Loki: Science/Fiction
November 3, 2023 4:54 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Loki traverses dying timelines in attempt to find his friends, but Reality is not what it seems.
posted by TheophileEscargot (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So like I was saying..

The answer is Loki.

All is Loki.


Always and for All Time.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:03 AM on November 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

It's not like I hated the episode or anything, but it's kind of telling that I was most entertained by the brief use of John Farnham's "Thunder in Your Heart" from the Rad soundtrack.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 5:57 AM on November 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Tom Hiddleston's physical acting was fantastic in this episode; he is SO committed to the bit. What a champ.

Did anyone catch B-15's real name?

So maybe it turns out that Loki is the real He Who Remains? Strange that the Loki variants were untouched by all the timey-wimey stuff. Maybe he can repair the Loom because he's a Jotun and the radiation doesn't affect him the way it does humans?

This episode and last have really made up for the ho-hum first half of the season. Here's hoping they stick the landing.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:57 AM on November 3, 2023 [3 favorites]

Or: The REAL TVA is the friends we made along the way!
posted by orrnyereg at 6:01 AM on November 3, 2023 [6 favorites]

Loki and Sylvie appear to be the only individuals across all of time and *all possible times* to remember changes to the timeline.

I wonder if they are the sole Loki's now on existence?

The 'spaghettification' effect is so well done and looked *absolutely horrid*.

Total nightmare fuel.
posted by Faintdreams at 6:02 AM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

The spaghettification scenes were beautiful. I'm beginning to understand how they spent $140m on six episodes of TV.
posted by simonw at 6:03 AM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

Loved seeing everyone’s variant past, Mobius being a jetski salesman was perfect. Also that Velvet Underground scene! Wow
posted by rosary at 6:42 AM on November 3, 2023 [6 favorites]

The first time I saw the temporal radiation effect in the TVA this episode I was horrified, it looked like a fungus growing on reality, but each time I thought it was more and more beautiful. And then, in the end, I remembered the gag about spaghettification way back in episode one or two and I laughed.

This is one of the best uses of computer effects I’ve seen.
posted by Kattullus at 6:47 AM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

orrnyereg: Did anyone catch B-15's real name?

Dr. Willis.
posted by Kattullus at 6:49 AM on November 3, 2023

And now when I go back and rewatch season 1 - because who am I kidding this is going to happen - the 'Harrassed Single Dad trying to corral a wayward child' energy radiating from Mobius in *every interaction with Loki* is going to be even more evident.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:22 AM on November 3, 2023 [21 favorites]

I was immediately distracted when Loki ran into Piranha Powersports and my brain thought "hey, whoever built this place must have used the same plans for the Ace Cafe in London"

A little Googling later - it's because it *is* the Ace Cafe.
posted by Molesome at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2023 [4 favorites]

The episode and show have been fine. Not great, but fine.

What's preventing greatness, IMO, is that I'm living in a post Spider-man:Across the Spiderverse and Everything Everywhere All At Once world. Those two movies absolutely nailed how to tell a multiverse story and they did it in different ways. But one thing they both absolutely excelled at was making the main characters come alive in ways that Loki is failing at. Plus both films told well written, character driven stories in a fantastical setting in less than two and half hours.

We're on the fifth hour of Loki and it's still a jumbled and cloudy mess, which makes it boring. Marvel needs to take time to write a goddamn story, and then figure out how to make make good use of its six hours. Because for now it feels like a lot of padding is going on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:15 AM on November 3, 2023 [11 favorites]

One thing that was minorly distracting was Loki mumbling "for God's sake" at one point. I'm not sure if it would work with the captioning system, but I'd have been mightily impressed if it had appeared on CC as "for gods' sake."

I wonder if any author has tried to sneak their own books onto the shelves of bookstores IRL? Seems likely.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:12 AM on November 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Maybe he can repair the Loom because he's a Jotun and the radiation doesn't affect him the way it does humans?

We’ve learned in a previous and worse series that Skrulls are apparently unaffected by radiation. Hmm. There’s your solution.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:58 PM on November 3, 2023

The spaghettification scenes were beautiful. I'm beginning to understand how they spent $140m on six episodes of TV.

I'm just beginning to imagine what the season could have been like if they'd spent 5% of that on a decent screenwriter.
posted by fairmettle at 1:36 PM on November 3, 2023 [5 favorites]

From the Vulture recap (archive link): Casey’s accomplices on Alcatraz are none other than the directors Benson and Moorhead!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:01 PM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

When the camera faded in on the dummy in the prison cell bed, I knew exactly where and when it was. I saw that original dummy long, long ago on the Alcatraz tour. Quite the frisson of recognition.

