‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

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The Guardian 14 July, 2021 - 12:40pm 16 views

What time does the new Loki episode come out?

When is the Loki Episode 6 release time? Fans will be able to watch Loki Episode 6 exclusively on Disney+ on Wednesday, July 14, at 00:00 PDT, 02:00 CDT and 03:00 EDT in the United States. MARCA.comLoki Episode 6: Release date, time and how to watch

Is Jonathan majors in Loki?

Loki episode 6 featured a terrific performance by special guest star Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) who entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a variant of Kang the Conqueror — a role he is set to play in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, slated to release in February 2023 in cinemas. NDTVLoki Episode 6: Jonathan Majors’ He Who Remains, Explained

Is Loki going to have a Season 2?

Disney+ has renewed Marvel television series Loki for a second season. The renewal was announced mid-way through the end credits for Loki's Season 1 finale, when the anti-hero's case file is branded with the stamp: “Loki will return in season 2.” Deadline‘Loki’ To Return For Season 2 At Disney+

Kang the Conqueror was introduced on the season finale as the person behind the Time Variance Authority (TVA).

Though the name was never said aloud, other than a wink to the character saying he's been called "a conquerer," fans likely recognized the character who was referred to cryptically as "He Who Remains" (even in the show's credits) as the classic Marvel Comics villain.

If you've been watching closely, you probably weren't too surprised by the reveal.

From the presence of Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Renslayer (who Kang loves in the comics) and the temporal beast Alioth (who Kang fights in the comics), as well as Easter egg teases, it makes perfect sense that Kang was the face behind the TVA.

Here's what you need to know about the Marvel character and what he may mean to the future of the MCU.

In the comics, Kang is a time warlord who is a frequent Avengers foe. He was originally called Nathaniel Richards, a 31st-century scholar and the descendant of Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards' dad Nathaniel, who was a time-traveller.

Nathaniel develops an obsession with history and later finds time-travelling tech created by Doctor Doom, another classic Marvel villain. Nathaniel ends up in Ancient Egypt and becomes Pharaoh Rama-Tut, eventually crossing paths with En Sabah Nur (X-Men villain Apocalypse).

After being ousted from this timeline by a time-displaced Fantastic Four, Nathaniel later reappears a thousand years after the 31st century. He conquers Earth and reinvents himself as Kang the Conqueror. He begins to conquer versions of the galaxy in the past, present, and future, creating his own temporal kingdom.

After this, Kang meets Renslayer, the princess of one of his kingdoms, but she does not feel the same way. Kang has various run-ins with several major characters that have already appeared in the MCU or who will do so shortly, including Thor, Mantis, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, the Hulk, the Wasp, the Fantastic Four, and the Black Knight (who Kit Harrington will play in "Eternals").

In the comics, Kang has adventures in the old west, ancient Egypt, World War II, and various eras in the past and future. He also goes by the monikers Scarlet Centurion, Immortus, Iron Lad, and Victor Timely — alternate versions of Kang not unlike the alternate versions of Loki seen in this TV show.

Here's the thing. This Kang wasn't even all bad. We certainly wouldn't classify him as a straight-up villain. He just seemed like a guy who was genuinely trying to keep the peace, from his perspective.

When Sylvie and Loki approached him, Kang explained that before the invention of the TVA, a version of himself in the 31st century discovered multiple universes atop his own. Other versions of Kang discovered the same thing around similar times. The variants made contact and, initially, shared technology and knowledge.

Unfortunately, Kang said some of his variants weren't great.

"To some of us, new worlds meant only one thing, new lands to be conquered," Kang told a somewhat skeptical Loki and Sylvie. "The peace between realities erupted into all-out war, each variant fighting to preserve their universe and annihilate the others. This was almost the end, ladies and gentlemen, of everything and everyone." 

Kang claims that he found and weaponized the giant cloud monster Alioth and ended the Multiversal War between Kang variants.

He then offered the two Lokis to either replace him and run the TVA or kill him and unleash all of his variant selves upon the multiverse, causing another Multiversal War.

"You kill me and the Sacred Timeline is completely exposed or you take over and return to the TVA as its benevolent rulers," Kang said. 

Sylvie, unfortunately, chose chaos and killed the pretty chill version of Kang. The "Loki" finale teased we'll be meeting some of the more dangerous Kang variants in the future.

