When last we left De-Constructed Loki and his new pal and fellow Loki Sylvie, Loki Prime had been ‘vaporized’ because he let his guard down and Sylvie somehow missed him being attacked from behind despite looking right at him.
Then Sylvie easily bests Ravonna. Loki wakes up in ‘The Void.” Its another place outside time and space and is populated by mostly Loki variants- who apparently are the only ones who can avoid the poorly crafted Massively Over-Powered ‘Smoke Dragon’ (Alioth) that consumes everything that’s sent to “The Void” I’ll just say it- the dragon sucks. Its about the same effect as they used for the alien motherships in Independence Day- its smoke with fire inside. Impressive….for 1996.
Rather than go point by point- since this episode is just a mess- Im going to look at it as a whole. Theres no point in breaking down a Non-Story. In this episode things merely happen. We also jump around locations in a lot of quick cuts to the point scene by scene description would just be tedious. So lets just dive right in, so to speak;
This weeks plot is the worst yet, it’s really contrived. The episode is actually fun in spite of this- albeit sometimes ironically. The jokes have worked and crazy and contrived is normal for this show. The world destroying dialogue and events are kind of familiar now. We’ve long since Un-Done the world built in 17 movies- in just the 48 minutes of the first episode. Another way to put this would be – there isn’t really much left they can do to surprise me.
Now that we’re at episode 5 we still have very few answers. We also have a new, changed, compassionate Loki for about three episodes in a row now. I suppose we now can say two things- 1- it seems this radical take on Loki is more or less what we’re going to have from here on in. In short – slapstick concussion victim Loki Prime is now the nicest most caring least underhanded guy ever. 2- He’s also a simp-ing sap who is really in love. Loki’s totally hot for Sylvie and maybe Mobias (who of course is not dead either).
Last week Ravonna “Killed” Loki and Mobias- but turns out she just sent them to a hellscape at the end of time where hes in great danger-of a rather slapstick variety. The Void is another consequence free sandbox the writers set their action figures loose in. It exists, but it doesnt. When anyone asks about it – or anything else to do with most locations we go to in this show-the answer is always cryptic or a joke about how its Unexplainable to someone as dumb as the person asking. This happens even when Mobias asks Ravonna questions. In my mind I thought about the phantom zone hell-ish room where Ghosts who die are banished to from the movie Beetlejuice more than anything else.
This show explains nothing and moved way too fast. Personally- based on how formidable he was? I think the TVA should still be trying to break Loki. He was far too easy to capture and fundamentally changes- apparently legitimately- in what he says feels like mere days.
The Four Lokis who help Loki Prime are the top dogs in a world of Lokis- because only Lokis survive in the Void. To everyones great delight one of them -Vintage Loki, described in subtitles as Classic Loki- is former Dr Who Richard E Grant! So here we have some fun, pretty decent fan service all around. Grant does a lot with his role- sort of like he did playing General Pride in Star Wars. This segment was dumb but fun and I’ll call it the first real WIN in this series- four hours in! Loki Prime has stumbled on the most benevolent Lokis. Most of the other Loki’s are total jerks though. We see about a dozen botched Loki’s later in a ‘Loki Army’- like a dozen Lokis who have banded together under the ‘leadership’ of a Loki Variant identified as ‘President Loki’ in the subtitles.
Aside young Loki no one looks that much like Tom Hiddleston. You’d easily be forgiven for thinking Richard E Grant is the best thing about the episode- but its actually Alligator Loki. He steals the episode. Non verbal like Groot (but more like Baby Yoda) he does have a Loki crown and is a legit funny addition to the episode.
While this episode was amusing it quickly became predictable. The plot and characters get twisted into a weird pretzel again this week, with everyone looking pretty dumb except Sylvie. This is only because her equally stupid ideas simply work.
