'Loki' season finale explained: How the Disney+ hit sets up the future of the MCU

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Yahoo Entertainment 14 July, 2021 - 12:48pm 10 views

Is there going to be another season of Loki?

Thankfully, yes. Disney+ has officially renewed Loki for a second season. The streaming service revealed the exciting news during the finale's end credits, when a case file was marked with a stamp saying, "Loki will return in season 2." ELLE.com'Loki' Season 2 Release Date, News, Cast, Spoilers, Trailer

Who plays Kang in Loki?

Kang is played in the MCU by actor Jonathan Majors. Most viewers will probably recognize him for his lead performance as Atticus Freeman in HBO's short-lived but acclaimed drama series Lovecraft Country. InverseWho is Kang? 'Loki' Episode 6’s powerful Marvel villain, explained

Is Episode 6 of Loki the last episode?

Sylvie and Loki meet the puppet master behind the Time Variance Authority. Sylvie and Loki prepare to step into the Citadel at the End of Time. Loki's time-hopping adventure reached its end Wednesday, with the sixth and final episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe show hitting Disney Plus. CNETLoki season finale recap: Post-credits scene and ending for episode 6 explained

What day does Loki come out?

In Marvel Studios' “Loki,” the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer. Debuts on Disney+ in June 9, 2021. marvel.comLoki (TV Show, 2021) | Cast, Characters, Release Date

The first season of Loki ended on Wednesday. No planned production or release date for season two has been announced yet. We’ll bring you more as we know it.

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Loki delivers the boldest MCU finale yet

The A.V. Club 15 July, 2021 - 06:22am

To its credit, I think this finale works either way. Majors’ wonderfully capricious performance gives the entire hour an unnervingly off-kilter quality, no matter what you do or don’t know about his other MCU connections. It’s become increasingly clear that the most important skill an actor on Loki can have is the ability to jazz up heaps of exposition into something that feels alive, and Majors completely understands that assignment. He brings a thrilling livewire quality to lengthy monologues where he finally reveals the real truth of the TVA: He Who Remains is a variant of a 31st century scientist who discovered the multiverse and enjoyed a brief period of collaboration with his alt-universe selves before they eventually descended into a battle for supremacy. After He Who Remains vanquished his rivals with the help of Alioth, he established the TVA as a way to keep his other selves at bay.

Loki has never been as clear as it should be when it comes explaining how the Sacred Timeline actually works, especially in regards to variants, and He Who Remains’ monologue doesn’t really clarify things all that much. That’s because his speech is mostly just in service of getting to a moral dilemma. He Who Remains has purposefully selected Loki and Sylvie as his successors, and he gives them two options for what they can do from here: Kill him and potentially unleash another multiversal war in which all of his variants are set free to cause untold chaos. Or step up to run the TVA themselves. As he sees it, either way he wins.

It’s less of a revelation than the show thinks it is, mostly because I don’t really think that Loki and Sylvie have ever read as particularly similar characters. (If anything, I think she’s more similar to Thor than to Loki.) But, on paper, I see what the episode is going for: Take two characters with an unbreakable bond and find the one moral dilemma that can divide them. Top it off with some high-stakes action, a dash of doomed romance, and profound-sounding psychoanalysis like, “You can’t trust, and I can’t be trusted.” It should work. And it sort of does. Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino certainly sell the hell out of it. But if this is what the entire season has been building to, I remain baffled by where the series chose to put its focus.

Why was Sylvie introduced as a patient, ruthless master planner only to be depicted as a petulant, impatient hothead ever since? Why were there so few scenes exploring her backstory in any meaningful way? Why did the first two episodes foreground the Loki/Mobius relationship to such a degree that it still feels jarring how much the show pivoted to Loki and Sylvie as its primary relationship? Most importantly: Why did the series rush the beats of Loki and Sylvie’s love story when it’s so key to this finale? The moment Sylvie kisses Loki as part of her larger play to send him away is aiming for the poignancy of the Doctor Who scene where the 9th Doctor tricks his companion into abandoning a doomed mission. Instead, it lands closer to that horribly awkward Bruce Banner/Black Widow kiss from Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Loki’s season finale villain is a complete story-killer

Polygon 15 July, 2021 - 06:22am

Once again, the MCU’s future needs take over, at the complete expense of the present story

[Ed. note: Complete ending spoilers for Loki season 1 ahead.]

In the penultimate episode, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) find their way past the enormous smoke demon Alioth to a mysterious castle “at the end of time.” Their journeys have been leading to this impending confrontation with the yet-unseen adversary controlling the Time Variance Authority, the person ultimately responsible for the way the TVA hunts down Lokis from various timelines. For Sylvie, this means finally being able to exact revenge on the person responsible for her living on the run. For Loki, the significance is far less concrete, since a TVA agent already sped him through an entire movie series’ worth of character arcs in a matter of minutes, by showing him footage from previous Marvel films.

