When La Brea began on NBC, it seemed like a simple disaster show about a sinkhole opening up in Los Angeles, Calif. and the havoc it wreaks when families are torn apart by such a fatal event. Only, it didn't actually prove fatal for the main characters; they were just separated across space and time because the twist was that those who fell into the sinkhole arrived, relatively unscathed, in prehistoric times, creating dual storylines. But the second season will widen the timeline playground even further by spending time in a third time period: the 1980s.
"As soon as David [Appelbaum, showrunner] told me we were going to the '80s I was kind of jumping up and down, freaking out, excited," series star Jack Martin said during a Television Critics Association press tour panel for the series, noting that the Top Gun soundtrack was the No. 1 played album on his Spotify for the past year. "When it came to costumes, it was a lot of consulting my parents," he added.
Let's catch you up on where the core characters are in space and time after Season 1: Eve (Natalie Zea) fell through the sinkhole immediately upon its arrival, but she wasn't alone. Namely, her son Josh (Martin) was with her, but she also quickly bonded with strangers (especially Nicholas Gonzalez's Levi) who also found themselves not merely underground thousands of feet, but actually back in time thousands of years. Meanwhile, Harris family members Gavin (Eoin Macken) and Izzy (Zyra Gorecki) were still in present-day Los Angeles, trying to reunite with Eve and Josh, only for Gavin to experience increasing visions that were actually revealed to be memories of what was going on with his family in the past. That is because he was actually born in 10,000 B.C. as Isaiah, and he encountered his family when they arrived via the sinkhole, only for him to travel through a different sinkhole in 1988, lose his memory, and be renamed Gavin upon adoption. He grew up in the '90s and early aughts and eventually met and fell in love with Eve, resulting in having Josh and Izzy as their children.
Gavin and Izzy were so hell-bent on reuniting with the rest of their family, they chose to jump through a sinkhole, but they ended up in prehistoric Seattle instead of Los Angeles.
"That's a very long walk with two bare legs, let alone with a dad who has some issues," Gorecki said with a laugh.
To make things even more complicated, Josh and his girlfriend Riley (Veronica St. Clair) ended up going through another sinkhole/time portal and ended up in the late 1980s, so now, as Season 2 begins, the family is split apart further than expected.
So, needless to say, when the second season begins, there are a lot of changes.
St. Clair pointed out specifically for her and Martin, they finally get to be "among civilization" for a change, while Martin noted that because Jack and Riley are on their own, you get a chance to see who they really are as people.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez noted that his character will be challenged by eventually having to face the fact that he is having an affair with a woman who's husband is on his way to find her.
Of his character, Gonzalez said, "Here's someone who's obviously a bit of a protector. Like Gavin, they're very well-trained, they feel saddled with keeping everybody safe...but that's hard to do when I'm also faced with the woman I love, and at some point it's going to come together in a clash, and it's all about, 'What do you care about more?'"
It looks to be quite some time before the family can be reunited and forced to face not only Eve's new relationship, but also what she learned about her previous one (that Gavin's visions were really memories), but based on what Zea shared during the panel, it seems like Gonzalez's comments about the a "clash" are literal and will, eventually, be in person, face to face in a finally shared timeline.
When asked what fans should expect with that, Zea first exclaimed, "Fireworks, baby!" But there will be more depth and nuance than just an argument or physical altercation. She added that she feels like the characters "cooperate very well under the circumstances. When the stakes are literal life and death, you tend to put that bullsh-- aside, initially at least, to make sure everybody stays alive. ... I'm very proud of how mature our characters handle themselves."
The first season of La Brea ended with the reveal of the 1980s timeline, albeit very briefly so as to just tease where things could go in the second season. Whether the second season will expand even further was not something anyone on the panel wanted to spoil quite yet, but Appelbaum did confirm that they are only "just starting to uncover the mysteries of what this place is."
"Ultimately the show has the potential to go into different time periods and explore different mysteries. In Season 2, we're just starting to unpeel a few more layers of that," he said.
La Brea Season 2 premieres Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. on NBC. Season 1 has a Metascore of 44, but the Season 2 review embargo has not yet lifted. Watch a teaser for Season 2 below.