‘The Lazarus Project’ Season 1: Recap And Ending Explained- Is George Able to Get Back Sarah?

“The Lazarus Project” has a whole new take on the concept of time travel. And as complex as the concept may seem, the show makes it easily understandable and conveys the story smoothly. “The Lazarus Project” is a secret multinational organization that deals with preventing mass extinction level events by undoing time to a particular date, i.e., July 1. This date is called the “checkpoint.” It remains the same every year. “The Lazarus Project” makes use of a black hole using a machine they possess. And everyone who works at Lazarus has the ability to know when time is turned back. There are those who receive a serum to gain this ability, and then there are those who have this ability from birth and are called mutants. George is a mutant.

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‘The Lazarus Project’ Season 1: Recap Summary

George, an app developer, realizes that he has been living the past 6 months again and again. He is approached by Archie, who tells him that he has the natural ability to know when there has been a time jump backward. He is then recruited into “The Lazarus Project.” There he meets Wes, the head of the project, Shiv, and other peers. But when a former member, Dennis Rebrov, whose name is on almost every terror watch list, decides to go against them, George and the others have to race against time to stop him. Dennis is in possession of a nuclear warhead named Big Boy and has to be stopped by any means necessary. Dennis is ultimately captured by undoing time, but at the cost of George’s girlfriend, Sarah’s life. She had an accident. This means that time cannot be turned back just to prevent Sarah’s accident because it is in this timeline that Lazarus captured Dennis.

George meets Dennis, who is held in prison. He tells George about how “The Lazarus Project” is wrong, and that it is “sacrifice life to destroy death.” We are shown the past, the summer of 2018, when George met Sarah. It was also at that point in time when Archie and her lover, Ross, prevented World War 3. However, Ross had to die for it. So, just like George, Archie couldn’t get Ross back either. Coming back to the present, George gets a call from the hospital and is informed that Sarah has passed away. In pain, George approaches Dennis and tells him that he wants to bring back Sarah.

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Dennis tells George that the nuclear warhead is with a group called The Lost Glory. And although Lazarus has a lead on their location, Dennis assures George that the bomb is safe. He gives him a Barcelona address where he will find the detonator for the bomb. Lazarus finds nothing from The Lost Glory hideout as George had already alerted them, and they had deserted the place. However, four diagrams are recovered, but they don’t make any sense to anyone at the Lazarus facility.

It is 2017. Dennis and Janet, lovers, are working at Lazarus. Janet gives birth to a baby a few days before the checkpoint, i.e., July 1. Unfortunately, there is a chemical attack in China, and Wes, head of Lazarus, gives the order to “go back.” This means that Janet and Dennis would lose their baby, which they do. Every time Lazarus fails to prevent the attack, time is turned back to July 1. Thus, again and again, Janet gives birth, and time is turned back, and Janet loses her baby. Ultimately, the attack is prevented with the death of Ross, and so, finally, Janet gets to keep her baby. But Archie loses Ross forever (as we already mentioned). Dennis has had enough of all the pain that Lazarus is causing the people of Janet, as well as watching Archie grieve for Ross, and confronts Wes. When she denies revealing any information to him about the machine, Dennis threatens to kill her. Shiv attacks him and almost has him, but he manages to escape. Dennis calls Janet and tells her to run. It is clear that Dennis and Janet won’t be meeting again for a long time.

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Back in the present, George arrives at the address and finds Janet and her young daughter. After he tells her about Sarah and how Dennis sent him to her, she makes the detonator for George and flees the address. George returns with the detonator to his home. 

Nobody at Lazarus knows where he has been. George deduces the diagrams from the recovered Lost Glory hideout. It is an IP address in Brasov, Romania. He leaves for Romania. However, Shiv is also able to figure out where George is headed and manages to catch up to him in Romania, thanks to live updates from George’s wife Sarah’s account. After a long chase, Shiv almost brings down George. However, George is desperate for Sarah, shoots and kills Shiv, and resumes his journey to the address.

