TV

Loki Season 2 Episode 5 Review: God of Stories


Loki season two’s penultimate episode, “Science/Fiction”, is not just the best episode of MCU TV to date, it’s one of the best things Marvel has ever done.

Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Owen Wilson as Mobius, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Eugene Cordero as Casey, and Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Loki Season 2
Photo: Gareth Gatrell/Marvel

This review contains spoilers

Although Loki’s second season has been well received by fans and critics alike, most of the issues with the story so far have been about its nonsensical time travel plot, the scale (and impact) of its dying timelines, and Loki’s somewhat baffling need to save the TVA given that the multiverse is trying to free itself from He Who Remains’ temporal loom. In the penultimate episode of the season, the show deftly addresses all those issues, and forces us to accept that they were never really issues in the first place.

To date, the only real context we have had for new timelines dying has been squiggly lines on a screen, but “Science/Fiction” finally makes them feel real to us. At first, it’s just a McDonald’s meal disappearing from atop Sylvie’s car. Then, Loki’s bourbon vanishes. By the time we get to Sylvie’s favorite record store and meet its owner, the dread has set in. After “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” by The Velvet Underground plays out over the distressing record store scene, we skip to our TVA friends being turned to ribbons, and we are able to grasp the plight of those being snuffed out. Whole realities are being destroyed, and Sylvie has to admit she was wrong – someone really does have to stop it.

Elsewhere, the episode explores the series’ ludicrous and conflicting time travel rules by mulling whether understanding the “what”, “how”, or “why” of it all even matters, and the answer is perfect on several levels. Yes, abandoning those questions may give us an opportunity to let go of everything that bothered us about the scientific mechanics of Loki, but it also paves the way for the creators behind the show to adapt one of Loki’s best Marvel Comics arcs by turning him from the God of Mischief into the God of Stories, a key redemptive moment for the character in Al Ewing’s Agent of Asgard run. The answer is indeed “who”: Loki doesn’t just have the ability to lie and cause chaos, he can utilize the essence of those abilities to “rewrite” stories as a force for good, turning his lies into reality.

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