Kang is played by American actor Jonathan Majors, whose career is just starting out. So far, his notable credits include roles in movies "The Last Black Man in San Franciso" and "Da 5 Bloods," and in TV shows "When We Rise" and "Lovecraft Country."

We expect to see Majors return in season two and can't wait to see how he'll take on these more dangerous variants of Kang.

Officially, Kang will next be seen in 2023's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." But since Kang is so thoroughly tied to the multiverse and different realities, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him involved in either "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" or "Spider-Man: No Way Home," where multiple versions of Spider-Man are rumored to appear.

Kang is a game-changing character who opens up new avenues and possibilities and who could help introduce various characters to the MCU — including Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four, who are getting their own MCU movie(s).

In short, the MCU's scope is broadening. Considerably. The multiverse is now in full effect thanks to Kang and this will sends ripples across various MCU properties, not least the "Spider-Man" and "Doctor Strange" sequels. Expect things to get weirder and wackier, too, as we traverse some of Marvel Comics more colorful storylines.

A "Fantastic Four" movie set in the wild west? Hulk being sent back to World War II? Doctor Doom in Ancient Egypt? The Avengers fighting alternate versions of themselves? Don't rule it out. 

We wouldn't be surprised if the end of "Loki" sets the tone for every phase four Marvel film moving forward. Perhaps each movie from "Eternals" to "Spider-Man: No Way Home" to "Doctor Strange 2" to "Thor: Love and Thunder" all deal, in part, with an alternate timeline.

This would help explain why we're going to see an alternate version of Thor in next year's sequel where Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) will become the God of Thunder. Perhaps that entire film takes place in one of the branches Sylvie helped create on the "Loki" finale. Anything seems possible now that Kang is in the picture.

Read full article at The Guardian

Here’s what one breakout star from Marvel’s ‘Loki’ has to say about the finale

Yahoo Entertainment 14 July, 2021 - 11:25am

The show managed to deliver on two amazing fronts. First of all, it took a character we knew and told a different redemption story that’s unlike what we saw from Loki in the movies. Secondly, it used Loki’s story to provide the new rules of engagement. Phase 4 will feature plenty of multiverse action and Loki establishes the ground rules. We’ve learned of the Sacred Timeline, alternate realities, Nexus events, time travel, and the TVA’s role in all of this. Episode 6 will reveal the show’s biggest mystery and set the stage for the multiverse of madness that will follow. And one of the breakout stars from Loki just gave us a little teaser regarding the show’s upcoming final episode. Before we go any further, we’ll note that some minor Loki spoilers might follow below.

The WandaVision finale taught fans a valuable lesson about Marvel’s Disney+ stories. And it taught us the hard way. The shows tell specific, simple stories. We’ll get plenty of exciting MCU moments, including cameos and Easter eggs. This is, after all, an MCU story, so they’ll use as much lore as possible. But Marvel won’t overcomplicate things. And it won’t include any big reveals in the TV shows. Those are saved for the movies. Marvel said that it’s creating the shows with the idea that anyone watching the movies won’t need to see the TV shows first. Then again, Disney wants to drive as many people as possible to its streaming service, and the shows will help with that. Especially Loki.

Expectations were so high for the WandaVision finale that fans were told ahead of time that they might be disappointed. The Falcon finale played differently. We saw it coming, and we knew not to fuel those expectations again.

<img loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-5934110" src="https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?quality=70&strip=all&w=768&quot; alt="Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) in Loki episode 3. - Credit: Marvel Studios" width="768" height="512" srcset="https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg 1599w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?resize=150,100 150w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?resize=768,512 768w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?resize=1024,683 1024w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-3-1.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px" />Marvel Studios

With Loki, the only expectation I have is for the finale to be at least as impressive as the previous episode. That is already an expectation I might have to temper.

But the tone is different this time around from people involved in the series. There is no warning that we might be disappointed. In fact, the opposite is the case this time around. Actress Tara Strong, who voices Miss Minutes in the show, spoke to Murphy’s Multiverse about the finale.

Strong did not reveal any big Loki finale spoilers, not that we expected her to. But she said that fans are going to be “so happy” with what happens next:

They’re going to be so happy. A lot of times you watch a show and you’re invested in a show and the final episode leaves you disappointed. And I think this series of Loki, from start to finish, has been one of the most stellar, perfect shows I’ve ever seen and everyone’s just going to happy and excited and feel like they’ve gone on a great, great ride.

