Eat, Sleep, Give Birth, Repeat
Episode 3 of The Lazarus Project starts with us in 2017 following a different operative this time, Janet. She’s just done a pregnancy test… and the father is Dennis Rebrov. Yes, this is before Dennis goes rogue and we finally understand his origin story. When Archie finds out, she’s concerned about what this may mean.
Janet’s due date is July 1st and we know how this ends up, given what Archie has told us last episode. A part of me wishes we hadn’t been told, so it could come as more of a shock, but alas, there are more layers to this horrific tale we haven’t seen unfold just yet.
Two weeks before the checkpoint, Janet gives birth to her baby boy, while Dennis is there every step of the way. The threat this time around comes from a deal involving weapons of mass destructions. Despite taking out a North Korean leader who Shiv believed was in on this, it turns out this was just a decoy.
With two days until the checkpoint, a missing chemical weapon causes all sorts of uneasiness for Janet and Dennis. The hours slip by slowly, as Janet clings to every moment. And then it happens. A contact at the CIA brings up news of a detonation in China that sends the whole of the Lazarus Project into chaos. It’s a Code Black, they need to go back, as war is upon them. Of course, that also means they need to jump back and undo what’s happened – including the loss of Janet’s baby.
Grief-stricken, Janet and Dennis jump back… to see her pregnant again. This time, Janet learns she’s having a girl rather than a boy. Checkpoint Day arrives and Janet goes into labour. They have a beautiful baby girl and return home. The thing is, this new year collides with… Summer 2018. And we know exactly how this goes down. And as a result of the constant time jumps, this horrific sequence of events see Janet and Dennis constantly repeating the first year of this poor child’s life. Apparently, even the baby experiences this too given its crying just prior to these jumps happening.
When it’s all said and done, Dennis demands some answers from Wes, knowing the hell he’s been through. He snaps, pointing out that they’re not in charge here and promises to stop the Lazarus Project from playing God and letting the world end if it’s meant to be. He wants to be taken to those in charge but Wes refuses. Only… Shiv shows up and stops him. Dennis flees, ringing Janet and apologizing to her, telling his lover that he’s going to end it all. He’s on the run now, and that’s why he’s gone rogue.
Back in present day, the Big Boy nuclear warhead is still very-much part of the agenda. Rebrov has given nothing to the Lazarus group, still stuck in his box in the basement. However, the group do learn that a rebel group called The Lost Glory have sprung up who could be key to this. Their destination seems to be outside Prague in the Czech Republic.
George is left behind while the other operatives chase this lead. This gives him a chance to head down to see Dennis Rebrov, who reassures him that Big Boy isn’t going anywhere. As long as they keep it out of The Lazarus Project’s hands, it means he has a chance of resetting the timeline. In order to do so, he uses Rebrov’s contact details to warn those in Czech Republic before Lazarus show up.
In Barcelona, George follows Dennis’ clues and meets Rebrov’s contact, immediately put up at gunpoint. It’s Janet. “This couldn’t have gone any other way” He says, which seems to be the code for trust. Invited inside, George asks Janet to help set up a detonator for him so he can take out Big Boy.
When George wakes up, he finds a note left behind from Janet, including a detonator inside a tin. “I hope you get her back.” It reads. George picks up the detonator and becomes one step closer to ending the world…again.
The Episode Review
What’s particularly interesting about The Lazarus Project, is how there aren’t really any good or bad guys here. The moral compass is skewed and murky with shades of grey across both sides of the conflict.
On the one hand you have the Lazarus Project that are dead-set on keeping the world turning and believing they’re doing right by saving the world. On the other hand, you have players like Dennis Rebrov and Janet, who have experienced absolute hell thanks to these time loops and believe they should stop playing God. Both sides have a point and it’s writing like this that elevates the show above average sci-fi series of its kind.
The horrific tale of Janet, being forced to relive the same time loop again and again, giving birth repeatedly, is an absolute nightmare and it’s a nice way of extrapolating the horror from episode 2 with this world-ending threat into something much larger.
The actual time travel mechanics are simple enough to be believable, and although there is the subject of nuclear warheads and why Hiroshima was allowed to happen while other nukes are instantly stopped, on the whole these contrivances and holes are easy to look past thanks to such strong writing.
The Lazarus Project has been a really solid watch so far and with good acting, and a decent premise; the ending certainly hints that we’re about to get another time loop on our hands!