Netflix’s MillarVerse had its first series cancelled. Warner Bros. can’t decide which version of the DC Universe it wants to make for its cinematic universe and The CW Verse’s DC shows are on fumes. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios is out here raking in millions in a pandemic and on its streaming platform for its latest film and Loki shows how to properly bridge the movie and TV series gap.
For All Time. Always was about as quietly epic as you’d expect from this series and puts the entire season into a stunning, mind-blowing new context. How’s that for a glorious purpose?
The episode opens with sound bites from various MCU films before diverging to other timelines and to illustrate the gap between the “normal” MCU Earth and this dying one at the end of time. Loki and Sylvie arrive at Oz’s castle and after recognizing they’ve reached the end of their journey, pause to take the moment in.
They encounter a mysterious man (Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country), who plays coy with his actual name. Comic fans ears are sure to perk up when he name drops Conqueror as one of his aliases. For the sake of some links to the comics, let’s assume this is Immortus, the sometimes helpful, sometimes manipulative Avengers enemy/ally although he’s fine calling himself He Who Remains.
Immortus explains the true purpose of the TVA was to keep the timeline in check after he uncovered the mystery of the multiverse and his variants. They triggered a war that reigned chaos on the timestream. And boom, just like that the entire premise of this season comes into play on a wider scale and makes everything make even more sense. How often does that happen with any show?
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Only by weaponizing Alioth did HWR restore order among the timeline. But he’s tired and is ready for retirement…or death and offers Loki and Sylvie a proposition — kill him and watch the branching timelines sprout up faster than weeds in July or take his place and keep the one timeline nice and pruned.
Sylvie is game for the former since she rightfully doesn’t trust HWR. Loki, always one to see the other angle of things, is trying to see the other side of HWR’s plan. This leads to a dramatic sword duel that channels the tone of Vader vs. Luke II from Return of the Jedi.
Back at the TVA, Mobius confronts Ravonna. I should probably turn over my Avengers’ geek cred card for totally ignoring that Ravonna in the comics is the object of Kang’s affection in the comics. And that’s why it shouldn’t have been surprising that Miss Minutes was giving Ravonna inside information on the TVA from HWR.
Hunter B-15 has been busy showing her fellow guards the truth about Ravonna and their variant status, which prompts some major changes. More on that in a second.
Sylvie and Loki have their big, long awaited kiss while I started watching out for crossbows. There is a mini-betrayal though as Sylvie sends Loki back to the TVA (?) and kills HWR, who smiles the smug smile of a guy who already read the spoilers. This isn’t going to turn out well for anyone.
Loki is bummed his one true love essentially rejected him, but rushes over to Mobius and Hunter B-15 to compare notes. He’s frantically explaining what HWR shared, but Mobius has a more important question — who the heck is Loki? Uh-oh. Loki looks around and sees several versions of Time Keeper groups and standing watch is a tall statue of a man dressed like…a conqueror.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make on Majors’ take on Immortus/HWR. I need my helmets and full comic book flourishes to these outfits. This episode was a showcase for what Majors will bring to the role of Kang, Scarlet Centurion, Rama-Tut, Immortus, etc. It’s all on the table.
Majors probably was featured too prominently on this episode to get an Emmy though, but this was an exciting performance. I loved the tease of all the horror and carnage HWR’s variants could cause. That’s such a great springboard through Phase 4 as all these variants can be the major villain in several movies. Maybe Marvel Studios knows what it’s doing?
Yes as always, for all time even it seems like Marvel Studios has this superhero game on lock. Everyone else is still settling for a distant second place. There’s not a long post-credit scene here, but it reiterates the point. Loki will be back for Season 2. And maybe, just maybe he’ll make a return to help Thor and his allies stop the conqueror?
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios