Episode five of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. How does it compare to the other recent MCU series? Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Crossing the divide
Loki has racked up 731 million minutes of viewing time, according to ratings service Nielsen. Its ratings have almost certainly benefited from the two series preceding it. People are getting used to the idea of the Marvel Cinematic Universe straddling the divide between the small screen and the silver screen. I’m sure its record-breaking figures are at least in part down to this being the most rounded series of those released by Marvel this year.
The episode title, ‘Journey Into Mystery’, is a reference to the title of the first Marvel comic that Loki appeared in.
We pick up the action directly after the conclusion of Episode Five. With Loki erased and sent to The Void while Sylvie is demanding answers from Renslayer about the TVA and The Sacred Timeline.
Loki tries to get his head around the fact that he is surrounded by a phalanx of Loki’s. All sent to The Void from different timeline branches.
The Void is a dystopian, apocalyptic wasteland at the end of time. Where all of the timeline branches are sent in order to keep the purity of The Sacred Timeline. It doesn’t seem to have a set location. We can see in the background almost destroyed versions of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and The Acropolis in Greece. Those unfortunate enough to be sent there are expected to scavenge for survival. Or they’re absorbed by The Alioth, which is an enormous cloud monster able to absorb anything it touches.
The meeting of The Loki’s is very amusing, particularly as they all seem to be able to understand the roars of Alligator Loki. The Alligator ends up getting into a fight with Boastful Loki. He claims he managed to gather all of the Infinity Stones after overpowering Thor, Captain America and Iron Man. Young Loki reveals that his Nexus Event was killing Thor. While Classic Loki sits and thoughtfully watches on while trying to keep the peace.
Their peace is disturbed when another version of our Loki arrives with an army at their underground hideout. He wants a battle about who will be President Loki. Our Loki watches on bemused as it all kicks off. President Loki loses his hand when it is bitten off by Alligator Loki and Boastful Loki’s betrayal in revealing their secret lair is uncovered.
Still with me after all that? Good!
Back at the TVA, Sylvie is double-crossed by an increasingly desperate Renslayer. Who is frantically trying to keep the TVA functioning. She decides to erase herself and lands in The Void, where she is saved from the clutches of The Alioth by Mobius. Having been inches from being absorbed by it, Sylvie was able to partially enchant it and see inside it to discover what it is protecting.
They locate The Loki’s (a good name for a band if no one has yet used it) and Sylvie tells them she has discovered that The Alioth is protecting the citadel that protects The Sacred Timeline. She and Loki truly realise their love for each other as they contemplate how to escape The Void and uncover the truth. She concludes that the only way to beat The Alioth is to go through it to reach the citadel and discover who controls the timeline.
Kid Loki provides our Loki with his own sword The Laevateinn to assist him in his battle. The Laevateinn is similar to Thor’s Hammer in that it will only work and unleash its full power in the hand of someone who is deemed worthy. Classic Loki initially decides not to help. But ultimately sacrifices himself by creating a version of Asgard to distract The Alioth while Sylvie and Loki enchant it. They manage to overcome it and open up a schism beyond it on which they can now see The Sacred Timeline and the citadel on the rock in front of it on which it sits.
This series has become increasingly epic as we’ve watched each episode. Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki was fantastic so I hope we get to see more of him in future series. Also, we definitely want more Alligator Loki.
We’re certainly heading for the biggest climax of the three series so far this year. Hopefully, we’ll be given some teasers for series two of Loki as well as a link back into the new cinematic releases now Black Widow has started the avalanche of Marvel movies heading our way.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10
Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode five. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our Loki episode four review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.
Squid Game – Review
The Players and Games
On 17 September 2021, South Korean, Netflix series Squid Game was released. Unbeknown to many including writer and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, this nine-part drama quickly became the most talked about and watched show around the world.
The extremely well written, staged and thought-out show is a mix of ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Battel Royal’ all rolled into one. To make an intense and binge-able series from start to finish.
The series can be watched with subtitles or dubbed. We would suggest watching it subtitled as some of the dubbed voiceovers don’t quite match up to the characters and you can lose some of the intensity in the scenes. With both options, however, you will still be able to get a good handle of the story, as you follow hundreds of money-poor contestants take on the deadly childhood games.
SPOILERS: If you haven’t watched the whole of Squid Game yet. Stop reading here as we are about to review the players and the games, with some hefty spoilers added in.
