Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe dead? Some think so. Initially hyped during its first season, the latest developments in Loki Season 2, Episode 5: Science/ Fiction have left fans feeling deflated and impatient as it feels like the MCU is without direction.
Lokie Season 2, Episode 5 Spoilers Ahead
Gone are the days of Iron Man, Infinity Stones, and Avengers. Nowadays, the MCU is all about multiverses, comedy, and something called a temporal loom.
Coming out of the Infinity Saga with one of the top-grossing films of all time, Avengers: End Game (2019) left a gaping hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was eventually filled by once-villain Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.
Straight out of the gate, Marvel and Disney decided to take a risk, introducing a much more complicated basis for the next phase of the MCU. Instead of worrying about power stones and AI beings who gain self-awareness, the Multiverse was introduced via Loki on Disney +.
Praised at first for its stunning visuals and references to parallel-dimensional Loki and Thor characters, seeing a redemptive arch for the gloriously mischievous Asgardian (well, sort of) was enough to keep Marvel fans engaged. However, the honeymoon phase is over, and it feels like critics and fans alike have run out of patience.
Loki Is Slow, Maybe Too Slow For Our Timeline
What made the first season of Loki (2021) work was the introduction to an exciting, new concept that would shape the future of Earth’s mightiest heroes. However, as episode 5 of Loki season 2 has come to a close, the much-anticipated follow-up season has done little to expand on its initial concepts, instead drawing out a story that does nothing more than confuse its audience.
Speaking of “imminent collapses of interwoven, convoluted continuities,” as Games Radar so ideally put it, Loki Season 2, Episode 5 has given once-engaged fans hours of content with no real conclusion or substance outside of the fact that temporal loom is in danger, and the annoying plot twist that Mrs. Minutes is dangerous.
When considering the caliber of talent that Loki possesses, hosting names like Owen Wilson (Mobius), Jonathan Majors (Victor Timely), Tom Hiddleston, Key Hu Quan (OB), and Tara Strong (Sophie), it’s difficult to sum up exactly how we’re this far into this warped MCU product without defined direction. Maybe that’s the brilliance of everything; everything is chaos as impending multiversal wars with Kang loom in the balance of time and space.
However, much like Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), despite the talent involved in its production, the series just feels lost. And as MCU fans are still reeling from recent content such as She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) and Ms. Marvel (2022), hope is dwindling as the once-great MCU fire burns out.
Not Even Nick Fury Can Save Us Now
The scariest thing in the MCU right now isn’t the potential return of Thanos or “He Who Remains,” it’s the current onslaught of material provided through Disney+ that feels like it’ll never rope back in together. Fittingly, the temporal loom in Loki’s second season served as a stark metaphor for how Marvel fans feel regarding the current state of the beloved franchise. It’s unraveling, and all hope is lost.
To make matters worse, right in the middle of the Multiverse, there’s another much-anticipated storyline featuring an old favorite that absolutely missed the mark big time. Secret Invasion (2023), highlighting the return of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), brought with it even more confusion as Skrulls attempted to invade Earth right in the middle of what seems to be the end of all things.
Despite the popularity of Fury and the excitement from comic fans surrounding the project when it was announced by Kevin Feige, the Disney+ series ultimately failed to present any type of coherent timeline for what’s taking place at the moment. We all thought to ourselves that maybe Loki Season 2 would help flesh out this mess.
As the newest episode proved, the answer is a resounding no among audiences: the timeline is still a bloody mess.
Despite a Slow Moving Story, Loki Season 2 Has Great On-Screen Performances
If there’s one thing we can’t knock regarding Loki, especially regarding Season 2, Episode 5, Science/Fiction, it’s the acting. Tom Hiddleston, Jonathan Majors, and Owen Wilson all work so well with each other. These are high-demand names that lend their credibility to this series, which many feel is headed to where “He Who Remains” lives, nowhere.
This episode, in particular, was very well done; as the pending doom of an unstable temporal loom swallows up the TVA, Loki’s consistent problem of time-slipping saves him. The aftermath rips Loki through time to face familiar TVA names and faces. Unlike the qualms many have had with the state of CGI within the MCU, Loki is masterfully handled. The look of Loki continues to be superior to other current phase MCU projects; it’s just the slow-paced story of Victor Timely and the three-episode destruction of the TVA that has MCU fans calling it “stall tactics.”
After Loki Season 2, Episode 5, What Happens Now?
The real answer to that question is, “Who knows?” However, Game Radar made a few very insightful points regarding similarities between Loki as a character and Nick Fury in Phase One of the MCU. Sort of like Jackson’s character, Loki is bringing together a group of unremarkable people, with Mobius (Owen Wilson) being the first.
There’s some solid material within Loki to be explored more if there’s time. Sophie’s relationship with Loki, Mobius’s love of jet skis, OB’s back story, and much more; however, as Season 2, Episode 5: Science/ Fiction showed us, the MCU is in no hurry to get there. Much like bright spots in the sky at night, the ones we’ve experienced in Loki are likely to burn out by the time they get to us.
Views held within this article are those strictly of the author. They are not indicative of any standpoint made by The Walt Disney Company.