The Loki season finale is an ambitious anticlimax

(L-R): Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

The season finale of Loki mostly revolves around exposition, but it’s exposition that portends huge changes for the MCU.

Well folks, we’ve reached the last episode of Loki, “For All Time. Always.” And for the first time all season, I’m not sure how I feel. While I like to think we got most of the answers we’d been looking for all season long, the season finale didn’t quite feel like a finale for some reason, although it did leave me wanting more. At the very least, I wanted to see Mobius gloriously tearing up the waves on a jet ski, but it seems like a lot of other things, we’re going to have to wait for the newly announced season 2.

You want details? Of course you do, be be warned: SPOILERS follow below.

When last we saw our intrepid pair of Loki variants, the duo had finally arrived at our unseen man behind the curtain’s citadel at the end of time. But before meeting “He Who Remains,” Loki and Slyvie are offered all of their dreams made manifest by Miss Minutes. The pair are quick to cast aside such temptation in favor of answers. And while Miss Minutes is inherently charming and entertaining, it seemed odd that she would offer to buy Slyvie and Loki off considering what “He Who Remains” reveals about his plans in the next scene.

To save myself a headache, let’s get right to the point: “He Who Remains” is a variant of the well-known Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror, gleefully played here by Jonathan Majors. Although the episode doesn’t expressly name him, there can be no doubt about it; Majors will also play Kang in the upcoming MCU film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

At any rate, Kang receives our heroes in his office for a little chat, and it’s there that we spend the majority of the episode. Ravonna and Mobius have a confrontation that ends with her fleeing somewhere to seek “the truth,” and there’s a bit of a scuffle between Loki and Slyvie, but the bulk of the episode revolves around Kang’s exposition; it’s just Kang, Loki and Slyvie sitting around a desk discussing what’s been going on the whole season. It felt like a bit of a letdown for the season’s end.

Still, Kang’s revelations do appear to have enormous ramifications on the MCU at large, especially given Thanos’ departure as the big bad. Kang reveals that he’s been pruning the timeline to keep the multiverse from going to war with itself, something Kang has experience with. At one point, Kang and his variants all achieve knowledge of the multiverse, and initially interact with one another in peaceful and cooperative ways. But some of the variants are more ambitious than others and war breaks out, with Kangs trying to save their own universes and eradicate the others. Having seen that play out, Kang set up the TVA with himself in control in order to prevent a disaster.

But Kang has gotten tired, and professes a desire to hand over control of the TVA to the duo. (Not sure why Miss Minutes was tempting them before then, but whatever.) Slyvie, still hell bent on revenge, wants to simply kill Kang, while Loki wonders if they should take Kang up on his offer. Why they couldn’t do both — learn the ropes and then kill Kang — never occurs to Slyvie and Loki, but it does lead to Loki finally confessing his feelings for Slyvie, as much as he can, at least.

Slyvie is having none of it however, and sends Loki back to the TVA before killing Kang. Kang was clear that his death would only allow other variants of himself, most without his good nature, to begin another multiverse war, and things do indeed begin to fracture just as Kang predicted. And it apparently happened very quickly, because when Loki attempts to explain things to Mobius back at the TVA, Mobius doesn’t even know who Loki is, and we see that the organization now pledges allegiance to a Kang variant, one with the villain’s more traditional comic book look.

So where does that leave us? We really don’t get much about what the future might hold. Cliffhangers are fine, but the entire episode felt a bit anticlimactic to me, almost as if we were going to have one more episode to explain things next week. I do appreciate the series introducing the next big MCU baddie and Majors did a bang up job as Kang, but if every MCU film going forward revolves around time travel and multiple dimensions — and the next Ant-Man, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange films all seem to do this — things are going to get confusing quickly.

Ultimately, Loki as a series was stellar, even if the finale didn’t quite feel as grand as the rest of it. Considering the previous two MCU series did not by and large change the MCU, it was refreshing and a bit of a surprise to see Loki do it head-on. Where, and perhaps more importantly when, we might see Loki and Slyvie again remains to be seen, but the show definitely left me wanting more of the God of Mischief.

Episode Grade: B-

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