Let’s Talk about Loki Episode 1-6
On January 15th, Disney+ unveiled two episodes of its daring new series, WandaVision.
This program signaled the start of a new approach, Marvel Cinematic Universe content airing first on a streaming service.
On July 14th, Marvel completed the circle of its first three programs, as Loki officially ended.
Presuming that you’ve watched the episode, your mind is blown, as Loki definitely got to the fireworks factory this week.
We have much to discuss, but before we do, I implore you! Do NOT read this recap until you have watched the season finale.
There’s a massive spoiler here that’s impossible not to mention. However, if you know in advance, it’ll ruin your enjoyment.
Okay, now that I’ve warned you, let’s talk about Loki episode 1-6, the one where we meet the man behind the curtain.
PS: I will refer to a certain character by their comic book name. As an FYI, at no point during the episode does Marvel refer to him by said name.
Twenty Seconds In, I’m Already Lost
The Loki finale starts with a series of recognizable pop culture quotes coming from, well, the cosmos.
Shots of distant galaxies mesh with famous words from Neil Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, and Greta Thunberg.
A few Marvel characters also factor in, most notably Vision’s comments about love and Loki’s catchphrase, Glorious Purpose. We’ll circle back to the latter one.
While these pre-opening credits create a subtle sense of mystery, what happens next is positively Agatha Christie.
Sylvie and Loki have reached their destination, a place beyond The Void. They seem to be standing by a mansion…on a rock…in space.
The door to the palace stands before them as they prepare for the grand encounter. Then, unexpectedly, the door opens to reveal…Miss Minutes.
The worst AI since Clippy informs them that they’ve reached The Citadel at the End of Time. I wonder if that’s near the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Anyway, Miss Minutes has known more than she has let on this entire time. She’s working with He Who Remains, the powerful figure behind the Time Variance Authority.
Almost immediately, Miss Minutes offers a deal. She promises that her boss has uncovered a way to insert Loki and Sylvie back into the Sacred Timeline…together.
Miss Minutes adds that Loki can have anything he wants. He can win the Battle of New York, kill Thanos, claim the Infinity Gauntlet, and rule Asgard.
Meanwhile, Sylvie can awaken to joyous memories of moments that never transpired. The virtual assistant promises to implant her with these bits of happiness.
The Variants reject the offer the same way that you don’t trust Siri to tell you where the best Thai food is in your area. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Awkward Meetings and Reunions
“We write our own destiny now.”
With these finite statements, Sylvie and Loki advance to the elevator and their meeting with destiny.
Before we can learn who is pulling the strings, the show cuts back to the TVA, where Miss Minutes tries to help Judge Renslayer.
The TemPad includes new information that “he” thinks the judge will find more useful.
Speaking of which, we cut back to the Space Castle in the Sky, where the host greets his guests.
Here’s your last spoiler warning if you didn’t listen before. STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T KNOW!!!
Jonathan Majors of Lovecraft Country appears. Of course, if you’ve read MarvelBlog or anything else Marvel-related, you know what that means.
Yes, the authority behind the TVA is…Kang the Conqueror. Gulp.
Of course, Sylvie and Loki don’t know who that is. To them, he’s just a strange man who smiles at the wrong times.
For his part, He Who Remains obsesses on how he’s meeting two versions of the same person. You’ll appreciate the irony of this in a minute.
Early in the conversation on the elevator, Sylvie takes her shot at stabbing Kang. He easily evades her multiple times. Kang acts amused rather than concerned or annoyed.
Seconds later, he offers them both coffee with two sugars. He also just ate an apple. So, I have questions about the supply chain at the end of time.
At the TVA, Mobius returns and speaks with the woman who just pruned him, Renslayer. She seems…relieved by his presence?
The two of them debate ethics, but it goes nowhere. Ultimately, Sylvie declares that the TVA must matter, while Mobius reveals that he showed all the other employees the truth.
The Variants inmates no longer want to run the asylum.
For All Time. Always.
The name of the episode should spur debate for at least another year. It’s the header of this section, and it hints at more than the obvious.
Sylvie and Loki learn that their attacks could never work against Kang because he knows what will happen. He even produces a printout of their conversation.
This moment hearkens back to the gag in the pilot wherein a TVA official presents Loki with a binder full of every word he ever stated.
Apparently, Kang stores all this information and puts it to good use. As he states, “I know it all. And I’ve seen it all.”
Folks, he’s not joking.
Kang reveals his backstory, which blows up the entire MCU. I’m not even joking.
You know how we were all waiting for Wanda to open the door to the rest of the multiverse? Well, that happened, possibly even during this episode.
In the process, the Scarlet Witch undid much of Kang’s work. Let me explain.
Apparently, Kang comes from the 31st century – just like in the comics – where he worked as a scientist searching for technology.
Kang met his match in the form of…other Kangs, many of whom were even worse than him, at least according to him.
Somehow, this Kang stopped all the others during the Multiversal War and thereby claimed the title of He Who Remains. He’s the last Kang.
Well, he would be the last Kang unless something caused the Sacred Timeline to diverge and opened the dimensions to other universes again.