Last weeks endless team switching continues in a ridiculous way when Sylvie- who could just kill her nemesis Ravonna- is easily fooled into an alliance with her- that lasts 2 minutes. This after we hear Sylvie’s spent roughly 20 years laying an intricate plan to kill Ravonna- who everyone is n ow calling “Judge”. We’ve only gotten her actual first name in subtitles. This is the case with numerous characters. Why they give her a confusing name in the captioning is beyond me. This seems to be a mistake. She should probably be identified as “Judge” Or “Renslayer” Its not like theres any real brevity in Ravonna. This should have been thought this out better because the show moves pretty fast and it’s a little tough keeping track of whose who, especially when they wear several hats in the story.
Its pretty damn stupid. Its even dumber when Ravonna flips back to her own agenda after divulging a bunch of ‘classified TVA info’ to buy time. They pointedly and needlessly mention that theres a ship they’ve developed that can get to the UnReachable Place- aka the Void. Sylvie is ambushed the moment she hears what she needs to hear to drive this weeks story. Look for the Space-time-ship, which I will certainly be calling a TARDIS- next week or early next season. That was clearly jammed in there for a reason. Then the jig is up as Ravonna has switched back to Team TVA. This was done badly, especially if shes going to flip teams again. Thankfully we backed off this – at least for the rest of this episode.
The three human Loki’s and their pal Alligator Loki – thats right, alligator Loki- and Loki Prime are immediately friends. They take refuge in a cargo container somewhere in the Mogadishu-like ruins that make up their little part of the Void. They just somehow know he’s one of the “Good Loki’s”
This is where we really get to know the true star of the episode- Alligator Loki. He’s an alligator whose also a Loki. There’s nothing more to it, hes an alligator and does alligator things. He’s non verbal and if his growling is a language its not translated. He’s pretty cute may know magic. Alligator Loki is just an automatic laugh every time he shows up. Like i said earlier – think Baby Yoda on this one. So sort of like the Green Lantern Corps – now there’s Loki’s of all kinds everywhere. Alligator Loki has an awesome Loki crown and hangs out in a kiddie wading pool.
In fact Alligator Loki is a show I want to see more than this one. He’s just sort of there at first but does start to play a hand -literally- in later events of the episode. I suppose its possible he’s a regular Loki who took on Alligator form and is either playing a long game con or he was up to something and got stuck in that form. or he’s from a world of gators? Is he Florida Loki? He seems to smart but he fought like it.
The FIVE Loki’s give about the most insulting explanation of how we got to where we are at this point-its the same one we’ve heard about everything in this show all along bit with some superficial differences.
The “Info Dump” is fairly decent by Marvel Phase 4 standards. We at least get what we need to know, but we dont get a whole lot more.Its still the most we’ve really gotten on any substantial thing in this story.
At first its the usual doible talk just to keep that seeming normal. Its Outside of Space and Time. It’s where time ends but also some kind of converge in time. And of course they say that there’s really no explaining it. With that out of the way we get some useful stuff to help us through the story.
We’re told no Nexus Events can occur in The Void . Reality barely applies. Its said its the TVA’s Rubbish Heap/ Landfill / Shark Tank. It’s the Bad Timeline Dumping Ground. When your deleted by the TVA you end up here. Alioth keeps everything it doesn’t kill from escaping and is ‘the Shark’ in their “Shark Tank.” This is as much as we need to get by and really no more. This episode DOES have some slower moments where the plot can settle and be explained for a change – but again we get sort of meaningless information. My take was – Its a prison planet like the one in Alien 3 more than anything else. Its a desert-y dump with some beat down buildings.
They only need a TemPad to escape. Sadly there are none here. There ARE 18th century pirate ships grounded here and there as well as what looks to be the saucer section of a Federation Ship littering the area though.
Back at the TVA Ravonna is finally named on screen. Its NOT the name they use in the subtitles though- they call her Judge Renslayer. So in a ‘subtle, artistic choice’ the characters translates to ‘Judge Female Raven King-Slayer’. What a light touch!
