LOKI Episode 6 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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LOKI Episode 6 Review

Hannah explores the End of Time in the season finale of Loki…
What makes a Loki, a Loki? Throughout the season, we have had variants from across the timelines attempting to answer that question. Mischief, mayhem, survivability, alienating others. All these traits ring true to the audience as we think back across the first three Marvel phases. Loki said earlier in the previous episode that Sylvie wasn’t like other variants, and we find out in the season finale just how much of a disservice he was doing himself with this statement.

If we ignore the disorientating opening (as beautiful as it was), the episode begins at the entrance to ‘The Citadel at the End of Time’, the imposing black and gold structure brings the art of Kintsugi to mind. The Japanese metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections seems pretty fitting here, if not for the man who resides in the Citadel, but for the people about to enter it.

Inside the Citadel itself, Loki and Sylvie meet Miss Minutes once more, who gives them the name ‘He Who Remains’ and offers them a chance to live happily together in a timeline if they turn back. This offer is particularly interesting as of course, we later find out that ‘He Who Remains’ knows everything that will happen, so he knows that Loki and Sylvie won’t accept this deal, so why offer it? Whilst it is a classic trope to offer the ‘hero’ their wildest desire if they turn back, in this case it seems a tad redundant. After all, ‘He Who Remains’ later tells them that they have two options, and this isn’t one of them.

The design of the Citadel itself is gorgeous, as we enter the ‘Hall of Heroes’ we see three statues identical to the mechanical Timekeepers, along with one decimated statue (presumably that of ‘He Who Remains’). You can see in the design that the Citadel has been left to ruin, and as we move up into the study, it becomes clear that ‘He Who Remains’ has, over time, retreated through the Citadel to his ‘inner sanctum’.

To step back a second to the introduction of Jonathan Majors, the biblical references are pretty candid here. ‘He Who Remains’ appears to Loki and Sylvie eating an apple, much like the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with the Tree of Life. It’s an interesting parallel to draw, but it seems very deliberate. After all, what Miss Minutes offered the two of them is akin to their personal Eden…

As for Jonathan Majors, well, I adored him in Lovecraft Country and his portrayal of ‘He Who Remains’/Nathaniel Richards in Loki did not disappoint either. Just the brief introduction to his character makes me very excited to see him playing his ensemble of variants across Phase Four. The tension he builds in this scene is palpable, as he tells the tale of the TVA and their conception; you can’t help but be drawn in by his charisma. The moment after his knowledge of the timeline ends, as he drops an item and is surprised by its fall, the raw intrigue overcoming panic that Majors plays this with is electric.

And then, comes the only disappointing moment of the episode, the kiss. Now, unlike most people, I’m not annoyed by this moment due to the weird nature of Loki and Sylvie’s relationship. I’m annoyed with this moment because it’s in this moment, we find out that Sylvie isn’t the different Loki, Loki is. Loki puts himself in harm’s way to stop Sylvie from murdering ‘He Who Remains’, something that is not within a Loki’s nature. She uses his emotions against him, kissing him purely to disarm him and take him out of the fight. Loki has managed to achieve as much character development in this series as the original MCU Loki achieved in ten years, only to have the figure that led to this development betray him.

Before you come at me and claim that the kiss was genuine, think of this, she ejects Loki using ‘He Who Remains’ fancy TemPad, which she is only able to pick up from the desk during the duration of the kiss. She knew exactly what she was doing with that kiss. So, while our Loki defies everything that we believe makes a Loki, Sylvie succumbs to her pre-determined nature, but yet she believes herself to be fighting for free will? Go figure.

The look on Loki’s face as he sits on the floor of the TVA is heartbreaking, I almost wouldn’t have blamed him if he had reverted to his vengeful self at this point. However, he doesn’t, and instead chooses to try and find Mobius as the timeline shatters around them. As we watch the timelines infinitely branching, it’s hard to truly comprehend the ramifications of Sylvie’s actions…Luckily, we don’t have to, as we soon find out that Loki has found himself in a different version of the TVA…Uh oh.

Personally, I think this whole series was a beautiful example of what Marvel and Disney are capable of when they put their heads together. I was initially hesitant about phase four, worried that it was going to revolve around the ‘New Avengers’ as Disney tries to appeal to its child demographic. However, with WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and now Loki giving us a small glimpse into what’s in store, I can’t wait, and with the second season of Loki reportedly beginning filming early next year, it looks like I won’t have to wait long to find out whether Sylvie is going to be forgiven or not…

All six episode of Loki season one are streaming now on Disney+

Preferring the company of fictional characters to living, breathing people; it should come as no surprise that Hannah is a connoisseur of all things geek. Whilst their body resides in the capital of Wales, their heart resides in Middle-Earth and their mind remains firmly lodged in the memory of that embarrassing thing they did when they were eight.

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