‘Loki’ returns to Disney+ with a season two opener that has a glorious purpose. Old favorites like Loki, Mobius, and B-15 return and the show introduces several new characters, teasing a conflict for the very soul of the Time Variance Authority (TVA). The opening episode has the flair and production values of a season finale, kicking off what could be an amazing season.
‘Loki’ picks up where audiences left off in the season one finale. After confronting He Who Remains, Loki is sent back to the TVA, except it’s not quite the TVA he or the audience knows. Neither Morbius nor B-15 know who he is, and they attempt to apprehend him. Loki soon finds out he’s been sent to the TVA’s past, and a very painful process called time slipping means he is pulled between the past and the present.
Solving this is the central concern for this episode. The TVA also have other issues on their minds. Loki and Sylvie’s action at the end of last season, killing He Who Remains, has caused multiple branches to split, overloading the TVA. Some, like new character General Dox, think the TVA should go about business as usual and cull the branches, even after finding out the Time-Keepers were fake and the TVA’s purpose was a lie. Others like B-15 don’t want to continue the oppressive work and advocate for letting the branches grow. It’s a compelling way to start the season and pits the TVA against itself.
Loki and Mobius reunite, and apart from Owen Wilson’s decision to whisper most of his lines, their chemistry is as good as in the first season, charming and funny. Loki is desperate to warn everyone about He Who Remains and the damage he could cause. It’s a frightening tease, something that would have been more effective had audiences not already met a version of Kang in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.’
Throughout this, Loki keeps slipping. Mobius takes Loki down to the new character Ouroboros, O.B. for short, to solve the issue. He’s a repairman for the TVA, played by Ke Huy Quan, whom audiences will know as Short Round from ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ or Waymond Wang from ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once.’ Here, he has a hilarious deadpan delivery, though it is mostly sci-fi technobabble that can be a bit much.
The scene that he’s in leads to a well-executed and clever conversation in the past. Loki slips into the past while talking to O.B., meaning he ends up talking to a past version of O.B. on how to stop slipping. Meanwhile, in the present, Mobius is having the same conversation in the present, but it’s informed by what O.B. has said in the past to Loki. It’s the perfect scenario ‘Loki’ is geared to have on this time travel adventure.
O.B. outlines a dangerous way to stop Loki time slipping, involving Loki pruning himself and Mobius having to enter a perilous chamber full of energy. It would be an impressive way to round out the end of a season, never mind the first episode. It’s a spectacular set piece, full of light and color. Loki is saved at the last possible moment, crashing through time back to safety thanks to Mobius.
Meanwhile, General Dox and her lead henchmen, X-5, have started a massive campaign with several minutemen soldiers packed to the brim with heavy equipment, allegedly to find Sylvie and learn what truly happened at the End of Time. Hunter D-90 and B-15 don’t believe it. The music here swells, selling a sense of urgency, and that something big is on its way. It’s wonderfully composed by Natalie Holt. A post-credits scene shows Sylvie has gone to a McDonald’s in 1982 to relax, content her purpose is complete. Next week looks upset that peace.
The first episode of ‘Loki’ is a strong start for the show, setting compelling questions to unpack, giving audiences major and minor antagonists, and bringing in intriguing new characters. The episode’s production is strong, with the set design and music helping to set the scene. Hopefully, the rest of the season stays like this.