Warning: this Loki episode 6 review contains spoilers. If you have not watched the Disney Plus show yet, then bookmark this page and come back when you're all caught up...
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been shaken. After two enjoyable Disney Plus shows that pulled their punches come their finales, Loki decided to blow the bloody doors off, introducing a villain who will have major repercussions throughout the MCU.
Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror was long expected to appear in Loki, though the actor previously remained coy about the character showing up. Whether Kang really did make an appearance is debatable: Marvel has confirmed that the statue, seen at the end, was Kang, but “He Who Remains” is more likely Immortus, a comic-book Variant of the same character. That’s all to say, Loki has laid the groundwork for Marvel’s next Big Bad to cause chaos across multiple timelines, with Sylvie’s need for revenge being the cause .
The question for this reviewer, though, concerns whether the journey was worth the payoff. Loki spent so long establishing concepts – Nexus Events, Sacred Timeline, the TVA, Time Keepers – only to destroy our understanding of them during the finale. Without the heaps of exposition, we would not fully comprehend how Immortus’ death will impact things going forward. And even then, it’s not exactly easy to fully grasp the details of what’s coming.
The first season, then, has been a mixed bag, with Tom Hiddleston’s version of Loki becoming perhaps my least favorite character in Loki. The finale does nothing to rectify this, with the chemistry between Loki and Sylvie refusing to heat up to anything more than tepid, despite a full frontal kiss. My main issue comes when they meet Miss Minutes, who gives the duo an ultimatum: to spend their lives on the Sacred Timeline, together, enjoying their lives and leaving this place. For a love story, their refusal to give this “happy ending” much contemplation rubs slightly wrong – they are more interested in the Greater Good than each other, which is fine, but then their later smooch feels unearned.
Instead, Majors steals the show as his bizarre character. Admittedly, the wizard behind the Sacred Timeline initially rubs the wrong way, his quirkiness feeling at odds with our expectations of a Marvel villain. As his motivations become clear, and Majors continues his scenery-chewing performance, things click into place. Despite this being one long sit-down between the trio, Majors kept things shooting along at a rapid pace, helping establish an undeniable feeling that what’s about to happen to the Sacred Timeline will have a major impact on everything to come.
Whether you feel dread after Sylvie’s murder and Kang’s statue appearing in the TVA headquarters really comes down to your investment in the MCU. Loki, the show, does not work without prior engagement with the franchise, so the showrunners can safely assume you probably are. The biggest heartache of the episode comes when Owen Wilson’s Mobius and Wunmi Mosaku’s B-15 are seemingly reset by their new ruler. These side characters have been a highlight throughout Loki, and I’m most excited for a second season because Mobius might finally ride a Jet Ski, rather than the Sacred Timeline being rectified, or Kang being beaten. Wilson has been the MVP of Loki, and long may he continue to appear in the MCU.
Speaking of the second season, the post-credits scene reveal has two-fold effect. The story will continue, which is something to be jubilant about, but more importantly, we now have a very firm grasp of what all these high sci-fi concepts actually mean, about the TVA and who’s running the place. The table has been set. Loki can go forth, traveling from timeline to timeline, simply going on adventures without needing to further explain the stakes. Finally, the show can deliver on the promise of being a rollicking journey through the multiverse rather than needing to set up the foundations of a major timeline eruption. The Loki finale delivered a memorable villain and carved out an interesting future for the MCU. The story has just about held together, but Loki has still ended up feeling like a prelude to something greater than itself.