The Season 1 finale of Tales From The Loop attempts to wrap everything up with a neat little bow but in doing so, leaves plenty of threads dangling over this topsy turvy season. On the one hand, the ensuing drama and issues with the tight-knit characters at the centre of this one (Loretta, Cole, Danny and Jakob) get a good enough send-off but everyone else gets a pretty underwhelming finish.
As winter grips The Loop, we cut to all our different characters we’ve followed across the season while interspersing that with shots of Cole playing football. He’s now in Middle School and his teacher reminds him he can talk to her at any time.
Jakob is now working at the Underground and Cole phones him, asking to visit. When he gets there, he asks Jakob about his job and why he hasn’t visited recently. It turns out he hasn’t been home and has been avoiding the place as he feels guilty and awkward about what happened. It’s here Danny (in Jakob’s body), admits the truth about the body swap and tells Cole that Jakob’s soul is somehow trapped inside this two-legged robot.
After stopping by MCEP and talking to a different security guard this time (because Gaddis is obviously stuck in the other reality), Cole heads into the forest where he sees the robot and starts talking to it, believing that it’s indeed Jakob. He decides to travel into the city together, intent on finding their Mother to get a cure to what’s happened.
So off they go, through the forest to the city but Jakob gets stuck and finds himself unable to continue on, partly thanks to losing a crucial part of his ligaments during a fight with another machine.
Cole walks down the stream again and heads back to the town after saying goodbye to his dying, mechanical brother. Only, everything appears differently now and his Mother has aged a lot too, confirming that they’ve jumped forwards through time. To fill in the blanks, we’re graced with a montage as we see what happened during the time that’s lapsed.
George and Loretta worked together in the Underground until George passed away. As Loretta sits in her office and receives a call from outside, we catch up with ourselves as Cole waits for her. As they get talking, they discuss the stream and how crossing it when it was thawed caused so much time to pass.
A now grown-up Danny (in Jakob’s body) finds Cole and they talk about Jakob. Cole tells him Jakob isn’t mad at him and it seems to give some finality to this issue, especially given Danny has been haunted by this for years.
At school, Cole heads in and hands back the book to his middle school teacher who miraculously hasn’t aged. She tells Cole that she taught her brother and before him, also taught his Mother and Father. She tells him that she’s “the second” (with the first being the AI on the boat last episode). She removes her face to prove as much and reveals a hollow shell underneath.
Cole doesn’t look too surprised though and after heading home and snapping photos of his Mother, we then cut forward to see a grown up Cole with his family looking upon his old family house and commenting how time flies, which is where the episode ends.
Given this episode attempts to wrap things up and tie the disparate plot points we’ve been graced with over the season together, the episode itself doesn’t do a very good job at it. There’s some vague references to AI and how Russ has helped the family control their destiny and seemingly jump through time but this doesn’t really explain Gaddis and the tractor. It also raises big questions around what happened to May and the contraption she found by the creek.
On the same subject, what happened to May and Ethan at the end? Given we saw bits of May during Gaddis’ episode, it’s safe to assume things have happened to her but there’s no finality to her story.
Why hasn’t anyone clocked that the middle school teacher hasn’t aged for years? And what was the point in any of these plots? While the last point could be argued that these were individual tales with their own themes and ideas, the latter half of these episodes have attempted to try and thread a weaving plot through the entire show and failed to do this with much finesse. Even worse, it’s raised so many questions in the end that it makes for quite the unsatisfying finish.
It’s such a shame too because the show looks absolutely stunning and the cinematography is really good throughout. The piano-heavy score is beautifully composed and there’s enough to recommend with the opening set of episodes to at least take the dive and watch some of this. The second half of the show though somehow nosedives into mediocrity and worse, ends on a really unsatisfying note with little resolution for our supporting players (including George who gets the worst treatment). A shame for sure but Tales From The Loop is not a show you’ll return to watching on a loop anytime soon.