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After last week’s excellent episode, it’s a bit disappointing that Loki’s penultimate chapter is more of a mixed bag. As always, there are quite a few fun and interesting moments to parse through. Compared to previous weeks however, episode 5 felt a bit inelegant and repetitive.
Let’s get into it!
After a cool visual that spins the TVA on its head we pick up where we left off in episode 5, with a freshly pruned Loki and four of his namesakes: Kid Loki (Jack Veal), Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei), Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), and Alligator Loki (actor unknown).
They quickly get the new arrival up to speed – they’re all in a place called ‘The Void’, where everything that the TVA prunes is dumped – and the big purple cloud monster in the sky is Alioth, who is constantly on the hunt.
On their way back to Kid Loki’s underground base (he runs things down here, and his nexus event was that he killed Thor), we get some fun Easter eggs – including Mjolnir, Frog Thor, and my personal favourite, Thanos’ helicopter – along with some Loki-on-Loki banter as our newbie tries to get his bearings and formulate a plan that starts with something other than survival.
Back at the TVA, Sylvie and Renslayer are having a tête-à-tête about who’s really running things (see my prediction in ‘More Low Key Observations’). It’s here that Sylvie figures out that the answer must lie beyond the Void. The only issue is getting to it. And after sussing out that the TVA don’t really have a “Void Spacecraft”, Sylvie self-prunes so she can reunite with Loki and find the man behind the curtain.
Interestingly, it’s a bit unclear at this point if Renslayer actually believes her spiel – does she really feel betrayed by the TVA? – or if she was just trying to bide time until her Minute Men arrive to save her. More clarity comes with a scene later on with Hunter B-15, who is now being held prisoner after coming to the Loki’s aid in episode 5. Even though it’s been revealed that the Time Keepers aren’t real, Renslayer still wants stability in the TVA despite the fact she doesn’t know who she’s being loyal to. She’s still a true believer!
Before Sylvie and Loki can reunite, our Loki spends some more quality time with yet more versions of himself who crash Kid Loki’s hideout. First, it’s Boastful Loki who reveals that he’s betrayed his King for the throne with the aid of President Loki. Then President Loki double crosses Boastful Loki so that he can be King. Then President Loki is in turn, betrayed. It’s a predictable, but hilarious turn of events that leads to a mass brawl between all parties as our exasperated Loki looks on.
It also a fun way to speak to the main theme of the series: can Loki change, or is every version of Loki doomed to repeat the same cycle over and over again? Luckily for our Loki, he’s met Sylvie. And luckily for Sylvie, she meets Mobius (Hi Owen Wilson!) when she arrives in the Void, and he promptly saves her from a quick death via Alioth with some nifty driving. The conversation that follows just underlines how much Mobius — now wise to the TVA’s deception — and the Loki of old had in common: “I guess when you think the ends justify the means there’s not much you won’t do.”
Eventually Mobius and Sylvie find Loki, which leads to another heart to heart between our new lovebirds. When all is said and done, the scenes where these two Loki’s try their damnedest to express their feelings and build trust might be my favourite thing about the season (Hiddleston and Di Martino are on great form here). Then we get an emotional goodbye to Mobius, complete with bro-hug (!), and our duo go about their mission – enchanting Alioth so that they can gain access to what lies beyond the Void.
Thanks to a timely assist and sacrifice from Classic Loki – who finds his glorious purpose by distracting the purple monster by casting a projection of Asgard – they succeed, and walk hand-in-hand through the newly revealed door. Next week, we’ll get an answer as to who is behind it.
More low key observations
So, the man behind the curtain is… Kang? It’s the simplest and most elegant option on the table, and given Kang’s ties to the Young Avengers – which the MCU is clearly setting up – and his forthcoming debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it would make a whole lot of sense. Expect him to be going by one of his many names in next week’s finale. I’m betting it’ll be Immortus.
I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but Natalie friggin’ Holt people! The show's composer gave us multiple versions of the Loki theme in this episode, each distinct and fun in their own ways. I especially enjoyed the more whimsical rendition that soundtracks the scene in which the Lokis betray and fight each other.
I wish we saw more of President Loki than we do here. ‘Vote Loki’ is an EXCELLENT comic which has taken on even more resonance thanks to the US politics of the last four years. Seek it out.
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Watch: Loki's mid-season trailer