All dressed in green tracksuits the players are the focus of the story, and the costuming made sure they did just that. In Screen Rants video Squid Game: 15 Things You Missed, we find out that Dong-hyuk wanted the players in school uniforms. But after realising they would have to wear shorts and skirts, he went with the PE style tracksuits in green, the opposite colour to red on the colour wheel… to make sure the blood stood out.
The game starts with 456 players, but there are eight main characters, who we are invited to find out more about within the story.
Seong Gi-hun (player 456)
The very first player we are introduced to is gambling addict Seong Gi-hun, Played by actor and successful model Lee Jung-jae. Gi-hun lives with his mother, bets all her money on horses, has a lot of debts, and gets his own daughter’s birthday gift from an arcade game. Which cleverly links to the boxes they use for coffins, within the game.
Gi-hun, is a great main character because through his lies and bad habits, his narrative is written to show that he has a compassionate side too, which you can relate to.
Kang Sae-byeok (player 067)
The next character we meet is Kang Sae-byeok, portrayed perfectly by model Jung Ho-yeon, in her first ever acting role. The character arc of the strong, independent, pickpocket, is so interesting and endearing to watch. She goes from depending on herself to becoming part of a team and putting her trust in others.
Her back story is of wanting money to help her brother leave an orphanage and to move her mother from North to South Korea. This puts her in a very sympathetic light which urges us the viewer to root for her.
Cho Sang-woo (Player 218)
The next player we are introduced to is Cho Sang-woo, this complex character played by popular TV actor Park Hae Soo. His own story and mannerisms are what make him such an interesting and confusing character who one minute you like, for example when he helps the team out in tug-of-war game or the other minute you despise especially after the stunt he pulled with Ali, in the marble arena. This makes him one of the best characters to have in a show like this as he is unpredictable, like we saw at the end of game six.
Oh il-Nam (player 001)
The heart and soul of the team… or so we thought! Was Oh il-Nam player 001- we should have known!
One of the smartest players in the game was expertly played by actor and writer, Oh Young-soothe. The likable old man had us going all the way to the end and even made some of us cry in the marble game making the twist at the end of the series even better.
Jang Deok-Su (Player 101)
All good games need a villain, luckily there were a lot within the 456 players, but none were as bad as actor Heo Sung-tae’s portrayal of tatted Jang Deok-su.
Player 101, comes in hitting one of the female players and leaves being dragged down by another one! His well-written character had us shouting at the screen and hoping for a worthy death, and after his betrayal to Han Mi-nyeo before tug of war, she served him the cruel departure from the game we had all hoped for.
Abdul Ali (Player 199)
After saving Gi-Hun in the red light, green light game. Abdul Ali showed not only his strength but his love and trust in others which unfortunately would also become his demise…Thanks to snaky Sang-woo.
Actor Anupam Tripathi took his first big TV role and ran with it becoming one of the most loved characters in the series. Even getting a barrage of meme’s made for the character following his wrongful and underhanded death.
Han Mi-nyeo (Player 212)
Due to the copious amounts of death and blood, it’s always wise to have a little comic relief. Han Mi-nyeo’s character was certainly that, with her frequently used catchphrase of ‘I’m good at everything, except for the things I’m not’. Portrayed by Californian born actress Kim Joo-ryeong, the loud and obnoxious character really gave the competitive edge to the game, especially in the honeycomb games when she cheated, using a lighter to melt the candy! Her character, however, did get a little grating at times.
Ji-yeong (Player 240)
Our biggest issue with this character was that there was simply not enough screen time! Played by Lee Yoo-mi in her first major role, the character of Ji-yeong captured our hearts in just three episodes. Particularly as we got to know more about her harrowing backstory if only there was a way that both Ji-yeong and Sae-byeok could have left the marble arena together!
The main part of the story of Squid Game, is the six schoolyard games, which the players must play and win to get their hands on the life-changing sum of money.
Game 1: Red Light, Green Light.
The aim of the game is not to move when the ‘creepiest doll in history’ is looking, otherwise you are eliminated, and in this game, this doesn’t just mean out! When the ‘creepy doll’ isn’t looking you need to run as quick as you can and try and cross the line within the time frame. Sounds easy right? Not when you realise if you move… you die!
Red Light, Green Light is where the players realise what kind of game they are involved in and where we lost over half to the players too!
The schoolyard set and creepy doll voice just add to the tension of this game, which is also amplified by the visuals of the game in play accompanied by the switch over to the Front Man as he watched the game through monitors whilst listening to the song ‘Fly me to the moon’.