<img loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-5931808" src="https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?quality=70&strip=all&w=768&quot; alt="Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Loki Episode 2. - Credit: Marvel Studios" width="768" height="519" srcset="https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg 1576w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?resize=150,101 150w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?resize=300,203 300w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?resize=768,519 768w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?resize=1024,693 1024w, https://bgr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/loki-episode-2-images-1.jpg?resize=1536,1039 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px" />Marvel Studios

Miss Minutes is easily one of the show’s highlights. It’s the TVA’s AI that seems like it might have a mind of its own. We saw it sporadically in the five episodes so far, and we got to meet various faces of this animated character. Some theories say that Miss Minutes might be even more nefarious than she is letting on. After all, she’s been with the TVA probably since the beginning. And we might very well get to know her better in other MCU stories featuring the TVA.

Strong acknowledged the online interest in the animated AI character without revealing anything too juicy about Miss Minutes:

I love, you know, connecting with the fans and seeing what they’re doing on social media. I’ve loved all the art that’s been made. It’s been incredible. And I love all their theories, I can’t comment if things are right or not, but it’s been fun to see people so invested in the show.

Interestingly enough, the actress said she didn’t have a chance to research the character’s backstory. The implication is that she doesn’t know the origin story. Therefore, we might not get all our TVA questions answered in the Loki finale. Then again, episode 6 will be all about Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) meeting the mysterious person behind the curtain.

Loki episode 6 airs on Disney+ early on Wednesday.

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*If* he actually did, that is.

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Loki Episode 6 Review: For All Time. Always.

Den of Geek 14 July, 2021 - 11:25am

Marvel's Loki episode 6 is a triumphant season finale that's low on action, while the stakes are nail-bitingly high.

If you thought Marvel’s Disney+ shows were done with Contact homages after Monica Rambeau’s transformation sequence in WandaVision, you thought wrong. The Loki season finale, “For All Time. Always.” opened with another one. We heard iconic dialogue from other MCU films, including Vision’s “What is grief, if not love persevering?” – which went from a heartbreaking utterance to an instant meme earlier this year – as we pulled out from Earth and its blistering sun and outward toward the Citadel at the End of Time where Kang resides, but not before we were joined by the likes of Neil Armstrong, Greta Thunberg, and Nelson Mandela.

Finally, we heard Sylvie calling out to Loki: “Open your eyes!” She’d go on to say variations of the same plea throughout this episode.

“What makes a Loki a Loki?” Mischief? Lies? Revenge? Our Loki experienced a breakthrough when it came to these quirks and failings and seemed resolved to make better choices.

Sylvie? Yeah, not so much.

Sylvie only saw lies and felt revenge for her own pain and the suffering of myriad Variants as she sought the destruction of the TVA and, ultimately, the rebirth of the multiverse. I found myself just as much on her side as I was on Loki’s, and the creators of the show did a great job to get me there because Loki, Kang, and Sylvie all had valid points to make while arguing about whether to kickstart the infinite possibilities of the multiverse – once you open that box it’s not easy to close it existentially or narratively. But we knew a Multiverse of Madness was on the horizon, and that Sylvie was probably going to be the winner of this particular argument.

The Loki season finale reaped the benefits of getting most of its big action out of the way in the penultimate episode‘s battle against Alioth, and I felt no disappointment that “For All Time. Always.” had about half an hour of exposition in store. We started this thing by absorbing a ton of exposition and that’s how we were going to bloody finish it! This time, however, it was exposition I absolutely yearned for, and Jonathan Majors’ Kang was there to deliver it in spades as I hung on his every word.

How good was Majors as Kang, though? I found him to be an instantly terrific addition to the MCU, despite his villainous appearance being signposted for quite a while. In the Sacred Timeline, Kang at least appeared to be a thoughtful, clever, fairly amiable and quite casual man who chuckled his way through an inevitable and dangerous comeuppance (which he admittedly allowed to happen) but there are other versions of Kang out there now who aren’t quite so pleasant to deal with, and we’ll almost certainly be meeting at least one of them in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. I suspect we may run into him again before that, but Majors has a unique chance to put in a completely different performance as Kang every time we see him.

