FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
Episodes of Arrow are taking another week off because I’ve been very busy, and not because I’ve actually been lazy and playing The Sims 4. Anyway, Loki summaries are still on track! We’re at the penultimate episode with what appears to be a massive reveal coming next week, but that doesn’t mean that this episode was lacking in things that happened. So let’s talk about this episode while I try my damnest to avoid going into detail about Kang the Conqueror!
Picking up immediately were the last episode left off, “Journey into Mystery” sees Loki surviving being disintegrated/pruned by the TVA and finding himself in a wasteland surrounded by 4 other Lokis: Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, and an Alligator Loki. Yup, turns out that wasn’t a pet. The murder of Lokis–I’m assuming a group is named that, like crows–explain that he’s in the Void at the end of time, and that they need to escape from the gargantuan cloud monster, Alioth. Sure enough, back at the TVA Ravonna tells Sylvie that due to conservation of matter, objects pruned aren’t destroyed, but instead sent to the Void. Forgive me for assuming the organization that rendered the Infinity Stones useless and have a mastery of time travel could dematerialize things. Anyway, Ravonna almost tricks Sylvie, but it’s hard to trick and trickster. Sylvie prunes herself in an attempt to find Loki and runs into Mobius in the Void, who saves her from Alioth. Back with the Lokis, Boastful Loki–the one we know the least about because he has no direct comic parallel–betrays his fellows to a President Loki and his gang of post-apocalyptic bandits. Hey, remember that outfit from the trailer and/or the Marvel Strike Force mobile game? Anyway, Regular, Classic, and Kid Lokis escape and meet up with Sylvie and Mobius, sharing what they now know with each other. One important detail is that when Sylvie tried to enchant Alioth, she got a vision of a castle somewhere. That’s got to be where the person behind the TVA is holed up, right? The party splits with Mobius using the tempad Sylvie stole to go back to the TVA and “burn it to the ground.” Kid and Classic leave as Loki and Sylvie prepare to attack the giant smoke monster. It doesn’t go well, but Classic Loki returns, showing off an impressive amount of power while distracting Alioth, seemingly sacrificing himself (although this is the Loki that faked his death, so don’t count him out yet). But it does the job, and Sylvie and Loki gain access to the castle beyond the end of time, ready to face whoever created the TVA.
So I think at this point we can pretty safely assume the TVA has been lying about the Sacred Timeline. I initially thought that they were correct in there not currently being a multiverse and the implication was that Loki’s meddling would create one, but too many details just don’t add up. We were told that branches had to be pruned within a short time frame before disaster strikes, but Classic Loki’s backstory is that he faked his death at the hands of Thanos and spent years in hiding. So much for that time limit. The various Lokis are so varied it would suggest completely different upbringings, too. Add in to all of this the next Disney+ Marvel show, What If…?, is starting in August. It’s a show built upon the idea that there are alternate worlds where events happened differently. What if Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum? What if Erik Killmonger saved Iron Man from being the Ten Rings ambush? But why the lie is something I haven’t wrapped by head around yet. The who seems to be a pretty done deal if you believe the internet, but I disagree…
But before we get to the “who,” lemme talk about Alioth in the comics. Still a giant smoke monster, it first appeared in Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1 (1993). Remember last time where I talked about Ravonna Renslayer being a sometimes lover, sometimes enemy to Kang? By this point she had defeated him and taken over his time-spanning empire, adopting the name Terminatrix. But her desire to conquer farther back than he ever had angered Alioth, who claimed dominion all the way back to the dawn of life on earth. But Alioth is barely featured in The Terminatrix Objective limited series–instead, the main story is Ravonna fighting against a new foe named Revelation. Revelation enlists War Machine, US Agent (who debuted in the MCU with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), and Thunderstrike (a Thor knockoff), but Terminatrix counters with Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. The off brand heroes are naturally outclassed. Sure, Kang was also involved and even the Time-Keepers (Vorth, Zanth, and Ast) had a cameo, but the person pulling all the strings is Revelation, who was… Ravonna Renslayer! Or at least one from a divergent future timeline! Time travel is a fucking nightmare to keep track of!
So who is Kang? Yes, yes, he’s Nathaniel Richards from the 30th century and one of the Avengers’ deadliest foes. But who is he in relation to Loki? If he is the one behind the TVA, then this show will be a precursor to his role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but he’s not someone we’ve seen before. We already know that Kang will be played by Mr. Jonathan Majors (AKA Atticus Freeman from Lovecraft Country), so Kang is a black man. Do you remember any noteworthy black men popping up in this series? Having Kang be behind it all would be a curveball, sure, but it doesn’t really make narrative sense. The villain typically is someone we’ve seen before, someone we have some level of attachment to, so the revelation will have meaning. If it’s some guy we’ve never seen before, the diehard fans will get the reference, but it will have no real impact for a lot of the audience. So having it be Ravonna would wrap just about everything together. Her past self let Sylvie escape, thereby kicking off the entire plot; her present self is a pretty dedicated TVA agent and the current main antagonist we know of; and her future self could absolutely be the one pulling all the strings. If Kang is involved, I would expect him to be little more than a cameo teasing Quantumania, like how the post-credits scenes work.
At least, that’s my bet. If not Ravonna, I’d wager on some incarnation of Loki before going with Kang. Or maybe even Mobius, who turned against everything the TVA stands for pretty quickly. But there is a good chance I’m wrong, so I suppose we’ll see next week! Wouldn’t it be cool if I was right? I think it’d be cool.
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