There weren’t many places left for Loki to go as a character at the end of episode 5, though before he sets out for this destination, his ally Mobius (Owen Wilson) tells him, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” Once episode 6 kicks off, Mobius’ statement lingers in ironic fashion. As Loki and Sylvie enter the castle, they’re met by Miss Minutes (Tara Strong), the TVA’s animated, clock-faced helper, who now speaks on behalf of the show’s mysterious villain and offers Loki the glory he once sought. Being tempted by power has always been Loki’s deal — the Loki we know, and many other versions we’ve met thus far — and perhaps this offer is exactly what Loki needs, if only so he can finally reject power in favor of something more altruistic.

What is it, then, that awaits Loki inside this castle? What is he “looking for”? The question looms large as he and Sylvie carefully make their way through the darkened citadel halls. Director Kate Herron captures this place of black marble and enormous statues with an appropriate air of mystery, peering at the characters from behind pillars, and even rotating the frame so viewers feel uneasy and unmoored. When the answer at the end of the line finally appears, it doesn’t feel connected to Loki in any meaningful way. “He Who Remains” (Jonathan Majors), a never-before-seen character, reveals himself and lures Loki and Sylvie into his office, where the windows look out on the “sacred timeline.” While his subsequent explanations offer them an intriguing dilemma, the way the sequence is presented grinds the Loki story to an absolute halt.

He Who Remains has a casual, almost personable demeanor, which feels especially eerie given his grim surroundings. (Loki and Sylvie, who can’t seem to kill him, remain on guard.) Seated at his table and backdropped by an enormous star-gazing window, He Who Remains explains his story and his reasoning to Loki and Sylvie, using a magical liquid display to spin a tale of how multiple versions of himself across multiple timelines once worked together, but eventually kicked off a multiversal war for supremacy. This version of the villain has since sought to keep a singular timeline in check to avoid such a catastrophe from repeating, and he also claims to have pre-ordained Loki and Sylvie’s arrival at his lair. This, of course, presents the two Loki variants with a pressing question: Do they take him at his word and keep him alive, or risk multiversal chaos by removing him from power?

Since its early episodes, the show has focused on a few central narrative questions: What makes Lokis such favored targets for the TVA? Is there such a thing as free will? Is enforced order better than chaotic freedom? And finally, can any Loki be trusted?

The first question, surrounding the targeting of Lokis, seems to have been cast aside entirely (as has, by proxy, the question of why Loki and Sylvie’s feelings for each other seemed to create a branching timeline), since He Who Remains reveals that every action on the show thus far has been supposedly pre-ordained. In the process, that second question surrounding free will ceases to matter too, though it can at least be said that when the scene reaches “the threshold” — the unexplained point from which He Who Remains suddenly no longer has omniscience — Loki and Sylvie finally face what they might do when unburdened by determinism.

The dilemma between order and freedom, on the other hand, is presented in much more potent fashion, when the episode cuts away from He Who Remains’ explanations and focuses on Mobius and Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). While less consequential for the larger MCU than the Loki/Sylvie conflict, Mobius and Renslayer’s scenes together have a real dramatic tension. They have a loving history which turned professional and then violent, and they have a discernible ideological conflict too: Renslayer holds steadfastly to “the greater good,” while Mobius has begun to see the TVA and its actions in a much less favorable light.

By contrast, much of Loki and Sylvie’s dilemma centers on a character neither one has much history with. When they finally stop being a passive, neutered audience to He Who Remains’ exposition dump, their section of the episode finally springs to life. It takes 30 minutes to get there, but it’s a real conflict, with Sylvie driven by her obsessive need for revenge, and Loki driven by some combination of altruism and self-preservation. The question of “Can you trust a Loki?” comes to a head with a solid “no.” Sylvie’s betrayal, after Loki finally confesses a selfless form of love, is actually affecting. But given that their fight is framed around the villain’s honesty, it’s hard not to wonder what might have transpired if the man behind the curtain was someone they had any history with, someone known to both characters.

Perhaps this Kang variant was always the plan, as a way to expand the scope of the MCU. But the fan theory that some other, more powerful Loki was pulling the strings likely would have served Loki and Sylvie’s story better, and it would have represented a much better opportunity to explore Loki’s chosen themes. It just wouldn’t have served as many future, non-Loki properties.

So much of Loki and Sylvie’s battle in the final episode hinges on the question of whether they think He Who Remains is lying to them. It’s a purely logistical question, and one that comes up independently of whether Loki is lying to Sylvie, and independently of Sylvie’s betrayal. He Who Remains’ true nature is determined by the future needs of the MCU, not by any theme or idea within Loki itself, and it feels entirely incidental to both leads’ arcs. He doesn’t represent any culmination of the show’s ideas. And he isn’t an invitation for either lead to reflect on their own natures, as a good climactic confrontation ought to be, particularly in a story about whether or not these characters are truly capable of change.

