CAST: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Sophia Di Martino, Eugene Cordero, Jonathan Majors
RUNNING TIME: 47 mins
PREVIOUSLY, ON LOKI: Loki (Hiddleston) and a female variant known as Sylvie (Martino) have embarked on a quest to find the true mastermind behind the Time Variance Authority. After venturing to The Void, a desolate wasteland where discarded variants are dumped and devoured by a giant creature known as Alioth, Loki and Sylvie find a way to defeat the creature and head towards a Citadel in another realm.
IN THIS EPISODE: Loki and Sylvie finally receive answers, but learn that what they decide to do with them may lead to severe consequences for the timeline…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW… (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS)
At long last, after a few false promises, the multiverse has arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First hinted at in Spider-Man: Far From Home (lead villain Mysterio claimed to be from another dimension, only for that to be complete BS), and then cruelly cock-teased in WandaVision (Evan Peters showing up as Quicksilver, and then him turning out to be a set-up for a lame boner gag), there’s no denying its existence now, especially after the sixth and final (for now, anyway) episode of Loki which – for all of its protracted pacing – has one hell of a payoff.
The concluding episode – called For All Time. Always., after the TVA’s motto – finds Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) finally reaching that Citadel glimpsed at the end of last week’s episode. There, they find a castle almost in ruins and completely empty – except for a strange being known as He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), who welcomes his new guests and lays into what exactly his role is in keeping the natural flow of the timeline. While that’s going on, we get some wrap-up segments back at the TVA as Mobius (Owen Wilson) – who’s returned from The Void after being transported there a couple of episodes ago – confronts Ravenna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and enlists enforcer Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) to help spread the word about the lies she and other TVA agents have been told about their existence.
For about 85% of the episode, we are sat down with Loki and Sylvie as He Who Remains dishes endless information about everything he does to ensure things don’t get too out of hand. It’s dangerously close to being like an extended version of the much-mocked scene in The Matrix Reloaded where The Architect comes in to spout a bunch of expository nonsense for what feels like an eternity. A few major differences, though; one, it’s actually easy to understand what Jonathan Majors is saying; two, it’s visually interesting with the backdrops oozing in other-worldly colours and designs just as they have done in previous episodes of this gorgeous-looking series; and three (and perhaps most importantly), the exposition is being delivered in consistently entertaining ways, largely due to Majors’ fun-filled performance. Marvel fans will probably already know who the actor is confirmed to be playing in future movies, but this is an intriguing introduction to what appears to be a slightly less dangerous version of what’s to come, and if Majors’ performance here is any indication he’s set to bring a whole new level of weirdness and eccentricity to the MCU’s roster of recurring villains, ironically shown in a series revolving around one such memorable reappearing bad guy.
Some will perhaps be a little peeved that there’s not as much action in this episode as there has been in others, especially last week’s entry. Like the introductory episode, though, it’s all about the exposition, except this one has severely larger implications for the MCU – and possibly beyond – as a whole, which makes it a lot more interesting to hear about than even the fun ways by which they introduced the concept of the TVA. Admittedly, though it tends to drag on just a little too long here, and there is only so much we can enjoy Jonathan Majors’ lively performance before becoming numb to it amidst all of the explanations he’s giving.
However, the payoff is worth it. Not to go into too many details as to how it comes about (this may be a spoiler review, but some parts are best left for your own discovery), but the multiverse is ready to rock our world by the end of this episode. It is a true game-changer for the MCU, because so many possibilities are now officially open for exploration, whether it’s reintroducing popular characters from the Marvel roster, or bringing back certain adored interpretations of famous characters. Not only that, but it teases the arrival of a villain with the potential to make even Thanos look pathetic by comparison, and makes you wonder just how Earth’s mightiest heroes will be able to hold their own against someone who has powers that stretch beyond even their wildest imaginations. Long story short, get hyped.
But that has been the true power of Loki from the very first episode onwards. Aside from it being an extremely entertaining showcase for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki to shine under completely different circumstances, from having great chemistry with Owen Wilson’s Mobius and especially Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie, to having plenty of fun with its time-bending plots and visits to different worlds and realms, it has also laid the foundations for major changes going forward for Marvel, and does not hold back on any of its promises. Unlike The Falcon and The Winter Soldier or even WandaVision, Loki has managed to break new barriers and actually stand out from their movie counterparts by taking a completely different structural path. This one doesn’t end with a big hero-vs-villain battle like the other Marvel miniseries and the vast majority of the movies have, but instead – quite fittingly – it plays with your expectations and lulls you into a false sense of security before violently removing the rug. It is a rather spectacular effort by series director Kate Herron and lead writer Michael Waldron (sharing the screenplay credit here with episode 4’s writer Eric Martin), who have kept the pace relatively strong and the inventive streak even stronger, and hopefully they’ll be brought back for the second season.
Oh, by the way, a mid-credit stinger confirms that this is not the last we’ll see of Loki and the TVA. After this fantastic first series, all I can say is, “Thank God”.
SO, TO SUM UP…
Loki: Episode 6 – For All Time. Always. concludes the outstanding first series with another massive dollop of exposition, but the resulting implications for the MCU at large are worth it, and make you demanding to know what comes next.