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Loki Season 2, Episode 5 Review

Loki experiences despair as the Time Variance Authority collapses, but finds hope and purpose in a new variant life.

In the penultimate episode of Loki, the God of Mischief finds himself grappling with the consequences of the unraveling reality. Loki, who has been accompanying the TVA on their time-traveling adventures, has lost his mischievous spirit. Unlike his past self, who would relish in the chaos, the current Loki is disheartened by the cosmic disarray caused by the failure of the Throughput Multiplier. The Time Variance Authority, responsible for maintaining the timeline, has been destroyed, leaving Loki without a purpose or a home. To make matters worse, his time-slipping powers are malfunctioning, adding to the chaos. This episode, titled "Science/Fiction," explores the emotional turmoil experienced by Loki and introduces variant versions of familiar characters.

The episode delves into the variant lives of the TVA ensemble, showcasing the different existences they could have had if not plucked from reality by He Who Remains. Hunter B-15, usually a stern enforcer of the timeline, is shown as a compassionate doctor in 2012 New York City. Casey, the TVA receptionist, is portrayed as a criminal attempting to escape from Alcatraz in 1962. And Mobius, Loki's ally, is depicted as Don, a contented jetski salesman in Cleveland, Ohio. These glimpses into their alternate lives evoke a sense of sympathy for these characters, who seem happier in these variant timelines. Loki's encounter with O.B., a struggling sci-fi novelist, further emphasizes the theme of finding one's place in an unstable universe.

The episode strikes a balance between the intricate storytelling and character development. It is directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead and written by Eric Martin, who skillfully weave together a narrative that elicits pathos for each character. Quan portrays O.B. with affable grace, while Mosaku's performance as Hunter B-15 showcases her character's evolving perspective on time authority. The episode also hints at a potential happy ending for characters like Mobius, Hunter, and Casey, who have played significant roles in maintaining the stability of the timeline. The symbolism of Mobius' love for jetskis represents the freedom denied to him and the TVA employees. The season's overarching theme of finding one's place in an unstable universe is echoed in these characters' journeys.

The episode's shift in focus allows Loki to shine as a thoughtful sci-fi series. It explores the consequences of the choices made by Loki and Sylvie, emphasizing the importance of considering the desires and well-being of others. As reality begins to unravel, Sylvie realizes that Loki alone cannot fix the situation. The episode ends with Sylvie reuniting with the ensemble cast, ready to take control of her power and shape a better future. This episode marks a turning point for Loki, as he rediscovers his mischievous spirit and embraces his newfound role in the ever-changing Marvel universe. "Science/Fiction" is a captivating and emotionally resonant episode that sets the stage for an exciting season finale.

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