(++ WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Tales from the Loop ++)
In the third instalment of the Scandi-sci-fi anthology series Tales from the Loop, we swap focus onto May (Nicole Law), now seemingly the girlfriend of Jakob (or, rather Danny inhabiting Jakob’s body) who hooks up with another boy at a small time wedding in the small town of Mercer. But, not before she has found some kind of tech that looks like nothing more than a thermos flask, but is revealed to be far, far more than that.
On the surface it seems like a heartwarming tale of young love and stolen moments, but this is a series that has yet to offer up a happy ending and so is the case here too. But not after May discovers that the thermos flask she found while out fishing stops time. For anyone who isn’t wearing one of two metal bands around their wrists that is. Something May is all too happy to do after her stone-faced mother catches her kissing Ethan (Danny Kang) in her room.
With the world on standstill May and King do what you’d expect teenagers to do with this power. They run riot (well, quietly as is appropriate for the tone of this series) across Mercer and share the most intimate of moments two people can ever share while surrounded by a tableau of townsfolk all stuck in time. They are free to do whatever they want without the interference of adults and authority and go wherever they please. And in doing so, come across an inconvenient truth that tests the young lovers blossoming romance with dire consequences for their relationship. A relationship that could have last a day, or even longer. Who knows when time is stopped dead. May certainly gets through an awful lot of outfits, although Ethan stays in his same midwest flavoured clothes.
What I found most intriguing about this episode is the ending. Again, it’s a sci-fi narrative we’ve all seen countless time before, so its in these characters and their relationships to one another the real story is being told. With May and Ethan able to do whatever they want, they arguably really do have all the time in the world. But, as the town is brought back to life – as it was always going to do – it’s almost as if May and Ethan are stuck in time, or rather stuck in a heavily pregnant pause, as they both stop and take one another in before going their separate ways. But then, from what I remember, young love is fickle and this immense power is certainly frittered way by these two. I don’t think Doctor Who would approve, that’s for sure.
What’s more, for such a small town there’s already a great deal of big secrets out there. Eerie Indiana without the gags and minus the B movie call backs too.
Both Ethan and May make mistakes that older, wiser heads may have found a way around, But these are high school kids with their whole lives ahead of them, And, as high school kids, they can be unthinkingly cruel in the heat of the moment. It’s whether these experiences change them for the better or not, Especially as May confesses to Ethan she isn’t as nice a person as he thinks. Which she does go to prove, that’s for sure.
By the end of this instalment, their young love is all burnt out – ironically given the time they could have had – but let’s not forget, May still has that flask and, one imagines, the chance to freeze time again.
Tales from the Loop series one is available to stream now on Amazon Prime.