It seemed fitting that when we finally met Kang he was eating an apple – a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man, and sin. Loki has played with all of these themes deftly throughout its run, and continued to do so in this episode. The Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes were still running strong in the finale as Kang explained to Loki and Sylvie that he was tired and had decided that they were the perfect people to take over his majestic reign of the Sacred Timeline, and it all made for a definite improvement on The Matrix: Reloaded’s similar but legendarily confusing Architect encounter by actually making sense in a clear, effective, and adroit way.

It takes a lot to write Loki into a place where he plays a fairly innocent pawn in a chess game that he has no idea how to play, especially after we’ve seen him be several moves ahead in other MCU outings. But to have him be the voice of reason in that scenario was quite something, and Tom Hiddleston’s performance during the sequence where he struggled to avoid fighting Sylvie in order to express it was incredible. I may not have completely bought into the romance between Loki and Sylvie, but I did buy into the essential ways that they were too different to trust each other when push came to shove.

Kang managed to give Renslayer a bite of the apple before he met the end of Sylvie’s sword by passing on some key knowledge through Miss Minutes. Renslayer and Kang are heavily connected in the comics, even becoming romantically involved at several points, so we can probably expect to see them on screen together in the future now that she has ditched Mobius and the TVA and set out on her own quest. As Sylvie defied Loki, so Renslayer defied Mobius. But hey, that’s free will for ya baby.

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Yes, the multiverse has returned, and we have no idea what madness lies ahead, only that a war beyond our wildest nightmares with Kang at the center of it is coming. I couldn’t be more excited to find out what happens next or how Loki and the rest of the MCU denizens will play their parts as Phase 4 unravels.

Kirsten Howard |

Kirsten Howard has paid their dues. Yes sir, the check is in the mail.

Loki Season-Finale Recap: A Low-Key Finish

Vulture 14 July, 2021 - 11:25am

Jokes aside, the finale of Loki surprised me, pulling away from the big action scenes and subverting expectations with the identity of the true creator of the TVA, He Who Remains. He’s played by Jonathan Majors, who is already announced as playing Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but the refusal to call the character by that name here is fascinating. Is it a case of Marvel wanting the big name-drop to be a part of an actual movie, rather than a Disney+ show? Is it an allusion to Kang’s comic-book origins, and the many aliases by which he’s known? Probably both!

Either way, it’s an elegant punctuation point on the show’s statements about identity, the ones people are born to and the ones they choose. Earlier in the series, when we’re introduced to Sylvie, she emphatically rejects the name “Loki,” saying that’s not who she is. He Who Remains needles her with this at one point in the episode, serving up tea to both her and Loki, and calling them both “Loki.”

Majors is a delight in this role. He’s charming, funny, animated, but it’s subtle moments like that in which he’s able to really play up the fact that He Who Remains is the antagonist here, if not the villain outright. He disrespects Sylvie’s identity by misnaming her, but the show as a whole is careful not to repeat that message to viewers; He Who Remains is never called Kang, because this version of him does not claim that identity.

Instead, as he tells the story of his variants meeting each other, of the advent of a multiverse (and then a Multiversal War — put that one in your pocket for a future Avengers subtitle), and the trick of the Time Variance Authority, it becomes evident that He Who Remains is desperate, old, doing his best to flee a role he can see the shape of. He does not use the name Kang here because he does not want to be Kang. That he cannot escape the trappings of conquest and authoritarian rule is a separate, tragic point. He Who Remains is so focused on avoiding the identity of Kang that he has overlooked the fact that his behavior is the same, establishing a conquering regime of his own in order to mercilessly police the timeline and prevent his idea of a calamity.

But of course, what of Sylvie’s calamity? What of the calamities of various Lokis, of Mobius, of the Minutemen? This is where his viewpoint fails; he considers the tragedies he’s inflicted on others as lesser, acceptable. It’s that callousness that keeps him from breaking out of his role, just as the need for vengeance keeps Sylvie from breaking out of hers.

It’s hard not to draw a parallel here between He Who Remains and the Classic Loki played by Richard E. Grant last episode. There, that version of Loki admitted that he would never have been pruned if he had maintained his self-imposed isolation following the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Instead, he got lonely, and attempted to reconnect with Thor.

Here, He Who Remains admits that he has allowed, even engineered, the events that allow Loki and Sylvie to find him. He is old, he says, and looking for a replacement. That’s the crux of his gambit here: Will Loki and Sylvie allow him a graceful exit and jointly assume his role as overseers of the TVA? Or will they follow through on their quest, with Sylvie giving in to her need for vengeance? Even he doesn’t know, as he’s only engineered the flow of events to a certain point. The choice beyond that belongs to the two of them.

