Narcissistic Loki Variants Work Together to Defeat Cloud Monster
***for my thoughts on episode four see previous post ***
I’m beginning to lose in interest in Loki. Perhaps it’s because this latest episode felt somewhat inconsequential, a hodgepodge of treats for comic book fans, introducing characters/Lokis that fizzle out among a spectacle meant to hold you over until the climatic finale next week.
This week we learn that everything the TVA prunes gets sent to a trash dump of a zone at the end of time. The Void: an apocalyptic prison realm where a cloud monster called Alioth devours any survivor out in the open. I might be more interested, if we had at least a couple episodes there getting to know its inhabitants. Instead we get brief moments with a few Lokis and a convenient setting for our three protagonists (Loki, Sylvie, & Mobius) to miraculously stumble upon each other. It was particularly unfortunate to see Boastful Loki (the only Loki of color) be pushed aside so quickly.
We do get more insight on Ravonna Renslayer’s motivations, though now that her mystery is waning her character is feeling less nuanced. The now imprisoned B-15 sees right through her. She’s looking to maintain her power within and the stability of the TVA. She’s outwardly concerned with protecting whoever is behind the curtain, supposedly isn’t upset about their deceiving nature, but perhaps really wants some vengeance. Ravonna is a great deceiver herself. She nearly fooled Sylvie in the court room before Sylvie, in her baddest move yet, pruned herself out of there and into The Void.
The Sylvie + Loki romance continues in this void, in standard fashion. They’re reluctant to acknowledge their “love” as they sit sharing a conjured blanket. In battle, though, they must come together (holding hands) to enchant the monster. Before the the finishing blow, Classic Loki comes in with his master illusions to distract Alioth. He sacrifices himself in a moment that’s more about showing admiration to the actor Richard E. Grant, than giving his character a poignant send-off. If Classic Loki had more screen time, I might’ve felt something. That whole battle kept me a bit bored, as is the case with most of the climatic Marvel fights.
Hopefully the series has gotten the smoke and lights show out of its system and the finale will feature a more engaging battle of wits. The writing in this episode, and thus far this season, has been at its best in more intimate scenes. I hope to see Loki disarm the big bad in a verbal spar and for Sylvie to do the same within her enchantments. And of course, Mobius and Ravonna need a proper final meeting.
I’m glad to see that the show is treating a system like the TVA as the villain and propping up the person who motivates others to tear it down, Sylvie, as the hero. Loki mentions that what makes Sylvie different, is that she wants to take down the TVA rather than usurp it. (In that scene by the way, the other Lokis show their casual sexism by balking at the notion of a woman Variant) That said, I’m concerned the series will end next week by emphasizing that the culprit is the individual(s) pulling the strings, thus lessening its systemic critique. It’s at least clear that Loki’s and Sylvie’s fear of loneliness is central to their character development. Their love and collaboration will certainly win the day next week, right?