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‘Loki’ season finale review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Another Marvel Disney Plus series has finally concluded with the season finale of “Loki.” A lot is riding on this episode as so many fans’ expectations are through the roof with the directions this series has gone in. We’ve seen the character go through multiple time periods, make enemies as well as allies, and even encounter numerous versions of himself. Is it the big payoff that fans have been waiting for? The obvious answer is yes, but for the sake of this review let’s go over it together.

We return where we left off from last week with Loki and Sylvie entering the Citadel at the End of Time.  If that wasn’t enough, we see the mastermind behind everything which leads to a lot of their questions being answered. They learn the reason for the T.V.A.’s existence, as well as the reason why it has been pruning timelines that will lead to a multiverse. Loki and Sylvie find that they are at odds with one another, with both not knowing whether or not to choose safety with one another, or make a choice that will inevitably lead to a lot of chaos in the future.

It’s ironic how a lot of people, including myself, were originally indifferent to this series when it was first announced. However, because this show has such a great cast and is so creative in its concept, it’s won so many people over. Now that we’re on the final episode of the season, it naturally has a lot to live up to with its climax.

One of the biggest criticisms to have arisen in the past year was that the climax episodes in Marvel Disney Plus series have been noted to be the weakest parts of these streaming shows. They don’t ruin the series or end them on a bad note. It’s just that they can be seen as underwhelming in some places, especially when compared to the previous episodes. Thankfully, that is not the case here, as this series starts strong and it ends strong. I am ecstatic to say that “Loki” is not only my favorite Marvel Disney Plus series so far, but it’s also one of my favorite comic book shows of all time.

When Loki and Sylvie enter the citadel, there is this natural sense of anticipation as to who is behind everything. The entire place is portrayed as this high-scale mansion, with a lot of dark stone architecture. The location seems to be abandoned until the T.V.A. mascot Miss Minutes appears before the duo to give them a proposition. She says that her creator “He Who Remains” is able to return them to their timeline, and give them what they desire. With Sylvie being able to live a peaceful life, and Loki having the power to defeat the Avengers in New York and claim the throne of Asgard. They quickly shoot down the offer as they’ve been through too much to not find out what or who is behind the T.V.A. and the Sacred Timeline.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

Once Loki and Sylvie reach the center of the citadel, an elevator door opens and a strange man appears before them. The man reveals himself to be “He Who Remains,” and he has been waiting for Loki and Sylvie to come to him. In a series where we’ve hologram penny mascots and alligator variants, it is a bit surprising that the one behind everything is revealed to be just a guy. The character is played by Jonathon Majors (the same actor who is set to play the role of Kang the Conqueror in this universe) and his portrayal was something I wasn’t expecting. He plays the role of an eccentric and upbeat kind of guy. Majors was very entertaining to see on screen as he works perfectly off the main duo. Both from a comedic standpoint and as a means to further enlighten the mystery of the story. Occasionally he can be a little too outlandish, but he never goes overboard. While he doesn’t have the traditional character’s design, nor his personality, there is a clear reason for that which we’ll get to in a bit.

You can tell that the writers were having fun playing with audiences’ expectations when building up this character. Despite “He Who Remains” offbeat personality, they still give him an edge with how he is able to be one step ahead of the main characters. They demonstrate this by having him be able to move from place to place in the blink of an eye when either Loki or Sylvie attacks him. He even has paper documents that list all the things they’re going to say moments after they say them. Having no means to get the upper hand, they follow him to his office where he explains the grand scale of the story.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

“He Who Remains” reveals that he comes from the 31st century, where variant versions of himself found a way to breach their timelines and make physical contact with each other. This new age discovery leads to mayhem, as some of his variants sought power by conquering other universes. This resulted in a multiversal war that nearly destroyed everything before “He Who Remains” uses Ailoth from the last episode to end the war, hide his timeline, and create the T.V.A. to prevent further branches from happening. 

The way the character goes into detail about his backstory was both very satisfying and foreboding to watch. You buy into his reasons for why he would go to such lengths to do this, as the idea of a multiverse would lead to a lot of insanity. With that said, you still can’t tell whether to trust him or not. We just found out who this guy is and have no idea how long he’s been doing this. It could be hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of years that he’s been keeping the timeline under control. He eventually gives Loki and Sylvie a choice, kill him and end the timeline risking another multiversal war, or succeed him and take his place in managing the timeline. The reason being he sees them as the best candidates to replace him. Even though you’re expecting them to finish him off, you don’t know what madness will follow if they make that choice — p. I think “He Who Remains” says it best when he states, “You may hate the dictator, but something far worse is gonna fill that void if you depose of him.” This most likely refers to his other variants, whom he claims are far worse than him.

