The most pressing issue established in episode 5 has to do with Loki’s time slipping, an obstacle that kind of came out of nowhere early in the season 2 premiere with no real explanation and was resolved just as abruptly by the end of the episode. So how is it suddenly back in full force? The heavy implication is that the destruction of the Temporal Loom (which may or may not have erased the TVA from existence) has unleashed all sorts of complications for our God of Mischief, erasing the memories of most of his TVA pals and tossing them back into the Sacred Timeline — presumably restored to their original lives before He Who Remains plucked them out of reality to serve as his TVA minions. Luckily, a run-in with the always-equanimous Ouroboros clues him in to a possible solution: simply try controlling his time slipping and he’ll be able to travel wherever (and whenever) he wants, like before their ill-advised attempt to send Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors) out into the teeth of a radiation storm to his doom.
Simple enough, right? Well, not so much.
While the broad strokes of the narrative are easy enough to track (Loki just wants to reunite with his friends!), the episode weighs all this down with incomprehensible logic and time-travel terminology that only makes things unnecessarily convoluted. When we should be focusing on the emotions of Loki working through his identity and sense of belonging without the comforting presence of the TVA to give him glorious purpose, we’re instead expected to parse the meaning of “temporal auras” that somehow act as coordinates in space/time. As fun as much of the episode is, one can practically sense the writers begging viewers to just “go with it” at certain points.