Editor’s Note: Great news Red Mango Readers. Our strike team was able to successfully rescue Wayne from the Void and we can all sleep soundly now. And with him back he’s ready to deliver his review of the Loki finale!
Wayne Rock, Comic to Screen Head Writer aka He Who Returned
Well, we’re finally here. The end of our epic journey following our favourite (and possibly new favourite) Loki variants. Where we last left our intrepid dual protagonists they were about to look behind the curtain to see the Wizard of Oz really controlling the TVA. It turns out, it was Ms Minutes the whole time! Just kidding. We find out the true mastermind is a character called He Who Remains.
Rabid comic fans who devour every detail from upcoming Marvel projects, however, instantly recognised him to be a variant of Kang the Conqueror, a time-traveling Marvel villain from the 31st Century. Kang was long suspected to be the true puppeteer behind the TVA, but no one really knew why. Well, this final entry in Season 1 (more on THAT reveal later) gives us all the answers and so much more.
In a very exposition-heavy episode, which I personally found to be a bit clunky at times, Kang…ahem…He Who Remains, reveals that it was a variant of his that first discovered the multiverse. Then as more of his variants made the same discovery they shared knowledge. But this soon became the cause of the Multiversal War as they fought each other to rule over the multiverse. After discovering our smoky friend Alioth, He Who Remains (HWR for short, played by Jonathan Majors of Lovecraft Country and Da 5 Bloods) harnessed its power to put an end to the war, creating the Sacred Timeline out of his timeline.
HWR explains his entire backstory to Loki and Sylvie who are naturally shocked, but ultimately what we get to see is how their experiences and this journey affected them totally differently. Loki, the master manipulator and usually unwilling to trust anyone other than himself, is now ready to take a leap of faith for love. He is willing to take up the mantle and continue the work of the TVA if it means he gets to live in peace with Sylvie.
Sylvie on the other hand, is still not ready to trust, not even for love. Not even for Loki. Her choice is a heartbreaking one for the characters but an exciting one for the audience. In her one act to betray Loki and kill HWR she sets up what is to be the core conflict of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, restoring the multiverse and unleashing a legion of Kang variants upon it.
Despite all the amazing reveals (we’re getting a Season 2!), the central conflicts and the drama, I found this episode to be one of the weakest. At first, I thought they were going to keep jumping back and forth between Loki and Sylvie’s confrontation with HWR and Mobius’s confrontation with Renslayer, but they wrap up the latter very quickly and vaguely. As I mentioned before, a large part of the episode was just exposition from Ms Minutes, HWR, Sylvie, Mobius, B-15 and Loki. Usually, the exposition is handled very well, but I really felt it here.
Where the episode makes up for its somewhat plodding pace is in the final showdown between Loki, Sylvie and HWR, culminating in a bonkers ending that we simultaneously all saw coming, but also could never see coming. As Loki approaches Mobius and B-15 to get them ready for the upcoming inevitable war we see that Sylvie has accidentally sent him to one of the branching realities where it seems Kang the Conqueror is living up to his title (and in a comic accurate costume to boot).
At the end of the day Loki has lived up to its promise to change the MCU forever and has teased a few exciting possibilities for future Marvel movies. We now know that variants can look vastly different to their sacred timeline counterparts, so don’t be surprised if you, let’s say, see a version of Spider-Man that happens to look a lot like, I don’t know, Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Like I said, exciting stuff. I just wonder how Dr Strange is going to fix this giant-sized mess.
Wayne’s Score: I give this episode a 7 out of 10 but the series as a whole a big, fat 9 out of 10. Hopefully Season 2 can deliver even bigger things.
So how would you rate the series overall? And you can check out more Disney+ MCU content below:
Wayne loves to complain, and that was an unintentional rhyme. When I’m not watching movies, TV, anime or trophy hunting on PS4, you can usually find me deep in my thoughts preparing my next scathing review of a bad movie. I think Zack Snyder’s take on superheroes is terrible and that The Quick and the Dead is actually a decent movie. I re-watch Death Note every year. Unlike the other fine writers on this site, I’m not a critic, but I can definitely Rock a review…(Read More)