REVIEW: Loki – Season 2, Episode 1, “Ouroboros”

Loki may be the first show in television history to start a season with a filler episode. “Ouroboros,” the second season premiere of the Marvel Disney+ series, tries to convince you it’s important, that there are dire stakes, that this is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, but about two-thirds of the way through, it starts to feel like a video game sidequest. Ultimately, it’s just spinning wheels until the season’s actual story begins, with no character development or impact on the plot. And it’s boring.

After Sylvie kills the Kang variant called He Who Remains, Loki is transported to the TVA, but nobody knows who he is. This is because Loki is being launched back and forth through time, and if he doesn’t stop whatever is happening to him soon, he could be lost in time forever.

As any who’s seen the first season expected, “Ouroboros” picks up right where the first finale left off, with Loki in a TVA where no one recognizes him, and there is imagery of Kang all over the place. His attempts to talk to Mobius and the other TVA people lead to a chase through the building, which is about as exciting as trying to catch a closing elevator. Even as the chase gets more elaborate and Loki starts jumping through windows and falling into flying cars, there’s no sense of urgency or danger. Part of that is because the sequence is played for laughs, with Loki falling down, bumping into things, and causing destruction that’s supposed to be funny, all to a jaunty comic score that undercuts everything happening on the show. This opening is a portent of what’s to come because it has all of the problems that keep rearing their heads in “Ouroboros.”


It turns out nobody recognized Loki because when Sylvie kicked him through that portal, he landed in the past, long before he arrived at the TVA. And at the end of the scene, he phases through time, appearing in the present, where everybody knows his name. This happens throughout “Ouroboros,” and the thrust of the episode is figuring out why Loki is flitting through time and how to stop it. The answer isn’t very interesting: it was caused by Sylvie kicking him through the doorway. It isn’t supposed to be possible for someone to phase through time at the TVA, but it’s happening because it’s happening. And if they don’t find a way to keep him stable, he’ll be trapped through time, or in time, or something. The episode isn’t big on specifics or explanations, which would be okay if this was an ongoing plot line, but it isn’t.

That’s because the namesake of the episode’s title, a tech guy named Ouroboros, explains the problem and figures out how to stop it before the credits roll. This is Ke Huy Quan’s character, and he’s basically the TVA’s version of Q, inventing gadgets and keeping the place running for thousands of years. He’s exactly what I expected him to be, and I feel sorry for Quan, who is doing his best to make Ouroboros – or OB, as he likes to be called – funny and entertaining. But he’s stuck in modern Marvel, where the people behind the scenes don’t care anymore, so he’s as adrift as the rest of the cast. There’s none of the heart or soul he brings to guys like Short Round or Data here because he’s got nothing to work with aside from saying silly, goofy things with a sense of awe you wouldn’t expect from someone who’s been doing this for four thousand years. What a waste of a fun, beloved actor in the middle of a career resurgence.

Loki Ouroboros

But at least Quan gives OB a little bit of life, which is more than anyone else at the TVA has, outside of maybe Mobius. There’s a meeting scene where B-15 tries to get two bigwigs to stop pruning the timeline while Mobius stands around like furniture. The others are Judge Gamble and General Dox, and while they’re both initially dismissive of B-15’s concerns, Judge Gamble eventually agrees with her, while Dox wants to continue pruning while hunting for Sylvie. This is a confusing scene because Gamble appears to be in charge at first, able to silence Dox when she goes into the ubiquitous call to action from the military leader. But at the end, Dox seems to ignore her completely, initiating her operation with an underling while Gamble just sits there. It makes the whole thing feel pointless; I imagine the reason it’s here is to establish B-15’s moving away from the TVA’s orthodoxy, but it could have been done in a better scene that made sense.

As for the main storyline, it’s inconsequential. Loki is being thrown through time, and OB comes up with the only way to save him, but it’s got to happen a certain way. It involves pressing two big buttons, which happens with no suspense because it’s just Owen Wilson and Ke Huy Quan pushing buttons. It works, and after seeing Sylvie in what looks like the future, Loki returns, seemingly cured of his time-jumping. So, what was the point of this? Why have an entire episode devoted to this when it’s resolved that easily and doesn’t lead into the season’s main plot? Couldn’t Loki have just shown up in the present, told Mobius and the others what was going on, and begun the search for Sylvie and Kang? As with all the other Disney+ shows, this reeks of desperation to fill six episodes with maybe three episodes worth of story. And if they were going to do that, they could have at least made it more exciting.

Loki Ouroboros

But they go for funny instead. “Ouroboros” is full of gags, and none of them work. Loki, Mobius, and OB never stop saying silly things to each other while trying to understand why Loki is shifting through time, and all it does is drag the scene out past a tolerable length. This show has two speeds: boring or unfunny. And “Ouroboros” has some lousy filmmaking, with what look like pretty good special effects ruined by oddly timed cuts and weird camera angles through obscured windows that ruin what could have been some nice images. When Loki jumps out of a window at the beginning, it happens mostly off-screen, with the camera moving back just in time to see his legs go over the side. Why not at least try to make this sequence exciting and show him leaping through the opening? The rest of it is so heavily influenced by Attack of the Clones or The Fifth Element (or both) that it’s hard not to call it a ripoff. And it all ends up back where it started, with Loki and Mobius going after Sylvie and Kang. Season 2 is not off to a good start.

Loki – "Ouroboros"

Plot - 5
Acting - 5
Progression - 4
Production Design - 7
Entertainment - 4



“Ouroboros” is a boring season premiere that spins the story’s wheels instead of getting the main plot started, tries and fails to generate laughs, and wastes Ke Huy Quan in a silly expository role.

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