Of course, those choices seem foregone, much like the MCU’s commitment to blasted wasteland environments. Loki has, over the course of this series, been confronted multiple times with the abject failures of his schemes for power, the ways those have cost various versions of him his life. He has seen what happens when he reaches for the throne, and so when it is offered to him, he is clear and firm in his rejection of it. It’s a journey that brings this version of the character back around to the version who died at Thanos’s hands — if not redeemed, then at least on a path to redemption.

Sylvie, meanwhile, has been hunted. From apocalypse to apocalypse, she has been chased by the TVA, who have committed untold numbers of Minutemen agents to the cause. Consider, too, that He Who Remains has found these losses acceptable. If he is to be believed, and his control is absolute, then he could have at any point created a situation that allowed for her capture. Therefore, the fact that she remained free was itself by his design, as were the deaths of any individuals the TVA sent after her. He had her timeline pruned while she was a child, and then spent her lifetime radicalizing her against him, only to offer her a choice that he knew she didn’t care about at the end. The offer of power, control, those are offers meant to appeal to Loki, not Sylvie. Sylvie has been allowed one purpose in all of this, and that is the quest for vengeance.

That’s where the lie in his plan is revealed. It might be true that he created this confrontation with no idea how it ended, but he didn’t do so without consideration. These events were engineered specifically to put both Loki and Sylvie at odds. Even now, as he tells them they were the only ones capable enough to reach him, he considers them lesser than him, playthings for his amusement. For all that he has taken credit for the creation of the TVA, for all that he has attempted to cast himself as a benevolent dictator, He Who Remains is willing to sacrifice everything on a game of chance between two variant gods of mischief.

This scene is so monumental that it’s almost easy to forget the other characters along the way, and that’s to the episode’s detriment, since it is after all supposed to be wrapping up the season’s story as a whole. Mobius finally confronts Renslayer, but the encounter is short, and ends with him on the floor. Renslayer departs through a portal to destinations unknown. Hunter B-15 leads another TVA agent to an encounter in a teacher’s office as a means of exposing him to the truth: the teacher is another variant of Renslayer. These are scenes that should have consequences, but don’t, at least not yet. When Loki is returned to the TVA by Sylvie, he finds it changed. Mobius and Hunter B-15 have no idea who he is. The statuary is different now, depicting an unmasked He Who Remains, or perhaps one his more militant variations. They’re large, open-ended questions that are worthy of exploring, and that’s where the show Loki itself proves to be a variant from the other Disney+ shows set in the MCU thus far: It’s getting a second season.

As a series, Loki has tried interesting things. It’s flirted, however timidly, with concepts of gender, with the wages of authoritarianism and the rejection of it, with the idea of what identity means to a person, and it’s flat-out fallen down on its face with regards to depictions of race. This came up a couple of episodes ago, but it’s worth pointing out here, too: He Who Remains is painted as the central antagonist here, and like Renslayer, like the two most prominent Hunters (though I am pleased and grateful to see that B-15 has in fact survived to the end of the series), he’s Black. His final scene is him being run through with a sword by a white woman. Last episode, the Loki who proved to be a turncoat was Boastful Loki, the only Black member of the group who rescued Hiddleston’s version. For a show that seemingly takes so much pride in pushing boundaries, this leaning into the idea of marginalized identities as villains for the white heroes to conquer is disturbingly regressive. Here’s hoping that season two gets a little braver, and pushes back on this idea in a meaningful way.

'Loki' Episode 6 Review: Here At The End Of Time

Decider 14 July, 2021 - 11:25am

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MCU-wise, we’ve obviously set the stage for the upcoming multiverse nonsense we’re going to be dealing with for the next several movies, starting with Spider-Man: No Way Home. To that end, we meet Jonathan Majors as Kang. Or, well, we meet Jonathan Majors as A Kang (Immortus, maybe?). This Kang has survived all other Kangs and sealed the “sacred timeline” and created the TVA to prune branches because the potential for evil that originates within Kang is so great that variants cannot be allowed to exist. To that end, ALL variants, of everyone, ever, must be pruned. Space-time must be managed like a topiary to stop any Kang from ever seeking to conquer other worlds. Yikes! Scary guy! Good luck, heroes, you’re going to need it! 

