Running in Romania
Episode 4 of The Lazarus Project starts in 1981 with a look at Shiv and his past. He’s different to the other children, suffering from bad dreams and experiencing these time jumps from a very young age. Once in 1981 and again in 1987. These two significant moments soon pave way for Shiv searching for answers in 1994. Funnily enough, those answers come in the form of playing the bookies at their own game, memorizing the winner of horse races so he can win big when the next inevitable loop occurs. Those who have watched (or read!) Stephen King’s 11.22.63 will immediately notice parallels here.
After spending money on a new Gameboy and a litany of other gear, Shiv heads outside and finds his Uncle’s shop has completely burned down. This coincides with the end of the world, prompting Shiv to skip back in time and rush out to check on his Uncle’s shop. It turns out it was actually his nephew who burnt the place down, wanting to get an insurance payout. Only, he ends up dying as a result. Shiv knows this and manages to stop him, making the hard choice by calling the police and stopping this happening.
Wes shows up that night and recruits Shiv to the team, knowing all about his gambling antics.
Fast forward to the present and Shiv tries (and fails) to get answers from Dennis Rebrov. When he heads into the staff bathroom, George confronts Shiv about the interrogation methods he’s using. Specifically that of beating Dennis black and blue. Now, Shiv’s methods stem from the horrific events of the past, namely that which occurred during the Summer of 2018. Dennis Rebrov blames Shiv for what’s happened to him and Janet, causing a world of guilt to well up.
George is still torn up over what’s happened to Sarah, and the shady morality at the Lazarus Project isn’t helping his frame of mind. When George heads out with Archie, he confronts her over torture and just where the line actually is. The chat doesn’t go well, especially when Archie walks away. George takes his work back home, seemingly decoding the location of Big Boy thanks to some drawings that the group have had trouble deciphering – it’s in Romania.
George phones in sick to go and investigate this himself. Alarm bells immediately ring for Shiv though, who suspects that their newest member is not being entirely truthful. Checking Sarah’s bank account only further cements his suspicions, seeing that George has booked a ticket to Romania. So he too decides to follow suit and flies out as well.
A game of cat and mouse ensues as somehow Shiv manages to touch down an catch up with George. Some of that comes from delayed trains while Shiv gets a taxi to bridge the gap but even so. Either way, Shiv manages to board the same train and begins searching for George. George is ready though and knocks Shiv out.
He pulls the emergency brake, smashes the window and scrambles out into the fields. Somehow George manages to end up in a busy town, despite the rural area looking completely empty. Shiv is right behind and gaining on him.
After snatching a bike (Shiv grabs a car) they race out into the middle of nowhere. George narrowly avoids Shiv ploughing into his bike. At a stand-off, Shiv confronts George and encourages him to come back. “You’re not like Rebrov.” He says. George, without thinking, grabs his gun and shoots the guy in the stomach. “I’m gunna bring her back Shiv. And I’m gunna bring you back too.” George promises, shooting Shiv in the chest one more time.
Grabbing Shiv’s phone, George liaises with the ops agent (Ryan from tech-support) who has been feeding Shiv information this whole time. He tells him to head down to the basement with a message: “Big plans are afoot.” Which, of course, is code for killing. Dennis Rebrov obliges, snapping the guy’s neck (RIP Ryan #justiceforryan) and causes chaos at Lazarus.
As for George, he bundles the dead body of Shiv in the back and takes off in the car, dead-set on finding Big Boy and reversing time.
The Episode Review
Some of the editing is a little whack in this episode, which is a shame because there’s some good material here. The idea of a big cat and mouse game is an intriguing one but it also relies on a few contrivances too. The jump from the long-stretching countryside to a small, bustling village is an odd one, especially as the topography there looks completely different – unless I’m missing something of course.
The idea that Shiv managed to get a plane, touch down and catch up with George, despite being 3 hours behind (the length of the flight between Gatwick/Heathrow and Bucharest) is a bit incredulous. I understand there are delayed trains there but it all seems a bit too convenient, especially as we only have a slightly longer train time to go on.
Beyond that nitpick, The Lazarus Project continues to deliver the goods and the ending certainly hints that we’ve got more drama to come. Will George press the detonator? Will he orchestrate the end of the world? And will his life ever be the same again? We’ll have to wait and see!