The death of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) triggered the branching of the sacred timeline at the end of Loki season one, with the threat of more Kangs rising. Season two picks up immediately where we left off.
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The Time Variance Authority is in disarray as Loki (Tom Hiddleston) finds himself in a timeline were no one remembers him—not even Mobius (Owen Wilson) or Casey (Eugene Cordero), as he wanders through a branch where Kang is the face of the TVA and not the man behind the curtain. Abruptly, Loki warps back to his timeline, and realizes that a side effect of being at the end of time when it was broken means he’s being sucked into multiple timelines at random, and seeing things happening in both parallel dimensions and in the future.
This is due to the Temporal Loom, the core of the TVA that Kang created to prevent his other variants from coming through. It’s where raw time is refined into the physical Sacred Timeline, and it’s getting overloaded with new branches. Unable to weave the ever-growing new branches together into a clear timeline, the TVA gets into a sort of civil war; the old guard, led by General Dox (Kate Dickie), wants to just prune them all, killing everyone in them, while Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) along with Mobius want to figure a way to save them. As Loki jumps back and forth, seeing that the impending implosion of timelines will result in destroying all the branches of reality, Dox sends out Hunter X-5 (Rafael Casal) to track down Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) for causing all of it.
As the Temporal Loom continues to melt down, so does the TVA as the bureaucracy that Sylvie destroyed (in order to grant everyone and herself free will) is now in question. What’s right and wrong isn’t so clear anymore. One faction tries to continue business as usual by destroying lives and ignoring the fact that they all were kidnapped variants with lives on the timeline. Meanwhile, B-15 rises up as a leader to reform the TVA and find ways with Loki and Mobius to protect the many new timelines. Mosaku is one of the standouts in this episode, with an empathetic and powerful performance. B-15 uses the humanity she was ripped away from as motivation to ensure that those who have a life in the new branches get the place on the timeline they deserve.
Loki also leans back on Hiddleston and Wilson as they fall back into their buddy routine, traversing through the TVA as Loki gets sucked back and forth through timelines. They eventually meet the man who can help, Oroboros (Ke Huy Kwan), the writer of the TVA handbook, who’s tucked away in the annals of the organization and who seems to know Mobius, though he doesn’t remember “O.B.” (as he says Mobius nicknamed him). Kwan immediately endears himself with audiences in a comedic and sharp routine, as he and Loki have a conversation in the past and in their present time. It’s hilarious seeing Kwan be given info in the past as it dawns on him in the present while they chat. They basically deduce that Loki has to prune himself and get pulled back onto their timeline by Mobius in a totally “legit” spacesuit super exposed to the Temporal Loom—something that’s so dangerous your skin can get ripped off or turn you into space spaghetti. But it needs to happen, so that Loki can help find a way to stabilize the Loom. Thankfully Mobius and Loki have a bromantic bond so strong they go for it no matter the consequences. Sylvie, meanwhile, has apparently develops her own bond with fast food, something quickly replaces Loki for her as she settles into a life on the Sacred Timeline away from the drama—even though she is the drama.
Preventing the complete destruction of reality as it branches uncontrollably becomes Loki’s motivation as he realizes he wants to save the TVA in order to protect those he loves. It’s what gets him to prune himself even in the moment of the future where he finally sees Sylvie again as it all comes crashing down. As Loki is now fixed back on the timeline, he, with Mobius and the rest of the TVA, mobilize to find Sylvie and Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha Raw)—who’s been on the run with Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) after being revealed to have wiped everyone’s knowledge of their operations.
It’s a little startling to see the women sort of left to blame in this way, that they broke it all and it’s up to the men to fix it. The vibe of Loki season two definitely feels different than last season; it went from elevated and unique boundary-pushing queer genre to generic science fiction aping Doctor Who and Rick and Morty real quick. This becomes clear despite the incredible midcentury set designs by Kasra Farahani and inspired music from Natalie Holt, which tries to salvage the tone from season. It’s also bizarre that Loki decides to be a TVA company man for the sake of his found family, in particular Mobius. Hopefully as the series continues, it will depend less on the star power of its male leads and go back to what made the series so unique in the first place: the character work, which could be promising with the focus on B-15 and O.B.—and re-centering Sylvie, who was largely missed in this episode. “Loki and Mobius, Space Time Buddy Cops” is not what we signed up for.
Loki is now streaming weekly on Disney+.
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