Loki Season 1, Episode 6 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron and Eric Martin
Directed by Kate Herron
Well, I’ll be damned. A theory about a Marvel show’s conclusion actually turned out right for once. When Disney first announced these three shows a couple of years ago, I ranked Loki as one I was least interested in. Now that the premiere shows have concluded, I’m walking away with Loki ranked at the top of my list. It was the most satisfying, and The Falcon and Winter Soldier sits at the bottom, likely to stay there if the shows coming down the pike are decent. Loki managed to deliver a good story and actually feel like what happened will matter in the greater MCU. It had me excited for what comes next, hoping upcoming films touch on the Multiverse more. I’m not expecting Shang-Chi or Eternals to do so, but Spider-Man sounds like it may be based on the casting rumors being leaked.
Loki and Sylvie arrive at the End of Time, a large cracked manor sitting in the middle of a circular timeline. They are greeted by Miss Minutes, who offers them deals that they reject. Venturing deeper into the building, they finally encounter He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), who created the Time Variance Authority. He delivers a rather detailed monologue explaining who is and why he did this. He was a scientist in the 31st Century who discovered that a Multiverse existed, as did his counterparts across these realities, all seemingly simultaneously. At first, things were fine, but some variants were violent and greedy, seeing the Multiverse as something to be conquered. He Who Remains managed to destroy these other realities and collapse them all into a singular sacred timeline. The TVA was made to ensure the Multiverse never came into existence.
He Who Remains explains that this dictatorial stance has protected reality from some evil people he calls devils. A moment is reached where this all-knowing being suddenly doesn’t know what comes next, and that is when Loki & Sylvie must decide to spare his life, kill him and take his place, or kill him and let whatever happens happen. The two tussle, all the goodwill between these variants gone while He watches, excited to learn what happens next. And what happens next is that the Multiverse is reborn! And we are told that Loki will return for a second season, the first of the Marvel shows, not to be a mini-series.
My theory had been that we might see Kang revealed as the big bad, and we sort of did. He Who Remains is shown through his costume design and the statue Loki glimpses in the changed TVA as a variant of the man who would be Kang. They haven’t officially dropped the name Nathaniel Richards yet, but that’s who we saw. I would say that in just one episode, Jonathan Majors stole the show and has me excited to see how he emerges in other films and shows in the MCU. He has a pretty exciting opportunity to play multiple versions of the same character with a wide variety of personalities. We still might see Immortus, Rama-Tut, or Scarlet Centurion before we get to Kang.
Looking at the upcoming Marvel films, I expect some mentions or appearances of Kang will be happening in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. Shang-Chi looks like a straightforward origin movie, though it is resetting what was established about The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Eternals is a big unknown, but I think adding in the Multiverse might get in the way of showing a new group of characters. I think Kang as a potential ultimate bad guy should be done differently from Thanos, who remained a non-character until Infinity War. Majors is a really fantastic actor, and so he should be given substantial parts wherever they chose to place his characters.
As for the Marvel shows, I’m okay with them. They have been acceptable for the most part. At some point in the latter part of this year, we’re supposed to be getting Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye. I’m not particularly excited about those as they aren’t my favorite characters, and I am more of a sucker for this wild, cosmic stuff that Loki offered. The following Disney+ shows I am interested to see will be Moon Knight and She-Hulk, both with releases probably in 2022. Here’s hoping they are good.