And so the final episode of Loki was unleashed upon an unworthy world.
I have been enjoying the series up until this point, but wasn't necessarily blown away by anything. The idea of variant Loki's being the only characters to survive in multiple versions... or at least the only characters we've seen survive in multiple version... is kinda laughable. But, it did give us Loki Gator, and it's tough to be mad about that...
Needless to say, anything I say after this point is going to be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen all of Loki yet, you should probably get on that before proceeding.
And... spoilers ahead. You've been warned.
Anybody who's any kind of serious Marvel comic book fan knew everything was leading to Kang the Conqueror all along...
The guy who sits at the end of time trying to conquer all of time? Who else could it have been?
It didn't hurt that we knew Jonathan Majors had been cast as Kang for the upcoming Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania movie. Him showing up in Loki as a Kang variant was almost expected from the minute the TVA and "the sacred timeline" was introduced.
Sure enough, after the events of the last episode, Loki and Sylvie end up in Kang's citadel at the end of time. There they confront "He Who Remains" (AKA Kang, who is an entirely different character in the comic books). They're told that pruning the timeline is critical to keeping the timestream safe, because there's a bunch of variant Kangs who want nothing but to conquer all that exists. Sylvie kills Kang anyway, which results in another Kang variant completely re-shaping the timeline and installing himself as ruler of the multiverse and the new architect behind the TVA... which is exactly what "He Who Remains" said would happen.
The end. Tune in for Season 2 of Loki whenever.
The final episode was okay. But, to be honest, a bit of a let-down. That paragraph I just wrote above is ALL THAT HAPPENS. That's it!
I think it's fairly obvious that Sylvie (actually a female Loki variant) is being set up to become "The Enchantress," a Thor character who's been around forever in the comics and is a formidable villain in the Marvel Universe. She's outright said "I'm going to enchant it" which makes that an obvious conclusion to draw. In lieu of the Kang reveal not being quite the surprise it was supposed to be (or could have been), I was at least hoping that we'd get The Enchantress out of the deal. But nope. Saving it for Season 2, I guess... which is not something that Marvel Studios does. They put ALL their cards on the table, THEN move forward. They don't hold the best stuff back for future shows or movies in the future that may or may not happen (which is what sank the DC Universe, killed the Universal Monsters Universe, and killed the Jupiter's Legacy franchise before it even began).
The fact that Marvel Studios is now following in the failed footsteps of other failed franchises is more than a little distressing to me. WHAT HAS MADE YOU SUCCESSFUL WHERE OTHERS FAIL IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF HOW YOU HANDLED LOKI!
But what really bothers me is the fact that viewers who are unfamiliar with Kang actually end up getting less than nothing at the end of the series. Except for a massive cliffhanger, of course. They have no knowledge of Kang to fill in what they haven't been told. They just have a sword fight and a dead guy they know nothing about. They don't even know his name was Kang!
How in the hell is this a smart strategy?
Was Kevin Feige smoking crack when he okayed all this?
Where's the Kevin Feige who would have said "NO! WE HOLD NOTHING BACK! PUT IT ALL OUT THERE SO WE EARN THE ABILITY TO MAKE FUTURE PROJECTS FOR OUR FANS!"... where is that guy? Instead we get a six-episode series that's all prelude to something that is planned for the future. Planned... which is to say that there's no guarantees (see: the DC Universe, the Universal Monsters Universe, and the Jupiter's Legacy franchise).
Don't get me wrong, I love that Disney+ is giving us more Marvel projects than a meager three movies every year. I love that Disney+ is allowing more room for story and ideas that won't work in a movie. It's brilliant. But don't deviate from your success just because this is a television medium with seasons and release schedules and shit. Because that will lead to frustration and burnout faster than you might think, and I can't believe that's something I have to say to Marvel Studios.
So... in the end? Entertaining. But incomplete. And incomplete in the worst way possible... leaving behind Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who know nothing about the comics which inspired it. They are what made the MCU such a mainstream success because, let's face it, it wasn't the precious few comic book fans out there (whose numbers are dwindling every day). Abandoning them by not going for broke and putting everything you have into each series/season Every. Single. Time. is a recipe for disaster.
Disaster even more dangerous than Kang the Conquerer.