‘Tales From The Loop’ S01 E04: Very Slow, Very Minimal, Very Little Added

by Olly MacNamee

(++ WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Tales from the Loop ++)

This is not going to be as length a review as my previous post, simply because I couldn’t see anything in this family-orientated episode that really added anything to the overall story being hinted at here. It really does seem to be nothing more than a story of loss as we swing back to catching up with the central family of this quaint yet eerie show.
The only bit of mystical technology that intrudes into this story happens at the beginning of the episode as grandfather, Russ (Johnathan Pryce) and his grandson, Cole (Duncan Joiner) spend some quality time together on a quiet countryside stroll. Russ shows his grandson a rusting sphere in the middle of nowhere (another mysterious discarded sphere with another strange property to it). When you call into it, it echoes back the exact number of decades a person has to live. Imagine that? And, if so, who would be brave enough to take up this macabre challenge? Yet that’s exactly what Cole does. But then, he is young and full of life, unlike his grandfather who also speaks into the vacuum of the sphere only to be met with deafening silence. It’s the catalyst Russ needs to inform his family that he is sick and not long for this mortal coil.

What unfolds is the inevitable death of Russ and how the family sombrely and quietly deal with this death, but not before a resourceful Cole manages to break into the Loop and come face to face with the supernatural sci-fi sphere we saw in the first episode. A sphere with immense powers that have only juts been scratched at in this series so far.
And, that’s about it really.
Now, I am trying to avoid all mention of this show on the internet, so who knows how this plays out in context of the whole series? But this particular episode did leave me feeling unfulfilled and almost at a loss for why it would even be dragged over a whole hour. Can this really be the last we see of Russ, given that he too has a surreal trippy moment when he is transported back in time – or rather experiences an echo from the past – to his youth? As the opening instalment established, time is not being presented in a linear fashion, so maybe he’ll pop up again. After all, her are so many questions surrounding Mercer and this windowless underground facility that viewers, one myself, are clambering to know more about.
But, other than that, I really couldn’t see how this adds anything much other than melancholia to proceedings. And, there’s been plenty of that already. Although, you won’t hear me complaining.
Maybe episode 5 will give me more of a clue? Let’s find out shall we?
Tales from the Loop is available to stream through Amazon Prime, and you can catch up with all our reviews here too.

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