The second season of ‘Loki’ has now come to a close, with the God of Mischief fulfilling his Glorious Purpose with a satisfying conclusion not just to the season but also to the first season, and Loki’s arc in general. It helps cement ‘Loki’ as one of the best MCU Disney+ shows, and pieces of Marvel Studios’ content since ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
The episode starts with Loki returning to the deteriorating Tempora Loom, desperate to get Victor Timely to fix it. In a hilarious sequence, Loki fails to do this time and time again, witnessing the death of Timely over centuries. It has the feeling of ‘Groundhog Day’ to it, with humorous music as Loki relives his failure until eventually Timely manages to fix the Loom. For about thirty seconds. It then breaks down again. It’s extremely funny, as Loki must accept that his time-traveling efforts have been in vain.
Loki concludes that the only way to stop the event is to go back to the end of season one and try and prevent Sylvie from killing He Who Remains (HWR) to stop the Loom from failing. It’s a fun surprise to see this Kang variant, as Major’s hyperactivity and excitement are a welcome change from the irritating stutter of Timely. Loki continually fails to stop Sylvie, in scenes that are full of sadness, as Loki is forced to try and kill his love. Tom Hiddleston’s desperation shines.
HWR eventually steps in and pauses the action to talk to Loki. It shows he allowed himself to die in season one, and he explains that’s because the Temporal Loom serves as a failsafe to protect the Sacred Time. It’s a chilling moment, one where it shows HWR’s brutal and sinister resolve to destroy variants of himself at the cost of billions of lives, and to do it subtly. It’s here the episode starts to become confusing with its conversations, with Loki and HWR talking about events that both have and haven’t happened. It’s handled as well as it could have been, and the conclusion to this conversation makes it crystal clear that no matter the option Loki picks, either letting the Sacred Timeline or HWR live, HWR wins.
Loki travels back to a version of Sylvie that remembers that the Loom failed, where the pair share one final emotional and philosophical moment about the nature of free will, and one where Loki goes to kill Sylvie, and tries to get her blessing, but he’s rebuked instead. Loki realizes there’s another way out if he takes HWR’s place at the end of time.
And that’s what he does. In a stunning sequence, with Natalie Holt’s theme for Loki swelling, and the temporal radiation turning Loki’s TVA suit into a beautiful new version of Loki’s God of Mischief costume, complete with horns. It’s not a full costume, but it’s reflective of Loki’s new purpose of mischievously finding a third way out to HWR’s problem, but doing it for the good of time instead of for a selfish need. The branches of time glow green and eventually twist into the show of a tree, reminiscent of the Norse tree Yggdrasil, the world tree. Loki now has his throne but is burdened with Glorious Purpose, a phrase he truly understands the meaning of. It’s a fitting ending for one of the MCU’s best characters.
In the series wrap-up, it’s revealed that the TVA’s new role is to guard against Kang variants, something that’s likely to come up again in future MCU projects. There’s also a satisfying moment where Renslayer sees what the Void is like with Alioth, though it’s hinted that she might team up with the Kang variant Rama-Tut.
This episode is a rewarding conclusion to many years of storytelling, brought to a strong conclusion thanks to the many people who worked on the show and Loki’s character. It’s a reminder that the MCU is still capable of greatness, and the universe isn’t dead as many people think. It combines stunning acting and remarkable writing with memorable music, impressive set design, and technical wizardry. ‘Loki’ provides the template for what can be achieved.