La Brea’s “The Road Home, Part 2” ends on high notes all around

Kiss 10K B.C. goodbye with an...ending. A happy one. Yay?

Finales are tricky things. Most long running series have their work cut out for them, but high concept shows – even without having the trouble of a long run – pose a particular problem. Depending on the concept upon which they’ve been built there is added shit to deal with. Not only do you have your standard character issues to clean up, but you’ve got that high concept that needs settling.

La Brea plays it safe on all fronts. Ignoring many a plot-line in its race to the finish. Does it work? Is it a satisfying conclusion? Let’s see what happened and then get into the nitty gritty.

We start with a flashback featuring Gavin and Eve at the recently mentioned Wisdom Tree. Then we’re back in Los Angeles circa 1965 with Helena casually stealing a car to help them achieve their goals. Plan is simple: Use an EMP bomb to wipe out the servers thus destroying any time travel research at Maya’s main facility. Are we worried about there being other, backup servers, in other, more secure locations? No. No, we are not. This is the only one and once we destroy it that’s it! No need to concern ourselves with James or Caroline. Nope. This is the ONLY source of time travel tech. Whew!

Back in 10K B.C. Scott explains how the double aurora works and Ruth and Leyla assure Veronica and Lucas they will lead their people here so they can go home if they choose. Do we get to see any of our favorite background players? Nope. Not even Judah. Oh well. Let’s assume everyone that wanted to was able to travel back to 2021 sans issues. Also, it might be good to note that, if Ty’s experience is to be the bellwether, aren’t they all going back to two weeks before the sinkhole? So…what about their current selves? Hmm? We don’t have time? I mean, it’s a show about time travel, but ok, sure…SKIP! In fairness to 10K B.C. all is not resolved anyway, as you might recall Paara is still MIA. Luckily, Ty, Lucas, and Scott’s interrogation and subsequent investigation of the bad guys’ jeep reveals Paara’s ring. This leads to the discovery that a group of fort folk were attacked by dinos not far away. Scott is weirdly optimistic that Paara isn’t dead, and Ty clings to that hope.

Essentially the 1965 story mostly involves Sam finding and performing emergency surgery on Riley. It’s a nice moment that allows them to bond as father and daughter, Sam finally opening up to Riley in the way she’s been wanting of him. And, while Gavin and co. reach the facility they miss Eve by that much. On the bright side, they get Josh back. Helena eventually reappears to describe a fight that could have been and explains Eve is staying in 1965 to set off the EMP bomb. Once that’s settled it’s off to the military base in 10K B.C. to end this!

The 10K B.C. side is a large chunk of the episode, naturally. Ty reunites with Paara after a death-scare. They kiss, it’s very sweet. Ty reassures his beloved that he doesn’t want to live in a time without her, so 10K B.C. is home sweet home for him. Lucas and Veronica figure out what their future is going to look like – spoiler, Lucas is open to returning to 2021 thanks to the love of his friends and family. If you noticed Veronica’s cramps and thought something more might be coming, I assure you it’s not. There simply isn’t time for it. Instead, it’s played off as her stressing out about having a kid giving Lucas the opportunity to once again lift his woman’s spirits – which he does to excellent results. Their relationship is one of the sweetest parts of this season and though I wasn’t 100% convinced of this couple in the beginning, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Granted, a lot of that is due to the truncated season forcing optimal couple goals, but still.

After those two issues are dealt with, it’s just a matter of Gavin and co. storming the military base (with the aid of a T-Rex) and getting the chip. Scott and Lucas have a briefly described side quest where they rescue Petra – in a full season we definitely would have seen this play out in great detail, but much like the fire fight Helena describes with Eve we’ll just have to imagine what could have been. We do get one semi big fight scene. See, after getting the chip, Maya and a boatload of soldiers show up to stop the gang from escaping. But, then Ty, Paara and the rest of the fort folk (and I’m guessing any sky people who didn’t choose to go back to 2021) show up as reinforcements. All hell breaks loose, Leyla gets to make up for betraying everyone by saving Izzy via arrow – they share a last longing look of what could have been, and then rejoin the others. It’s a short-lived victory though, because the aurora has closed.

That’s it right? Everyone is trapped in 10K B.C., yes? Nope! Don’t forget about the whole reason for the clandestine time travel project in the first place: fighter jets! Thanks to plot, there’s room for everyone. But wait, there’s more! In a final desperate ploy, Maya takes Josh hostage and demands the chip. She gets it, plus a shot to the chest from Helena.

Alls well that ends well, literally. We are treated to a litany of happily ever afters. Lucas and Veronica’s baby is on track for a healthy birth, Scott has eternal brunch plans with the couple, he also makes amends with Emily (Leela Rashid) and they kiss. Ty is happy in 10K B.C. with his wife. Josh and Riley reunite, as does Sam with Riley and the rest of his family including his ex-wife. Even Helena is invited to family dinner. Who’s missing? Eve of course! No worries, after a traffic joke, the Harrisons are finally made whole.

First, the bad. It’s a shame that the series chose not to have Izzy and Leyla kiss. I get that in the end Leyla betrayed Izzy and that’s why they don’t join everyone else in the finale kiss cam, but seriously…there was time before the betrayal to have these ladies solidify their love. Ah well.

Next, Scott’s paper. Remember that paper that was so important Maya’s people kidnapped Scott for it? Yeah, we never get an answer on that. At all. We’ve covered James and Caroline. The pirate booty is also left behind to no applause. But maybe the worst betrayal is how poorly handled Eve and Levi are. Granted, the writer’s strike explains a lot of what’s lacking in this final season. Which is sad, because there were a lot of promising story lines that are forced to die on the vine.

You know what can’t be blamed on the writer’s strike? All the happy endings. I’ve seen enough series finales to know they can go one of a few ways. You’ve got the mega happy ending, the middle of the road ending, and of course the frustratingly bad ending (or, debatable if you like). Lately, a lot of shows have been playing it safe. Don’t get be wrong, I love a good happy ending for some characters, but every character in an ensemble this big getting a happy ending??? It feels disingenuous. Riley should have died. Paara should have died. Eve should have died. Hell, even Helena if you didn’t want to kill off Eve. For fuck’s sake…Riley was torn apart by a raptor. A RAPTOR. Not only that but she was trapped in 1965 with inadequate medical care for who knows how long. Paara is even worse! She was trapped under debris and somehow no part of her body was punctured or lost circulation due to the pressure??? Also, also, wasn’t she missing for days? Shouldn’t she have starved to death!? As for Eve, uh, again, in a firefight with trained soldiers. One of them should have died or at least been critically wounded. Not to mention Veronica’s pregnancy scare (which I did briefly mention).

Still, overall, is it the worst series finale I’ve ever seen? No, that’s still Lost by far. But, it was a little too saccharine for my taste. I like a finale with more consequences, especially when the stakes are set this high. It’s too bad, though I’m sure there’s plenty of fans who are happy everyone made it out OK. Happy to know that living in 10K B.C. created lifelong relationships among a group of strangers who had the misfortune to fall into a giant sinkhole. Because, for all the sci-fi insanity, this really was a show about the characters, and on that front I will say it succeeded. It never forgot the real stars of the show, which is a win in my book.

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As series finales go, this was OK. Too sweet for the stakes that have been raised in the previous five episodes, but Oh well. We've got action, lots of happy endings, and time traveling fighter jets. Who could ask for anything more?La Brea's “The Road Home, Part 2” ends on high notes all around