As many of you likely know by this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe “isn’t what it used to be” in the eyes of many fans. It’s become incredibly divisive with recent movies and shows, and even Disney admitted they screwed up with their Disney+ projects and basically rebooted their entire process for them! While I haven’t seen The Marvels, many had divisive thoughts about that, too. So it’s honestly a little funny to me that after all this time and all these movies, shows, and characters, Loki is the most consistent, as my Loki Season 2 Review will prove to you.
So, as teased at the end of Season 1, Loki is sent back to the TVA after he and Sylvie meet with “The One Who Remains,” and nothing is as it should be. The TVA has changed from the ground up; the Multiverse is now growing out of control, and to start, Mobius doesn’t know who Loki is. Things only get worse for Loki when he starts “time slipping” between the past, present, and future across time and space, and he can’t seem to control it. So yeah, it’s not the best time to be Loki.
And much of that is only in the first episode, and things get even wilder. While I won’t touch on every beat, I will talk about that big ending, so again, spoilers ahead! What’s immediately clear from the opening episodes is that while certain people behind the scenes have left, the show’s scale, scope, and personality remain intact. Loki and Mobius are the heartbeat of everything, and it’s such a joy watching Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson working together on this because they work so well together and bring out the best acting bits of one another.
An excellent example comes from the final episode where Loki, desperate for answers on what to do, goes back to Mobius during the events of the first episode and straight up asks him what to do in an impossible situation. How do you make the “impossible choice” and then live with it? It’s such a beautiful scene and is easily one of the cruxes of the whole season: doing what you must out of friendship and love.
But while the “main duo” are at their best, they’re hardly alone. The new addition of Ke Huy Quan as “O.B.” was awesome. Seriously, this guy is having a career renaissance, and you shouldn’t miss the stuff he’s doing. He brings an energy, comedy, and flair to everything that fits the world of the TVA while never seeming over the top.
One more thing I want to note about Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki is that while it’s a more “subdued” Loki, especially in the first four episodes, I feel that it works here. In Season 1, he was the “trickster” Loki, trying to get ahead of everything even when he realized how “meaningless” he really was. But now, after seeing everything that’s happened at the End of Time, “falling” for Sylvie, becoming friends with Mobius, and more, we see him in a more raw and emotional form. A certain conversation calls that out when he’s trying to define “what he wants,” and he goes to platitudes before finally admitting that he wants his friends back.
Selfishly unselfish, wouldn’t you say?
And while his “off-screen antics” are still something to think about going forward with the MCU, it’s hard not to praise Jonathan Majors for his two-pronged attack in Loki Season 2. First, Victor Timely, a man who was “given fire by the gods” but could only use it just enough to make “prototypes” and con people out of money. Yet, he was the Variant who “held the key” to saving everything, which brought Loki, Mobius, Renslayer, and Miss Minutes after him…for differing reasons.
What worked with Victor Timely was that he was the exact opposite of “He Who Remains” and Kang The Conquerer. He had a speech impediment, didn’t have everything he needed to take over, and was a nice guy. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time to let his genius be fully seen, not unlike someone like Nikola Tesla. But then, in the final episode, we see the return of He Who Remains and get a more terrifying version of him as he and Loki do mental barbs and battles to see whose ability to “think further ahead” and “find another way” will come out on top. This was another standout scene despite not many “moving parts.” It was just the OG villain of the MCU going up against the “Next Big Bad” and seeing who would win, and it worked in the best ways.
And that brings me to something in my Loki Season 2 Review that I honestly didn’t expect to talk about…philosophy.
Yes, really. While Season 1 touched on philosophy via the battle of “predetermined results vs. free will,” Season 2 slowly ramped up that argument in various ways. It started with Sylvie, who indeed worked at McDonald’s after dealing with He Who Remains, and she was completely happy with that! She just wanted to live her life, and even if that meant working a 9-5 job and looking up at the stars via her green truck (because, of COURSE, she had a green truck!) to pass the time, she was fine with that! And then, when Loki and Mobius dragged her back into things, she was furious because she didn’t want to lose what she had finally gotten.
