Tales from the Loop is a 2020 science fiction series produced by Amazon.
3 out of 10 stars. I strongly caution anyone from letting their children watch this series. This is the stuff of nightmares. Most of the episodes have something extremely nightmarish happening to small children.
The background for this story is that every story surrounds the family of the man who runs The Loop, a scientific research facility with a giant orb called The Eclipse in the basement. It is never explained how the Eclipse came to be. Is it alien? Did it fall to Earth? Did it appear from another dimension? What is clear is that the Eclipse has the ability to warp time and space, create parallel dimensions, and to move a person’s soul into a machine. Terrifying, right?
Episode 1 begins with a little girl named Loretta. She will eventually become the daughter-in-law of Russ, the man who runs The Loop. Loretta will eventually marry Russ’s son George. Loretta’s mother is Alma and she works at The Loop. Then one night she brings home a piece of The Eclipse. Russ shows up and argues with her, telling her she’s putting her family in danger. She tells him to leave and he does. Then she disappears.
Loretta goes to school the next day and gets an A in math. When she comes home to show her mother, she’s still missing. So Loretta goes outside to play and comes across the same piece of The Eclipse her mother was working on in a field of snow. So she goes and picks it up. Immediately she is transported to the future, but she doesn’t know that yet. A little boy named Cole finds her wandering around lost and asks her where her parents are. She tells him her mother Alma works at The Loop, so he takes her there (his mom is Loretta). The security guard tells her there is no one there by that name then calls Cole’s mom Loretta.
Loretta comes out and takes Loretta for a walk, explaining that she is the older Loretta and that thirty some years ago she touched a piece of The Eclipse and was transported into the future. She tells her that her mother will never return and she never finds her although she spends the next thirty years looking for her and for answers. She takes her back to the field of snow where she touches the rock and is transported back to her own time.
This is easily the scariest episode and involves Loretta and George’s son Jakob. Jakob is best friends with the football start of their high school, Danny. While Jakob comes from a wealthy family, Danny comes from a poor one. Jakob is smart, and since his grandfather runs The Loop, is destined to work there. Danny, on the other hand, is none too bright and will be working in the rock quarry for the rest of his life. Jakob has never had a girlfriend because he is painfully shy. Danny has a gorgeous girlfriend who gives him sex on a regular basis. Danny also sings and plays the guitar, while Jakob is an artist. Each of the boys sees things in the other that he would love to have.
Then one day they are walking in a field and come across a large capsule with an open door. Jakob climbs inside. Both boys pass out and wake up in each other’s bodies. Both are terrified and Jakob immediately gets back in the capsule a second time so they can change back. And they do. You would think they would avoid that capsule, but they don’t. Given the chance to spend a day in each other’s shoes, they both decide to switch bodies again.
Jakob, in Danny’s body, sleeps with Danny’s girlfriend and sees his mundane life at home. Plus apparently Danny has a thing for spiders and has a giant pet tarantula that keeps getting out. Danny, in Jakob’s body, kisses the girl that Danny has liked forever, but has been too scared to approach. And Danny uses Jakob’s drawing of her to get her into bed. They both take a science test and Jakob, now in Danny’s body, whizzes right through, but Danny, in Jakob’s body, is still dumb as toast. And here he thought he’d be smart like Jakob.
Here’s where it gets terrifying. Jakob wants to immediately swap back like they agreed. Danny doesn’t. Danny doesn’t want to work in the quarry. He wants to work at The Loop. So he refuses to switch back. In an effort to do it on his own, Jakob, in Danny’s body, goes to the capsule and gets in. What he doesn’t notice is the derelict robot in the field. That’s where his consciousness is transported, to a machine. Danny, in Jakob’s body eventually finds out what happened and calls for an ambulance to come and get Danny’s lifeless body. He is put in ICU where he remains in a coma throughout the series. And workmen from The Loop immediately dismantle the capsule.
Does Danny, in Jakob’s body, try to stop them so Jakob’s consciousness can be saved? Nope. No morals at all in this young man, not even when he sees his family torn apart by his apparent coma.
May is the girl that Jakob has always had a crush on. In Episode 2 Danny, in Jakob’s body, sleeps with her convincing her he loves her by giving her the drawing that the real Jakob made of her. But rather quickly he starts sleeping with Danny’s girlfriend on the side.
So when May goes to a family wedding and meets Ethan, who has a club foot, she sees an opportunity to be with someone else. At around the same time she goes fishing and discovers what looks like a thermos-sized device of some kind. May is somewhat gifted at fixing things and fixes the device, making it work once again. When she removes the ring from the device and puts it around her wrist then pushes the button on the device, time stops for everyone but May. She can walk around the city completely alone and do whatever she wants.
