This review contains Marvel’s Loki episode 6 spoilers
Loki Episode 6
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 He Who Remains aka Very Old 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.
I was pretty gutted to find out during the episode’s Planet of the Apes-esque cliffhanger that Mobius doesn’t remember Loki and that their friendship is now entirely one-sided, but I trust that these two will reconnect at some point. I can only assume that Owen Wilson will return for Loki Season 2, and that assumption is just one thing keeping me happy right now as I bid goodbye to Loki for a while. I enjoyed watching every episode of this series, but I’m glad that in the Season 1 finale we not only got answers, but actually saw one of these Disney+ shows dare to impact the MCU in a major way, far beyond the kind of personal character and power development we saw with Wanda and Sam.
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.