Ravonna and Sylvie then unload some of the very stupidest most contrived dialogue ever written. They hate each other, however Judge Ravonna Renslayer is contrite -so they decide to try not killing each other for a bit. Ravonna hacks into the TVA computer and has Miss Minutes divulge the story about how the Void is an inescapable place at the end of time. This is 5 times in 5 minutes we’ve underscored Loki and Mobias are alive but cant come back from the Void- so obviously they will. And oh the TVA has a spaceship of some kind that can get there if they need to. So it isnt outside space and time as much as they’ve been telling us. Its a place you can get to.
The revealtion leads to some handholding between Sylvie and Renslayer. Thats right Sylvie has completely forgiven Ravonna because Ravonna said shes sorry and doesnt know who runs the TVA. Sylvie even needlessly gives Ravonna her weapon. Now theyre best friends- til more time cops come in and Ravonna Heel Turns back. We did this in like 4 minutes of story time. Whiplash has set in.
Sylvie has a less than excellent plan to save Loki Prime. Despite the Time Cops being no match for her she ‘commits suicide/prunes herself’ by deleting herself with a Time Cop baton to get to the Vod. This part was so dumb I had to rewatch it. She basically adopted the bad guys agenda and did their job for them.
Who would turn a deadly weapon they’d just seen vaporize their friend on themselves based on information from the person you hate the most and spent years scheming to kill? Why not just fight the Time Cops? At worst all they will do is hit her with the same weapon, sending her to the Void anyway. On the other hand this course of action likely results in her killing everyone in her way including re-confirmed nemesis Ravonna; and getting to the bottom of this- which we’re told is her lifelong mission. No one is a match for her and she may get to the ship we learned of that can take you to the Void or find another way to bring Mobias and Loki back.
But no. Sylvie basically does the equivalent of swallowing a Tide Pod based on some bs off the internet. Good thing Ravonna wasnt bluffing. If she had been she would have fooled her biggest enemy into taking out themselves.
I wonder if the writers didnt want either woman to lose a fight or have to explain anything about the TVA – so they took the dumbest, easiest way out. It was as subtle as a brick wall. Im sorry, I dont care what the other characters say – Sylvie is an idiot too. This was the stupidest writing hack ever. Offensively dumb! She couldn’t have made a worse decision in this situation. She also seems pretty dumb only finding this out now.
Sylvie’s been an adversary to these people for 20 years and has been heavily spying on them, flipping people to her team and reading some of their agents minds. So much for being a Worthy Adversary. We’ve gone over how absolutely dumb the TVA workers and Time Cops are, but Sylvie is supposedly a super genius. Well, she sure doesn’t come off looking like a super genius at all. In fact, outside having the same revelation Loki Prime has about hiding in the days before an Apocalyptic Event – she hasn’t done anything smart at all. This is weird because now Loki Prime extols her as a genius all the time.
Sylvie is a terrible strategist and makes no effort to kill Ravonna- a major target of her revenge plan. This really makes no sense. The TVA are still total assholes. At least that stayed consistent!
All we know about the Void is its a place ‘at the end of time, without time’ where bad timelines are flushed away to be eaten by Alioth- whose a boring cloud of smoke. To show how tough Alioth is we see a World War 2 era US Navy Destroyer fall from the sky and turn all its weapons on the Smoke Dragon. Alioth laughs it off and eats the ship. Or consumes its matter and life force. We just dont know. Its does this effortlessly.
Anyway one thing leads to another and Classic Loki, styled like we saw him in the 70s comics, and the other Loki’s tell their stories- which should be lies but probably aren’t. “Vintage/Classic Loki/ Richard E Grant Loki” is second only to alligator Loki in providing humor. Fresh off Rise of Skywalker Grant is now really good at delivering utter nonsense dialogue in a believable way. He’s gonna get a LOT of work the way movie dialogue is going these days.