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George calls and tells Archie that Shiv is the mole and that he also found out that Janet received money from Shiv. He lies to Archie about pursuing Shiv. He meets Rudy at the location, who is apparently an arms dealer and the caretaker of the bomb. He shows George the bomb attached to a truck. Archie goes to Shiv’s apartment and finds a picture of him with Janet and his daughter. Rudy and George set out in the truck to take the bomb to another location, Chenupol, Ruthenia, pursued by a car. 

Rudy, along with the other people in the car, intends to take the detonator from George. They are not from The Lost Glory. George realizes this, and a gunfight later, he is the sole survivor, wounded and stranded in the middle of nowhere. He leaves the truck at the spot and drives the car, in which the guys were pursuing him, to a safe distance, then calls up Archie and tells her that Shiv tried to shoot him and so he had to escape. He then stops the car, comes out, and sets the bomb off. George is called back to Lazarus. A few hundred died in the blast that occurred in the middle of nowhere.

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Wes takes George to the Russian ambassador, Belov, to tell her that the bomb was not detonated in an official capacity. But it is clear that Russia is prepared for war. After returning to the facility, George feels that his whole mission has failed. The blast was futile, and so was its effect on Russia. Without the possibility of a war, Lazarus will not “go back,” and neither will George get Sarah back. He is frustrated and, in desperation, calls Belov and tells her that the British are involved in the nuclear blast. He gives her the location of the car, in whose trunk is Shiv’s corpse, in Brasov, Romania, as proof. He then visits Belov and, after realizing that she will not take steps to strike first, kills her as well as all her guards. This sets off the war. George returns to Lazarus and finds that Russia has launched missiles. Wes declares that they are resetting the clock, which will set Dennis free. Also, given that Shiv is the mole, she wants everyone to move in on his location as soon as they open their eyes at the checkpoint.

The clock is reset, and time winds back to midnight on July 1. George wakes up in the middle of the night. He is overjoyed to see Sarah. All the others, including Shiv, Archie, and Dennis, open their eyes too. Shiv is on his way to George. Archie and others are after Shiv. Dennis is on the run.

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Shiv arrives right outside George’s apartment, both pointing a gun at each other. However, George explains to him how he won’t be able to prove George’s crime. Rather, everyone will doubt Shiv. Shiv leaves. George arrives at Lazarus, where a team has been sent to grab Dennis. However, he escapes after killing all the agents. Shiv’s location is still unknown.

Three months have passed. Sarah dumps George after he proposes to her for marriage. Lazarus gets a hit on Shiv in Hamburg, Germany, and Archie and George are sent to get him. The place is empty where the group of unaffiliated mercenaries was apparently holding someone hostage. An analysis of a strand of hair retrieved from one of the doors proves that it was Janet that they were holding. Zhang Rui, a former agent for the Ministry of State Security (China), was also there. So, if the Chinese government is involved, “there is a situation.”

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It is June 30, i.e., Checkpoint Night. George receives a call from Sarah, who tells him that she wants to meet the next morning. He then hears a creak from another room. He goes to check it out, only to be attacked by Shiv. He ends up shooting Shiv exactly at 00:00 hours on July 1. And in a couple of minutes, Shiv dies. George finds a piece of paper on Shiv drenched in blood. He gets rid of Shiv’s body and goes to meet Sarah at a café. She tells him that she is getting married. He leaves the café without saying a word and returns to his apartment. He burns the piece of paper and arrives at Lazarus. He tries contacting Archie, but she is not picking up her phone. He returns home and finds a cop waiting for him. The security camera in the elevator of his apartment shows him carrying a dead body. Before George can make his move and try to escape, there is a bright white flash in the sky, and he is transported to the moment where he shoots Shiv, i.e., July 1.

In 2012, Dennis proposes to Janet and, at the same moment, receives a message on his phone. He ignores it. This moment is captured by Janet on a camera. 3 Weeks Ago, Hamburg, Germany—We see Janet and Zhang Rui inside the house where Lazarus found a hit on Shiv. We see Shiv kill the mercs, but before he could catch Janet, she and Rui escape in a car. However, Shiv finds a note with the following words written on it: “It’ll be worth the wait.” There is also something written in Mandarin at the bottom of the note.

