Disney+’s LOKI took a likeable but somewhat cartoonish villain from the MCU and made him highly sympathetic and three-dimensional in a show packed with odd turns and interesting ideas. The second season delivers on the ideas but the charm of the first season feels largely dissipated.
In Season 1, Loki is arrested by an organization called the Time Variance Authority, which is charged with maintaining a single timeline. People who do what they were not intended to do by the timekeepers end up creating new branches, resulting in their arrest and destruction along with the errant timeline. Mobius (Owen Wilson) recruits Loki to help him find a variant who is wreaking havoc and appears to have a grand plan, none other than another version of Loki.
It’s a lot of fun, not the least of which is Tom Hiddleston really gets to pull the leash off the character, the writing is solid, and there are plenty of interesting ideas and odd turns to keep me engaged. It was also fun to watch Loki go through some interesting self-discovery and find himself realizing that if he wants to rule the universe, he has to save it first. At the end of the first season, his counterpart Loki goes all the way, and the timeline breaks into a vast multiverse.
The second season picks up right where we left off, with similarly big stakes as the expanding multiverse threatens to destroy the TVA, and if the TVA is destroyed, then all the Kang the Conquerors out there will resume their multiversal war and possibly destroy everything. This requires plan after plan, with every solution having a problem, until Loki shows who he really is, getting what he’s always wanted but not in a way anyone expected.
Where things kind of fell flat for me, though, was in the characters. Loki is now, well, a good guy without any sneaky reservations, a god of mischief without the mischief. So much so he lost quite a bit of his charm, and when he makes his final choice, it doesn’t have nearly the same impact, there’s no tension to it. As for Sylvie, she’s barely present and doesn’t contribute much, and the villain in the story is the kind who’s annoyingly in the way more than a genuine threat. The terrific character arcs they had in season 1 are gone.
So overall I liked it well enough, but I appear to be one of the few who didn’t love it. It was a lot of fun and tied everything together in a nice redemption story, but overall it just didn’t engage me like the first season did.