This is a spoiler-free review of the first four episodes of Season Two of Loki.
The MCU TV shows have felt like they’re mere side stories. That is until Loki came around in May of 2021. Now, we’re onto season two of Loki, and the stakes have never felt higher. The multiversal saga is merging with time itself, creating branching pathways that could see the rise of an evil we’ve never seen before. For those of you out there who haven’t caught up with the MCU or felt like you didn’t need to watch a whole lot extra, you don’t for this show. If you’ve seen Loki season one, that’s all you need. Even as a huge fan of the MCU and watching everything under the sun; it’s refreshing to see something that is not weighed down by the massive complications of the franchise for once.
That lightweight feel lets Loki be about the characters and the more pressing weight of time collapsing upon itself. It’s a feeling that goes away pretty quickly once you realize that if Loki and the rest of the TVA fail, they’re going to destroy time. After the events of season one, He Who Remains is dead, and his power holding the timelines from branching off, is gone. The TVA now has to decide what to do with billions of people in these timelines. Is it correct to keep pruning off the timelines? Who should take over the power of the TVA? Where has Sylvie gone after the end of season one? How can Loki fix all of it?
Those questions all perk up and keep coming as the first four episodes go by. Right when you get an answer to one question, four more crop up. Unlike some of the previous Marvel TV series here on Disney+, this one feels like it has a definite direction. There is mystery and intrigue, but it doesn’t ever feel confusing. The mission is pretty clear after the first episode, and even the subplots that come out of that mission all lead back to the main story in the fourth episode.
This show wouldn’t be anything without the writers and actors, though. Taking over from Michael Waldron is Eric Martin (all four episodes), Kasra Farahani, Jason O’Leary (episode three), and Katharyn Blair (episode four). They still retain the wonder and Terry Gilliam-esque feeling of that first season, but combine it with an impending sense of dread. Throughout the first four episodes, there are moments of levity, but they break up the overwhelming feeling that something dark is coming. We don’t know exactly what it is, but a man named Victor Timely, the TVA, and even Miss Minutes all connect to it.
Returning are Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Owen Wilson, Jonathan Majors and Eugene Cordero. They’re joined by newcomers in Ke Huy Quan, Katie Dickie, and Rafael Casal. Hiddleston picks up right where he left off with the character. Loki might be a god, but not in the TVA. You do get to see him stretch his magic a bit here, but taking away the godliness from the character was a stroke of writing genius. We get to see that Loki is just as afraid, just as frantic, and just as cunning as we’d all be in the situation.
The one thing that I can say disappointed me a bit was the lack of Mobius in the season. He was a runaway favorite for a character but he doesn’t get as much to work with in these first four episodes. Owen Wilson is just as great this time around; but that sort of happy attitude he had in season one isn’t there anymore.
The two highlight performances are from Majors and Ke Huy Quan though. Quan replaces some of that wonder that we got from Loki and Mobius in the first season with his own brand of technical jargon and childlike attitude. Jonathan Majors’s turn as Victor Timely is unlike any of the previous Kang variants we’ve seen. He’s just a normal guy who gets caught up in this whole mess because he’s technically a variant of He Who Remains.
Really, what Loki season two shows is that if the proceedings aren’t rushed, and there are good writers and creatives behind a project; a Marvel TV show can be something special. Loki season two carries the show forward into a dark new world. This phase of the MCU has been a bit of a mixed bag because of this. Some of the properties don’t know how to handle the dreary tone properly. You get that, with some great work from the cast and crew with Loki.
Loki season two airs on Disney+ on October 5th, 2023.
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