Jakob and Danny stumble upon a mysterious machine in the woods that fundamentally alters their lives in “Transpose,” Episode 2 of Tales from the Loop.
Episode two of Tales from the Loop focuses on Cole’s brother, Jakob, and Jakob’s friend Danny. We already know the Willard family is very involved in the Loop, both of Jakob’s parents work there. They anticipate Jakob moving on to have a prosperous career at the Loop, too.
Neither George nor Loretta will even entertain the possibility of their son having a career outside of the Loop. When he suggests pursuing drawing, his passion, they both brush it off as a mere “hobby.”
On the other hand, we have Danny, Jakob’s best friend. Danny lives a blue-collar existence that involves painting barns and smashing rocks. Unlike Jakob, Danny would love to have a job at the Loop. Unfortunately, his grades aren’t excellent and will likely prevent him from pursuing that career path. His parents think it would be best for him to give up on it altogether.
One day, Danny and Jakob take a stroll through the woods and discover a rusted piece of machinery. Initially believing it to be an old sea mine, Jakob crawls inside of it. He hears a subtle whooshing sound, like waves lapping at the shore of a beach.
Suddenly, Jakob wakes up sprawled across the forest floor — in Danny’s body. Danny then emerges from the machine, in Jakob’s body. It seems that they have discovered a mystifying body-swapping device.
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Jakob is terrified and wants to switch back, so Danny crawls back inside the machine to make that happen. Luckily, it does. The two teenagers realize that not only can this machine exchange one consciousness for another, but it appears to be completely reversible. They decide to switch again, this time for a full day so that they can experience the other’s life.
After they switch, it becomes evident that Jakob is living the life Danny wants more than anything. In comparison to his home life, which involves fighting parents and manual labor, Jakob’s life seems like a dream come true — especially because Jakob is on a path to Danny’s dream job at the Loop.
Meanwhile, Jakob finds Danny’s life ill-suited for him. He spends his day painting the barn and awkwardly attempting to be affectionate with Danny’s girlfriend.
The following day, Jakob is ready to get his life back, but Danny persuades him to give it one more day. While back at his barn-painting job, Jakob — in Danny’s body — sees Danny kiss May, the girl Jakob has had feelings for for a while now.
Angered, Jakob storms to his real house and confronts Danny about what he was doing with May. Danny says he was trying to do something nice for Jakob, to which Jakob replies, okay, cool, now can we switch back?
Then we get hit with a disturbing twist. Danny is quite content inside Jakob’s body. He doesn’t want to switch back. Ever.
He says something along the lines of, “I told you I’d do anything not to spend my life smashing rocks.” Yikes.