The various Loki’s tell their tales. Young Loki is there for killing Thor and “Classic” Loki is there because he opted out of being evil. He isolated on a planet til he developed empathy enough to want to see Thor again- and at that moment- when he sort of becomes good- the TVA prune him. The TVA Prunes ALL Loki’s who decide to be kind (or eat the wrong cat in the case of Alligator Loki). We hear a few other stories but all of the storytellers are Loki’s- so we just dont know what to make of what they say. So any iteration of Loki that shows any inclination towards ‘good’ is simply pruned to the void- where only Loki’s can survive.
The other Loki’s find Loki Primes affection for Sylvie as weird and stupid as we do as he simps and schemes. They laugh right at him. He gonna kill Alioth the smoke dragon- hes just sure he can- and go help Sylvie destroy the TVA. As he tries to split a rather large band of UnCool Loki Variants – lead by “President Loki” show up as Loki Prime exits the underwhelming cargo container. Once again the character names are ONLY in subtitles. Turns out Child Loki is “king” of the Void and this is some kind Loki on Loki Coup. This Disney trope of the adolescent leader is really getting old. We recycled the same scenery chewing child actor as a faction leader from terrible SOLO into Falcon and the Winter Soldier. So of course the child Loki is King.
The army of renegade Lokis breaks in on OUR Lokis and theyre looking to take control. Black Loki has sold the others out. Loki alliances and bs stories are exchanged and a brawl ensues. Its a fun brawl but over too quick. Alligator Loki again steals the scene, chomping on President Loki’s arm, severing his hand. Loki Prime is mostly unaware of the danger and is saved (without knowing it) by the “Good Lokis,” whose preferred form of attack is to blip around the shelter throwing Alligator Loki at their foes. It reminded me a bit too much of Billy Butcher using a baby superheros laser eyes to kill some enemies. Derivative as could be but Funny……and pretty stupid. We’ve seen this done better just a few months ago, but hey this method of attack works and Child Loki, Classic Loki and Alligator Loki escape with Loki Prime.
A couple of times Loki in the episode says what hes been saying for the last three episodes- all Loki’s but Sylvie suck. She’s the very best-est Loki ever. Child Loki confirms if any of them try to be nice or improve they’re banished to the void. They are fated to only be losers. I guess this means Sylvie is good and WOW the TVA are just the WORST! “The god of outcasts’ observes Classic Loki. Loki Prime thinks he can undo this with Sylvie’s help. The other Loki’s are as tired of it as we are at this point. Theyre mostly dismiss this idea.
Meanwhile in our other plot; Suicidal Sylvie wakes up somewhere in the void. Turns out the TVA told her the truth. I would say this is a huge win for the TVA. They got a Loki to self prune through bs and pop psychology. Anyway she easily avoids Alioth – who does pursue her and briefly touches her. This bs monster has killed everyone thats happened to up til now, but Sylvie can tolerate it. Just as its looking bleak for Sylvie- out of nowhere Owen Wilson’s Mobias just shows up! in a car from the 70s! “Wow…..” WHAT LUCK!
Then “Things happen” for a while. None of it makes sense. At all. They talk of the decades of cat and mouse theyve played and and how Mobias is basically a dick and he mostly agrees. Then they trash the TVA and again, Mobias is totally onboard with that. Then they bury the hatchet quick- which sort of makes NO SENSE after seeing how that worked out with Ravonna- but Sylvie decides to trust yet another TVA operative (how can she know hes switched teams?). Sylvie is afraid Loki Prime was consumed by Alioth but Mobias just KNOWS its not the case. He JUST KNOWS! (Dont think about it!!) They drive off fast and of course we know they will run into Loki because we just throw people together when we need them to be. Anyone going anywhere is going to rendezvous with people already at “The Place” so they can “do the Thing” for that episode. This is getting really predictable.
