Martin Carr reviews the season one finale of Marvel’s Loki…
Ensconced within an Obsidian tower sits an omnipotent being. A character of such vile cunning that time itself bends to his will. Surrounded by the echoes of lives perpetually on repeat, this deity bides his time. That Sylvie and Loki encounter him is unfortunate, but somehow fitting under the circumstances. What follows is an episode filled with confrontation, minimal regrets and a boatload of Marvel multiverse shenanigans.
Having faced down the living void in episode five, it makes sense that Michael Waldron would up the ante. In a dialogue heavy fifty minutes, Loki delivers one of the most memorable finales thus far. For the first time Tom Hiddleston has to settle for second fiddle, in a season closer which delivers some serious thematic ideas. As moments from history echo over those opening minutes, our intrepid duo advance into an inner sanctum which comes straight out of Tolkien. Ornate carvings, impossibly high ceilings and some playful architecture hint at the conspicuously absent occupant. When they are finally revealed, there is an impish quality which characterises this elegantly dressed and inherently self-assured newcomer.
After this finale Marvel fans will go into meltdown, bandying about theories like so much confetti at a wedding. Some will take issue with the performance, others with the costume; but such is the way with passionate people. Interpretation and originality are only celebrated until they get in the way of personal opinion. Regardless, this finale feels refreshing for exactly that reason as this new entity runs rings around our two Loki variants.
Elsewhere Hunter B-15, Ravonna and Mobius have their moment in the sun as the story continues. Owen Wilson, who has remained consistently good value throughout Loki, comes up trumps here while Gugu Mbatha-Raw continues making the most of the moments she is given. To say this final throw of the dice offers up a number of different variations is an understatement. The future becomes malleable, past lives remain unwritten and being in the moment never meant so much.
Longer term narrative intentions are not in short supply either, as the people at Marvel bring down their flood barriers. This particular episode might need more than one viewing, if only to savour the numerous Easter eggs peppered around on purpose. This feels like a Phase Four sounding board courtesy of Kevin Feige, which allows Loki plenty of scope for multiple futures. After this barnstormer of a season, it is little wonder that a second has been announced. With the understated bravado of a rubber stamp confirmation, it could be assumed Loki is only just getting comfortable – something which is sure to bring a smile to the faces of those feverish fan faithful.