Yeah, we’re all screwed.
Remember, folks. This is all Thanos’ fault for killing Vision and thereby breaking Wanda’s brain.
Of course, Wanda and Agatha Harkness bear some responsibility, too.
The Every Man
I have trouble recapping this episode, as I don’t want to recite every line of Kang’s dialogue. However, I’m petrified that whatever I leave out will prove to be the most crucial part.
Here’s what I know for sure. Kang doesn’t mind that he’s a “jerk” and hated by many. He doesn’t care that he’s a liar or a villain.
He Who Remains believes that he’s done what was necessary to stop the (more) evil versions of himself.
Also, according to Kang, Variants of him were behind everything during the Multiversal War. So, he utilized Alioth to bring the others in check and assert control.
After singlehandedly winning the Multiversal War, Kang formed the Sacred Timeline and then shaped it by preventing additional branches.
In other words, the existence of Sylvie, Loki, and other Variants runs counter to Kang’s purpose, controlling the timeline to keep out invaders from different universes.
The twin Lokis don’t believe a word out of his mouth, and maybe some of it isn’t true. However, I think that Marvel just laid out Phase Four and Five of the MCU.
Kang the Conqueror will become the new Thanos, just not in the way that you expect.
You see, Kang offers Sylvie and Loki a job. He wants them to take over the TVA to maintain the Sacred Timeline.
“You came to kill the devil, right? Well, guess what? I keep you safe. And if you think I’m evil, well, just wait till you meet my variants.”
Kang ominously declares this seeming truth before adding an even more chilling one.
“Stifling order or cataclysmic chaos. You may hate the dictator, but something far worse is gonna fill that void if you depose him.”
Kang adds that he’s living “a million lifetimes” and run through all possible permutations. The TVA is, at least according to him, the only thing that works.
Without Kang and the Sacred Timeline, Multiverse War II is a go. In fact, he adds that they’ll encounter an “infinite amount” of him if they don’t run the TVA.
He Who Remains later confesses that he’s tired, as one would be after a million lives. And that he’d sought a successor for a while.
As fate would have it, the person he sought came in the form of two, Sylvie and Loki, the Variants.
What in the Blue Hell Is Going On?
Folks, there’s a lot to process here, and we’ll spend a lot of time between now and February of 2023 debating intent.
Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives next March and appears certain to explore these themes.
Then, Marvel has confirmed that Majors will appear as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February of 2023.
That last one is confusing since…Sylvie kills Kang. I’m skipping to the end of the page here, but that’s what happens.
Loki and Sylvie argue about whether he’s telling the truth and what the best play is. Finally, Sylvie gets the upper hand and banishes Loki back to the TVA.
This turn of events feels devastating as the Lokis had just shared an admittedly unsettling kiss.
So, the breakup happens soon after the hook-up, as is so often the case.
Sylvie makes the call that Kang is lying and guts him. But, to her shock, he doesn’t act surprised, even though he hadn’t known that would happen.
You see, we reach a moment wherein the Sacred Timeline branches, preventing Kang from seeing the future.
Ten seconds later, his future ends at the edge of Sylvie’s blade. He winks at her and states that he’ll “see you soon.” It’s chilling and foreboding, and I’m scared.
For Loki, that’s not even the worst part. When he reaches the TVA, he notices Mobius speaking with Hunter B-15.
The God of Mischief tries to bring them up to speed on what’s happening, only to realize that they have no idea who he is.
Just past the window, Loki notices a statue of Kang (alone) rather than the three statues he’s studied previously.
Sylvie has sent Loki to a different universe. Breakups are tough.
This episode might be the most satisfying one for any MCU program to date. Admittedly, it’s almost entirely exposition, but it’s also Marvel calling its shot.
We learn several significant points, not the least of which is that Glorious Purpose is a swerve. That bit of satire wasn’t for Loki but the TVA.
The entire organization was built on a lie, and some chose to maintain it even after learning the truth.
Meanwhile, Kang comes across as deranged but borderline omniscient. He was powerful enough to overcome every other Kang in existence.
Then, He Who Remains utilized the TVA to maintain his authority and prevent more nefarious Kangs from interfering with the Sacred Timeline.
After encountering Sylvie (and maybe Loki but mainly Sylvie), he experiences a change of heart. He’s ready for the cycle to begin anew.
Kang makes no attempt to evade Sylvie this time and also refuses to beg for his life. Instead, he taunts her with his dying breath.
From the meta-perspective, this turn of events ripples across the entire MCU. You know how we’ve cheered as dead characters have returned?
Now, we have a supervillain powerful enough that his low-level underlings use Infinity Stones as paperweights.
This dude describes himself as infinite, and the only wards in place to prevent Variants from arriving just collapsed. Thanks again, Wanda!
The final episode of Loki just dropped all safeguards from the MCU and assured that Kang will torment Avengers for the next decade or more.
In fact, the only good news here comes from the credits. Loki will receive a second season, presumably sometime between Dr. Strange 2 and Ant-Man 3.
Until then, I leave you with one final thought. Imagine a multiverse full of Thanoses. Kang is somehow even worse.
Feature Image Rights: Marvel