Loki season 2 episode 5 scatters the central cast, giving us plenty of great character moments, even if it could have used more time to develop them.
If Loki season 2 episode 5 proves anything, it’s that the superhero show struck gold with the casting of Ke Huy Quan as Ouroboros. “Science/Fiction” sees him entrusted with several long-winded paragraphs full of exposition and, somehow, he manages to successfully make them all entertaining. Comprehensible? Maybe not, but certainly enjoyable to behold, almost entirely down to his seemingly never-ending supply of charisma. In a show that seems determined to overwhelm its audience with more science fiction nonsense than their mind can feasibly handle, Ke Huy Quan stands out as the one person involved who is actually thinking about the people on the other side of the screen, almost single-handedly ensuring that those watching stay engaged due to his lovable energy, even if they don’t fully understand what’s being said.
That’s not to say Loki season 2 episode 5 is bad by any means; in fact, I’d argue that it’s far from it. Following the calamitous events seen in the ending of episode 4, the central team is scattered across the various timelines, with the TVA members all being reset to their original lives. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is seemingly left as the only one who remembers what’s going on, and it’s up to him to get the band back together and hopefully get them all to resume saving the multiverse. As you might expect, the most interesting part of the episode is seeing what everyone’s original lives were, and it’s probably the element of the episode that I feel the most mixed on.
On one hand, I think some of the scenarios presented are incredibly interesting, with us getting to see a completely different, but still recognisable, side to these characters we’ve gotten so acquainted with over the course of the show. However, and this is a problem that I’ve had with Loki season 2 since its beginning, it unfortunately all feels a tad underdeveloped.
Take Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) for instance, who gets essentially nothing to do as her original self in the episode. Again, it’s Loki falling victim to its 6-episode format. The sheer complexity of the plot means that it needs to keep moving at 100 miles a minute, which comes with the unfortunate side effect of having to discard countless potentially interesting moments or storylines simply because the show doesn’t have time for them. It all just ends up feeling like a waste.
With that being said, the actual overarching storyline of Loki does feel like it’s heading in an interesting direction. One of the best things about “Science/Fiction” is the commitment it has to developing its lead character, who has unfortunately often felt like nothing more than a handsome blank slate in some of the prior episodes. Here, we get an interesting examination of Loki’s inherent selfishness, though I do wish we could have delved a bit deeper into his psyche before jumping right back into the show’s incredibly high-stakes storyline. Still though, I admire the attempt, and hopefully episode 5 introducing this idea means that the finale will explore it some more, if it actually has any time to.
So, looking ahead to next week’s finale, I must say that I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure why, I imagine it has something to do with the fact that the two episodes I’ve enjoyed the most so far this season have been these last two. As long as there’s a serious lack of Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors), I think we should be set for something that is, at the very least, interesting to watch. More than anything, what I want most from the Loki season 2 finale is for it to give us something that feels ambitious and consequential. Give me a big swing that leaves me shell-shocked for weeks, something that makes me desperately want more. No more fake-outs, no more product placement: give me a finale that truly sticks the landing, and makes season 2 of Loki feel worth it.
Season 2 Episode 5 of Loki is now available to watch on Disney Plus.