TV Review: ‘Loki’ Season Two is a Full-Circle Ending for an Anti-Hero

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© MARVEL 2023

Loki season two, which concluded on November 9 on Disney+, finally found wider meaning for the character after 14 years of on-screen mischief. But does the full-circle moment we hoped for mean the end of the character for good? 

★★★★✰

In the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney has delivered an exciting and heartbreaking conclusion to the character of Loki Laufeyson. Since his first appearance in Thor in 2011, Loki has delighted audiences as a villain, an anti-hero, and finally fulfilling his hero arc in this latest season. Though there were concerns about a spin-off series initially, Loki pleased audiences from the get-go. Season one gave the character the chance to shine in a leading role, and Tom Hiddleston thrived in his choice to play the bad guy. Though, it was tremendously satisfying to see Hiddleston redeem Loki. 

Loki follows the God of Mischief after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The alternate 2012 Loki creates a new timeline by stealing the Tesseract. Tasked with fixing the timeline, he became entangled with the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA) and faced a greater cosmic threat in the form of Kang–the villain set to be the next big menace to the MCU. 

Characterisation

Maintaining one character throughout seven films is a challenge in itself. It would be easy to get complacent with the characterisation after over a decade, however Hiddleston remains sharp and delivers the perfect blend of humour, vulnerability and drama in his return to Loki. This is assisted by strong writing, which dives deep into the complexities of a wider universe and Loki’s past. 

Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson in ‘Loki’. | © MARVEL

In particular, the character development in this season is worthy of note, as we find Loki facing the aftermath of detrimental decisions made in season one by himself and his variant Sylvie. There is nowhere to hide as Loki deals with tragedy and impossible decisions at every turn, resulting in a harrowing last episode. The emotional vulnerability of the six episodes transcends the screen, affecting viewers in real time. 

Unlike his secondary role in Thor and The Avengers, viewers see him grapple with his own conflicts and vulnerabilities coupled with self-discovery in Loki. These serve to make Loki more endearing overall, with audiences able to relate to him. 

High Stakes

What sets this latest season apart is its ability to strike a balance between action and storytelling. The high stakes feel familiar with the Marvel universe, with Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame maximising anticipation and anxiety in those moments. And Loki follows the same vein, with his battles against complex issues within the branches of time. Though somehow, the lighthearted nature of Loki’s personality continues to puncture the surface of the story throughout its chapters. 

Chemistry

What fuels this series, aside from Loki’s introspection, is his friendships with others. Owen Wilson returns as TVA analyst Mobius, a fan-favourite from the first season due to his memorable banter with Loki. He is the only person Loki finds true friendship with in the TVA, suddenly becoming inseparable. Though you know you are watching Loki of Asgard, the villain from the first Avengers film, this can be forgotten as Loki and Mobius continue to chirp at each other like an old, married couple who are long sick of each other but still harbour a lot of love for one another. Wilson does a fine job of balancing Hiddleston’s quips as well as his more difficult dialogue, creating an effective springboard for a number of jokes and emotional moments between the pair. 

Ke Huy Quan as O.B. and Owen Wilson as Mobius in ‘Loki’ season two. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. | © 2023 MARVEL

Sophia Di Martino also returns as Sylvie–the fiery female version of Loki. Last time we saw her she was a love interest to our protagonist, but with little to no dialogue for this arc, Di Martino and Hiddleston were left to portray a sense of longing through lingering glances alone. Luckily, the effects of this were fruitful, breaking the hearts of viewers in good measure. New to the series was Academy award-winning Ke Huy Quan. A shocking though welcome addition, Huy Quan provided comedic relief as the bumbling TVA scientist and had fantastic chemistry with the rest of the cast. The first that comes to mind is his first exchange with Loki and Mobius, which was packed full of bumbling personality and comedy. 

A Full-Circle Ending

Something that has always stuck out in Hiddleston’s performance as Loki is his wit, which continues to charm viewers until the end. Weaving strands of history from MCU lore and visions of the universe’s future, Loki’s second season creates a rich tapestry of dynamic storytelling, leaving little questions left unanswered for the audience. Loki’s past, present and future all meet in the middle, creating a perfect synergy between his adoration and ambition. His fate, which he finally accepts in the last episode, shows us the lengths he would go to to protect the ones he loves.

The Verdict

The second season of Loki excels with a gripping narrative, Hiddleston’s compelling performance, and seamless integration into the MCU. With its perfect blend of spectacle and substance, it is a standout culmination of over a decade of this anti-hero turned hero. 

All six episodes of Loki season two are now available to stream on Disney+.

Words by Gemma Nettle


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