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La Brea's Creator and Stars Talk Dino-Sized Season Premiere Spoilers, Mysteries and Endgame

Creator David Appelbaum breaks down the big moments of La Brea's Season 3 premiere, "Sierra."

By Tara Bennett

Spoiler warning! Minor spoilers below for La Brea's Season 3 premier, "Sierra."

After a 13-month hiatus, La Brea is back to answer all our questions and solve all its mysteries. The third and final season premiered Tuesday night with a roar in the David Appelbaum-penned episode, "Sierra."

As the creator/showrunner of La Brea since its inception, Appelbaum serves up a fresh premiere featuring a mix of what audiences love most about the series. From angry Spinosaurus battles over the remnants of L.A.'s Petersen Automotive Museum in 10,000 B.C. to tender moments between characters, like parents-to-be Veronica (Lily Santiago) and Lucas (Josh McKenzie), "Sierra" sets up the ensemble character dynamics and gives us that major reveal that's been hidden inside Gavin Harris' (Eoin Macken) choppy memories.

RELATED: A Comprehensive Rundown of the Entire La Brea Cast

NBC Insider got Appelbaum and cast members Nicholas Gonzalez (Levi), Santiago, and McKenzie together to break down the season opener with some spoilers and share insights into the big and small moments of the episode. 

La Brea Creator David Appelbaum Talks Dinosaurs in Final Season 

Zyra Gorecki as Izzy and Chiké Okonkwo as Ty in La Brea 301

Right from the top, audiences get some sweet dino action with those Spinosaurus throwing each other around the portal debris site as the humans look on in horror. Indeed, writer/creator David Appelbaum told NBC Insider that he knew that the show would have to give its dino best in closing out the series. 

"We wanted to make the season really an event as much as possible and really allocate our resources towards that end," he said, citing the big battle in the debut episode. "It is always a balance, because it's not an infinite budget. So we looked at the six episodes, and we looked at the major events that we have in each of them."

RELATED: La Brea Creator Teases Dinosaurs, Twists and "Balancing Act" of Crafting the Final Season

For the Spinosaurus sequence, Appelbaum said, "We knew we wanted a big event to bring the audience in for Episode 1."

Because they are a dinosaur species the series has never featured before,they had to be built from scratch by their visual effects vendors like Zoic Studios, Future Associate, and Dreamscreen. "Most of the time with vendors, the assets that they have are proprietary for each show that they use," Appelbaum said of the process. "The companies might have done some [dino] things before, but they have to use a different one [for us]. We create new models for each animal that we do. So even if you're using a Tyrannosaurus rex — which we have in this season — we had to make our own Tyrannosaurus rex. And then we put our own spin on it."  

Nicholas Gonzalez (aka Levi) Explains How Season 3 Is Different

(l-r) Nicholas Gonzalez as Levi, Jon Seda as Dr. Sam, and Eoin Macken as Gavin

Unlike the first two seasons of La Brea, going into Season 3 everyone in the cast and crew knew that they would be wrapping up the whole mythology in six final episodes. As such, Gonzalez, who plays Levi, said that knowledge changed the energy for everyone. 

"It's a very singular opportunity to know where you're headed," he said. "To know that our story is going to be confined within these episodes, it really kind of lit a fire for each of us on how we went in this and what's important. There's so much that happens! It's crazy because now all the tricks are coming out of the bag for the season. But it's a really great opportunity to be able to know where you're headed and go in accordingly to try to tie up all these different relationships."

The Shipper Couple of Season 3: Veronica and Lucas

Lily Santiago as Veronica and Josh McKenzie as Lucas in La Brea

Right from the top of "Sierra," audiences got to see how Veronica and Lucas' decision to have their baby is already changing them for the better. For Lucas, he becomes a public advocate for hope amongst the survivors, and there's genuine excitement at being a dad. But there's also that self doubt which has plagued him his whole life. 

"I think having a kid exposes his greatest fears, which is his upbringing, his past trauma with his parents, and the fear of doing that to another kid," McKenzie said of his character's mindset this season. "It also exposes himself even more so to his environment. He's a lot more vulnerable now."

RELATED: Josh McKenzie and Lily Santiago Explain La Brea's 'Weird' New Romance

The actor continued, "As an individual, he's a bit of a lone wolf throughout the first season and a half. He only had himself to worry about, and he's quite good at protecting himself. He was a heroin dealer on the streets of L.A., so he's quite a resourceful dude. But now that he's got a woman he cares about and a child on the way, he's laid bare and pretty exposed."

Santiago said its a similar scenario for Veronica, too. "Veronica has only ever had to think about herself. And she hasn't actually cared about herself very much," she assessed. "I think the first hint of her starting to even like herself, let alone care about what happens to her, is when she starts this relationship with Lucas. Then getting pregnant, she shifts her whole perspective in that she's a protector now. She has responsibilities to not only keep herself okay and her child okay, but also to keep him okay. She doesn't want to do it alone."

La Brea's "Find Sierra" Mystery Solved... Sort of

Rescuing the laptop and getting it to work with potato batteries means they can finally boot it up and maybe get some answers. What Gavin (Eoin Macken), Ty (Chiké Okonkwo), and Scott (Rohan Mirchandaney) discover is that there is a complex system that they are able to log into which tells them to "Find Sierra."

It makes no sense until Gavin's memory kicks up some family breakfast memories with the kids, which also brings up Sierra in his home. Turns out she's Maya Schmidt (Claudia Ware), the mother of young Petra (Asmara Feik). What that all means is yet to come, as Petra and Levi get blow-darted and taken away. 

Watch the Season 3 premiere of La Brea tonight, Tuesday, January 9, at 9/8c on NBC. You can currently stream Seasons 1 and 2 of La Brea on Peacock.