Episode 7 of Tales From The Loop begins in the past with a young George in his room testing a radio. Soon after, he heads to the cinema with his friends. It’s a pretty long introduction and together, the trio decide to try and see if an old legend is true on a distant island.
Hitching a motorboat, they head off alone to investigate the island. Unfortunately, George is abandoned by his two friends who leave him all alone on this island.
As he starts investigating, George finds a whole array of electronics by the shore and decides to try and fix something together. However, he hears strange noises all around him and as he lets his guard down, he’s bitten by a sea snake. Wrapping his arm as best he can, George finds strange marks on the tree resembling a hand print. Sleeping in a hollowed out tree for the night, George awakens to find his bite infected and oozing pus.
Rushing through the jungle, George hears the familiar screams again and tries to hide in the shrubbery as footsteps approach. Finally he sees the menacing creature firsthand and startled, George uses the electric pole to hit the creature as it rises up above him. George races down at the shore-side where he eventually collapses as the boat returns to pick him up.
We then cut forward in time to see George back with his family but unfortunately the bite had got so bad, he’s forced into having his arm amputated. Unable to look at his friends anymore, George hides in his room before Russ asks him about what he saw at the island. Imploring him not to tell anyone about the shrieks, Russ instead takes him to get a cybernetic hand fitted to replace the one that’s been amputated.
At school, George’s colleague Uma gives him a note, asking if he’s a robot but George simply shrugs this off and heads home. Only, he can’t shake off the sound of the shrieking from the island.
As we skip forward in time again, we return to the familiar timeline as Loretta tells George he’s talking in his sleep again. Upstairs, George hears the familiar electrical crackles from before and berates Cole for playing with the electrical pole, reminding him that it’s dangerous.
That evening, George watches Creatures From The Black Lagoon but the familiar image of the creature rising up reminds him of his childhood on the island. That evening, George stays up late and uses his radio to try and distinguish the shrieking again. He speaks to Klara and she admits to him that the creature on the island was alive and the first version of an AI Russ was working on.
Deciding to head back to the island, George realizes the hand print was made by the robot. Following the faint glimmer of a fire, he comes face to face with the machine for the first time after all these years. George apologises for hurting it and the shrieking subsides to a gentle hum as the two look at one another.
With another slow paced episode that doesn’t reveal very much, Tales From The Loop fails to really ignite that much excitement after some promising opening episodes. Beyond the faint glimmers of the robot that crop up toward the end of this one, there really isn’t an awful lot of sci-fi here. Ultimately the episode serves its purpose of George facing his fear but nothing in the previous episodes he’s been in suggest that he had any sort of phobia.
The problem with this parallel storyline approach (and it’s particularly evident as we reach the back-end of the season), is just how disjointed everything now feels. The random cameos of characters showing up is a nice touch but given the lack of progression with these characters over the episodes, it just feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
As an example, hearing faint shrieks through the episode and seeing George distracted by this and hurrying away would be enough to keep you invested in what’s happening when it rolls round to his chance for the limelight. These little teasers could have been given to each of the different characters but unfortunately Tales From The Loop fails to really capitalize on this idea.
Unfortunately the show delivers another disappointing episode and what began as such a promising series has seemingly now run out of steam here, which is a real shame.