While the other Marvel shows found their best episodes in the middle of their seasons where the action, tension, and story started to ramp up, this week’s episode of Loki slams the brakes on the momentum of the show and is easily the worst episode so far. It serves too much as filler without giving us much to think on or digest, even when you have two Loki’s chemistry to benefit from. The show definitely showed its flaws this week as it hit the midpoint and it makes me cautious going into the second half of the series.
Loki and Sylvie (who’s name is revealed this week), are accidentally transported to a planet on the cusp of destruction with no way out. Their objective is to reach a major city for a power supply in order to repower the transporter so they can get off the planet. While this could have set the stage for some interesting character building and chemistry to build, it is completely cast aside for a generic and boring adventure.
I enjoy what Sylvie brings to the table but I didn’t feel we learned a lot about her this week. That could be because she’s playing things close to the chest and being more calculating in order to throw off Loki. She has a few pieces of dialogue that explains how she can do enchantment magic which I have a strong suspicion will play a key role later, but other than that we don’t really see what’s different about this “variant” than our titular character. Sylvie basically has a similar backstory to Loki but we don’t really see what makes her history different or even unique. This would have been a great time for us to learn that maybe Sylvie was well respected on her version of Asgard or that maybe she was even the elected ruler as opposed to Odin, but none of that depth or intrigue is there.
Sylvie and Loki’s conversation on the train was interesting, conveying the pain they both feel while also highlighting the hidden insecurities and facades they put on. I stand by what I said about Loki in the previous episode in that it doesn’t truly feel like this is the Loki from the end of the first Avengers film but rather than one before Infinity War. The characterization continues to be weak and the only thing that makes us invested in Loki right now is Tom Hiddleston’s dynamic performance. No matter how weak the script or character arcs are, Hiddleston dominates this show and makes it entertaining to watch week to week.
I also really missed seeing Owen Wilson’s Mobius this week and the dynamic Loki and him have together. This episode really highlighted how much the show benefits from the chemistry of those two characters and their witty yet collaborative banter with one another. I do hope he comes back here in the next few episodes because he was sorely missed this week and the episode particularly highlighted that vacuum.
It is revealed that the members of the TVA were not created by the Time Keepers, but rather plucked from their reality to serve them. It does present an interesting turn of events but I felt the build up to that was unearned and no real impact was felt. Maybe it’s because we didn’t see the TVA this week, especially Mobius, who we have spent two episodes growing more attached to. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the last 3 episodes, but the show has a lot to pay off in that time.
Especially after the jaw dropping cliffhanger of the previous week’s episode where Sylvie bombed the Sacred Timeline creating multiple variants, I was itching to see the fallout of that decision. However, there is no payoff this week or even a subtle reference to the ramifications that could have. There needs to be less filler in these Marvel shows when you only have 6 episodes. Keep the momentum focused on one storyline at a time and not put the audience through meaningless side quests.
This week was really disappointing and truly halted what started off as Marvel’s best show so far. The characterization was weak, the storyline was uninteresting, and the revelations and fallout are cast aside. The show really needs to pick up in these last 3 episodes and hopefully we get to see them return back to the TVA and enter more into the conflict with the Time Keepers. These shows have had a problem with sticking the landing and given how this episode went, I am afraid they may make the mistake a third time.
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