The Lazarus Project series two review – the spectacular action scenes are worthy of Bond
A lot can occur within a span of 17 months. It is already challenging to keep track of the members of the cabinet, let alone recall specific details of a television series that was viewed in June 2022. This task becomes even more daunting when the show in question is the intricate time-loop thriller, The Lazarus Project.
To summarize, in season one of the show, it was established that the Lazarus Project is an organization capable of time travel to the first day of July in order to prevent catastrophic events. Our main character, George (played by Paapa Essiedu), joined the Project because of his ability to remember different timelines. However, he faced a moral dilemma when his girlfriend Sarah died in a car accident. Instead of focusing on preventing disasters, George caused a nuclear warhead to detonate in order to reset the timeline and save Sarah. Unfortunately, this did not result in their relationship being saved and Lazarus project leader Wes (played by Caroline Quentin) sarcastically points out, “After all that, she still left you?”
The second installment of the series picks up right where we left off, focusing on George’s perspective. We witness the devastation of his personal and professional life, while also being introduced to new adversaries in the Time Break Initiative, a group working on their own time machine that could potentially lead to the end of the world. Colin Salmon portrays the unpredictable leader of this group. Adding to the complexity, former Lazarus agent Janet (Vinette Robinson) is stuck in the past after being stranded by a malfunctioning time machine. George is now single and trapped in a never-ending time loop, causing him to lose faith in the Lazarus Project and its goals. As a result, he becomes detached from time and space, as if the very fabric of the universe is falling apart. While he yearns for a normal life with friends and a girlfriend, his performance becomes increasingly paranoid and jittery, indicating that he no longer trusts anyone but himself.
The series brings us on a journey around the world, from stylish laboratories to peaceful mountain retreats, expanding the reach of the Project. This is partly due to a broader narrative scope, but also because of increased production budget following the success of the first series. The show now feels more extravagant, with action sequences rivaling those of James Bond. Keeping track of multiple timelines can be challenging, but the show’s precise editing and clever writing maintain coherence even when characters are struggling to understand their nightmarish time loops. At one point, Shiv, an agent for Lazarus, bleakly remarks: “I wake up every three weeks, possibly until the end of time, being shot by you.”
Viewing The Lazarus Project demands concentration and is not the type of show that can be casually watched while scrolling through your phone. However, the satisfaction of unraveling the intricate plot puzzle adds to the enjoyment. Witnessing Essiedu, Quentin, and Salmon confront each other is a simpler delight, but keeping track of the different timelines engages the part of the brain that experiences a rush of dopamine after completing a challenging sudoku.
Despite pausing for an exposition dump, the show manages to inject humor to keep the story engaging. One plotline includes Sarah reprimanding a time-travel physicist for not watching Back to the Future, even though her own mother has seen it. The Lazarus Project is unique in that it stays true to its own internal logic and the scrutiny only adds to the overall experience. The time loops are well-explained and the betrayals and shifting allegiances feel authentic to the characters.
At the conclusion of the series, there is yet another suspenseful ending, indicating that the third installment will have even more turmoil to face. Considering how well series two has been executed, this is actually a positive development. If you happen to have extra time on your hands, watching this series is a highly enjoyable way to fill it.
Series two of The Lazarus Project was broadcasted on Sky Max and can now be watched on Now TV.