Then, when Sylvie met Victor Timely, she had another philosophical crisis where this was a Variant of He Who Remains, but was clearly NOT He Who Remains. Could she kill someone who hadn’t done wrong just because of what another version of them did? Wasn’t that what made the TVA evil in the first season? Oh, and the TVA people had to ask themselves numerous questions about their “roles in life” once the truth was revealed, and they answered in various ways, which made the crisis all the more important to discuss.
Finally, in the last two episodes, we saw Loki going through philosophical crisis after philosophical crisis as he tried anything and everything to save the day, all the while struggling with the “big questions” that a god like him would never have asked himself when he first arrived in the MCU.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of “funny moments” and action scenes that will make you smile. Plus, we get easily the most gruesome death in MCU history! But the show really shined when it came to handling the big plot points and making things feel important, as well as pulling out the rug from under you when you least expected it.
Seriously, those last three episodes were easily some of the best things that the MCU has ever put out regarding plot twists. In fact, the writers intentionally subverted everything you expected so that you never knew what to expect next. For example, Victor Timely’s “death” had me laughing at how “simple” it was, and yet you had to wonder what it all meant. Then, the TVA blew up, and Loki suddenly slipped through branched timelines to find his friends so he could try to fix things, only for THAT not to work either!
Then, after mastering his time travel powers, figuring out a way to fix the Temporal Loom, and spending CENTURIES getting it right, that ALSO didn’t work! So then he went back to the Season 1 finale and tried to save He Who Remains…and THAT didn’t work! So that meant he had to kill Sylvie…but he didn’t. “I’ll find another way.” One twist after another came about, and I was left in awe at it all.
One of the biggest complaints of the MCU from Phase 1 until now is that things can be incredibly “predictable” because they follow the “hero’s journey” to a T at times. But here? They didn’t. They tricked you into thinking certain stereotypes would work and that you knew what was coming. But you didn’t. No one did. Not even Loki.
So when he realized what he needed to do to give the Multiverse a chance to “fight back” of their own free will versus being subjugated…he took it. He became the “God of Stories,” which is actually what he becomes in Norse Mythology! He used his mischief and chaos to give the Multiverse a chance to live of their own free will and have a chance in case Kang tried to make a play like He Who Remains promised.
And now, he’s on his throne and will protect the Multiverse with all he has until time finally runs out.
Fantastic endings aside, I’d be remiss in my Loki Season 2 Review if I didn’t address the minor issues that made me scratch my head a little. First, the early episodes dealt with a coup within the TVA that had one of the judges trying to erase the branches by force so that the Sacred Timeline could be stable again. It was dealt with very quickly, then the characters were killed brutally (see above reference), and then…it was done. Furthermore, the “Brad Wolf” character was odd from his introduction and wasn’t really ‘addressed” later on after he made a key “kill.”
The same could be said for Victor Timely, who was spared after Loki took his place to “fix the loom.” What happened to him afterward? It’s implied he never got the book that gave him his TVA knowledge, but did he simply stay in the TVA?
Finally, there’s Renslayer and Miss Minutes. These two had QUITE the flip-flopping agenda as they went after Victor Timely. Then Miss Minutes got him to ditch Renslayer, only for Miss Minutes to suddenly want a body and be He Who Remains’ girlfriend, just to team up with Renslayer again, and the two were dealt with rather easily by episode four. Given the importance of both characters, I expected more. Plus, after her “pruning,” we don’t see Renslayer until the very end, where she “dies” at the End of Time…and it felt kind of off.
Even with all that, as my Loki Season 2 Review hopefully highlights, this is one of the best things the MCU has done, and it’s easily the best Disney+ show of the lot. While the future of Loki himself may be “up in the air,” we can all smile knowing he’s watching over our stories and being the god we needed him to be.
Loki Season 2 Review
Loki Season 2 is a triumph and easily one of the best things that the MCU has produced in some time. Tom Hiddleston will leave you in awe in the final episodes and you’ll wonder how Marvel will even attempt to top this man…with glorious purpose.