“Echo Sphere” is one of the more confusing “Tales From the Loop” entries. Not that the plot isn’t easy to follow, but more because of its ramifications for future episodes. The previous chapters have all had some hook that leads into the next. Additionally, there has been some experiment from The Loop that drove the story. Those elements seem to be missing here, and we only have a sad goodbye to a favorite loved one.
Perhaps the lack of a fantastical twist in the story comes from the subject of the episode. Russ (Jonathan Pryce), the founder of The Loop, is dying. His grandson Cole (Duncan Joiner) wants him to use something to save his own life, but Russ either can’t or won’t. I suspect that his years working at The Loop have taught him it’s best not to interfere.
The curious thing, though, is the presence of the Echo Sphere. Russ and Cole’s interaction at the sphere gives the episode an impending sense of doom that viewers wear on their shoulders for the remainder of viewing. Does the device do something other than telling a person how long they will live? There might be evidence to suggest so.
Early in the episode, Cole traps a few fireflies in a jar. Russ later comments to his wife that her grandson forgot to poke air holes in the container, and disposes of the dead creatures, replacing them with a couple of coins. We see the jar again after Russ is in the hospital when Cole breaks it as he hears his father wish that Russ “would die already.” An understandable viewpoint as an adult watching someone suffer. Not so reasonable as a child, however. After Russ’ death, cole returns to the Echo Sphere. Inside he sees hundreds of fireflies. Is it all connected? Does this mean there is a way back for Russ?
Tales From The Loop
“Echo Sphere” is the first episode to suggest it has implications in events to come. In addition to the possibilities of Russ, there is a reminder of what happened to Jakob (Daniel Zolghadri.) The real Jakob who inhabits a robot’s body now, and not Danny (Tyler Barnhardt), who inhabits Jakob’s. It’s hard to tell, though, if “Tales From the Loop” is the kind of show that is building toward a climax. Maybe this is just how life is in Mercer, Ohio. Either way, it’s still fascinating to watch.