Game 2: Honeycomb/Dalgano Candy
To be safe in this game you need to successfully cut out a shape from Honeycomb, without damaging or breaking the shape. The only tool you are given to help you is a needle.
At the beginning of this game, we truly see the back-stabbing side of Sang-woo, as he realises what game it is, as the players start to pick their shape, before knowing what they need to do.
In the know, Sang-woo goes for the easiest shape, a triangle, and neglects to warn the others as Gi-Hun walks over to pick the hardest shape, the umbrella. This game separates the cheaters from the thinkers as Mi-nyeo and Deok-su use a lighter and Gi-Hun uses his brain and licks the shape free.
The climbing frames, bright colours, childish music and gunshots provide the perfect setting to make this whole scene completely unnerving for the players and the viewers.
Game 3: Tug of War
In teams of ten, it’s time for the players to play Tug of War. The main basis of this game needs no introduction, but instead of being pulled into a pile of mud like the classic game… you get pulled to your death.
Due to the Dr, Player 111, and his extra gameplay with some of the guards. (That involved selling body parts) Deok-su and his team know what game was coming up and managed to put together a team of strongmen to win their heat. Unfortunately, Gi-hun and his team didn’t have the same knowledge and in turn looked to have a weaker team than others. Luckily Il-Nam and Sang-Woo had solid gameplay ideas which saved the team.
The setting for Tug of War, took a bit of a dark turn and away from the schoolyard setting. With yellow and grey platforms set in a pitch-black room. Within this game, we lost half the players.
Game 4: Marbles
With this series, we all had the fear that at one point out favourites would be pitted against each other but not this early! Asked to pair up the players thought they would be playing together in teams like the last game, but that was not the case.
In the game of Marbles, the pairs were left to decide for themselves what game they wanted to play, with the loser being eliminated!
Probably one of the hardest games to watch as most pairs were playing a game of chance. If you were anything like us, we were hoping there was going to be another twist where some of the characters would survive in pairs but instead, we lost some big players and learned who were not to be trusted.
Having two games back-to-back where we lost half the players each time really helped keep the momentum of the story.
Game 5: Glass Bridge
To start this horrifying game of chance, the players had to pick their order, before knowing what the game was which led to a very tense moment where Gi Hun, almost went first. His indecisiveness helping him hugely here.
The aim of this game is for the remaining players to make their way across the glass bridge hopping from glass square to glass square, hoping to land on the tempered glass, rather than the normal glass which would break instantly sending them plummeting to their death.
Again, set in a pitch-black room with a few lights this game was intense! But it did however whittled the players down to three and showed Sang-woo’s ‘do anything for the money’ character again.
The added glass blasts at the end of the game also added an extra twist of tension as front runner Sae-byeok got severely injured.
Game 6: The Squid Game
With only two players left after Sang-woo eliminated Sae-byeok with a dinner knife, it was on to the final game and namesake of the series, Squid Game.
This game is divided into attacker (Gi-hun) and defender (Sang-woo). The attackers’ objective is to reach the “home” square marked on the opposite side of the field, while the defender’s purpose is to block them and push them out to win.
However, let’s be honest we saw very little gameplay as it ended up in a fight between the two finalists. The end of the game was gripping to watch, particularly with the knives in play and Gi-huns indecisive personality. Just as we think it’s all over, rather than putting his foot in the home square Gi-hun tries to get an injured Sang-woo to walk away from the game so they can both survive, giving up on the money.
But it a massive twist Sang-woo picks up the knife from the floor and instead of killing Gi-hun, like we anticipated, he kills himself. This was a great call from writer Hwang Dong-hyuk as it was unexpected and gave us a little extra from Sang-woos character. However, we can’t help but think that maybe it would have been a bigger twist if Sang-woo did kill Gi-Hun and won the games as no one was routing for him.
What do you think about our thoughts on the players and games within Squid Game? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out book to movie adaptations coming soon HERE.
Read IMDB information about Squid Game HERE.
- Movie News1 year ago
The 9 Most Powerful Power Rangers Villains
- Comics & Literature1 year ago
What Happened To The Fellowship After The Ring Was Destroyed?
- Movie News11 months ago
Which Traps Would Have Killed Harry And Marv In Home Alone?
- TV News8 months ago
Homelander: The Greatest Villain In TV History
- Movie News1 year ago
The Incredible Hulk Is The Best MCU Movie
- Movie News1 year ago
What Went Wrong? Hook
- TV News12 months ago
8 The Simpsons Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spin-Off
- Comics & Literature1 year ago
Harry Potter: The Tragic Life Of Remus Lupin