The first season of Loki had some of the best storytelling in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it unpacked what made Laufeyson the God of Mischief, even though it undid the years of character development that he underwent. And although its ending promised that something catastrophic would occur all across the multiverse, nothing really happened. We had to wait until Loki Season 2 to know what all that stuff about “freeing the timeline” actually meant. Now, to be honest, over the course of five episodes, this sophomore season didn’t really come with any answers. Instead, it went round and round about fixing the Temporal Loom in order to preserve the Sacred Timeline, to the point that it got frustrating. The penultimate episode was a head-scratcher, as it showed that all the effort that Loki, Mobius, O.B., B-15, Casey, and Sylvie had put into this task amounted to nothing. Surprisingly enough, though, today’s episode summed up the journey in a pretty meaningful way while making the titular character feel like the most important individual in the franchise.
Loki Realizes He Has To Stop Sylvie From Killing He Who Remains
Episode 6 of the second season of Loki opens with Loki returning to the moment where Victor Timely stepped out of the blast doors of the TVA to fix the Temporal Loom and disintegrated. He realizes that they have to do things faster this time around. But that doesn’t work, and every time Timely disintegrates, Loki brings things back to square one because he can slip through time and redo an event for as long as he likes. When Loki sees that doing things quickly isn’t the solution, he tries to do it earlier. As in, he redos the events of this season of the show, but instead of wasting time on pleasantries and introductions, he gets straight to the chase. FYI, there’s a brilliant long take in here as Tom Hiddleston explains the mission to fix the Temporal Loom for the umpteenth, and we get to see why he is one of the best actors working in the industry.
Anyway, coming back to the plot, Loki repeats the aforementioned loop for centuries so that his knowledge of physics rivals that of O.B. and Timely’s. Sadly, even that doesn’t work, and the Temporal Loom explodes again. Timely says that the machine is unable to process an infinite number of timelines into the sacred timeline. No matter how much they increase the Loom’s processing power, it’s never going to accommodate infinite timelines. Sylvie remarks that this is a result of “freeing of the timeline” by killing He Who Remains (HWR), and if there’s a way to stop that from happening, they should try to do that. If the timelines never branch out exponentially, the Temporal Loom won’t overload, and everything will be fine again, theoretically speaking. But the issue with that option is that if they don’t “free the timeline,” they have to occupy He Who Remains’ throne and rule over the Sacred Timeline. I mean, that’s the choice that HWR gave to Loki and Sylvie at the end of season 1. Given how desperate Loki is, he chooses to go back to their first altercation with HWR, in the hopes of convincing Sylvie not to kill him.
Loki Realizes He Has To Replace The Temporal Loom With Something Better
Much like his attempts at speedrunning through the process of fixing the Temporal Loom, Loki starts his process of convincing Sylvie to not kill He Who Remains. After God knows how many times, Loki asks HWR why he never tries to stop Sylvie from killing him, and surprisingly enough, HWR pauses Sylvie because he can apparently do that with his TemPad. He even turns her invisible so that his conversation with Loki can really seem private. HWR, as usual, says that Loki’s time slipping and him figuring out how to reach the point where he is standing currently has been orchestrated by him. It’s such an insulting thing to say. Loki has put so much time and energy into making himself who he is, and this douchebag shows up to make it look like it is all part of his grand scheme. That said, Loki does surprise him by showing that he was feigning ignorance all this while. He has had this very conversation with HWR multiple times, actually. Why?
Well, maybe he wants to see if HWR gives away a piece of information that can actually fix the issue with the Temporal Loom and bring things back to normal. Sadly, that’s not the case. The conundrum is still the same: break the Loom to truly free the timeline and risk a multiversal war, or prune the timelines to keep the Loom functional and rule it through the TVA. Loki says that he is going to come up with a third option. He says that he is going to find another way. On that note, he goes back to his first meeting with Mobius to learn about the burden of pruning. In one of the most poignant moments in the MCU, Mobius says that “glorious purpose” and “burden” don’t go hand in hand. They are actually antithetical to each other. Every choice comes with its own brand of misery, and the one who avoids it all ends up being miserable as hell. It’s all about choosing the burden that one can bear and living with it. Loki understands what Mobius is talking about. Hopefully, the audience understands what he’s talking about. The dynamic duo shakes hands, and Loki goes back to the moment in O.B.’s office before everything turned into threads.
