We ended the previous episode wondering if the two Lokis would survive the apocalypse of Lamentis-1. Well, since this is a TV show called Loki and we are far from the last episode, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance that at least the main one survives. Mobius and gang are able to find them and bring them back to the TVA because they created a nexus event, and if you’ve been keeping up with the show, you’ll know that this is a sheer impossibility since they were in the midst of an apocalypse – how can there be a branch while a world is burning?
I gotta say, the end of the world looks really beautiful, and the setting, while catastrophic, really sets the stage for what looks like a second date. Then the TVA swoops in to capture them and ruins the whole atmosphere. Besides this shared moment between the two, and some nice moments between Mobius and Loki, this episode doesn’t really wow us much. There are a ton of revelations, with the series laying the groundwork for movement to another storyline, but none of these truths induce any gasps. We learn the truth about the TVA, the Time-Keepers (well, somewhat), and discover what happens when a person is pruned, however, none of these revelations really come out of leftfield.
If you remember the fish joke from the first episode, the bad jokes are back again with Loki and a time loop contraption. Mobius sticks him in this time loop torture chamber to pay him back for his betrayal, where he is belittled and beat up in a never-ending cycle. Maybe it could be funny the first time (it wasn’t, though it was nice to see the character they brought back for this), and I know that it’s a time loop and the whole intention is for it to be repeated, but maybe the funny moments in the script should be left in the capable hands of Owen Wilson.
The show just doesn’t know how to handle camp, and Hiddleston commits 100% with the physicality, but having Loki behave like a clown isn’t the way to tickle my funny bone. The series could learn a thing or two from Thor: Ragnarok. The good news is that there’s a better handle on the dramatic elements, which everyone in the cast is able to sell. Even the brief moment with Hunter B-15 made me feel something, especially since she’s usually all tough and hard exterior.
The main mystery is of course our two Lokis, and why their togetherness caused a nexus event. Mobius is quick to lay on the judgement, reading Loki’s feelings for Sylvie as romantic and perverse. Falling in love with a version of yourself – isn’t that basically peak narcissism? I’m not sure I quite agree with Mobius on this one. Hear me out: what if the whole series is moving towards self-love and acceptance? Loki’s biggest issue is that he always felt he never belonged – Thor was the star and he was a mere shadow. There is a deep sense of loneliness within him, one he tries to bat away with chaos and mischief.
It’s strange how a self-described narcissist can be made to feel small time and time again, so shouldn’t this clue us in that it’s all bravado? It’s easy to lie in order to keep others at a distance; if you never let them in, you never have to get hurt or be vulnerable. Loki always feels the need to maintain the upper hand, holding his cards close, that way, he never has to trust anyone. If we look back at all the Marvel films, we see that the only relationships Loki had was with his family. There isn’t any friendships, like what he is building with Mobius now, and there certainly wasn’t any partnerships, or anyone he could connect with the way he does with Sylvie.
Towards the end, Loki and Thor do restore their relationship, but this Loki isn’t that Loki – he hasn’t experienced the numerous losses first-hand, but learned it all vicariously through a screen. That Loki died defending what was left of his homeland, he died fighting a mad titan, able to act and sacrifice for the benefit of others. But did that Loki ever learn to embrace who he was, flaws and all? Loki looks at himself as someone who is always on the losing end, the same way Sylvie looks at herself.
They both want their lives to mean something, and we want that for them too. With only two episodes to go, and the true antagonist still yet to appear, I predict another filler episode next week as the series gears up for the big finale. Or maybe the show will subvert my expectations – I guess we’ll just have to tune in and see.
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While this episode is all about the revelations, it did feel a tad underwhelming since the viewers pretty much guessed most of it anyway. The antagonist is still a mystery though, and with two episodes to go, will the series be able to make the necessary strides to wow us? I await with bated breath.
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