While those big reveals are going on, we cut back to Renslayer as she works with Miss Minutes when she receives information from “He Who Remains.” She’s still dedicated to her purpose, even though she’s aware it’s based on a lie. She’s eventually confronted by Mobius who has already made his move in exposing the truth behind the T.V.A. They have a brief confrontation where they argue over the ethics of their work and whether it’s better to allow free will or maintain control. It eventually results in Renslayer leaving to find “free will,” as we cut to 2018 Fremont Ohio in a school where Hunter B-15 is pursued by minutemen. Before they catch her, she shows them a variant version of Renslayer, who is the school’s vice-principal. This reveal makes it clear to the people involved that they are in actuality variants abducted from the timeline.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

When we cut back to Loki and Sylvie, the episode takes a surprise turn when “He Who Remains” realizes that they have reached a point where he can no longer see the future. The moment is made more evident when outside the citadel window, the timeline begins to diverge into multiple branches. It was at this point that I had no idea what was going to happen. I didn’t know what direction it would go or what choice the characters would make. I was really excited to see how the climax would turn out. 

When Sylvie tried to kill “He Who Remains,” Loki stops her as even he can’t risk the possibility of multiversal war. This naturally causes both of them to duel and decide the fate of the timeline. You can understand why both characters are doing what they’re doing as Sylvie who has been hunted all her life wants to bring down the T.V.A. It’s also bizarre to have Loki in the role of the “hero” in this situation. It is surprising to see how far Loki has come in the past few episodes. You would think that he would only want to cause more chaos, but it’s obvious that he’s made a change and wants to keep Sylvie safe. You can tell they both have a legitimate relationship, so it makes sense why both of them fighting would be hard on each other. Even Loki’s line about not being able to be trusted by Sylvie hits hard, as this is one of the few moments in his life that he’s been completely honest with someone.

Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

The fight eventually reaches a stalemate where Loki tries once more to convince Sylvie to reconsider. In a surprising and shocking turn of events, they both share a kiss and Sylvie uses a Tempad to send Loki “back” to T.V.A. headquarters. With no one else in her way, Sylvie stabs “He Who Remains” in the chest as he gives the foreboding final words “See you soon.” Despite avenging her timeline, Sylvie seems to immediately regret her choice as she breaks down in tears when a multiverse is created.

The buildup behind the multiverse being created is both exciting and also somehow unnerving to watch. While we as fans want to see how this concept will be handled in this universe, we can’t deny that it will lead to a lot of chaos for the characters. The image of numerous branches overcrossing each other in the timeline does create this sense of excitement but also dread with how everyone reacts to it.

Things aren’t looking good for the other characters as Loki is understandably heartbroken after being literally dumped by Sylvie. Once he finally composes himself, he goes to warn Mobius and Hunter B-15 of the variants of “He Who Remains.” However, in the biggest twist of the series, Mobius and B-15 don’t recognize him as it’s revealed that Loki was transported to a T.V.A. in a different universe. The season then ends on a massive cliffhanger as Loki looks over at the T.V.A. headquarters where in place of the Time Keeper statues, is a statue of Kang the Conqueror himself. This reveal had me so psyched it’s not even funny. Being a huge Marvel fan, I have been waiting for years to see this character in live-action. He’s a time-traveling despot with limitless technology who can overwhelm even the likes of the Avengers. He’s built up quite a reputation as a large-scale threat in the comics, with storylines like “The Kang Dynasty” being fan favorites among many including myself. He may not be one of Marvel’s most well-known characters in the public eye, but then again neither was Thanos before 2012. If Marvel can turn a purple alien into one of the film’s best villains in recent years, I can’t wait to see what they do with Kang in the future.

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

That about wraps up my thoughts on “Loki,” the show that gives more than it promises. Unlike Marvel’s other streaming shows don’t think that this is a one-off, as it’s been announced that the series has been renewed for a second season. So, be sure to expect more from the titular character down the road. It’s easy to get excited for future installments, as the idea of different universes and multiple variants of the same character lead to a lot of creative opportunities for upcoming series and films. The multiverse has been something fans have been waiting for, and we have this series to thank for it. With all the different stories and characters this universe can give us, fans can only ponder the question that in no way ties into the next upcoming Marvel series, “What If…?”

Rating: 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails

________

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