Tales From The Loop is an intriguing sci-fi proposition. While it presents itself as an anthology of sorts, the stories themselves are separate and appear to gravitate around the same group of people but with a different focal point and technological marvel each time. That much is apparent in this first episode, as we’re introduced to a pretty tight-knit time loop and an eclectic group of characters.
While the idea itself isn’t wholly original and Amazon Prime’s affiliation with IMDB does spoil the twist a little (especially if you’re paying attention to who all the characters are via this handy method), there’s a solid enough story here and a great introductory chapter to get this anthology ball rolling.
We begin episode 1 of Tales From The Loop with a man named Russ Willard explaining what the Loop is. Rhetorically asking where to begin, we eventually learn that we’re going to be following several different people across the 8 episodes, as reality and science fiction come together as one.
Our tale begins with a young girl called Loretta. Heading home from school alone, she finds herself stalked by a strange robot in the distance. However, she ignores this and heads home where she listens to her Mother arguing. Later that evening she asks Alma just what she took and she explains that the item she obtained is needed for an experiment but it’s too dangerous for her daughter to help.
That evening, Loretta heads downstairs and sees a brilliant white light emanating from the living room. When it fades, the glass on the windows shatter, prompting Loretta to hurry back to bed.
In the morning, Loretta takes the trash out and after doing well at school, heads to MCEP (where her Mother allegedly works) to wait for Alma and tell her the good news. Only, she doesn’t show up. When Loretta heads back home, dragging the trash can back to where her house is, she finds the building completely gone, with nothing but a strange stone on the floor where the house once stood.
After picking it up, she follows a series of metallic thuds into the woods where a boy named Cole throws stones at that very same robot we saw earlier in the episode.
Cole decides to follow Loretta and agrees to help try and find Alma. At his house, he finds his Mother talking to his Grandfather – who happens to be Russ Willard. Unable to interrupt them, Cole instead shows her his room housing his brother Jakob. As he mentions gravitational pulls and black holes, it gets Loretta thinking and she shows Cole the strange rock she found by her house.
Together they head back to the facility but when the security guard phones through to check on her Mother, he informs them that Alma doesn’t work there. As she continues on, looking for her Mother, Loretta runs into a woman she believes to be Alma but it’s not her. It turns out, it’s actually an older version of herself. An older version who happens to be Cole’s Mother.
Heading up to the cabin in the woods, the older version of Loretta speaks to her younger self and discusses the future. “Not everything in life makes sense,” She says, as they eventually walk back to MCEP, where she tells her younger self that in the future she’ll have her own life and kids.
They make their way to the basement where they find the beating heart of The Loop – a strange black orb called The Eclipse. This is also where the chunk of black rock was taken from. Loretta goes on to mention this time loop will repeat itself again.
Our young Loretta touches the sphere and in doing so, transports back in time to the very moment she touched the snow where her house was before it moved. Only this time, there’s no black rock. While young Loretta is seemingly destined to repeat this same pattern again, the older Loretta speaks to Cole and promises to be there for him in the future.
Is our timeline pre-destined or can we alter it? Can we learn from the past and become a better person or are we destined to follow the bad habits of our parents? There’s some really interesting, thought provoking questions raised from this anthology and as we’ve been told several times this episode already, Tales From The Loop is going to be a show that doesn’t always make sense.
The time travel paradox is an age old concept, one that’s recently been played out on Amazing Stories, but here there’s much better characterisation and a consistent foundation for the season ahead. The soft motif playing on the piano throughout and the interesting characters are enough to see you come back with this one and although it may not be the best time travel story out there, it’s a solid enough start to this intriguing show.