If only the escapees actually had made it...
posted by Jubal Kessler at 4:21 PM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

The spaghettification effect is also a riff on the Infinity Gauntlet's snappification effect. And didn't we see some Infinity Stones in the end credit sequence? Hmm.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:54 PM on November 3, 2023

2001 homage at the beginning was unsubtle.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:23 PM on November 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

I wonder if any author has tried to sneak their own books onto the shelves of bookstores IRL? Seems likely.

As a former Borders employee I can tell you "yes, and also faced their books out on the shelf." But that was a very promotion-hapoy local author we did carry, just not as aggressively as she thought we should.
posted by emjaybee at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

There is some self-published author in my area who has strewn copies of their beautifully covered books all over town (too bad I couldn't read their prose), including being "lost" at my work (???) and turning up on free tables, and I have seen their books turn up in used bookstores up to a couple of hours away from here.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

So, there are many ways the story could be resolved /finished in the finale next week - but I just thought of what (at least from my perspective) would be the worst one.

The Current Loki gets to go back to before he was ever caught by the TVA and somehow has the choice to save everyone and everything and all the time branches BUT it means that no one at the TVA will remember him as he is now, including Sylvie.

So he'll have become the God of Stories, the best version of himself, and saved the universe / multiverse but also have lost all his friends in the process.

That would be heartbreaking.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2023 [4 favorites]

One of the things that really worked for me about the first season is that it managed to use its goofy time travel multiverse story to tell a character driven tale about humbling a man full of ego. In season 1 Loki was driven, and felt dangerous and interesting. Then his encounter with Sylvie changed him, and made him become someone different.

But the problem with this season is that from there the show doesn't seem to know, or care, what drives Loki now. I mean... He wants to save his friends? OK, that's the motivation of basically everyone. There have been a lot of fun individual scenes this series, and I love the addition of Obi, but ultimately none of the characters have changed at all.

The story has been five episodes of "time nonsense is happening, and our heroes don't know what to do!" And this episode was lots of fun, but again: in an alternative universe, Movies owns a jet ski shop is not exactly revealing!

There is something to the idea that Sylvie is capable of actually living a life, while Loki clings to a sense of importance... But also Loki is actually right anyway?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:23 PM on November 4, 2023 [9 favorites]

I agree, Cannon Fodder. I like most of the characters (Jonathan Majors sucks and can go blow), but this isn't especially Loki's show any more and I'm not entirely sure what's going on. Ditto Ahsoka and well, everything else sci-fi I am watching lately, sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:02 PM on November 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

I agree that the show hasn’t had much of an idea what to do with Loki as a character, but I do like that the setting is taken seriously and that the mechanics of it have been worked out and explored this season.
posted by Kattullus at 5:02 AM on November 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

One part of this episode worked well for me. The "get the band back together" trope and the energy between the characters at Ouroborous' science lab / lair. Finally some chemistry between the actors! Maybe it only happened because they got to play ordinary people and not weird comic book characters. Owen Wilson was fun hamming it up as the jet ski guy and Wunmi Mosaku was compelling as Dr. Willis. And somehow Ke Huy Quan glued it all together as A.D. Doug with his goofy warmth and knowledge.

A whole episode without He Who Remains / Jonathan Majors / Kang the Conqueror / Victor Timely / The Actor Who Holds the MCU Franchise Hostage. Didn't miss him once.
posted by Nelson at 6:27 AM on November 6, 2023 [4 favorites]

A notable thing with Loki is that some of the less horrible versions of him in the comics are billed as being the "God/ess of Stories" rather than "Lies" or "Mischief". (Loki of Norse mythology was also a fire god, but I've seen no sign of that in Marvel comics or movies.)
posted by Karmakaze at 11:51 AM on November 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

The episode quite failed for me as instead of doing something radical like being a cusp of total change in the marvel universe, it became essentially a rehash of standard time travel/multi-worlds themes. "Impossible to fix, oh except for this one "unexpected" trick. Nice actually that it was "the friends we found on the way" that is important but it could have been historic. And helped the lagging marvel plots return to surprise and excitement.
posted by sammyo at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2023

Honestly, this was probably the first episode where Loki felt like Loki, rather than a generic TVA operative.
The god of mischief should not have been playing the straight man trying to keep Mobius on-task at the Columbian Expo...

Someone commented about this season being more plot-driven than character-driven, but even so, it's been stuck in neutral. The timeline and TVA are facing imminent doom - react, react, react... - yet the underlying situation never really changed until this last episode.

I started rewatching Season 1 and, even with all the exposition, it moves. By the end of episode two, he catches up with Sophie, after 3 away missions and 2 research sessions, while going through a huge spectrum of emotions (boredom, sadness, excitement, frustration, offended, cagy, cavalier...)
posted by cheshyre at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed Loki briefly dancing like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2023 [11 favorites]

mmmmm spaghetti.....
posted by lalochezia at 6:14 PM on December 17, 2023

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