This review contains full spoilers for episode five of Loki, now available to watch on Disney+.
Loki Loses His Magical Mojo
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been adventuring with the TVA for quite some time now, but it seems like The God of Mischief has lost his spark. Gone are the days when Loki would gleefully cause chaos even in the face of a unraveling reality. The Loki we know now, the Disney+ variant, has gone through significant character growth since his appearance in Thor (2011). After the catastrophic events of the previous episode, Loki is left feeling lost and despondent. The collapse of the Temporal Loom has caused cosmic entropy, leaving Loki without purpose and without a home. As if that wasn’t enough, his time-slipping powers are acting up, adding to his disarray. This episode, titled “Science/Fiction,” showcases Loki’s despair in the face of the chaos.
Newfound Friends and Alternate Lives
Loki’s emotional journey takes center stage in “Science/Fiction,” but the episode also features interesting variant existences for other TVA characters. Through time-slipping, Loki encounters friends from different branching timelines. Casey, the TVA receptionist, tries to escape Alcatraz in 1962. Hunter B-15 is portrayed as a doctor in 2012 New York City. Mobius becomes a jetski salesman named Don in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for these variants, as they seem happy and content in their alternate lives. However, they were all plucked from reality to serve the TVA’s purposes. The episode highlights the depth and complexity of these characters, showcasing their hopes and dreams beyond their duties at the TVA.
A Refreshing Focus on Character
“Science/Fiction,” directed by Justin Benson & AMoorhead and written by Eric Martin, devotes time to character development while still keeping the story engaging. The emotional journeys of the ensemble cast are explored, revealing their desires and vulnerabilities. From Loki’s encounter with A.D. Doug, a struggling sci-fi novelist, to Hunter B-15’s shifting views on time authority, the episode brings pathos to the forefront. While the episode may feel rushed to wrap up the Marvel timeline, it sets the stage for a potential happy ending for characters like Mobius and Hunter. As Loki gains more control over his time-slipping abilities, the possibilities for his powers seem vast.
Loki’s Newfound Powers
This episode also raises questions about Loki’s time-slipping abilities. It appears that Loki isn’t experiencing random slips but is instead subconsciously transporting himself to the exact time and place where his friends are located. By the end of the episode, Loki gains active control over his time-slipping. This raises the question of whether this ability will become permanent and if Loki now has the power to transport himself anywhere and anytime he chooses. With his existing magical abilities, this newfound power would elevate Loki’s position on the MCU power scale.
This speculation will be further explored in the season finale. If the next episode brings closure and a happy ending for characters like Mobius and Hunter, it would align with the theme of finding one’s place in an unstable universe. As Loki and O.B. suggest, Loki Season 2 is not just science, but a compelling work of fiction. And who better to shape that narrative than The God of Stories himself?