Loki (2021) s01e06 – For All Time. Always.

“Loki” will return for season two. You find out at the end (of the credits). Or online. I tried to avoid “Loki” spoilers just because I wanted to be (relatively) surprised; would it be Wizard of Oz, would it be the purple one, would it just be Tom Hiddleston in makeup. I probably should’ve just spoiled it since it’s a nothing-burger. “Loki”'s been uneven—kind of like a Thor movie—but there have been highs. This episode doesn’t really have any highs. It doesn’t have any real lows either. Because it’s a nothing-burger. Tune in next season, and maybe there will be something important happening, though at this pace—and based on who they’ve got in play, cast-wise, for next season—it’ll be season four or five before anything really happens. And even then, they’ll presumably move it over to the movies.

The episode revolves around guest star Jonathan Majors, who monologues most of the episode. No reveals, just monologuing around reveals. He does a great job of it (you can tell he’s stage-trained). Unfortunately, he’s giving his monologue on what appears to be a refresh of the digital model for Doctor Strange’s house. Real boring. Though director Kate Herron is better at directing monologues than action, there’s another lousy fight scene this episode, this time with swords. Luckily it’s just filler to prepare for Hiddleston’s turn to monologue.

But “Loki” all of a sudden feels just like what it’s never supposed to feel like—a Marvel Netflix show, or “Agents of Shield,” something where the world can crash down, and no one notices because they’re not contractually obligated to appear. Especially given this episode opens with dialogue from the Marvel movies cut over the timelines expanding and contracting. But by the end, it seems far less like Marvel’s Doctor Who or Quantum Leap and a lot more like Sliders. A nothing-burger of a show.

There is no substantial material for Sophia Di Martino (though she hasn’t had good material for a couple of episodes now). Gugu Mbatha-Raw (dealing with when she betrayed Owen Wilson and Wunmi Mosaku) has a scene to remind she too will return next season, but as a scene, it’s dramatically inert. I kept waiting for show creator Michael Waldron to get another scripting credit after the first episode, and he’s back finally (co-credit with Eric Martin), and he really doesn’t do a good job.

What’s most amusing is the cliffhanger sets up a potentially fun second season ground situation only to immediately make it less fun and more narratively padded. “Loki”’s got a long way to go to prove it’s not utterly pointless. Because near as I can tell, everything from this season could be a five-minute recap at the beginning of next, and you wouldn’t miss anything.

Except remembering when Hiddleston was supposed to be a big movie star and isn’t. He’s just Loki.

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