‘Loki’ Season Two Brings Back the Bad Guy
Oct 20, 2023   •   Mikhail Lecaros
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Oct 20, 2023   •   Mikhail Lecaros
The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series has arrived, continuing the redemption of everyone’s favorite Asgardian. With recent MCU projects failing to live up to audience expectations, will the God of Mischief be able to reclaim Marvel’s former glory?
Loki Season 2 picks up from the previous season’s cliffhanger where Loki (Tom Hiddleston), having faced down the nefarious He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors, Creed III) finds himself shunted to a timeline where the villain openly operates the Time Variance Authority (TVA) to manipulate the Multiverse. Complicating matters, Loki’s newfound BFF Mobius (Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris) has no idea who he is, while rogue variant Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino, Yesterday) is nowhere to be found.
With the knowledge that TVA staff are actually people who’ve been ripped from their proper timelines and brainwashed to fight in a war across realities, Loki sets out with Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku, Lovecraft County) and new ally Ouroborus (Ke Huy Quan, Everything, Everywhere, All At Once) to find Sylvie, restore the timelines, and defeat Kang once and for all.
Hiddleston is firing on all cylinders here, his effortless charm shining through as a Loki who wants to do good but can’t quite escape his darker tendencies. This is especially apparent in Episode 2 when Loki and Mobius set off in pursuit of an AWOL time operative (Rafael Casal, Blindspotting), and the erstwhile God of Mischief loses his temper, letting loose with an impressive display of power.
Loki’s capability for malevolence returns to the fore during the subsequent interrogation, when he shows the wayward operative just why he should give up the information he holds. Here, we see glimpses of the Loki audiences fell in love with during his earliest MCU appearances, tempered by his character growth, but no less menacing.
With Kang’s villainous credentials having been established in Season 1 (and, to a lesser degree, in Ant-Man: Quantumania), the renegade time lord’s presence looms over the proceedings even before one of his variants is found in the past, hiding under the alias of Victor Timely.
Jonathan Majors is a tremendous performer, but knowledge of his legal troubles taint his every appearance. It’s one thing to accept an unimposing villain with multiverse-conquering ambitions, it’s quite another when that character’s actor has allegations of domestic abuse.
When we last saw Loki and Sylvie, they had come perilously close to expressing affection for one another before the latter decided to do away with He Who Remains in cold blood, consequences be damned. Now, she’s in the last place anyone would think to look, eking out a peaceful existence behind the counter of an Oklahoma McDonald’s. Having lived on the run for most of her existence, she still swings a mean sword, but at this point, she couldn’t care less for the TVA or the Multiverse.
At the same time, Wilson’s Morbius is forced to contend with the fact that he was robbed of a life that he can’t remember. This doesn’t dissuade him from his loyalty to Loki, leading him to embark on a dangerous mission to extract Loki from the timestreams he’s currently bouncing across. While we still hope he gets to fulfill his beloved dream of riding a jet ski, it hopefully won’t be at the expense of his Asgardian BFF.
Academy Award-winner Ke Huy Quan steals the show as the TVA’s tech support, his quirky mannerisms belying his mastery of temporal mechanics. He may be saddled with daunting amounts of exposition, but Quan’s enthusiasm helps sell even the most complicated of technobabble.
While Loki and Mobius may be daunted by this season’s challenges, TVA paper pusher Casey (Eugene Cordero, Star Trek: Lower Decks) is all too happy to lend a hand. Starstruck at being able to meet and work with Ouroboros (who wrote the technical manual that Casey’s memorized), Casey is game for anything, even if he doesn’t always know what’s going on.
The chemistry between Wilson’s laid-back time agent and Hiddleston’s reformed trickster remains a highlight, and the two are given ample opportunity for verbal repartee. Heck, it’s even good when the two aren’t in the same scene, as shown when the two are untangling a puzzle in Ouroborus workshop across two different time periods.
At this point, Loki and Mobius represent the best ongoing friendship in the MCU; some of the best scenes are just the two of them talking, as when Mobius puts his foot down to face the end of reality with a slice of lemon meringue pie. It’s their relationship that drives the show forward, and with bestie energy like this, we honestly don’t need a villain to keep us invested.
Unlike the aforementioned Quantumania, the characters remain at the forefront at all times, backed up by visual effects that are top-notch throughout. This is a welcome return to the MCU we fell in love with, as opposed to whatever the most recent slate of films was trying to accomplish. With a recently announced creative shakeup disrupting how future Marvel streaming series will be executed, here’s hoping they have even half the verve and confidence of Loki Season 2.
Loki Season 2 packs a lot of stories into a short amount of time, and new showrunner Eric Martin proves himself up to the task of juggling heartfelt character moments with mind-bending concepts and action sequences. With the last two episodes not being released for review, it remains to be seen how Loki and company will save the Multiverse this time.
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