From Russia With Love
Episode 2 of The Lazarus Project starts in the Summer 2018. We’re in Russia and with Archie sitting atop a roof with her partner Ross, they watch as missiles fire overhead and spark the end of the world… and the obligatory jump back.
From this, we return to the present where George is preoccupied with Sarah, who is a complete mess. Paramedics arrive and take her into hospital. She’s unconscious but it’s too early to say whether she’ll wake up – if she wakes up at all. Archie shows to inform George they’ve raided the Paris address and caught Rebrov, but that’s a small victory in this ongoing war against time.
Now, there are consequences to these time loops and part of that comes from bleeds from different timelines starting to filter through; moment that were overwritten by the new timeline. One of the more alarming moments comes from (yep, you guessed it) Summer in 2018. According to Archie, they changed the timeline a lot back then.
We see this interspersed around the episode, which we’ll get back to in a bit. For now, the present timeline sees George decides to go back to work, despite suffering from severe shock and trauma. He butts heads with Archie over their time jumps, which leads to a beautifully written bit of discourse about children and how life-altering this whole time jump malarkey actually is. To put an exclamation mark on this point, Archie reminds him that they can’t turn back time for selfish means.
However, this is challenged by the proverbial devil on his shoulder – Shiv. He waits for George outside hospital and decides they should go after Carl (the guy who pushed Sarah infront of a truck) and “f*ck him up”. Shiv can only offer him revenge rather than undoing what’s happened. But that’s not enough for George.
Back to these flashbacks though and a lot of the drama here stems from two concurrent storylines. The first, sees Sarah and George finding each other at a house party in numerous different circumstances; small deviations that ripple out with every jump.
The other, sees Archie start her night in the same way. She breaks up with her partner, Jim, telling him she doesn’t love him anymore. She’s in love with Ross, her partner at work. Unfortunately their mission to stop the world constantly goes wrong, and it sees her lose him completely.
This explains her personal stake in this, and as such is explained by a late montage of this Summer in 2018 repeating again and again. The only solution here is to kill the Prime Minister’s chief, stopping the loop forever… but also sacrificing one of their own to do so. And funnily enough, this happens to be the one time George and Sarah get talking together out in the street, away from the party.
Back in the present, Shiv and George head off to visit Rebrov in the basement. He talks about how the group actually torture their subjects, getting into George’s head and making him doubt the Lazarus Project. Rebrov is clever, talking about how the world has wanted to end for a long time. He tells them that what Lazarus are doing here is essentially “cheating” the world and stopping it from ending. Rebrov is doing this because “they can’t hold back the inevitable forever” and believes this is his divine right to try and stop this from happening.
Speaking of which, George receives the call he’s been dreading about Sarah. She’s passed away. George is livid and bolts back into the Lazarus Project, speaking to Rebrov in confidence. He wants to reverse time and undo what’s happened. “Are you willing to burn down everything to start again?” Rebrov asks, a tiny smirk crossing his lips. “Yes.” George replies.
The Episode Review
If you could go back in time and save your beloved, but cause untold number of casualties to do so, would you? It’s a question that’s been played with and toyed across various different stories like this but Lazarus Project has a unique way of framing this as a moral dilemma.
The entire episode beautifully captures the horror and devastation of these time loops and how it cam be absolute hell for these operatives that are forced to relive through painful parts of their life repeatedly. The mundanity and lethargy that comes with this is something Lazarus Project captures really well and the end montage involving Archie losing Ross is poignant and well written.
The dialogue is sharp in this too and you can absolutely understand why George is taking the stance that he is. It makes sense that in his grief-stricken state he’s become disillusioned with those in the Lazarus Project and is willing to work with Rebrov to escape – even if that’s erring on the dark side. Either way though, it does set things up nicely for the rest of the season.