We’ve missed a few episodes of Loki in our recaps, so to more broadly recap what we’ve missed: Loki befriended variant LadyLoki (Sylvie, rather), all the TVA workers are also variants, the Time Keepers were revealed to be as real as ShowBiz Pizza Place’s Rock-afire Explosion, and both Mobius and Loki were time-prodded out of existence. OR WERE THEY?
(They were not.)
As revealed at the tail end of episode four, that’s not the case—at least, at first, for Loki. He conveniently rematerializes in front of a quartet of fellow Loki(s?). It’s sort of a cool moment until, given any reflection at all, it instead becomes an apt representation of just what a boring microcosm this show truly is.
We’ve already moaned about how needlessly Earth-centric this series is for something ostensibly about all of time and space to ever exist. It’s like the Star Trek episodes where it’s all about ‘20s gangsters or ancient Rome or Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes or whatever, but now with the sensibilities of a modern Doctor Who episode. Just the worst of both Earth-tethered worlds, and this Loki crew is all of it packed into the just-revealed Richard E. Grant’s purse.
Given an infinite universe of space and time—and all the cosmic shit of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos, and beyond—somehow the best Loki variants this show can come up with are a woman, an old man, a black man, a kid, and an alligator. Will this show ever look beyond the greater Atlanta area? Marvel Comics’ Beta Ray Bill—arguably the most iconic Thor variant—is a weird, jaundiced, horse-faced alien freak. And this dumb show responds with, “Pretty wild to see a caiman in a horned cap though, right?” Unbelievably miopic.
Before even getting into the episode, it’s worth noting that for as much as they’re playing it unimagitavely safe with these variants, that they’re doing so at all would seem to completely contradict the entire premise of the series. The TVA’s whole thing is to stop divergences from the accepted timeline, so how the fuck did things get so off the rails that one Loki is a Nordic mascot for the University or Florida? Like, they couldn’t stop this variation prior to a couple magical reptiles birthing a Lokigator? The entire thing is such poorly-conceived fan-fiction‚ straight down to its painfully rote attempts at comedy. As we’ve already said, it’s a testament to (most of) the acting that this terribly-written show constantly flailing at cleverness is as eminently watchable as it is.
That said, the aforementioned variant of Loke E. Grant is awesome. He’s got the really classic comic book Loki costume, he’s got a big ol’ purse, and it’s Richard E. Grant. Beautiful. He joins Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston in selling this garbage far more than it deserves. Always a delight.
Anyway, as we soon find out, Loki and his fellow Loki are in The Void. Unsurprisingly, The Void also looks suspiciously driveable from the greater Atlanta area.
They are in the END OF FUCKING TIME and it’s just, like, some generic fields. There’s literally just a bus stop in the opening shot. It is insane how dull they made the end of time. Chrono Trigger did the end of time as a cobblestone platform with a single lamplight, and that was infinitely cooler than this.
Following in the Galactus reenvisioning of the abysmal Fantastic Four: Rise of Silver Surfer, this episode also goes down that path with a hungry cloud gobbling up everything at the end of time. Sometimes it has this sort of dragon face that looks straight out of Super Mario World. And, worse yet, this unmemorable piece of shit mess of nebulous CGI ends up being the deus ex machina to get Loki out of here.
But not yet!
First, we have Sylvie back at the TVA. She’s interrogating Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Ravonna Renslayer, and oof. Lately, everyone on Twitter loves talking about actors “understanding the assignment,” and Mbatha-Raw understood it a little too well. As we said, most of the leads are overselling Loki, but she gives exactly the Television Performance it’s warranted. She would fit in perfectly as the judge on a CBS procedural, but it sort of stands out as pretty bad here.
Sorry, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. You were absolutely right to bunt; unfortunately, everyone else went out there swinging for the fences.
Renslayer swears she’s innocent, but it’s bad acting any way you slice it.
Back in The Void, a wretchedly-filtered shot scans over a pirate ship and a 1950s-style flying saucer, and fuck me. It’s honestly infuriating that they could have paid the visual effects people to make literally anything imaginable for this shot and they settled on a boat. THERE’S ANOTHER BOAT LATER! THERE ARE TWO JUST BOATS AT THE END OF ALL SPACE AND TIME! What the fuck!?