More importantly, though, is that while Loki includes a sword fight in the finale, the climax is really built around a conversation which demonstrates how far the two Lokis have, or have not, come. For a very long time, I have wanted a Marvel thing to end more cleverly than the hero punching their way out of a jam. The closest we’ve come is Doctor Strange, and now Loki pretty well does it, and damn if it isn’t every bit as satisfying as a good fight. This episode is a tragedy unfolding in real time as Loki and Sylvie are admitted to Kang’s citadel, which looks an awful lot like a Sanctum Sanctorum, and then just like, have a nice chat about everything that has happened. But the crux of the problem is that Sylvie, after endless years alone on the run, cannot trust. And Loki, after a millennium of lies and power-mad insanity, cannot be trusted. The worst part? Loki actually grows enough to earn trust, but Sylvie doesn’t grow enough to give it. 

I’m still not sold on the grand romance of the two Lokis—it just doesn’t seem like the point of their relationship—but there is no denying these two care for each other, and that it absolutely CRUSHES Loki when he can’t reach Sylvie. I guess it’s something that Sylvie doesn’t kill him, but she sends him away because she can’t let go of her pain and anger and her need to kill Kang. But game recognizes game, and Loki Silvertongue recognizes when Kang is telling the truth and believes his warning about the potential calamity of allowing multiple Kangs to exist in space-time. It says everything about Loki’s growth that even when he believes Kang, even when he recognizes there might be a need for the TVA after all, he doesn’t want a throne, or see himself as head of the new TVA. He just wants to work out a solution with Sylvie, one where they fix things together. 

Why was Loki able to change when Sylvie was not? Was it that he came into this already knowing his own failings? He admitted to Mobius early on that his villainy was just a performance, a way of living down to the expectation that he was cruel and manipulative. That was never who Loki truly was, it’s who life forced him to be. Once at the TVA, though, he was outside that predetermined role, and free to become something else—someone else. Kang claims he paved the road, and maybe he did, but Loki still had to walk the path. Loki changed enough to give up his quest for power, in fact, his growth brought him to a humbler place where all he wanted was for his friend/love/person to “be okay”. He just cares about Sylvie.

But at the same time, he is Loki. He’s not stupid. He’s doing that math in his head, and decides that if Kang is right, the risk is too great. They can’t kill Kang. But Sylvie hasn’t changed that much, she’s still holding onto all that hurt and anger. Loki grew past the hurt child inside, Sylvie didn’t. Does that make him the superior Loki? Well, maybe. Or maybe it doesn’t matter because Loki doesn’t care anymore. Loki has learned a lot about himself, and in that learning, he has truly been humbled. He’s not special, he has no glorious purpose, he’s fate’s jester, at best. The prideful Loki of Thor and The Avengers is gone, and in his place is a powerful man who no longer cares about power, which is kind of ironic, because he and Sylvie both have reached new levels of power—Sylvie is slinging magic now—which will be fun to play with in Loki season two. But for now, we’re left with a Loki who knows he is capable of great things, but who also knows he’s just made a great mistake. And he’s had his heart broken, maybe for the first time, to boot.

He’s also friendless. The cliffhanger about the multiverse is whatever, the MCU will work that out. The bigger cliffhanger is that Loki is essentially stranded in time. Mobius has forgotten him, and the Time-Keepers’ image at the TVA has been replaced by Kang. Is Loki in a different timeline, separated from “his” Mobius? Has the TVA rebooted with Kang as its leader? It doesn’t really matter because the effect is the same: Loki has a great deal of knowledge and no one with whom to share it. He’s cut off from Sylvie, Mobius doesn’t remember him, and it’s not like he can go to the Avengers for help. If Loki showed up out of the blue and started talking about multiverses and a conqueror, who would believe him? Loki has basically been rendered the MCU’s Cassandra, which is an interesting place to leave him. 

A stinger on this episode confirms a second season is coming, and this is the first time I actually want to see more from a Marvel+ show. With multiverses, two Lokis with a river of complicated feeling between them, and a Cassandra Loki who has to find a new path forward alone, the possibilities are endless. For now, season one leaves us with Loki, the perpetual survivor, suffering his greatest defeat. He couldn’t reach Sylvie, he couldn’t talk her out of killing Kang, and now the universe is imperiled. His heart is broken, and, for all intents and purposes, his only friend is gone. We’ve seen Loki in some bad spots, but this is probably the worst. And now there is no choice about embracing chaos. Chaos is upon him.

