PG Score: 8.75
Season 1 and 2 of Loki is available for streaming on Disney+
Burdened with glorious purpose, Loki has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since we first met him back in Thor (2011). Arrogant and self-entitled, the Loki we meet then discovers the parents he knows are not his birth parents, and his jealousy of Thor leads him to try taking the Asgardian throne for himself. Thor, on his own journey at the time, comes out on top and Loki lets himself fall into the abyss.
Loki's quest for a throne continues in Avengers (2012), when he leads the Chitauri to Earth in a bid to conquer it and capture an Infinity Stone for Thanos. His time in the abyss, or more likely time with Thanos, has left him more unhinged than when we first met him. Desperate for glory and a throne of his own, he only manages to lose and bring the Avengers together for the very first time.
Imprisoned in Asgard for the start of Thor: The Dark World (2013), Loki and Thor reunite when their mother, Frigga, is killed. This is a temporary alliance, as even her death isn't enough to keep Loki from playing his games. After helping Thor and appearing to sacrifice himself, he heads back to Asgard, where he impersonates Odin and gets to rule for a time. Skipping over the fact that Loki, as Odin, allowed the Nine Realms to fall into disarray while he played up his vanity and allowed plays to be held in "Loki's honor." Thor's return after many years set Loki on his original path. Hearing Odin say he loved him even after all he did affected Loki.
Still, he's Loki, and even though he and Thor in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) team up to battle Hela, he still tries to pull a fast one or two. They don't work this time around and Loki ends up leading the rescue mission back to Asgard to help its people escape Hela and the destruction of the planet. Unfortunately for Thor and the rest of the universe, Loki can't help but take the Space Stone before escaping with the rest.
The end credits of that film show a glimpse of their future, and when we next meet up with Thor and Loki, Thanos is there in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Unable to watch the death of his brother after they all had been through, Loki makes a play at ending Thanos before he can get started, but his attempt falls short and this death proves to be permanent.
Setting The Table for Season 2
The end is the beginning. That is the end of Loki, or so we thought. The Avengers' attempt in Avengers: Endgame to write the wrongs of the past, allowing Loki of 2012 to escape his capture after New York and before he meets the TVA. A place outside time, this Loki, who lacked the experience of our first Loki, sees the life he would have lived and this changes him.
His experience with Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and realizing that the Infinity Stones are worthless in this place change Loki's trajectory forever. Meeting his variants after being pruned in Season 1 also opens Loki up to what he really wants in this life. He starts to see that it isn't a throne. His journey takes him and Sylvie before He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) and the truth of it all terrifies Loki so much that he does everything he can to prevent Sylvie from striking the mortal blow. His failure here sets him on the path to his true purpose. As Mobius says, "Purpose is more burden than glorious."
Season 2 of Loki picks up where Season 1 left off. The looming threat of Kang variants being unleashed on the Multiverse has Loki in a panic, as he does his best to prepare the TVA for what is coming. All is not as it seems though, as we come to find out that the man at the end of time had a couple of fail-safes in place, showing that He Who Remains knows and saw a lot more than we were led to believe.
Loki learns a lot about himself and his friends this season; he truly learns that he doesn't want to be alone. The selfish desire of his old self wanting what's best for him and the journey he undertook to be more selfless alluded to what is to come in his future. The introduction of OB (Key Huy Quan) or Ouroboros is fitting for the season and the series as a whole. The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.
Coming Full Circle
Fewer set pieces this time around, we get a bit of nostalgia with a 1980's McD's, and the set for the 1893 World's Fair is by far the best set piece we get. Natalie Holt constructed one of the best soundtracks to date for Marvel, as the movements and beats capture the mood, and especially the epic ending, to a tee. Jonathan Majors returns for two roles this time around; it is his reappearance at the end and his conversations with Loki that lead to some of the best dialogue in the whole series.
Season 2 is Loki coming full circle and being willing to make the sacrifice for the greater good. Whereas before he would have been willing to sacrifice others, his Groundhog Day-like journey teaches him the true importance of friendship and life as he completes his journey from Villain to Hero. An epic character study with the ultimate payoff, Loki Season 1 and 2 is some of the finest work in the MCU and completes one of the best character arcs since the introduction of Iron Man back in 2008. The parallels of his journey make his transition even more worthwhile as a viewer, if you have been around since the beginning. Some dialogue is reused from earlier moments in the MCU. But the completely different context shows growth that puts Loki up there with Captain America and Iron Man as one of the most fleshed out and heroic characters.
Wonderful Ending To A Wonder Character
The final moments of the show will have you holding your breath as Loki takes his final steps, along with Natalie Holt's score, as he accepts his burdened purpose that has no glory but for the few that know of his sacrifice. A beautiful season and a wonderful story, it ends at the beginning and opens up a whole world of possibilities going forward in the MCU.