‘Loki’ season two episode 5 brings an emotional penultimate chapter, one that draws on Loki’s past relationships with all of the main characters to make a satisfying entry into the show and one that builds it up to what will surely be a heart-pounding finale.
After episode 4’s surprising conclusion, Loki now finds himself slipping between various dying timelines, and this happens often without warning. He can’t control his ability to timeslip, and because the loom is gone, there’s no way to cure it. Loki instead takes it upon himself to master time slipping, something that happens over the course of the episode.
All of Loki’s friends – Casey, O.B., B-15, and Mobius have had their memories reset, and all of them are living their lives on branched timelines. Casey is an escaped prisoner of Alcatraz, O.B. is a disgraced sci-fi writer, B-15 is a doctor in New York in 2012 – though before Loki ever messed with it – and Mobius is a single dad who works selling jet skis.
These are all inventive places to put their characters, and plays to their traits – Casey always being jumpy, O.B.’s deadpan delivery and desire to be taken seriously, B-15’s caring nature, and of course Mobius’ love of jet skis, but also his willingness to take care of clearly problematic people and attempt to reform them. Their variants have meaning to their characters in the TVA.
Throughout the episode, Loki goes on a journey to round up his friends so their temporal aura can line up together. It’s one where he must convince his friends that they do in fact know who he is and that they can leave their realities. The episode puts a huge focus on Loki and Mobius’ relationship, where Tom Hiddleston delivers a resonant speech communicating his desperation. It’s excellent stuff.
Sylvie must also be present for this to work. She can remember who Loki is, though why isn’t ever made clear. She takes Loki to a bar, where in another powerful scene Sylvie makes Loki admit that all he’s ever wanted was not to be alone, which also makes sense when looking at his previous appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s sad to see Loki return to all the confused variants defeated, and it’s when audiences think it’s all over.
Back in her own branched timeline, Sylvie sees it get destroyed by an unraveling time phenomenon, which is especially painful for her since she’s just looking for a way out of the fight. She returns to Loki, and he manages to use his time-slipping power to get back to the TVA before the loom is destroyed. Loki is becoming the God of Stories from the comics, a surprising but ultimately appropriate run to adapt.
There is one person that’s noticeably missing from this episode. Victor Timely. His absence suggests Loki doesn’t consider him to be a friend. This does make some sense, after all, he is a variant of He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror, and Loki is incredibly distrustful of him, even if he’s willing to work with Timely. It’s something that the next episode will very likely pick up on and will likely usher in the next step of the MCU’s multiverse story.