La Brea Season 2 Episode 2 Review: “The Cave” Is A Dour Hour of TV
I’m often astounded with the disdain La Brea treats Eve Harris, arguably the only character on the series that intersects with every integral plot and character in some way. But La Brea certainly doesn’t treat her with such regard; “The Cave” is mostly an hour that painstakingly details how much Eve deserves to be punished for the decisions she makes about her life, which makes for a confounding, thoroughly disappointing hour of television.
Look, I don’t think is entirely intentional of La Brea – but I’m only exaggerating a bit when I say it feels like this show actively hates her, given how little they want to engage with the intricacies of the situations she’s put herself in. Otherwise, why do we only get but two brief, thoroughly lifeless scenes trying to justify her affair with Levi? It doesn’t help that Levi’s ass is always ready, past or present, to shove his nose in with barely-contained comments about how much he loves her and he’s better for her than Gavin. But man, Eve is just so frustrated by her drunk, PTSD-addled husband, that she abandons her kids to fuck his best friend – something that is portrayed with such a passive voice, it feels actively resistant to providing any nuance to Eve’s decisions.
That’s right – if you forgot season one’s most heinous narrative nugget, Eve is directly responsible for the events leading up to Izzy losing her leg. If it wasn’t for her horny, sadness-driven infidelity, she would’ve driven her daughter home from school, rather than the neighbor (who we can only assume is a cross-eyed psychopath with two bricks for feet, since we don’t get any details about the accident that cost Izzy her leg). There’s about two minutes of footage before Eve is choosing Levi over the rest of her life – in both 10,000 BC and 2021 – which just makes for an insane pair of bookend scenes, most of which run counter to Eve’s actions throughout the majority of the series.
There are other plots happening in “The Cave”, of course – lots of vague talk about the Exiles, and Scott shows up 40 minutes in, without Aldridge, to announce he’s just partaken in an Exciting Plot Twist we get no contextual info for – but the majority of the episode is concerned with Eve’s feelings for Levi, as Gavin treks through time and space to try and reunite him and Izzy with her.
Staring at a wall for a few hours while Levi gets beat up (a result of his idiotic move to get captured in the first place, knowing that he’d have Eve all to himself in exile for awhile – he’s such a fucking self-righteous shithead), is all Eve needs to completely lose hope for her husband, all for a relationship that has exactly zero established on-screen chemistry. Which I would be willing to forgive ALL of, if La Brea actually made their romance hot in any way, shape, or form; the reason the Jack/Kate/Sawyer nonsense worked for so long on LOST was because their scenes were dripping with sexual tension; on La Brea, none of that legwork is done to establish any sense of lust whatsoever. They are simply together because the plot needs the tension – and that inorganic nature is a toxic mix for a story that already lacks the pathos and empathy to make Eve a well-rounded, interesting character with three complex dimensions to explore.
It is mind-boggling how this episode treats her, to the point it overrides any sense of what this episode was actually trying to do. The Gavin/Silas reunion is a fucking wash, as is the introduction of Franklin Marsh in 1988, following around the world’s lamest teenagers as they lollygag around Hollywood – neither of these stories are interested in these relationships or characters beyond their ability to tease the next plot point, in ways that are not remotely dramatically exciting or revelatory.
But again, it is astonishing what La Brea is trying to pass off as storytelling; outside of the reveal of The Exiles as people who stare, have metal, and beat people, “The Cave” spends 42 minutes offering nothing new to its many running stories and dangling plot threads – instead, it is forty minutes of repeating empty teases in the form of wooden dialogue (my favorite is when Silas is about to tell Gavin about his parents, and a CGI bear walks out of the woods… that Silas stabs in the back of the neck with a tiny knife, by the way), all while repeatedly curb stomping its lead female character all over the proverbial pavement, for a completely unearned love triangle that stands to offer nothing in the way of exciting or redemptive storytelling.
La Brea‘s characters, and stories, remain but index cards for the show’s writers to randomly arrange on a whiteboard every week; I’m sure this is not actually the case, but the carelessness of “The Cave” shows a series distinctly refusing to learn from its own mistakes, while it doubles down on familiar stories with nothing new to offer, beyond the rudimentary bread crumbs leading the audience to the next episode. After “The Cave”, I’m certainly curious how they begin to resolve these (mostly irrelevant) conflicts – but with each episode, I lose a little more hope that La Brea is ever going to abandon its tunnel vision for a more ambitious, thoughtful – and vastly more rewarding – form of storytelling.
- Veronica’s back, whining about “doing things that can never be forgiven”. JFC get over yourself.
- I wonder how religious adult Lily is (or isn’t!).
- Levi, gaslighting: “I think you deserve to be happy.”
- Ok, I did like Sam realizing who adult Gavin was, and taking it in a bit. Also, the annoying guy going “This is insane!”
- To compound her situation, Eve decides not to tell anyone about her affair. Why? Because her father had an affair when she was exactly Izzy’s age, and she never forgave him. Maybe a telling sign!
- Does anyone care who Gavin’s parents are, or how they died?…. Anyone?
- Wait, when did Gavin get a complete, photographic memory of his childhood time in La Brea? I must’ve missed that somewhere.