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Present: George rushes to the Lazarus facility and asks what happened. Time was not reset by Lazarus but by two black holes merging. And unfortunately, it seems that time will be reset every three weeks and go back to July 1 forever. This means that the whole world will be stuck in a 3-week loop until someone who knows about black holes does something about it. And the only known person is Janet. As George goes through his three weeks, again and again, searching for a way to save Shiv, Archie is able to meet Zhang Rui in person and asks her about Janet. Rui reveals that she made another machine just like the one at Lazarus that allows one to reset time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know where Janet is anymore. Rui was supposed to meet her before the checkpoint, but now there is no trace of her. She also reveals to Archie that it was Shiv who killed her team in Hamburg, Germany (the mercenaries). When Archie asks how she found Janet, she tells her that one of Lazarus’ new recruits (George) led her to Janet.

George talks to Wes about his future plans. She answers that Lazarus will have to slowly involve world governments and tell them about what’s happening. Help has become necessary. George returns home to find Archie, who tells her about Shiv and that once time resets, Shiv will come back but with a bullet in him. Archie tells George that he has to figure out a way to save Shiv, as he is the only one who knows about Janet’s whereabouts. George takes the note he found on Shiv to a paleographer to see if he can find out what’s written. “It’ll be worth the wait.” The word at the bottom says “Time Machine.”

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Archie meets Rui and tells her that it is probably that the Chinese government has made another machine like Lazarus’s, and they took Janet after it went wrong, as only she can fix it. Rui tells Archie that she knows where Janet is being held. They will need help to get her out.

George arrives at Sarah’s place and tells her about the whole Lazarus thing and their past lives that she doesn’t know about. He takes the chance and gives her the serum that will allow her to remember her past lives. He returns home to find Dennis waiting for him. Janet is missing, and he has come to find her, believing that George knows about her. George tells him that Archie is looking for her. He also tells Dennis about Shiv and shows him the note he found. The words “It’ll be worth the wait,” remind Dennis of something, and he is about to say it when time is reset again. On July 1, George shoots Shiv and rushes to his door to let in his neighbor, who is a paramedic, with the hope of saving Shiv. As Reggie tries to stabilize Shiv, Archie and Rui close in on the location where Janet is supposed to be. They break into the room, but there is no one there. Shiv is able to breathe and tells George that “Dennis is the key.”

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‘The Lazarus Project’ Season 1: Ending – Where Is Janet?

Dennis arrives at the Lazarus facility. With guns pointed at him, he reveals that “It’ll be worth the wait” is a distress signal that means “come and get me” or “I’m in trouble.” He shows Wes the picture that Janet took of him in 2012, moments after he received the anonymous message. “It’ll be worth the wait.” This was the message. It was sent by Janet. She has found a way to break through the checkpoint and travel back in time. Dennis knows where she is because he was at the same place when she sent him the message. The scene shifts to Janet watching the 2012 London Olympics live on a television. And the only way to get to her is through Dennis. Sarah arrives at George’s apartment. She remembers everything.

George’s wife Sarah knows all about The Lazarus Project as well as all the times her life was reset. So resetting time will no longer be a problem for George or so it seems. But the 3-week still persists so all of them at Lazarus will have to work fast to get a hold of the situation. It seems that in Season 2, The Lazarus Project will meet its competition. The Lazarus Project can reset time but some people have managed to create a time machine that can send people back in time itself. With Janet sent to 2012, she has the chance to meet Dennis and tell him about their future and how they can change it. But the question is what happens to Janet if time is reset? Does he come back to the present? Or does she remain there? There has to be an explanation for this but we have to wait for Season 2 for it. 

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The Relationships

In order to understand how time works in “The Lazarus Project,” we need to understand the relationships involved in the plot. There are three that matter as of now, i.e., George and Sarah, Ross and Archie, and Dennis and Janet. All these relationships are connected. Dennis and Janet’s chance at keeping their baby only came after Archie’s love, Ross, died. Archie’s grieving for Ross, along with Janet’s pain at having to lose her baby, again and again, is what turned Dennis against “The Lazarus Project.” Sarah’s death brought George to Dennis and led him to detonate a nuclear bomb and kill Shiv along with many other people.