Is The God Of Mischief The God Of The Multiverse Now?
Even though Loki knows what he has to do, he has one last conversation with Sylvie regarding whether or not he should destroy the Temporal Loom. He understands that Sylvie won’t refrain from killing He Who Remains. She won’t rule over the timeline from the TVA or let anyone rule over the timeline through the TVA because she believes that that is tyranny. The only thing she wants is free will and the destruction of everything that opposes free will. On that note, Loki returns to the moment where Timely is supposed to fix the Temporal Loom. Instead of letting him go out there, Loki steps onto the gangway, that too without a suit. As his formal clothes rip away due to the radiation from the Loom, his new suit, complete with a golden-black pair of horns, is revealed. He destroys the Temporal Loom. That causes all the timelines to start withering away. So, he grabs hold of all the threads of the timelines and opens a portal to the End of Time. The castle has completely disintegrated, and all that’s left of it is the throne. Loki approaches it with all the timelines in his hand, takes his seat on the throne, and regenerates the threads with his powers. As the camera pulls back, it’s revealed that Loki has replaced the Temporal Loom with something that represents the Norse tree of life, Yggdrasil. It’s like he is using his childhood teachings to solve a multifaceted problem. The kicker is that he has to bear the burden of keeping this tree intact for the rest of eternity. Loki has expressed his fear of being alone. He has boasted about being a god. And he has always wanted a throne. Now, he has all of that, and it’s bittersweet. Well, to be honest, it’s actually pretty sad.
During Loki Season 2’s ending, we see that the TVA is in order, and instead of the Temporal Loom, they are working towards preserving the Temporal Tree (I don’t know if that’s the official name). The whole vibe of the place has changed. Everyone is talking much more positively, and they appear to be more productive and not mechanical. Mobius reveals that Ant-Man has dealt with a variant of Kang, and everyone remains oblivious to the existence of the TVA. B-15 goes to the war room to go over their plans on how to keep the new Sacred Timeline intact. Miss Minutes is operational again, but she’s probably not as dangerous as she used to be. O.B. publishes a new TVA handbook. We get a glimpse of a young Victor Timely, but he doesn’t get the handbook, thereby preventing him from becoming a variant of Kang. Renslayer wakes up in the dumping ground ruled by Alioth and I hope she doesn’t find a way to get out of there. Mobius leaves the TVA and visits one of his variants who is living with his family. Sylvie comes to meet him. They reminisce about Loki. Mobius asks what Sylvie is going to do next, and she doesn’t give a straight answer. Sylvie asks Mobius the same question, and he says that he is going to take his time to experience time. The episode ends with a teary-eyed Loki looking off into the distance. And given how beautiful this is, I want it to stay that way. I never want to see these characters ever again, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Of late, Marvel has shown how afraid it is to conclude stories and characters. They want everything and everyone to be in a state of limbo so that they can be resurrected through a prequel, sequel, spin-off, or in the form of cameos and Easter eggs. In doing so, they diminish the value of the franchise. But since they keep earning money off of it, they don’t really care if the brand is being destroyed. It’s high time that that changes. Mobius saying that he wants to soak up what life has to offer feels like advice that Marvel needs to take. Instead of overloading audiences with “content” so that they can hold onto them and attract all their attention, they should give their intellectual properties some breathing space. They should let them marinate in the public’s mind and only offer something else when there’s demand; “offer” and “demand” are the keywords here. I know that that’s all very meta, but even if you look at it from an in-universe storytelling perspective, where do you really want Loki to go from here and why? Sad as it may be, much like everything in life, this is the pinnacle of his prowess. He is the God of the Multiverse (or the God of Stories). He has earned this spot. Hence, his return to the limelight needs to be earned by those who have been influenced by him, which includes the audience. All this is a roundabout way of saying that I enjoyed the finale of Loki Season 2, and given its conclusive nature, Marvel should put a lid on it for the time being.