The first season of Loki saw the titular character, played by Tom Hiddleston, from earlier in the timeline, becoming a time variant, a Loki that shouldn’t exist, and so was taken outside of time by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Working alongside the TVA, Loki was sent to hunt down another variant of himself, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). Over the course of the season we learned that the TVA was founded on a lie, and that this had all be created by He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), a variant of the next big MCU bad, Kang. By the end of the season Sylvie had killed He Who Remains, creating a new multiverse, but things ended with Loki in a TVA who didn’t recognise him.
This season picks up literally where things left off, with Loki in a Kang-ruled TVA, with his friends Mobius (Owen Wilson) and B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) chasing after him. Very quickly it’s revealed that Loki has become unstuck in time, and has arrived in an earlier version of the TVA who eventually have their memories wiped by Kang. In his regular time, he and the others work with the TVA’s resident egg-head inventor Ouroboros (Ke Huy Quan) to fix Loki back in time. With one disaster averted, the group now have to try to find a way of saving the TVA, as the device that manages the timeline can no longer handle all of the alternate universes passing through it, and if they can’t fix it, it could mean the end of everything.
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Loki season two is a much more focused season than the previous one, with a clear goal set out early on. Part of what made the first season so enjoyable was the mystery element to the story, of trying to figure everything out as we journey along with Loki. This season, whilst still containing some mysteries, instead has a much more simple narrative; there’s a problem, let’s fix it. This helps to make this season feel distinct enough that it doesn’t feel like the people making it are relying on the same tricks again, and are brave enough to try something new.
That being said, this does mean that there are times when this season of the show feels a little bit dull. There are great performances, and the visual quality of the series is still there, but there is something of a slump in this season where the middle episodes feel like they’re spinning their wheels. This is one of those stories where it definitely feels like there was too much to be able to fit into a film, yet perhaps six episodes may have been a bit more than that could have filled well. There are some sub-plots that take too long to play out, and a few that feel like they’re distracting from the main story. In contrast, the opening episode and the final two, which focus almost solely on the main plot, are the best in the season, and deliver some fantastic moments.
As with the first season, much of the quality of the series lays with the cast. Hiddleston has been a fair few different versions of Loki by now, but it’s here that he feels the most human, and the most heroic. This Loki has had the best journey, and the best development. When this Loki pleads for people to do the right thing and be good you believe it, and when he steps up to put his life on the line you’re not in doubt that he means it. Hiddleston brings a pathos to the character that hasn’t been there before, and it works wonderfully. By the end of the season it feels like Loki can finally be put to bed. There could be more done with the character for sure, but if this becomes the last thing we have from him it’s pretty much the perfect conclusion, and it seems like Hiddleston poured everything into his performance in case this is the end.
Elsewhere in the series the next standout is Jonathan Majors as Victor Timely, a new variant of Kang. Victor is very much not He Who Remains, and it’s great to see different versions of the same person portrayed so differently, even down to their physicality, facial tics, and the way that they speak. That being said, much like with Loki himself, the series seems to have created a perfect wrapping up point, but this time not for the character, but for the actor. With multiple domestic violence and assault charges against him, which see Jonathan Majors appearing in court later this month, the continued use of the actor in such a major role has been a point of contention for many. Kang is perhaps the easiest character in the MCU to recast, with literally anyone able to play a variant of him. With the story in Loki season two being what it is, this may be the perfect time to say farewell to the actor.
Elsewhere, the returning cast don’t really get a huge amount to do. Sylvie takes more of a backseat this time round, and is more of a supporting character than a co-lead, and there are times where it feels like the writers perhaps didn’t know what to do with her after season one. Mobius continues much in the same role as the first series, acting as Loki’s guide and partner, and there are some great moments between them early in the season where they get to team up, but his role lessens as the series goes on. Despite this, he has a pretty great journey that acts as one of the emotional hearts of the show.
Wunmi Mosaku returns as B-15, and is great to have back, but never really gets any big, important moments as she did in the first season, and feels very under-utilised for the most part. Minor character Casey (Eugene Cordero) gets elevated to a recurring character this season, and gets to play off this season’s newest cast member, Ke Huy Quan a lot. Quan is a great addition to the show, and brings some fun, quirky energy to his character that ends up with him stealing almost every scene that he’s in.
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As with the first season, the production value on the show is fantastic, and Loki remains the best looking MCU series. The TVA looks fantastic, and has a wonderful retro-sci-fi look that adds a level of quirkiness and realism. Every piece of costuming and set decoration in the TVA is being used to further build this world, and it ends up becoming a location you’d love to wander around in. Also returning this season is composer Natalie Holt, who did fantastic work on the season one soundtrack. Loki‘s signature theremin returns, but this time Holt also gets to compose some epic, emotional pieces of music that elevate some already fantastic scenes to some of the best moments in the MCU in recent years.
Whilst season two might not be as strong throughout as the first, it moves the story and characters forward into interesting new directions. It has some fantastic visuals and a production quality that feels miles above shows like Secret Invasion. If this is the end for this character, and for this particular corner of the MCU, then it’s a fitting one, and one that goes out on a wonderful, glorious high.