The fifth episode of Tales from the Loop focuses on Danny’s father, Ed, and his desire for control over his family’s many struggles.
When Danny gave up his body to steal Jakob’s, I don’t think he anticipated the adverse effect it would have on his family. In Episode 5 of Tales from the Loop, we revisit Danny’s parents, Ed and Kate, and his little sister, Beth.
They’ve been struggling since Danny fell into his mysterious coma. For all intents and purposes, they no longer have a son. The hospital bills are stacking up, and they can barely afford to keep the electricity running thanks to a malfunctioning breaker box. To make matters worse, it seems that a prowler has started visiting their property every night.
Ed is feeling the burden of responsibility particularly hard. As the “man of the house,” he believes it is his duty to protect his wife and daughter, to keep them safe. Danny’s tragedy has dramatically affected Ed, made him feel weak and useless. It shook his relationship with his family and his sense of control over his life.
He becomes moody and prone to lashing out, particularly at his wife. At one point, Beth is the victim of bullying, and Ed is infuriated that Kate wasn’t watching her. Except, it’s not really Kate’s fault, but Beth telling her dad that he didn’t prevent her from getting hurt only makes him feel more defeated.
Eventually, the circuit breaker gives out, leaving the family without power. It motivates Ed to get an advance at work — but not to fix the breaker.
Instead, he uses the money to buy a Scrapper, which is a giant robot that operates by mimicking the person controlling it.
With his new toy, Ed suddenly feels empowered and in control once again. He plans to patrol the house every night in search of the prowler.
We, as the audience, learn that the “intruder” is none other than Danny, in Jakob’s body. Beth seems to know and understand that Jakob is actually her brother. She lies to her parents about the intruder’s identity to protect him. Unfortunately, all Ed and Kate see is a strange male in their yard that keeps staring into their daughter’s window.
One night, Danny returns the toy the bullies stole from Beth. He leaves it in the garage for her. She sneaks out in the middle of the night to retrieve it.
Tales of the Loop expertly sets up this moment. Beth is deaf, the power is out, and Ed is losing his grip on reality after several sleepless nights and a determination to catch the “intruder” to save his family. All of these key ingredients make a perfect recipe for disaster. Multiple variables coincide to give us an alarming and devastating scene.
Beth can’t help but make noise while in the garage. Ed thinks she is the intruder and prepares the Scrapper to attack. He commands the intruder to step out of the garage, but of course, Beth can’t hear him.
Ed uses the Scrapper to punch through the garage door. The toy flies out. Kate, having heard the noise and come outside with a flashlight, recognizes the toy and goes into the garage before Ed can do anything else. There, she finds a terrified Beth crouched in the corner.
For a moment, I genuinely thought Tales from the Loop would be cruel enough to have Ed harm or even kill his daughter — or Danny in Jakob’s body. Luckily, that’s not the way the episode goes, I think that would have been way too depressing (and more of Black Mirror‘s style).
The fact he almost hurt his daughter devastates Ed and he copes with it by getting super drunk. Thankfully, it does seem to shock him enough to realize that he needs to get his s–t together and reconcile with the uncontrollable nature of the universe.
He may not be able to bring Danny back, but there are things in Ed’s life that he can control. He can take care of his wife and daughter by fixing the breaker, and maybe that’s not as cool as a crime-fighting robot that mimics your every move, but it’s what they need right now.
So, he sells the Scrapper and he fixes the breaker and for the first time in a while, he even smiles. Kate and Beth return home and the episode ends with Beth dancing around the house like a carefree little girl should (it also felt like a callback to young Loretta jumping on the bed in the first episode).
In the final moments of the episode, Beth peeks into Danny’s bedroom and sees her parents talking to one another.
I thought it was very sweet and poignant. I think it is an important, and timely, message that sometimes we can’t control everything, so it’s essential to pay attention to things that are within our grasp, like apologizing to someone you love.
What did you think of this episode of Tales from the Loop? Do you think that Danny’s family will be okay? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The first season of Tales from the Loop is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.