We once again get to a point where one thing sort of leads to another and Loki Prime, Sylvie, Mobias and the remaining 3 “Good Lokis” (alligator Loki, “Classic Loki” and Young Loki) hop into a classic landrover or other SUV from the early 60s and now all characters are crashed together really quick for the sake of the plot. They stop to scheme a way to help Loki Prime. They’re terrified of Alioth and wont confront him- but they will take Loki and Sylvie close enough to mess with it. This is weird after hearing Alioth is an omnipresent and persistent threat who just comes after you if you even raise your voice- but continuity isnt a thing on this show. So with the stakes set at “Kill or Evade Alioth and Escape the Void or Die” they set off.
Plan A is abject bad idea Loki Prime comes up with- while Alioth is distracted by the WW II destroyer they will go around him. Alioth deals with the destroyer in about 35 seconds. Also- how do you ‘go arond’ a smoke monster to simply leave another dimension? Makes NO sense, good thing they opt to just blow this bad idea off. All ‘good’ characters need to unite so a woman can figure this one out for them. I gotta say after seeing how dumb all the male Lokis are this now seems the best course of action. The plot brings them all back togther soon enough.
The new plan – hatched by Sylvie-is just as bad but of course Sylvie came up with it so we know its gonna work. The plan is that shes super powerful and will just enchant the monster. It’s a terrible plan- but she just flirted with suicide to get to an inescapable purgatory based on the word of a sworn foe- so shes actually pretty dumb like the other Loki’s. While this plan has little chance its much better than her last one. So WHAT if everything this creature touches disintegrates? Its Sylvies plan so everyone decides it must be great – in spite of all they’ve seen.
We segue back to TVA HQ and find out Hunter B-13 is alive. Ravonna and her have a mutually antagonistic verbal exchange. I guess when two women fight they’re allowed to be mean and snarky. Thats not sexist at all. THANKS DISNEY! Anyway- seems we’re committed to the Time Keepers being fake. B-13 tells Ravonna what everyone already knows- Sylvie’s motivation is to kill Ravonna and destroy the TVA. This is super weird because Sylvie just passed on that. Weird. Her new agenda is – destroy the TVA and kill whoever created the Time Keepers. So its actually the same plan with some new layers.
Then we get meaningless edgey dialogue from B-13- Ravonna will fail to find out who the Time Keepers are because she only ‘wants to know’ who created the TVA but Sylvie “NEEDS” to know and will therefore succeed. See? Ya just gotta want it! Its sort of like a video game that way- and theres infinite resets too (just like a video game!)
Youd think we’d had enough dumb for one episode but then we go in circles for a bit so all the “good Lokis” can see that Sylvie really is the best, get some more fun humor from Classic Loki and watch Loki Prime simp over Sylvie- who seems to dig it. Loki Prime and Sylvie share their thoughts on Mobias theory- that Loki Prime and Sylvie are just the best and when they’re together they cause seemingly impossible Nexus Events (aka Monkeys Paw or Butterfly Effects). It doesn’t matter this contradicts the rules of time travel from episode 2. Cause and Effect are just things to be contrived around in this show. This approach is already getting old but its how we do things now.
Both Sylvie and Loki Prime are sad because they have no friends of any kind. Then things REALLY get weird. Loki Prime renounces all his traits and says hed much rather be a nice helpful kind of guy. All the betrayal and scheming- once his core personality- just depress him now. He wont betray Sylvie when they fight Alioth. If they win he might end up in charge but as a benevolent ruler. Sylvie seemingly has no plan outside destroying the TVA. They wonder if the best idea isn’t to team up for good.
Sylvie somehow survived contact with Alioth earlier and from that shes deduced that Alioth has all the answers they need. Everyone else to be touched by Alioth simply disintegrated til now. So another Power-Up for Sylvie. She’s becoming sort of Death-Proof. She also has near omnipotence as shes figured out the motivations and weaknesses of Alioth by touching it- WHICH KILLS EVERYONE ELSE WHO DOES IT!
