might not be fair as initially Veronica isn’t pro Lucas wanting to join the council. Nor does she push him to do so. Which means, society has trained me to be suspicious any time a woman finds herself in power. Bad society! Frankly, the entire plot has some good criticisms on society. The fact that Veronica gets picked over Lucas is shown as being about Ruth seeing Veronica’s ability to reform someone like Lucas, but is it also because Veronica is a woman? Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying this as a negative, merely an observation that if the council member was a man, he’d probably have picked Lucas. Because it’s a woman, she’s more inclined to choose a woman. That’s a good thing, it’s literally why representation in hiring matters. Is that giving too much credit to this insane high concept network show? Maybe, but I’ll take my wins where I can. More likely it’s just a convenient way to create tension between a happy couple. The other part of this that tickles me is Lucas’s reaction. He’s genuinely shocked, not because he doesn’t think his girl can handle it, but because he’s the one who wanted it. Still, Veronica is the one who actually talked to Ruth. I honestly have to say her level of defensiveness to Lucas’s reaction is perfect. Even the passive aggressive way they leave things is on par. Gotta give it up for the acting here, especially since this show isn’t prone to subtle interactions often, so if you get your shot you better make it count and boy, do they!

Now that we know the time travel side of things is a government conspiracy it does leave some questions. Like, how did Gavin’s mom and dad factor in? Did they? We still haven’t heard anything from the sinister sister we were warned about. Also, where are Levi and Petra? This season has been cutting loose plot lines like a hot air balloon shedding sand bags so it can rise higher. Will they be able to pull off a satisfying conclusion in the next three episodes? Especially considering this episode felt like largely a waste. Not to say relationship goals don’t matter, but they tend to be a long game play, and frankly we ain’t got time for that!

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An OK episode designed to punch up the intrigue, test existing relationships, cultivate new ones, and waste valuable time. I don't hate the episode, but it doesn't always embrace the notion that this season is only 6 episodes long. Wasting time on Ty's ex-wife felt frustrating, Lucas and Veronica's relationship issues would be appreciated any other time but now, and while it's nice to see Izzy coming into her own the pace makes it feel forced. It's a shame, but the episode does give us some juicy bits too: What chip did Gavin steal? Who is the lady following 2021 Ty, Gavin, and Sam?La Brea's "Maya" feels forced