Warning! Contains spoilers for Loki episode 5.
Loki episode 5 continues the show’s exploration of the MCU multiverse and the origins of the TVA, ending in a climactic battle that set sup a ton of possibilities for the finale. After being pruned by the TVA, Loki wakes up in the Void, a sprawling space at the end of the Sacred Timeline ruled by an amorphous monster called Alioth. Teaming up with some other variants, Loki and Sylvie attempt to enchant the beast to cross over into whatever lies on the other side of the Void.
Trying to enchant a creature as massive and powerful as Alioth might sound like suicide, and indeed it ended up being just that for Richard E. Grant’s old Loki variant. In an incredible display of magical power, Grant’s Loki conjured a full-scale illusion of Asgard itself, distracting Alioth while Loki and Sylvie channeled their own power for the enchantment. Classic Loki fell to Alioth during the fight, but his diversion gave the other two just enough time to get inside the monster’s head and compel it to dissipate – into a strange place with a dark and foreboding castle.
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It’s an intense sequence with a lot of visual effects, but what does it all mean? What is the mysterious citadel revealed by Alioth, and what does it have to do with the origins of the TVA? Hopefully, all questions will be answered in the Loki finale, but until then, there are already a number of clues hinting at what’s to come.
Where Do Loki & Sylvie End Up In Episode 5?
As explained in Loki episode 5, the Void is a space that exists at the end of the Sacred Timeline – a dumping ground for pruned realities and variants. That means that whatever lies beyond it, the world opened up to Loki and Sylvie by Alioth, must either be at the very end of time or outside the temporal confines of the timeline altogether. Looking at past storylines from the Marvel comics, that leaves two primary possibilities for where Sylvie and Loki actually wind up.
The first option is that the castle viewed through Alioth is the Citadel at the End of Time, a mythical place from the Marvel comics with curious ties to both the Time-Keepers and the TVA. In the comics, the Citadel is the dwelling place of He Who Remains – the final director of the TVA, who created the Time-Keepers at the very end of the universe to try to help guide future cycles of the timeline. Obviously, that story has already been altered significantly in the MCU, as the Time-Keepers were revealed to be fake in Loki episode 4. However, it’s possible that the show’s finale will invoke some new version of He Who Remains in its explanation of the TVA’s true origin story.
The other, more popular theory is that the castle is the citadel of Kang the Conqueror. In the comics, Kang rules his temporal empire from the city of Chronopolis, which has a towering castle at its center. The landscape glimpsed at the end of Loki episode 5 is a bit grimmer and more desolate than most past renditions of Chronopolis, but that could just be because of changes for the MCU. Kang is set to make his film debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but there are rumors that he could be showing up early.
Every Hint Kang Is The Real Villain
With the end of Loki episode 5, speculation that Kang is behind the TVA has only grown. There are several compelling reasons for this theory, not the least of which is the villain’s historical connection to time travel and timeline control. When thinking about established Marvel characters capable of creating and maintaining an organization as massive as the TVA, Kang springs to mid as the most probable pick. He also has a longstanding relationship with Ravonna Renslayer in the comics – a character who has featured prominently in Loki so far. Introducing Kang at the end of the series could set up his relationship with Renslayer in the MCU, building toward a greater plot in Ant-Man 3.
It’s also possible that the real Loki villain is just a variant of Kang, rather than the Prime Kang who dominates the comics. A big part of Kang’s character is that there are many different versions of him, and introducing one of those variants in Loki would set up some cool future plotlines while still leaving the main Kang for a reveal in Ant-Man 3. It looks like the Loki finale will reestablish the MCU multiverse, and Kang could play into that story in a number of interesting ways.
Why Classic Loki Sacrificed Himself
Sylvie and Loki’s enchantment of Alioth wouldn’t have been possible without the Classic Loki variant’s sacrifice. Through most of episode 5, he seemed uninterested in their crusade, stating repeatedly that his priority was survival at any cost. And yet, when Loki and Sylvie needed him most, he returned and sacrificed himself to help them. The reason why is revealed in an earlier monologue from Classic Loki, where he explains how he altered his own timeline. He says that after escaping Thanos using illusions, he fled to a far corner of the universe and lived in peace for years. Eventually, however, he grew lonely, and wondered if anyone out there still cared about him.
That desire for belonging, for camaraderie and purpose, is why Classic Loki decides to come back and help in the battle against Alioth. He dies laughing because he’s chosen to fight for something, rather than continue running away. Thematically, that decision is emblematic of Loki’s arc through the series – a journey of self-discovery, and learning that it’s never too late to change your ways. Or maybe, the Classic Loki who died was just an illusion all along.
Who Is Behind The TVA In Loki?
By the end of Loki episode 5, the show’s biggest question remains unanswered – who actually created the TVA, and why? Renslayer seems to be about as in the dark as anyone else at the agency, and the Time-Keepers were revealed to be nothing more than hollow puppets. So who then? Kang is a popular choice, but he isn’t the only possibility. Some fans have theorized that it’s actually a powerful Loki variant who created the TVA. Or it could be the MCU’s version of He Who Remains, some otherwise unknown figure waiting at the end of time. Until the Loki finale arrives, the mystery will continue.
Loki releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
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- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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