Halfway through this week’s episode we see an alligator wearing a hat bite off Tom Hiddleston’s hand, right before about 20 different variations of the same person start fighting each other in a vintage bowling alley. Last week’s end credit sting threw plenty of weirdness into the mix as the show teased the idea of multiple Lokis all existing in the same place, but Loki episode five might be the maddest 50 minutes of the MCU so far.
To answer the big question first, Loki (as in, the one who looks like Tom Hiddleston) is now in The Void, an ever-evolving doomsday “where every instance of existence collides at the same point and simply… stops”. Littered with the discarded bits of other timelines (parts of wrecked New York, broken Asgardian temples, the Sphinx), The Void is mostly empty – except for a few glittery quails with floating ping pong ball heads, and except for a handful of Loki variants who are all strong/clever/shrewd enough to survive the giant cloud monster that keeps sucking up new arrivals.
Fans who know their comic lore know this cloud monster as Alioth, a temporal entity whose storyline is tied to that of Kang the Conqueror and who was later revealed to be locked in an eternal struggle with Tempus, a being created from the fabric of limbo by Immortus, the “gardener of time”… but more on that (maybe, hopefully) next week. For now, Alioth exists only as something for Loki to run away from with his new circle of friends – Richard E. Grant Loki, Deobia Oparei Loki, kid Loki (Jack Veal) and Alligator Loki.
Explaining as much as they can (as much as anyone can…) on the run, the new Lokis grab old Loki and hide him away in their underground Loki lair so they can drink box wine and sit around bragging about how many Avengers they’ve each killed in their own timelines.
Back in the TVA, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) is still scrapping with Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) while Miss Minutes (the talking cartoon clock) turns up again to try and add a bit of much, much needed exposition. It’s still not clear what Renslayer’s motives are in all this – still protecting the boss of the TVA even though she doesn’t know who that even is anymore. Will we learn that Renslayer is the one really in charge? Or will she eventually come around to the idea that her whole existence is a lie too?
Unable to win Renslayer over yet, Sylvie ‘prunes’ herself (which involves getting zapped out of existence by a magic stick) instead so she can end up wherever Loki went. Landing in The Void right under Alioth’s big angry cloud mouth, she starts running across the wasteland before Mobius (Owen Wilson) shows up in a pizza delivery van to rescue her.
Back in the Loki lair, Hiddleston Loki accidentally starts a gang war between his new clique and a load of other cannibal Lokis who suddenly show up, and he escapes just in time to bump into Sylvie and Mobius. However weird the show gets (it gets pretty weird) it’s great to see another timeout taken to give Loki and Sylvie’s relationship proper breathing space, with director Kate Herron dialling down the action long enough to linger on what’s shaping up to be a beautiful end-of-the-world romance.
Thoughts gathered, evil Lokis left behind, it’s time to gear up for the final assault. Mobius heads back through a time door to the TVA (“to burn it down”) and Richard E. Grant sacrifices himself to Alioth to buy Sylvie and Loki enough time to enchant the cloud monster. Things were already mad enough at the start of the episode, but we’re now heading into the season finale inside the consciousness of a temporal being which is inside a void created at the end of time. Still with us?
- Pause at 9.10 and you’ll see a tiny frog version of Thor stuck in a buried jar – the label “T365” a reference to Thor Vol. 1 #365 from 1986 where this actually happened.
- Other things to spot in The Void include multiple Mjölnirs and a Thanos-branded helicopter, all remnants of alternate Avengers timelines.
- The ship that suddenly appears in The Void is the USS Eldridge, a nod to the conspiracy theories surrounding the 1955 Philadelphia Experiment (well worth delving into the Wiki wormhole if you want to know more)