Tales from the Loop: Echo Sphere
April 16, 2020 4:01 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

A young boy encounters a mysterious structure known as the Echo Sphere and must confront the nature of existence.

The official description makes this one sounds like the sphere is central to the story, when - to me - it's a small but important part of the larger story of Cole's struggle with the huge change to his life (and the story, and the institute, and the loop)
posted by jazon (7 comments total)
I find it rather curious how insistent Russ is that there is no afterlife of any sort.
posted by porpoise at 4:06 PM on April 16, 2020

Yah, this one was a bit different in barely having a sci-fi component (unless I'm missing something). I found the episode very good, if a touch too maudlin in places. I feel like the series portrays scientists very accurately (which is rare in general), and it stood out especially in this episode.

So far this episode fits my feeling about the series... very good, if not great. Except perhaps the first episode, which is still my favourite. We'll see! I'm glad we're doing a leisurely per episode stroll through this, because it happens to be the pace at which my wife and I are watching it.
posted by Alex404 at 7:01 PM on April 16, 2020

Yeah, the twist in this one was that there was no twist. Sometimes the impossible just can't be made possible. This reinforces the overall theme that magic is too good to be true and wishing for things to be different will stab you in the back. I'm not in love with that theme, though it has its applications in life. I thought it was going to be a tragic but hopeful series, but as it goes on it looks bleaker and bleaker. But it sells it. I respect the bleakness, and the sense of wonder leavens it. It's a different flavor of bleakness than the typical post-apocalyptic worlds we see so much of.
posted by rikschell at 9:28 AM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is a weird show, and I don’t just mean that in the ways that it is consciously weird. It’s that TV shows generally start with an idea and build out from that. (What if a milquetoast teacher with cancer decides to do crimes and loves it? What if a wacky white lady marries a straight-laced Cuban bandleader?) Since this show is based on a series of paintings, it starts with an aesthetic and builds out from that.

It’s a great aesthetic! Stalenhag’s paintings are incredibly evocative and make my mind try to backfill the blanks when I see them. And the story structure the showrunners chose to match to the aesthetic—“Wistful, loosely connected Twilight Zone episodes that take place in the ‘70s written by Ray Bradbury”—is perfect for what they’re doing here.

But when (for example), in this episode, I see a giant metal sphere tilted against a one story ranch house, connected to it by thick and winding ducts, it’s clear that the image is not in service to the story, but rather that the story is in service to the image.

I’ve liked the 4 episodes I’ve watched, but I can’t help feel that the show puts the cart before the horse, so to speak. If I didn’t know about Stalenhag’s work, I’d probably love this unreservedly! Oh well. Maybe I will find a strange rusting structure in the woods that will help me focus on what truly matters.
posted by ejs at 11:34 PM on April 28, 2020

The knowledge that Jakob is, at this point and unbeknownst to his family, actually Danny living in Jakob’s body—and that the hulking robot glimpsed by Cole ambling about the countryside is in fact his own brother—is a deeply unsettling background hum to this story.

And the scene where George thinks, for a moment, that his father has popped round to see him —only to be reminded that the paternal bond he’d always longed for has skipped a generation—was well done and very sad.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:34 PM on May 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Watched this late last night. After checking out the first three episodes, I thought I'd see if my wife would like it to, and it's totally her vibe. In fact, we're going to go back to the beginning and start over. She pointed out, absolutely rightly so, that the young actor who plays Cole is excellent. In fact, I've really enjoyed all of the acting and actors so far.
posted by vverse23 at 3:09 PM on May 3, 2020

Last to the party. This episode circled back to Loretta and family and I’m just wondering how in hell no one has noticed that Jacob has turned into a moron.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:25 AM on August 7

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