If Loki seemed even mildly tempted by the offer of all the power he previously sought, his decision not to kill and dethrone the villain might feel more challenging or resonant. He Who Remains is seeking a replacement, but his appearance this late into the story is akin to if Willy Wonka showed up at the Chocolate Factory only after Charlie returned the Everlasting Gobstopper. Rather than feeling like a dilemma between choosing power and the greater good, Loki’s decision to immediately protect He Who Remains feels, ironically, like the only possible, pre-ordained outcome, given the circumstances. Loki used to be the duplicitous God of Mischief, but this show has smoothed away all the character’s moral wrinkles, so his dilemma becomes less about what his actions represent for him as a person, and more about the larger consequences they might have for the Marvel Universe.

The presence of He Who Remains serves primarily to set up future MCU stories like What If…? and Quantumania, in which the multiverse and Kang the Conqueror will likely play a part. The second season of Loki will no doubt be one of those future stories — as confirmed by the finale’s credits — but in a saga like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s uncertain when and where this tale will next pick up, or what the continuing story will even look like. (While Loki is now in a radically altered TVA, he’s reportedly set to appear next in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.)

So in spite of the promises it makes, the season’s conclusion can’t help but feel slightly wasted. It opened with the idea of a narrative about whether a former villain could truly be redeemed. But the finale was fixed on an entirely different villain, and not even the one onscreen — the entire story is servicing a villain who’s scheduled to appear several movies from now. The characters are supposedly battling to live freely, but the show ends up treating them with the same deterministic hand as its antagonists, trapping them within the bounds of a pre-ordained larger universe whose continuity takes precedence over anything they want, need, or try to do for themselves.

‘Loki’ just gave us Marvel’s best Disney Plus finale yet

The Washington Post 15 July, 2021 - 06:22am

When it comes to final episodes of Marvel Studios shows on Disney Plus, there’s “Loki,” and then there’s everything else. Those are the new rules.

Jonathan Majors made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as the character in the “Loki” Season 1 finale, which began streaming Wednesday. A gasping OMG moment? Absolutely. Totally surprising? No. Not when you consider how much Kang’s Marvel comic book existence has to do with time as power and the fragility of time being the central element of the Disney Plus show.

But why does Majors making his first appearance as Kang feel like such a moment? Two reasons. One: our “WandaVision” hangover. Remember all of those Mephisto rumors? So many of us were so sure Marvel’s top devil was the bad guy pulling the strings. After each episode, the show sent us into YouTube deep-dive madness, so we could search for clues as to how things would end. And everyone was preaching the church of Mephisto, especially after Paul Bettany trolled everyone by saying he worked with someone he always wanted to work with in the final episode (he was talking about himself). But the “WandaVision” finale gave us only a bridge to the “Doctor Strange” sequel in which Elizabeth Olsen is set to co-star and a very cool-looking West Coast Avengers-style white Vision.

Secondly, ever since it was confirmed that Kang was the next big-time MCU foe — one who would maybe even be the antagonist for a new generation of Avengers if they are reassembled on-screen — it was assumed that he would do so in theaters, not on Disney Plus.

Majors appearing as Kang in the “Loki” finale is like Luke Skywalker showing up in “The Mandalorian” with a red lightsaber instead of a green one. This is not only a big moment, it’s one of certification. It shows Marvel Studios and its Disney Plus series aren’t just chapters in between the films, they are moments that will directly affect the next decade of the MCU in theaters, as well.

Another factor setting this season of “Loki” apart from its Disney Plus predecessors “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is that there will be a Season 2.

Six episodes was never going to be enough for all of that time-bending, and an announcement of Season 2 was revealed in a finale post-credit scene. We now know multiple seasons are possible for other future MCU/Disney Plus shows, whether that be “Hawkeye,” “Ms. Marvel,” “She-Hulk” or “Ironheart.”

For now, we are left with this “Loki” finale that serves as a master class in what villainy looms in the future of the MCU.

Majors’s performance, in comic-book-appropriate purple, was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what he will bring to his many upcoming performances as Kang, whose origins were revealed as being in the 31st century of the MCU. He warned both Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (the female Loki, played by Sophia Di Martino) that the easy thing to do would be for them to take over managing the sacred timeline. Any other option could lead to more chaos. The key element to “Loki” all season has been variants. Different versions of one’s self in a multiverse of possibilities. Kang’s variants, he says, are to be feared. They scare even him.

Sylvie, determined to destroy the person responsible for her being on the run through time her whole life, doesn’t care. She banishes Loki and kills Kang in front of her. Kang, knowing a much more dangerous variant of himself is now coming after his pending death, has one thing left to say.

“I’ll see you soon,” he says.

It’s a parting shot that signals the next great evil coming, while giving a preview of what is likely to be the next great MCU performance.

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