Episode 6 of Tales From The Loop sees us follow Gaddis, the security guard who works at MCEP. Discontent with his life, he spends most of his time alone before heading back to the field and trying to fix his tractor. However, a strange portal momentarily opens up in the ground but it disappears as quickly as it began as he starts tinkering with it.
At the bar that evening, Gaddis bumps into the new guy in town, Kent. Things are awkward to say the least and the ensuing conversation goes nowhere. In the morning, Gaddis heads back to the tractor where May arrives, cheerfully dropping off parts to help fix the tractor. Just before she leaves, he asks about holes in the ground but she looks at him dumbfounded.
After dinner at George and Loretta’s, Gaddis receives the missing part for the tractor and switches it back on again. The engine rumbles but a strange shimmer engulfs the machine and everything sputters out again. Only, this time when Gaddis returns home he finds his lost lover Alex playing the piano in the lounge. Knocking on the front door, Gaddis answers and with both of them in shock, the two different versions look at one another.
It turns out Gaddis and Gaddis 2 both live in different alternate realities. In this reality, the Underground shut down years ago and they lost their tractor which appears to have materialized in our Gaddis’ reality. In the morning, the trio work together to fix the tractor to send Gaddis back to our reality. Although they manage to switch it back on, the machinery doesn’t seem to work.
Realizing he’s stuck in this reality, Gaddis learns more about Gaddis 2 and Alex. In the morning the two versions of Gaddis head out bird watching together before they talk about relationships and spending time together. Out in the barn though, our Gaddis starts to grow closer to Alex, with the climax of this seeing them both kissing.
That evening, Gaddis 2 and Alex have a big fight at the house. Gaddis questions Gaddis 2 about what happened but unfortunately things are a bit frosty on the subject. With our Gaddis continuing to write in his journal, he eventually plucks up the courage to hand Alex his journal, with the possibility of running away with Alex. It’s the first time Gaddis feels alive and back at the barn he waits for him.
Gaddis ultimately falls asleep but when he awakens Gaddis 2 is sat across the table from him with the journal on the table. Explaining that Alex only saw our Gaddis as a small fling, Gaddis decides he doesn’t want to be alone anymore and heads out to the woods, burying the journal and heading off alone.
Listening to the birds overhead, Gaddis decides to head out to a diner where he happens to be sat across from Kent. This reality’s Kent at least. As fate would have it, Kent happens to be a Birder too. They decide to head out together in search of a fabled bird that may be in the forest, where the episode ends.
With a thinly veiled sci-fi facade, most of the meat in this episode revolves around Gaddis trying to find himself and learning courage and standing on his own. Seeing this idealistic version of himself presented back to him is a good idea on paper but the execution is certainly lacking. The performances are pretty flat throughout too and despite the interesting idea of an alternate reality, Tales From The Loop doesn’t really do anything with this.
Even worse, the ending raises multiple questions rather than ending things on a decent note. In an ideal world Gaddis would return to his reality and pluck up the courage to ask Kent out on a date. Instead, we have two versions of Gaddis in this reality. What happens next? How will two versions of Gaddis survive? Would this not cause serious problems for both versions of Gaddis trying to exist in this same plane of existence?
There seems to be little foresight into this and unfortunately the end result is something that lacks the finesse and heartwarming message this so easily could have had. It’s a shame but unfortunately this series seems to have lost its way after the opening stretch of episodes, descending into a more lacklustre sci-fi series.