Loki season 1, episode 6 review: For All Time. Always.

Bam! Smack! Pow! 14 July, 2021 - 11:12am

(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.

Loki and Sylvie are that the end of their journey as they finally venture toward the end of time itself and find what awaits them there in the finale of Disney Plus‘ Loki.

As for the Time Variance Authority, the implosion that they began continues as the TVA begins to fall apart.

So, we’re finally there. The end of time itself. The Time-Keepers are fakes. The TVA is built on a house of lies. What can truly lie at the end of time itself that will satisfy Sylvie and Loki? Well, that answer truly is nothing because who they find at the end of time isn’t who they might have thought. The truth is, they found none other than a version of Kang the Conqueror, which is the most surprising thing for anyone with some basic time travel knowledge of the Marvel Universe (if it’s time travel, 99.9% of the time, Kang). Yeah, the name Kang isn’t said here, but it’s Kang.

Even if it’s not the most shocking twist ever, Kang’s presence is the absolute best part of this finale. Jonathan Majors absolutely kills it with his scenery-chewing portrayal of this version of the Marvel Comics villain. The Kang featured here is older, and probably insane, and Majors plays it as such and it’s very clear that he had an incredible amount of fun doing so. Every time he was on screen, it was impossible to take your eyes off of him. And this episode also assures us that he’ll eventually portray a more comic-accurate version of the character, so it’s nice to see him just let loose here.

Beyond just a fun performance from Majors, what does Kang’s presence actually do in the episode? Well, Kang’s entire presence is a long-winded way of giving Loki and Sylvie two disastrous choices while also playing with the notion of free will and predestination. This is something that could be interesting, and it mostly is because of Majors’ performance, but it kind of becomes apparent now that this season has a lot of plot points that “take inspiration” from Snowpiercer. This isn’t an inherently bad thing. Snowpiercer is phenomenal. But, when the inspiration becomes that noticeable, Loki needed to do a better job in execution than what it ended up doing.

The God of Mischief has arrived in the finale of Marvel Studios' #Loki! @TWHiddleston is here with a special message. Be sure to watch the finale, now streaming on @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/tFGJrNGY1A

— Loki (@LokiOfficial) July 14, 2021

In the context of Loki though, Kang’s offers that he gives Loki and Sylvie creates an interesting view about the metaphysical idea of predestination. Throughout the entire series, Loki and Sylvie believe that they are fighting and choosing what they are doing, in defiance of the TVA and the sacred timeline. I mean, they’re variants, that’s what they do. The first line of this article is a quote from Loki’s own hubris regarding destinies.

However, as it’s made clear by Kang, he planned everything and knows everything that they will do, including when and how Sylvie will try to kill him. It’s an interesting idea that forces you to think about your own life to a certain degree while viewing the episode. Did I make the choice to watch this season all the way to its conclusion or was I always meant to? Am I choosing to write about the idea of predestination at 1am or was I positioned to by an invisible hand thousands or even millions of years ago?

The wrench thrown into this concept of predestination is that Kang knows everything that is going to happen… until he doesn’t. This then offered the notion that predestination doesn’t exist and that, if ungoverned, free will is the natural state of the universe. This is all done in a way that is long-winded at times and sometimes a little bit boring, but they are interesting concepts for the show to explore nonetheless.

As for the TVA, with the truth about the Time-Keepers revealed, what does that mean for all the variants working there now? Well, it brings up the concept of nihilism and what does one do when the meaning that you thought your life had is stripped away?

This isn’t really delved into much here in this episode, but it presents the idea in a relatively subtle way and leaves more room to explore the idea in (spoilers) season 2 of Loki.

Anchored by a phenomenal Jonathan Majors performance, Loki ends its first season on a relatively strong note that leaves a lot of avenues open for future seasons.

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Spoiler Space: Where does Loki go from here?

