Directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, Loki Season 2 Episode 6 is both a riveting yet messy finale. Ending on, perhaps, the most bittersweet note of any MCU venture other than Avengers: Endgame, the series gives Loki (Tom Hiddleston) yet another moment of self-sacrifice. After spending centuries trying and ultimately failing to stabilize the time loom, he’s left with a devastating decision that confines him to a fate he never wished. This iteration (or variant, rather) of Loki has always skewed towards the antihero, if not straight our heroics (Avengers: Infinity War) but even still there’s a level of necessary suspension of disbelief to accept his final act.
In the finale, we’re reminded that when he first arrived on Earth to conquer it in The Avengers, he did so with a need to satisfy his “glorious purpose.” But the Loki in Loki Season 2 Episode 6, “Glorious Purpose,” refutes his previous, lofty goals. He doesn’t want a throne, as he tells Kang (Jonathan Majors) once he realizes Loki has gone through their conversation multiple times. He doesn’t look down on the humans he’s come to respect and befriend, and he doesn’t want to sacrifice Sylvie’s (Sophia Di Martino) life to save his own along the rest of the splintered timelines. He truly doesn’t want to be alone. He saves his friends, but he ends up alone, and he ends up on a throne of his own, making a narrative move that’s surprisingly devastating.
And on the one hand, it’s tough to buy because we’ve spent years, over a decade, with Hiddleston’s version of Loki, who has flip-flopped between the light and the dark and most often has resided in a wonderful moral gray. But the two seasons of Loki have done admirable work in making us believe that he would end the show this way and that he would give up all of his goals and wants for the sake of those who have made him happy, who have offered him long yearned for camaraderie.
The episode has a lot of humor despite the ending and the overwhelming melancholy it brings. Hiddleston is having a clear blast as he gets to work within Loki’s more playful attributes as he utilizes his god-like abilities to speed up the time slips to figure out a way to stabilize the loom and save the day. His pep talk to Victor is a highlight, as Hiddleston drops his voice to just near condescension as he placates him, telling him to “be brave” and following it up with “you’re being so brave.”
It’s what makes the heel turn work so well, too. One of the biggest gripes of the series has been how often the writing tends to conveniently forget that Loki is a god. We’re given a stark reminder of his power, though, in the last part of the episode when he realizes he’ll need to be the one to stabilize the Sacred Timeline, walking through the radiation sans suit as his TVA costume peels away and his robes and horns appear. The direction is tremendous and evocative at this moment, Benson and Moorehead allowing his isolation and determination in spite of it stand out. The idea of the time threads being roots that he needs to bring life to, dragging them and weaving until he’s created a tree of time. A fun nod to the Norse origins of this character with imagery that seems to evoke Yggdrasil, a tree of Norse mythology that links all worlds. This moment is made even more effective due to the ever-beautiful work by composer Natalie Holt, her score one of the strongest elements in making Loki its own distinctive story.
That his signature green is what breathes new life into these threads makes it all the more poignant as Loki’s character growth culminates in this moment. And the episode isn’t afraid of leaving it on a dour note. In a moment that signifies the confidence and restraint of the creators, we get a moment of reflection as Mobius finally witnesses his own timeline. He tells Sylvie that he’s going to wait a while and let time go by, and the vacancy Loki left is abundantly clear. Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Loki have been the strongest and most interesting dynamic of the series, and the finale fails to forget this. While they only share one real scene of substance, Mobius misses him, even if he can’t really explain it. And the choice to allow the camera to sit with him and his reflection, to sit then with Loki entangled in the roots of the time tree, is stunning.
Loki Season 2 is a clear example of what happens when the MCU actually allows its creators to inject their own tone and vision into a property. So much of Marvel these days is about how one piece of IP links to another, making their films an exhaustive process that’s become more akin to homework than worldbuilding. While I’m sure there’s something regarding the Sacred Timeline that might affect the greater MCU, this season of Loki is miraculously self-contained and successful due to the specific touches of Benson and Moorehead. It might not always nail characterizations, and there’s some plotting that’s unfortunately rushed and needed time to breathe, but Loki feels more like a creator’s work than a corporation’s, and that’s significant for Marvel.
Loki Season 2 Episode 6 is an emotionally potent piece of storytelling that reckons with the God of Mischief’s past while allowing startling growth. Anchored by a strong performance from Hiddleston, it ends on a note of melancholy that sinks its teeth into you. The season finale, directed by Benson and Moorhead, drives home what the season has made abundantly clear — Loki Season 2 is the strongest work the MCU has done in ages.
Loki Season 2 Episode 6 — “Glorious Purpose”
Loki Season 2 Episode 6 is an emotionally potent piece of storytelling that reckons with the God of Mischief’s past while allowing startling growth. Anchored by a strong performance from Hiddleston, it ends on a note of melancholy that sinks its teeth into you.