Relationships are the core of the show, which seems to be a way in which the creators have tried to establish mankind’s connection with the mystical or the metaphysical. There is massive scale, but there is also an intimacy that gives us both the micro and the macro, as well as establishes a connection between the two.

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George proposes to Sarah. But Sarah says she can’t marry him and leaves because he is content with the things she wants to change about herself. George is in inexplicable pain as, unknown to Sarah, she died, and he set off a nuclear bomb that led to time being reset to a point where he would get her back. As painful as Sarah’s words are, they are speaking the truth in a way that George, deep down, knows too. He killed Shiv, set off a nuclear bomb that killed hundreds, and then, when it didn’t work, killed many more. All this is so that he gets Sarah back, the Sarah he always knew and was content with. So the fact of the matter is that the only way for George to be with Sarah is to mention marriage to her. Moreover, after Sarah finds out that George is an operative for “The Lazarus Project,” she gets back with him. Now, we do not know what this tells us about the kind of person Sarah is, perhaps someone who does not like a mundane life and prefers taking risks, as she had mentioned to him. We leave it to you to decide whether she should be judged for her attitude. The way she left George and then, sometime later, told him that she was getting married to someone else and then got back with George after finding out that he worked for “The Lazarus Project” does ring an awkward bell that makes her akin to a serial monogamist (call it highballing if you may).

“You’re just so content with all the things I want to change.” This is what Sarah tells George. What’s funny is that George changed the whole world (basically) so that he could get back the person with whom he felt content.

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When Archie confronts George at his apartment and finds out that he killed Shiv, George answers that he “had to save her [Sarah].” To this, Archie replies, “No, you wanted to save her.” George tells her that both are the same thing, and no matter how much she pretends to deny it, deep down, she knows that for him to want and need Sarah is the same as for Archie to want and need Ross. Perhaps Archie is angry at George, not just because he killed Shiv but also because he could do the one thing that she could not, i.e., bring back the love of his life. However, Archie has evidently come out of that hole. As for George, Sarah is now going to be a part of Lazarus too.


To Reset or Not to Reset 

Every single significant event in the show occurs due to the resetting of time. If it was not reset, nobody would have realized it, and “The Lazarus Project” would not have formed. Dennis wouldn’t have reached out for the Big Boy, Janet wouldn’t have made the detonator, George wouldn’t have detonated it, and Shiv would be alive. Furthermore, another reset machine wouldn’t have been made, and thus the 3-week loop wouldn’t have formed. Resetting time for one’s own purpose is what ultimately led to time resetting on its own and the whole world being stuck in a loop of a mere 21 days. The long-term consequence of this is an Earth with no future. There is also no option to change the past. The only way to stop it is to get hold of the second reset machine and somehow destroy one of the black holes. But that would again allow Wes to reset time to a point where George didn’t detonate the bomb, that is if his truth comes out. But George wouldn’t allow that at all. So will he turn on Wes too? Maybe not, as now Sarah too knows about “The Lazarus Project.” But what about Janet? Who can tell if she is planning something else, and perhaps Shiv knows something about it too?

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There is another suggestion. Dennis hasn’t seen Janet in a long time, and it is clear that he has come back to Lazarus only to get back to Janet and save her from whatever situation she is in. He is not in the least interested in “The Lazarus Project” and what it does. If the other reset machine has indeed been made, Janet will use it to destroy the black holes and make things the way they were before, i.e., when she was happy with her husband, Dennis, and their daughter. But the fact that Janet is in 2012 also opens a whole new plot point. What if she decides to meet the 2012 version of Dennis and tell him about their future? Will that not compromise the very existence of “The Lazarus Project”? “The Lazarus Project” Season 2 will have to answer a lot of questions and clarify a lot of things.


“The Lazarus Project” is a 2022 Drama Science Fiction series streaming on Sky.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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