‘Loki – Season 2’ Episode Six Review: “Glorious Purpose”
*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode six of Loki – Season 2*
The first episode of Loki was called “Glorious Purpose,” so it’s only fitting that its series finale be called the same. In the first episode, “Glorious Purpose” meant Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) quest to claim his throne as King, which took a different path after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In the last episode, Loki’s new purpose may not be glorious. Still, he knows precisely what to do to save the Time Variance Authority and give them a fighting chance to go against Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), his variants, and the world.
As doubt continues to settle on the viability of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a franchise, with a hot new rumor saying Captain America: Brave New World is set for extensive reshoots after poor internal screenings, Loki has literally and figuratively come out on top of everyone’s MCU favorites. Not only was he one of the best villains of the franchise in The Avengers, only for his arc to evolve into the one of an anti-hero at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, but he’s now officially one of the MCU’s greatest heroes, having learned exactly what “glorious purpose” he has to fulfill to save the universe(s).
At first, he believes he can fix the Temporal Loom by not wasting any time, so he time slips early to get Victor Timely as fast as he can to the Loom before he turns into spaghetti. After many failed attempts, Timely fixes the Loom, but the branches grow so big that the Loom ultimately fails. After not knowing what’s next, he time-slips to He Who Remains during the scene in the season one finale where Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) kills him, thus setting off a Multiversal war and multiple iterations of Kang appearing.
Interestingly enough, after Loki time slips in the hopes Sylvie changes her mind, he addresses He Who Remains, who freezes Sylvie and tells him he has been planning this encounter all along, from the Loom overheating to Victor Timely helping Loki and Mobius (Owen Wilson) out. It’s still unclear if Marvel will recast Majors in the wake of his legal troubles, but it’s clear there is far more to tell with Kang’s story, which has been set up gracefully through the presence of He Who Remains, basically confirming that he — and his variants — control time and space.
If He Who Remains isn’t “theoretically” dead and has been planning Loki’s time slip all along, then there’s no doubt Kang’s Quantum Realm battle has also been planned. Perhaps he’s still alive, even if Mobius references the battle as being “handled” at the end of this episode. Handled can mean different things, doesn’t it? If it wasn’t the last we’d seen of He Who Remains in the final episode of Loki’s first season, then Kang is undoubtedly returning to the fold, whether a different actor plays him or not. I don’t believe for a second that Marvel is “truly f*cked with the whole Kang angle,” as THE MULTIVERSE SAGA is the easiest possible framework to recast anyone. They recently recast Cassie Lang, and no one batted an eye. The same thing goes from William Hurt to Harrison Ford, which is a massive improvement, in my opinion.
He Who Remains then tells Loki the only way to save the timelines, and by extension, the TVA is to kill Sylvie before she kills him. But after contemplating this choice through a poignant conversation with Sylvie, Loki decides to take matters into his own hands. He breaks the Loom, freeing all of the branched timelines and rearranges them in a tree-like contraption, now assuming the role of He Who Remains to control the timelines — and the TVA — forever. If that’s not a heroic redemption arc, then I don’t know what is.
Funnily enough, Marvel now has the opportunity to never mention Kang again after this, though it would be pretty odd for them to do so. The TVA is now committing itself to track all of its variants, which paves the way for other Multiversal stories to occur in the MCU.
Who knows what will happen to the franchise post-WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but one thing’s for sure: Eric Martin and Justin Benson/Aaron Moorhead should be at the forefront of crafting the remaining chapters of the Multiverse Saga. Benson & Moorhead are agile genre filmmakers who know how to craft massive action setpieces while also letting the characters speak for themselves (the final scene between Mobius and Sylvie is heartbreaking through its use of silence). At the same time, Martin’s sharp and lived-in screenplays made this entire season of television feel alive, and the threat of Kang far more terrifying than his milquetoast appearance in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
It’s clear the desperation is settling in to bring back fans to the franchise, but here’s the recipe for success: good storytelling trumps all. That’s why Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse were successful, critically and commercially. They were good movies that told great stories and weren’t concerned with hard key jangling to keep audience members invested. Quantumania and Secret Invasion weren’t successful because they weren’t good. Simple as that. Audiences are tired of mediocre pieces of “content,” after seeing mega-blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, and RRR last year, they now know the difference between art and slop.
Loki – Season 2 has shown the blueprint Marvel needs to follow for guaranteed success: tell a good story with great characters you’ll invest yourself in and a compelling aesthetic that immerses audiences further in the drama. That’s what Benson & Moorhead did and will hopefully continue to do through Marvel (and beyond) for years to come.
All episodes of Loki – Season 2 are now available to stream on Disney+.