It then gets super sappy as Loki Prime swears hes gonna fight as Sylvies sidekick to the end. “if you go, I go!” It was pretty bad. Anyway now they confront Alioth. Then we just contrive our way to the end- though theres some ‘Win”in the final minutes. It gets worse before it gets better though. Things just go cringe for a minute, Turns out Mobias has a TemPad. You’d think theyd take that off him before pruning him to the Void- think of what he could bring back with him! A Smoke Dragon, an army of Lokis or a WW II Destroyer for instance. IT SURE IS CONVENIENT!! he offers all the “Good Lokis” a way out. They refuse. After a chat – and a HUG?- initiated by Loki, Mobias beams away.
Child Loki just gives Loki Prime some kind of magic knife and with that we can see something terrible has happened to the characters- Loki Prime and Sylvie are now just a Gary Stu and a Mary Sue. Its confirmed.
The evidence is right there. People just plain like them. Theyre altruistic. Theyre just given things. Theyre undefeat-able. They are always right and their power levels rise and fall according to the needs of the story.
Loki and Sylvie then engage Alioth. It’s looking pretty suicidal til we get a small dose of win one more time from Richard E Grant.
Classic Loki has a crisis of conscience and opts to sacrifice himself so Loki and Sylvie can escape Alioth. If you like Richard E Grant its great. he’s just great using illusions and revelling in taunting Alioth.
As Classic Loki distracts Alioth his ruse is eventually figured out and Alioth begins to overwhelm him. Classic Loki laughs defiantly and seems ready for a Gandalf-like final strike on Alioth- which might just have been awesome- but no. Alioth simply consumes him. What a waste of a great actors talent. He was in exactly the right show too. His Loki helm falls to the ground, could this be a way of leaving the door open to for a return? He was by far the best non alligator in this episode. He waxed poetic and he was wistful, but Classic Loki was pure, but good fan service-albeit all too brief. While self sacrifice is out of character for Loki we at least are used to the ideas that these Variants are basically “botched Lokis.” It could be construed as a defiant suicide where he just wanted to go out on his own terms. Im assuming the most botched Loki’s are too dumb, too greedy, too impulsive, etc. The ones we get to know best were sent Into the Void for being too nice though- so for one time I approve of this part of the story, despite the apparent loss of Richard E Grant.
Then things get beyond weird. After Classic Loki self sacrifices Loki and Sylvie seem to merge with Alioth or pass through him. They pass through a green vortex that allows them to leave the void …for somewhere.
The story is all over the place. Now that we have heard Judge Renslayer is at least pretending to not know whats up with the TVA we’re back to having no clear ‘Bad Guy/ Villain” It was nice for the four minutes it lasted. As it stands now Ravonna is possibly just caught in the middle and maybe has sort of adopted Sylvie’s Agenda- which is starting to really take its toll on the TVA ranks and file as one person after another is flipping sides.
In close to five hours I have more questions then I had aftser epiode one. We’ve layered on a lot without explaining much. The humor is great and alligator Loki is legitimately funny. Sylvie is now being praised constantly by all throughout most episodes. Even her foes have a grudging admiration for her. The character is super powerful. I don’t think Captain Marvel could take her on.
I cant help but think this was a series where they took the path of least resistance. “People love Loki, people love Tom Hiddleston. Lets create a lot of Loki’s and build a show around Hiddleston. His acting will float any story and we’ll re-make him into a likable Fox Mulder-type whose core traits are now mostly the same as Thor’s.”
I’m not so sure that the price we paid to get here was worth it. What we seem to have now is a show mostly derived and repurposed badly from Older (Good) Star Trek with some X- Files and Men In Black mixed in. We’ve gotten good humor but almost no substance. Nothing has been explained. Things just happen. I guess this is what passes for Storytelling these days. Episode 6 drops after midnight tonight – I expect we get a cameo and no answers as we set up Season 2.