LA BREA S1 E3 ‘The Hunt’ – You Had Me At Giant Ground Sloth

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While La Brea’s third episode lacks the large scale spectacle of the pilot (it’s hard to match a giant sinkhole), this installment does a good job of sprinkling in some new prehistoric creatures. This is something my last favorite prehistoric show, Terra Nova tried to skimp on (which is why I think it ended up being cancelled).

Was this the best episode of network TV ever? No. Some of the plot moves were kind of silly (I think I’m getting full up on my quota of emergency time sensitive medical disasters and this episode serves as a strange advertisement for the medicinal powers of heroin). But they had me at ‘giant ground sloth’ and that basically makes this episode a success in my book.’

La Brea does an excellent job of establishing mysteries, both with characters’ backstories and the overall sinkhole conundrum. Perhaps pressured by short attention spans, it seems to rush through some answers when it might be better to let the anticipation build a bit. Who is the sketchy police officer looking for? Oh, her son. In this episode, Gavin’s buddy Delgado comes out of nowhere, awkwardly drops references to a secret, and then reveals the secret all in the same episode. I think his character would have benefitted if they could have at least had him appear in a prior episode to allow us to get invested in him. This is perhaps a symptom of the show in general – the story and characters in the past are much more compelling than the present day. Flashback Gavin in particular could use some work.

Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC

With that said, La Brea’s characters are interesting and it is fun to see the rift-a-ways’ (I’m trying out a name for the people who are stuck in the past) relationships develop. What currently has my mind working is figuring out what the show’s rules of time travel are. Can the rescuers go back in time to the beginning when everyone landed in the past? Or does time flow in parallel to the present day, such that if they do make it back, it will line up with where the 10,000 B.C. story has followed? I’m also wondering if there’s a grand purpose behind who got sent back, as they have more backstories and useful skills than I’d think would occur by sheer chance. And if La Brea can answer how they fell into such a deep hole without getting killed, I’ll award them a gold star. 

While it seems like La Brea is still finding its voice, I am really enjoying this show. It has strong interesting characters, an intriguing mystery, and enough prehistoric special effects to keep me tuning in.

This episode of La Brea is now available on the Peacock streaming service.


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