“Everything you’re doing is wrong and all of your gods are dead!”
Marvel Studios’ Loki returns to Disney+ for a second season. The titular time-slipping, variant god of mischief finds himself trying to save the lives of trillions while all Sylvie wants is a life of her own. The entertaining but intermittently inconsistent launch of the second season elicits many questions. However, this reviewer isn’t sure if the questions raised are the ones Marvel Studios and Disney+ are hoping for.
The team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead directs the first episode while Dan DeLeeuw helms the second. Stars Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jonathan Majors, and Wunmi Mosaku are joined by Ke Huy Quan, Kate Dickie, and Rafael Casal along with Tara Strong as the voice of Miss Minutes.
“I have no memory of having my memory wiped.”
By murdering He Who Remains (Majors), Sylvie (Di Martino) has shattered the sacred timeline. Temporal variants are spreading like backdrafts. Loki (Hiddleston) is flung from the Citadel at the End of Time and materializes in the Time Variance Authority as it is buffeted by the changing chronoscope. He appears at the feet of Mobius M. Mobius (Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Mosaku) who don’t recognize the time-tossed castaway. Loki spaghetti-ports uncomfortably and uncontrollably forward and backward in time, his skin peeling like pulled pasta. Mobius escorts him to the TVA Repairs and Advancements department where IT specialist Ouroboros (Quan) determines that Loki is “time-skipping”, something that’s not supposed to be possible at the TVA. OB’s proposed solution is insanely dangerous for the pair, but Loki and Mobius are determined to proceed.
A faction at the TVA led by General Dox (Dickie) hungers for vengeance. Sylvie has killed many Minutemen and murder-memories die hard. They believe they have a fix on her location and are coming for her in the worst way. Armed for bear and packing an overabundance of timeline-cracking reset charges, tactical teams assemble for their strike.
It is 1982 in Broxton Oklahoma. Sylvie arrives in a mundane field after executing He Who Remains and upending the cosmos. She eyes a nearby McDonalds with a strange hunger, eager to experience a brand new world where she might not have to run anymore and hoping to enjoy the calm before the storm.
Meanwhile, the mystery of the rogue Hunter-turned-actor Brad Wolfe (Casal) and the movie monster known as Zaniac looms ominously.
Can Loki synch his existence to the TVA in the proper progression? Can Mobius survive the sequencing of the Asgardian’s personal timeline? Can B-15 prevent her superiors from continuing to prune variant lines? Can OB protect the TVA installation from the temporal tempest? Can Sylvie enjoy the quiet life of banality in Oklahoma or will General Dox and her teams make peace an impossible choice for her? Watch Season 2 of Loki to find out.
“We have to deal with He Who Remains!”
“To address that, I need a Loki that remains!”
Loki season 2 starts with a smash-bang chase sequence but finds itself mired at times with banter, flash and filler. Hiddleston’s hypomanic Loki and Wilson’s unflappable, affable Mobius have great chemistry and the addition of Ke Huy Quan’s spacy deadpan to the dynamic creates scenes with good comedy gold. The writers slyly lift a bit that is right out of 1989’s Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, All Good Things. The TVA sets are magnificent in all their art-deco glory, particularly the automat where Mobius and Loki go for pie.
The temporal rules that govern the TVA seem peculiar and inconsistent: if the passage of time doesn’t exist at the TVA, what threat does imprisonment have? Loki himself seems out of sync with earlier appearances in the MCU. The prince of Asgard gets outpaced by a normal man. Now maybe we’ll find out later that the man’s not so normal, but Loki brought Captain America to his knees when they traded blows and Captain America outruns cars. Has Loki been nerfed? Nevertheless, the god of mischief’s enchantments have been amped up and are visually striking, especially his shadow-puppet play that puts to pasture anything Peter Pan has to offer.
The TVA first appears in Thor #372 in 1986 where one of their agents, Justice Peace teams with the god of thunder to prevent the death of Jane Foster at the hands of the homicidal butcher Zaniac. Clearly, the character of Brad Wolfe and the film he’s working on wasn’t chosen at random.
This Loki does not have the formative experiences of his MCU counterpart. He did not wrestle with his own guilt for being partially responsible for his adopted mother Frigga’s death in Thor: The Dark World. He didn’t bond with his brother or sit at his adopted father’s side as Odin met his end in Thor: Ragnarok. However, Loki has been humbled by knowledge of his fate and softened by his trials through time. Loki is unaccustomed to true friendship so Mobius’ gregarity unnerves him and he doesn’t have a good handle on his feelings for Sylvie. Caring about others is novel to his nature. The selfless sacrifice of his counterparts has altered his attitude. This Loki’s heart has grown three sizes since he’s begun his adventures. He wants to do the right thing and he cares about the fates of the uncountable timelines and the trillions upon trillions of people he and Sylvie have placed in peril by opening the door to another time war.
Loki can be streamed on Disney + on October 5.
Loki was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby.
The TVA was created by Walt Simonson and Sal Buscema
Mobius M. Mobius was created by Walt Simonson.
Zaniac was created by Doug Moench and Keith Pollard.