The 5th installment of Loki is an absolutely wild ride. The series takes its weirdness up yet another notch. We are introduced to new characters, new settings, new plotlines, and just all-around novel elements throughout the episode. Overall, the episode is extremely fun, exciting, and vibrant in its storytelling. Finally, the series starts to reel us into the cataclysmic awakening of the strange and powerful new edge of the MCU that we have been anticipating. Bolstered by stunning visuals and a chilling score, the episode is a tour de force, though not without its flaws.
The ultimate question and drive underscoring this penultimate episode is the question of who is actually behind the TVA. Ravonna seems suspicious but also confused about the situation, so the reveal of her role in the process should be interesting. Nothing will stop her from pursuing her seeming glorious purpose in bringing down the TVA, and she prunes herself, leading to her joining our titular character(s) in the Void because she deducts that whoever is in charge is hiding behind the Void that is the end of time. Honestly, that is a ridiculously cool concept, but (like most things in the series if you choose to dive too deep into it) doesn’t necessarily make the most sense as a whole. Still, the cliffhanger ending of the episode sets up a hopefully fist-pumping, satisfying reveal.
What was potentially set up to be a casual romp with various Loki variants turns out to be a cat-and-mouse adventure literally spanning time and space. We are introduced to the Void — the place where all pruned things and reset timeline are transferred to—and Alioth, a harrowing cloud that destroys everything in its path and reigns terror over the Void. Here, Loki meets his main variant companions — Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Alligator Loki. We briefly see a gaggle of numerous Loki variants, including President Loki, but this merely turns out to be a brief shiny interlude. If they serve a purpose, it is to make the point the Lokis are generally scheming, traitorous, back-stabbing beings.
Not to worry, though, because the episode works hard to point out that not every Loki has to be the same. The main Loki team highlights that Lokis can be different—in this case, they have the ability and drive to work together for a less-than-common purpose. Moreover, Kid Loki takes the time to carry Alligator Loki around and the crew routinely defends the reptile as a bona fide Loki. Clearly, there can be some layers to a Loki. Loki makes this theme explicit when he tells Sylvie that he can be different. The bond and trust between the two is highlighted, and they’re relationship is still awkwardly ambiguous. Loki and Mobius also hugged as Mobius returned to the TVA, noticeably without Loki stabbing him in the back.
Yet if that is not enough, the absolute force that is Classic Loki sacrificing himself for Loki and Sylvie’s cause as his “glorious purpose” is a striking metaphor for the Loki-as-a-hero theme. Classic Loki commands much of the impact of the episode when he conjures up the entirety of Asgard like it’s nothing. This is a far cry from what we’ve seen Loki conquer, and it is likely a foreshadowing of what we may see in the next episode.
At the end of the day, we have crises in both the Void and the TVA. While it’s entirely possible that they will all converge in the final episode, we might also see the fallout of whatever Sylvie and Loki discover on two separate fronts. One, Loki and Sylvie’s encounter with the being in the castle-looking scape past Alioth. Two, Ravonna, B-15, Mobius, Miss Minutes, and the entire staff of the TVA coming to grips with the dissolution of the Time-Keepers mythos.
Loki’s and Sylvie’s defeat of Alioth is intriguing, but feels like a sort of ex machina solution with Loki being able to all of a sudden use enchantment simply because the two realize that they “are the same.” Similarly, they both seem to have sudden realizations and manifestations that they are far more powerful than they had realized after watching Classic Loki do his thing. The dialogue and formatting at times in this episode feels cornier and more forced than usual, likely due to the very rushed introductions of new characters and entirely new story setting. Like last episode, the relationship between Sylvie and Loki, when focused on, is awkward and arguably uncomfortable (depending on where you fall in the Sylki shipping spectrum). The entirety of the Void and Alioth and the being behind the curtain is virtually brand new to the series via this episode, and so the story really blows itself open all at once. But while the choppiness of Episode 5 stood out enough to impact the experience as a whole, it was all for the sake of a fast-paced epic story filled with the type of plot we’ve wanted from the series. So, on balance the episode justifiably delivers its message and its journey.
4.5 Throgs out of 5
Overall, Episode 5 was somewhat hard to rate. The plot itself is aggressive and wild and abrupt and exciting and mysterious and leaves you wanting more. On one hand, it was sometimes bogged down by forced dialogue or cheap and shallow resolutions. On the other hand, it deserves all points for ambition and a its bold embarking into the wild West of the MCU. This episode does more to expand the scope of the Universe than likely any previous MCU piece, and that deserves recognition.
- As was predicted last week, Alligator* Loki was the star of the show.
- Loki got a fun new golden dagger but barely used it, so I’m assuming it might play a more prominent role in the finale.
- Whoever is behind the void is truly an A+ villain (I assume) at this point. Whether or not it’s someone we end up excited about, they do rule over a castle at the end of time and have control over a universal timeline. Honestly, I can’t say any MCU villain has really flexed that hard.