La Brea season 1, episode 2 recap – “Day Two”

October 6, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
NBC, Weekly TV


“Day Two” leans less heavily on abominable CGI and instead turns the mystery and character dynamics up a notch, to better effect.

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“Day Two” leans less heavily on abominable CGI and instead turns the mystery and character dynamics up a notch, to better effect.

This recap of La Brea season 1, episode 2, “Day Two”, contains spoilers.

You know how it is — you wait millions of years for a sabretooth tiger to come along, and then two arrive at once. That’s how the opening of La Brea episode 2 works, anyway, and who am I to argue with PS2-era computer graphics? This, you’ll recall, is exactly where last week’s premiere left off, so “Day Two” isn’t wasting any time. In a brief scene, we rejoin Riley and Josh, as the former draws a circle around his wound to track the spread of infection — a useful, dramatic ticking-clock device. Then we return to Eve, Ty, and Sam, as they continue to be pursued by Diego from Ice Age, who eventually knocks Sam down a banking and then falls into a hunter’s spike trap. Who’s setting hunting traps out here? Can Eve find medicine before Josh’s infection spreads? Is Sam dead? Questions!

La Brea season 1, episode 2 recap

We mustn’t forget what’s going on above-ground, though. A flashback shows us how Gavin has been seeing things — perhaps this very event — for a while, although obviously his foresight was attributed to burgeoning mental illness. In the present day, he and Izzy are wrestling with the implication of finding Eve’s wedding ring, and the news that the birds that flocked out of the sinkhole were prehistoric. He has an idea to convince the powers-that-be to launch a rescue mission, though given what we’ve seen of their reticence so far, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to play ball.

As if to prove this point, we immediately see a live stream from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security refusing to authorize any exploratory missions. The scientific community can’t believe their luck, though, and thus that’s where Gavin goes, asking Dr. Peter Shen (James Huang), who he’d just seen on TV, to carbon date Eve’s wedding ring.

Things in the sinkhole aren’t going well, either. Riley’s condition is worsening. Eve discovers she left the bag containing all the antibiotics and other medical supplies with Sam, who is currently missing. And Scott is trying and failing to decipher where they are, though given how much weed he smokes and eats, I wouldn’t take geographical advice from him. Marybeth, meanwhile, continues to look for the owner of the Mustang full of drugs but ends up playing babysitter for Lilly (Chloe De Los Santos), the mute younger half of the Castillo sisters, whose father died in the pilot episode. 

Lilly’s sister Veronica, meanwhile, is adamant about finding their father’s body in the woods so she can bury it, and it’s Scott, of all people, who helps her out with that. He was apparently getting his Masters in anthropology before all this, and he needs a toilet buddy anyway since he’s scared to venture into the woods alone. I’m happy to see Scott begin to rise above the stoner archetype in “Day Two”, even if his solution to Veronica’s grief is, predictably, to offer her some of his weed. What he’s going to do when that vape pen runs out is anyone’s guess.

Eve and Ty eventually find Sam, but he’s incapacitated with a bad back injury. He gives Eve the pack and instructions on how to treat Josh, but she refuses to leave him, no matter how long it takes. It’s too slow going, though, so he convinces her to go on ahead with the pack while Ty stays behind to look after him, and the swelling, momentous soundtrack tells us what we’re supposed to feel here. Right on time, Josh’s infection gets worse than ever, and he passes out just as Eve returns. Elsewhere in the camp, Marybeth, who is still adamant about finding the missing driver, foists Lilly on Billy and Tony, the bickering couple who’re half-blind at this point thanks to a pair of missing glasses.

Topside, Homeland Security’s Dr. Sophia Nathan (Virginie Laverdure) takes an interest in Gavin and orders him snatched right off the street outside his house, meaning he can’t investigate the fact that Dr. Shen just told him someone stole Eve’s ring. This is the first of a flurry of developments that occur almost back to back in “Day Two”. Eve herself mentions to Riley that Sam is out in the woods, paralyzed, and the young girl immediately flees to find him. Scott spots a herd of camels marching towards one of the tar pits and immediately intervenes to redirect them, but then Veronica spots her father’s corpse laid neatly in the middle of a giant animal paw made of stones. She’s adamant about burying him right there, but Scott’s face, and the music, make it clear that this is probably a bad idea.

It turns out Homeland Security stole Gavin’s ring, which carbon dating puts at around 10,000BC. Dr. Sophia not only believes his claims that he has been able to see the bottom of the sinkhole for the last three years but even has a theory as to why. She explains how twenty miles away from the site of his plane crash, when his visions started, another sinkhole opened in the Mojave Desert. Homeland found something there — the same rift of light that exists at the bottom of the La Brea sinkhole, a world beyond it that she theorizes only he can see.

There’s also something weird going on with Veronica and Lilly. When the former returns from burying their father, she catches Lilly watching YouTube videos on Tony’s phone, which prompts Lilly to panic. The older sister explains how they didn’t watch many videos at home, but insists she isn’t mad and thanks them for their kindness. Immediately afterward she’s rough with Lilly, demanding to know if she told Billy and Tony anything about them, reiterating that they “wouldn’t understand them”. It turns out Lilly can speak after all and claims she didn’t, but something’s clearly amiss here.

Then again, things are amiss everywhere, but at least the show isn’t shy about letting its characters figure things out. Scott’s encounter with the camels is telling for him. He remembers the bones of those camels being excavated in the La Brea Tar Pits and carbon-dated around 10,000BC. It’s hard to take his word for anything, but since we already know what Gavin has been told, we know he’s on the money, even if Riley is skeptical. Sam also returns from the woods with Ty and a new character named Lucas (Josh McKenzie), who claims to have been in the right place at the right team but is immediately revealed by Marybeth to be the driver of the Mustang. But this isn’t just a cop trying to track down a criminal. Lucas is her son.

“Day Two” ends with Gavin being taken to a prototype plane that Homeland Security wants to hopefully use to explore the sinkhole. Now they know people are alive down there, and they have an ace pilot on hand, things are very different. They can launch a mission. And Gavin can be part of it.

You can catch La Brea season 1, episode 2, “Day Two”, on NBC.

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