The A.V. Club 14 July, 2021 - 10:28am

In other words, my predictions in previous Loki spoiler roundups were wrong. I thought the big villain would be Loki himself (or at least a Loki), having orchestrated the events of the series specifically to bring him to a point where he could take over the timeline, but I was only partially right. Putting Loki on the proverbial throne was the ultimate goal of He Who Remains, the actual main antagonist, but he wasn’t a Loki at all (he’s a Kang, but again, I’ll get to that). As He explains, he was a scientist from the future who discovered that there were other timelines, with other versions of him discovering other timelines in those timelines, which created a multiverse. Most of them were cool, but some of them insisted on trying to destroy the others, starting a Multiversal War that ruined all of reality. That went on until He Who Remains somehow shut it all down and established Loki’s Sacred Timeline, a.k.a. the one where he is in control.

He Who Remains knew Loki and Sylvie would eventually show up at his space-mansion, because he essentially made it all happen, and once they arrived he knew he would present them with his big choice: Take over the timeline and rule in his place or kill him as revenge for his cosmic manipulation and run the risk of worse versions of him from other timelines showing up to upend reality. Sylvie ended up making the Bad Choice, though it was most certainly the More Interesting Choice from a TV viewer perspective. With He Who Remains dead, the timeline branched off in countless directions and opened the door for variants of HWR to show up and—ahem—do some conquering (which at least one of them did, as seen in Loki’s return to a new TVA where nobody has any memory of who he is or what he did).

Let’s get into it: In the comics, Kang is a guy from the far, far, far future of the Marvel universe with access to time travel and possibly some relation to Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic. As indicated by the fact that “The Conqueror” is part of his name, he’s kind of a dick and he likes to use time travel to try and, you know, conquer stuff. Like, all of the stuff. The thing is, he’s good at time travel, so you pretty much have to assume—unless he shows up and indicates otherwise—that everything that ever happens is only happening because he that’s what he wants. Spooky, right? The other thing is that Kang’s so good at time travel that other versions of him from other points on his timeline (variants, in Loki’s parlance) often try to undo his schemes, whether it’s by being a good guy (Kang was a member of the Young Avengers, as I’ve covered previously) or by being a different bad guy (like the villain Immortus from even further in the future, or the evil pharaoh Rama-Tut from the past).

That’s the sort of thing He Who Remains is talking about in this Loki finale when he insists that he’s one of the nicer versions of himself. Sure, he was secretly a dictator who rules all of time and space, but he didn’t make anyone put up statues of himself. That’s gotta count for something. Kang The Conqueror, meanwhile, is a very much a “put up statues of me” kind of bad guy, as you can see in the finale from the big statue of him at the TVA (replacing the statues of the Time-Keepers).

We heard last year that Jonathan Majors might be playing Kang in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, and as I mentioned last week when I was saying how unlikely it seemed that Kang would be in this Loki episode, Majors has been very happy to tell anyone and everyone that he’s the MCU’s Kang. That means we definitely haven’t seen the last of him, but it still remains to be seen if Kang will replace Thanos as the MCU’s next main villain—assuming there is a next main villain. Also, with variants of Kang now scattered throughout the timeline, an MCU version of the Young Avengers is even more likely than it was a few weeks ago, and it seemed so likely already.

As for Loki the guy and Loki the show, Disney has confirmed that there’s going to be a second season, so let’s break down what we know at this point: The TVA is still there, presumably working to help Kang control a new timeline, and Owen Wilson’s Mobius having no memory of who Loki is. Sylvie was left behind in He Who Remains’ castle at the end of time, but she could go and do whatever she wants since she has his time travel technology. Ravonna Renslayer is in the wind, having told pre-reboot Mobius that she’s going to find some of the free will he was talking about. I don’t know what that means, since it kind of seems like she also would want to take out Kang, so maybe she’ll team up with Loki and Sylvie whenever season two happens.

Not knowing when season two will come about, though, seems like the most important stumbling block when it comes to making predictions. Now that the movies are starting up again, and Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man are all getting into multiverse hijinks, the MCU could look very different a year from now than it does today. Loki could continue to tell its story outside of the bounds of the movies, but then it would risk falling into the trap every other Marvel-adjacent TV show has fallen into and suddenly become irrelevant to the larger universe—which isn’t necessarily a problem, but I’ve wasted a lot of my life wondering why Stark Tower wasn’t in the New York skyline in the Netflix shows, and why nobody thought to mention to the Avengers that Agent Coulson is very much alive. The success of the Disney+ shows for both Marvel and Star Wars have made it pretty clear that people are willing to put these things on the same level as the movies, though, so there’s reason to believe that future seasons of Loki will be similarly important.

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