Then she brings Ethan there and has sex with him in the middle of the street. For several days they steal what they want from the local stores and prepare to return to the real world. But when May pushes the button nothing happens. The crystal inside is completely lifeless. The two of them fight and she calls him a cripple. He walks away and she doesn’t find him for several hours. Then she notices he is frozen like the others. He removed his bracelet.
Now she has a choice–be alone forever or take a chance that removing the bracelet will take her back. So she removes her bracelet. Suddenly she’s back in the real time with sounds, people, and Ethan. He scowls at her and walks away.
Weeks later, they bump into each other and he tells May that he loves her (in Chinese). She turns and continues walking away.
Episode 4 is about Russ and his grandson Cole, Loretta and George’s son. They’re very close and spend a great deal of time together. Then one day Russ takes him to a giant round metal orb in the middle of a field. It looks derelict and many of the panels are missing. Russ tells Cole to yell HELLO inside. So Cole does. It echoes six times in subsequently deeper and deeper voices. Russ tells him that’s his future voice and it means he will live a long life. So Cole begs Russ to yell into the orb. He does. There’s no echo. Cole begins to panic and Russ tries explaining to him that he has cancer and is dying.
The rest of the episode is Russ dying in a hospital bed and Cole trying to figure out how to save him. At one point he even sneaks into The Loop and walks right up to The Eclipse. Thankfully, his mother catches him. By the end the family has reconciled themselves to living without Russ after his death.
Episode 5 is about Danny’s family. Danny’s body is comatose at the hospital and paying the hospital bills has made the family suffer even more. Added to that are two new wrinkles: vandals breaking into local homes and a fuse box that needs to be replaced. They don’t have the money for it. His wife can get money from her brother, but he refuses and asks for an advance. But he buys a robot that he can control and spends every night standing out in front of their house protecting them with the robot.
Then one night he hears something in the barn and uses the robot to break the door open. Too late, he discovers the person inside was his deaf daughter who never heard his warning. His wife takes his daughter to her brother’s house and he is left alone. So he sells back the robot and uses the money to fix the fuse box.
Episode 6 is about Gaddis, one of the security guards from The Loop. His days are spent in isolation and very lonely. Then one day while he is fixing a tractor in a field the ground opens up and there is suddenly a hole there. It disappears once the tractor is fixed. And he finds himself in a parallel world where he exists with a lover, Alex.
Gaddis falls in love with Alex and begins an affair. But when Gaddis 2 finds out he stops it. Then he tells Gaddis he would never have done that to him. Gaddis leaves and that night runs into a fellow birder who loves the same things. So it would seem he has finally found love in this parallel world.
Episode 7 is about George when he was a teenager. Remember, George is Russ’s son and Russ founded and runs The Loop. George operates a ham radio and listens in to other radio operators. He comes across a voice that’s more of a terrifying screech. And he becomes convinced the sound is coming from the island off the coast. So he gets in a boat and rows over to the island. He is bitten by a snake and encounters a robotic man who scares him. He takes a swing at the robotic man and hurts him then is finally rescued by his father days later. By then the snakebite had turned septic and he loses his left arm. He is fitted with a robotic arm.
Decades later, after Russ dies, his mom tells him about the robotic man on the island. He was Russ’s first attempt at artificial intelligence, but no one accepted him so Russ took him to the island to protect him from people. So George rows over to the island and meets the robotic man who screeches in a terrifying voice. The robotic man is afraid of George because apparently when he was a teenager he ripped off the robotic man’s arm. Poetic, right? So George takes off his robotic arm and gives it to the robotic man. That’s where the episode ends.
The last episode is about Cole and Jakob. Several months, possibly years, have gone by and Jakob no longer lives with his family. In fact, he has nothing to do with them, including his younger brother Cole. So Cole goes to see him in the city and asks him what he did wrong. That’s when Jakob sits down and tells him he isn’t Jakob. He’s Danny. He tells Cole that Jakob is now a robot in the woods. So Cole goes searching for Jakob and finds him.
Cole convinces Jakob that their mom Loretta, who now runs The Loop, will somehow fix this. So Jakob follows Cole through the woods and through some really rough terrain. They encounter another robot who attacks Jakob. They fight and Jakob loses a key piece of his robot body. As they are walking over a fallen log he trips, falls, and is demolished. Cole tries to wake him up, but the robot has died and so has Jakob.
When Cole passes back over the stream he finds himself transported way into the future. His mother Loretta is now an old woman. With no way to return back to his time, he stays in this time without his friends, his brother, or anyone he knows. It’s only him and his mother.
3 out of 10 stars. I strongly caution anyone from letting their children watch this series. This is the stuff of nightmares. Most of the episodes have something extremely nightmarish happening to small children. I would not recommend this series to anyone.
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