Welcome back to our weekly review of Loki, the show that alas can’t manage much in the way of consistency. After a surprise reveal of several variant Lokis, we looked forward to an episode that picks up the pace. And unfortunately, we got the exact opposite—a filler episode.
Warning: This is a review of an ongoing tv series and will contain spoilers.
Last Time on Loki
In episode 4, everything changed. Over the course of the episode, we found out that magical space lizards don’t rule the TVA, that pruning people doesn’t kill them, and we even saw confirmation that every agent in the TVA is really a variant.
But it all ended “tragically” as the fake space lizards ended up beheaded, revealing they’re just puppets, and both Loki and Morbius ended up pruned. Sylvie captured Renslayer, demanding to be told the truth, and Loki ended up … somewhere? Surrounded by more Lokis. That little after-credit scene gave a lot of hope for a blockbuster fifth episode.
Lokis, Smokemonsters, and Lies
And if you were hoping we’d start with all the Lokis in the wherever land, I’m sorry to disappoint. Yes, we get a quick scene with the Loki bunch, but we quickly cut away to Sylvie and Renslayer. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Renslayer; she claims she doesn’t know who is behind the TVA, but she lies plenty throughout the episode.
She tricks Sylvie into believing she’ll help, but the plan is really to recapture Sylvie. It’s an uncharacteristic moment, seeing Sylvie trust an enemy and fall for lies. You could lock it down to the trauma of watching Loki get disintegrated before her very eyes and the promise that he might still be alive, but I call plot convenience.
The most interesting thing about the time spent at the TVA is Miss Minutes. Miss Minutes is an artificial intelligence seen here and there throughout the series, and in this one, we learn she can lie. When it’s clear that Sylvie sees no further use to Renslayer and will kill her, Miss Minutes comes up with a fake story about a Void Spacecraft. She’s really stalling for time while more agents prepare to ambush Sylvie. Later, when Renslayer asks Miss Minutes to search for information to reveal the true person behind the TVA, Miss Minutes responds in a way that seems rather suspicious.
Sylvie prunes herself, sending her to the same place Loki went, which is where we spent most of our episode. Running from a giant smoke monster that evokes Lost, but this time with a face. The smoke monster, Alioth, eats everything in sight. And also gives us plenty of Easter Eggs to look at.
Easter Egg Filler Content
Herein lies my main beef with this episode. It has time for loads of Easter Eggs, mostly because it needs a ton of filler. Hey, look, a Thanos Copter! Yes, Thano has a helicopter in the comic books. Oh, look, Frog Thor! Why is Thor a frog? Who knows. It might be a call back to the time Loki turned Thor into a frog (mentioned in Thor 2), but we also have an alligator Loki. That Avenger’s building? It’s a Qeng building, as in Kang the Conquerer. Don’t miss the Yellow Jacket helmet, the Living Tribunal, or any other dozen Easter Eggs.
And I love the Easter Eggs as much as any other Marvel fan. But it really is filler, as is a lot of the episode itself. Loki, Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Alligator Loki (yes, really!), and Boastful Loki run from Alioth the smoke monster. They hide out below ground and swap stories. Some of the stories are pointless, like Boastful Loki’s, which is filled with lies. Or Alligator Loki’s nexus event—-he ate the wrong neighbor’s cat.
At the same time, I wish we heard more of Kid Loki’s story. See, he’s the king of the world right now. Why? I’m not sure, but you better respect him. His nexus event occurred when he killed Thor. Please tell me more! But we’re not getting that story.
Classic Loki’s story is fascinating. Richard E. Grant delivers a tour de force in the episode and somehow pulls off “old man in a silly costume.” This Loki led the same life as the original Loki we know, right up to the moment Thanos killed our Loki. But this Loki created an illusion duplicate so convincing; even Thanos fell for it. While Thanos “killed” the illusion, Classic Loki hid as debris, then retreated to a remote world. He decided that he only brought pain to wherever he went, so he hid away on a remote world for a long, long time.
Eventually, he got lonely and decided to find his brother. The moment he started to leave, the TVA showed up and pruned him. Loki should be dead, and by staying hidden away from all, he didn’t cause a branch. That is until he intended to reveal how he escaped death: that caught the TVA’s intention. As Classic Loki puts it, “we have but one role to play—the god of Outcasts.”
We also get some quick scenes with President Loki, a fight between a ton of Lokis, and Mobius (who is alive!) saving Sylvie from Alioth. Loki convinces the others to fight Alioth to find whoever is behind the TVA, only to realize that’s a terrible idea immediately. But that’s ok, Sylvie has almost the same plan but better—she’ll enchant it.
We Have a Plan and More Filler
Yes, you read that right. Sylvie and Mobius show up and declare Loki’s idea terrible. She confidently states that she can enchant Alioth, and she almost managed to do it when she first arrived. Also, she has a TemPad for Mobius to take his fight back to the TVA. It’s a better idea than Loki’s but only mildly so.
And after confidently stating that plan, followed by rallying the troops, they proceed to do nothing. It’s extremely confusing. Imagine a movie where the general gives a big speech just before the big battle and then they stop to have lunch. That’s basically what happens here.
Sylvie and Loki sit in the grass to have a chat about how they don’t love each other (yes, they do), while Mobius and the other Lokis watch from a distance. It’s not like they’re working out details to the plan or need the time to gather supply. It’s just a chat. And what really bothers me? Both Sylvie and Loki complain that they’re cold and snuggle under a tablecloth, sorry blanket. They snuggle and get close, claiming it’s not because they’re falling in love but because they’re cold.
Loki and Sylvie are frost giants. They do not get cold. I don’t know who they’re trying to fool, it’s not the audience, and it’s not each other. They are each other and know they can’t get cold. And the conversation does nothing and goes nowhere. It’s just filler.
Finally the Point
As we near the end of the episode, where very little has happened, we finally get to the point of the episode. A fight with Alioth hopes that it can lead Loki and Sylvie to the true mastermind behind the TVA. Why just Loki and Sylvie? Well, Mobius is going back to the TVA to burn it to the ground (fair enough). And the other Lokis are too smart to fight a giant death smoke monster thing that literally just devoured a boat full of people in a few seconds flat.
They’re not leaving the Void either, for some reason. “It’s Home” is a pretty weak excuse, when “home” is a place you have to hide or die. Just escape with Mobius. It’s just as well, though, because Sylvie’s plan goes predictably wrong, and Alioth immediately tries to kill her.
Thank goodness Classic Loki stayed behind because we get to see Richard E. Grant really shine. Classic Loki casts an incredibly realistic illusion of Asgard, yes, all of Asgard. Even Loki and Sylvie are impressed, and they should be. Behind the scenes, we know Grant is standing in a green room with directions like, “pose like your casting magic!” But you know what? It looks so good; he pulls it off. You can see the strain of bringing Asgard to life, and feel his magic oozing. That’s enough to distract Alioth while Sylvie gives Loki enchanting lessons. The two managed to take over Alioth, but not before smoke monster kills Classic Loki. Dang.
And in the final moments, Alioth opens to reveal a castle. What castle? Take a guess because Marvel has a ton of castles to pick from. It looks like a cross between Doctor Doom’s and Kang’s castles. But both of those are unlikely. Because Doctor Doom is a Fantastic Four villain, they haven’t made an MCU debut yet. And also because Loki‘s director already confirmed the big bad isn’t Kang.
Sigh: I suspect it was Loki all along. Not the Loki we’ve followed since episode one. But some variant Loki. I hope I’m wrong. Because that’d make for a boring reveal. We’ll find out next week. Maybe.