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La Brea Creator Explains That Game-Changing Time Travel Twist in Season 3
The third season of La Brea just introduced a major twist that could change everything.
Spoiler warning! Spoilers below for La Brea's Season 3 episode, "Don't Look Up"
Surprise! In La Brea's latest episode, "Don't Look Up," creator David Appelbaum introduces another level of time travel to the story as Ty Coleman (Chiké Okonkwo) is back in Los Angeles not long before the sinkhole disaster, and he's got to find a way to find an answer now to getting his friends out of 10,000 B.C.. What does he do?
He finds Dr. Sam Velez (Jon Seda) at his hospital and gives him a list of imminent predictions to secure his trust and help. It works like a charm and that spurs them to bail out Gavin Harris (Eoin Macken) from the drunk tank so they can find out more about the organization where Maya Schmidt (Claudia Ware) is located.
To get some insight into this twist, and some other key character moments, NBC Insider got Appelbaum and cast members Eoin Macken, Zyra Gorecki, Jon Seda and Chiké Okonkwo chime in to provide their thoughts on this packed episode.
La Brea creator David Appelbaum explains the new time travel twist
The whole premise of La Brea centers on portals that allow humans to travel back in time. But having the seasoned, present-day versions of characters go back in time to just before the pilot of the series and see their former selves is a new wrinkle that really emphasizes how much has changed in three seasons.
"What we really liked about going to that time period is that there's a sense that you've learned so much about these characters over the first few seasons. And then to go back to the point in time, when Sam and Gavin hadn't gone through any of that change before, we found to be a really exciting idea," Appelbaum explained. "And there'll be other characters that will meet along the way as well. In wrapping things up, there's a sense of full circle-ness that you really get which was the really exciting part of that story."
Asked if the whole idea of paradoxes — having a character change something in the past that affects the future — was something he and the writers worried over, Appelbaum said yes and no. "I think the goal with all the time travel stories is they're a lot of fun. But with time travel there's also the danger of it becoming confusing," he said. "So that's what one of the things we tried to just avoid, and to just make it as clean and simple as possible. And even if you're not a genre fan — which I am and a lot of our writers are — that you can still understand.
"Everyone understands Back to the Future," he cited. "You don't have to be a genre fan to like a story like that. But there are some stories that get into the particulars of the rules and we really wanted to avoid things like that."
What Eoin and Chike thought about this new time travel wrinkle
It's a big challenge to ask actors to play two versions of themselves, but the La Brea actors tasked with that Season 3 assignment were all enthusiastic about getting to revisit their former selves.
"It was the reason to do the job for me," Okonkwo admitted with enthusiasm. "When you start with the first scene, Ty's a guy who's struggling with his mental health and thinking about taking his own life. That, I feel, is the best way to open a chapter for a character. Because it meant that I had to work out who this person was, work out how to get him back from that point, to being part of this great society in the sinkhole with the others. He really had to find some meaning in his life. And honestly, that was the gift of the job for me, to be able to work out how to go from one pole to the complete opposite one. In Season 3, that only becomes even more with jumping between times and trying to do what's right for his friends, and also do what's right for his family and the people he loves down in the sinkhole."
Macken agreed, even if he added that it got a bit confusing at times. "I thought that was a really interesting methodology to bring those narratives together. Myself and Chiki and Jon enjoyed that because it allowed us to have an understanding of where the characters were initially. And then also you got to see an extremist where they are now. It actually became quite fun. I think it gave an extra dimension to what the show is, and added these layers to it which was probably important for Season 3 because it opens up the whole lore of what La Brea is, in terms of what it still could be and what it kind of became. It's not that often you get to go deeper into a backstory of your original character. They're already situated on the page, and then you got to go back and explore it further."
Jon Seda and Eoin Macken on their dad growth
"Don't Look Up" features one of Jon Seda's favorite scenes of the whole season, when Sam and Gavin get really honest with one another in the cell about their fears and growth as parents during this crazy set of survival circumstances. "We're talking about our kids," he said. "At first we're going out each other and then we're understanding each other so we have a heart-to-heart. That to me was a real relatable scene, I think for many people. For Eoin and myself to be able to have a chance to really show that on the show, I think was was a great moment."
That talk then dovetails into Gavin apologizing to Izzy for not communicating with her, and not really seeing her for the woman she is growing into. "Gavin has to adapt to how Izzy's character is developing which becomes really important," Macken said of their character's maturing relationship. "Their relationship starts to change from what it was in Season 1 to now because she's naturally older, and they've gone through so many things. I think that was something that we're able to really put a nice button on [for them]."
Zyra Gorecki discusses Izzy finding her path in 10,000 B.C.
Izzy gets to channel her inner Katniss Everdeen as she awkwardly battles to master the bow and arrow to be a more useful member of the community. Through her testy relationship with Leyla (Edyll Ismail), Izzy finds her center and gains a lot of confidence in her potential, which actress Zyra Gorecki said was very welcome to play.
"With Izzy and her character arc, she's obviously growing up," she said. "When you see her for the first time, she's 16-years old. She's done a lot of growing up in a very short period of time. All of her relationships around her have changed so drastically, with her father, with her Uncle Levi, with her mom, and brother. Everyone around her has changed so drastically. She's just sitting there trying to figure everything out, while also growing up and being in 10,000 B.C."