‘Loki – Season 2’ Episode Two Review: “Breaking Brad”
Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode two of Loki – Season 2.
This article was published during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Yeah, so Loki’s good. I have no idea what’s going on with the MCU, with reports that they’re scrapping the current iteration of Daredevil: Born Again to reshoot what they had already put in the can before the start of the Hollywood strikes, but at least we’ve got Loki. It’s one of the titles in Marvel’s latest saga that has remained consistently good in its storytelling, action sequences, and performances, and episode two of its second season is no different.
Titled “Breaking Brad” (clever, really), the episode follows Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) as they travel to 1977 London to capture Hunter X-5 (Rafael Casal), who went rogue from General Dox’s (Kate Dickie) mission to find Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). However, X-5 (or Brad Wolfe) is the only one who knows her location but doesn’t want to reveal it to Loki and Mobius. Meanwhile, Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Casey (Eugene Cordero) are attempting to find the location of Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), as Ouroboros (Ke Huy Quan) reveals that the TVA – and theoretically the world – is in grave danger unless the aura of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) or Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) can open the Temporal Loom.
It’s a fast-paced episode, but it always remains thoroughly engaging as its pieces move swiftly. Marvel Studios veteran Dan DeLeeuw, who has acted as Visual Effects Supervisor for a significant amount of MCU motion pictures, makes his directorial debut with this episode and impresses both in his direction of actors and brief action. Hiddleston has honestly never been better as Loki – we’ve seen him go from one of the most iconic antagonists in the MCU to an anti-hero in films like Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok to a now full-fledged superhero in his television series who is now tasked with saving all universes as they fall apart.
During a tense interrogation sequence, the core of episode two, X-5 attempts for Loki’s “bad side” to emerge, allowing Hiddleston to revel in the character’s more devilish and despicable stance seen in the first Thor and The Avengers. His experience with the TVA has fundamentally changed him, but not so much. He’s still the God of Mischief, after all, no? He certainly pulls off lots of mischief here during a compellingly constructed scene in the streets of London and the interrogation room. The latter-mentioned scene highlights how no one else could play Loki than Hiddleston, and it’s clear he still enjoys portraying him, knowing there is so much more to tell in his story.
In this episode, he [properly] reunites with Sylvie, and the two hit it off immediately. Hiddleston and Di Martino’s chemistry is off the charts, and they are the current best duo of The Multiverse Saga. They’ve gone through so much together, and even though Sylvie wants to keep herself apart from Loki and the TVA, the connection she has with him seems too strong for her not to want to get involved in their activities, but not enough for her to want to stay inside the TVA.
During this emotionally charged reunion, it is revealed that Dox has been bombing the branching timelines to destroy them ultimately. The two unite to defeat her before more damage is done, and while the action scene is superbly shot and edited (a rare feat in an era of over-edited action setpieces in MCU’s Disney+ era), it’s also way too short for its impact to be felt. An action scene always needs to know when to start and when to end. The scene is essential since Dox is sending millions (perhaps billions) of people to their doom and should have its stakes elevated through a tense action scene. The sequence starts smack-bang in the middle of their “mission,” so the suspense is already sky-high. But DeLeeuw unfortunately seems to rush its pacing so fast that it feels gone in the blink of an eye.
Still, it’s miles better than the horrendous slop we received in Secret Invasion and will hopefully pave the way for Marvel to shoot their action scenes for the television medium. I guess this seems to be a novel concept for Kevin Feige, but television is, indeed, not cinema. Even with a large budget, you must adapt your filmmaking techniques to the televisual medium. Of course, it can look like a movie (see The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power), but it’s also not. There’s a specific structure embedded within the television series that movies don’t have, and that’s to its advantage and why people enjoy it differently than films.
The good news is that Marvel seems to be fixing the error of their ways, with the results of the writer’s strike forcing them to make TV and not “six-hour-long” movies. Loki is the show that worked the best with the six-episode format, and episode two of its current season is excellent, so it shouldn’t be any different. However, and beyond that, it’s high time for this “six-hour-long” movie format to end fast.
The second episode of Loki – Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.