So, Loki, Old Loki, Black Loki, Child Loki, and Alligator Loki all have a little bicker before heading into an underground bunker that’s—what else?—a common bowling alley of North America.
Meanwhile, Sylvie continues interrogating Renslayer and learns that there’s maybe a spaceship that could take her to reunite with Loki in The Void. This ends up not mattering at all; she ultimately just time-prods herself to The Void, and it would not be surprising if this Chekhov’s Voidship never even comes up again.
Back at the, y’know, standard bowling alley at the end of time, Loki and his brethren have a little chat that closes in one of the series’ most egregiously obnoxious moments. Loki is like, “Who’s with me in defeating the cloud fucker?” Then there’s the pregnant pause. Then the simultaneous eruption in laughter from the other Loki. It’s a dork AI’s simulation of humor and belongs in jail.
“Yeah, baby, yeah,” Loke E. Grant chortles at the not-quite-joke, which is an all too apt segue to this episode’s central theme:
Guffawing aside, Loki decides to go off by himself and fight the cloud dragon, but as he opens the bowling alley’s hatch, he runs into a dozen or so other Loki—one who’s his spitting image. This leads to a short scene in a bit and otherwise doesn’t matter, so it’s honestly not worth getting into.
At this point, Sylvie is just arriving at The Void and, man, is this smoke angry. The fog dragon thing goes after her and she briefly enchants it, revealing some sort of vague architecture for audiences to delight over. We love to see it (“it” being a stone building or something).
Fleeing the fog toward what may be the Golden Gate Bridge, she hops into an old pizza delivery car driven by none other than Mobius.
To digress: summing up the end of all space and time, it seems to be about the size of a mall parking lot, it looks like a typical field, and it’s littered with only things from 20th-century Earth. And LoKid drinks a fucking Ecto Cooler. BECAUSE ONE ENJOYS THE REFERENCE IF THEY ARE A 35-TO-45-YEAR-OLD!!!!
Great, there’s also the Sphinx and the Giza Necropolis.
Moving on, there’s a little Loki battle with those random Loki, and a few pointless conversations happen. (One near POWER LINES FOR SOME REASON. WHY!?) And, finally, Sylvie and Loki reunite.
As if this wasn’t already the worst, most thoughtless, pandering fan-fic, those two end up cuddling up in a blanket Loki generates. Thought we’re skipping a couple things before this, and we’ll skip a few more, because this is genuinely exhausting at this point.
The actual best scene of this entire thing is coming up though.
Mobius is about to gateway back to the TVA to “burn it to the ground,” in Owen Wilson’s latest immeasurably perfect delivery. He offers Loki a departing handshake—but instead the two hug, and fuck if it isn’t, yet again, far better than it should be. In spite of all the prior venom spit at this in the last thousand words, damned if that wasn’t a tad affecting.
Breaking that poignance, a couple flightless birds with floating orbs for heads come by—really pointing out how the writers and creator did think to add some bizarre stuff yet somehow settled on only this ‘90s raytracing render test of a freakish peacock.
Turns out, these freaks are fleeing the overcast monster! And it’s time for Sylvie to enchant it or whatever.
À la Grant in Jurassic Park, Loki sort of distracts the Tyrannosaurus Cloud by waving a flare (in this case, the glowing dagger LoKid unnecessarily gave him) while Sylvie holds up her glowing green hands with GREAT INTENSITY.
It’s not enough!
Thankfully, then Loke E. Grant shows up—purse worryingly absent—to further distract the cloud beast with… some Asgardian buildings? Apparently!
Naturally, the bad cloud, who has seen both modern iterations of The Mummy, comes at the city as a bunch of dust plumes with sort of a face on them. The ploy worked!
Loke E. Grant gets smoked, but not before Loki and Sylvie get the chance to have their Guardians of the Galaxy moment, joining hands in some nebulous chaos to beat the bad guy—in this case enchanting it.
The non-Lost smoke monster enchanted, some of its smoke clears to reveal…
The production may have rented a castle in Ireland or something for the next episode.