Mobius and Loki at the Chicago World's Fair.

So Far, ‘Loki’ Season 2 Is Lacking Something Key

We’re two-thirds of the way through season 2 of Loki, and the fan response seems to be pretty positive so far. And for good reason too: The narrative is strongly crafted, the writing is good, and the visuals are phenomenal (shout-out to whoever persuaded Marvel to use practical sets in the World’s Fair episode!)

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But for me, there’s been something lacking about this season. It’s ironic that the most recent episode is titled “The Heart of the TVA” because the heart of the series seems to have taken a backseat this season.

Last season featured more of a “mystery box” format, which made sense since it was introducing viewers to the TVA and the MCU’s multiverse in general. Season 2 is very much about completing a more traditional ticking clock mission of saving the world by stopping the time loom from going boom. The characters are all very much focused on the task at hand, as well as what the future of the TVA should be. We also have Kang and his variants as a known factor now, which I think may be contributing to this focus on the greater narrative over the characters we already knew. Yes, I think it’s cool that Loki, a show I already loved, got to serve as the introduction to the MCU’s next big bad. But the focus has shifted a little too much to chasing down variants instead of developing the core characters. I understand that there’s a segment of the MCU fanbase who loves season 2 even more than the first for that very reason. But as someone who fell in love with this show because of its core cast of characters and their relationships, I’m kind of starting to resent the Kang variants for more than just causing timeline havoc.

All of this isn’t to say there haven’t been flashes of more personal and tender moments. Episode 2 was chock full of them, including the ending with the TVA workers feeling the weight of the timeline branches disappearing (“Those are people.”) There was also, of course, my favorite part of the season to date: Mobius delivering an epic slap to Brad Wolfe (Rafael Casal) and then unpacking the moment with Loki over some pie. Season 1 received a lot of praise for scenes like this, even making the big climactic reveal of He Who Remains and his mission more of a conversation than a typical Marvel fight.

Not that the fights haven’t been great too, of course. We got to see some pretty cool action in Episode 3. But as I wrote about last week, it was the end of that episode—when Sylvie ultimately didn’t kill Victor Timely or Ravonna Renslayer—that stuck with me the most. Episode 4 also had some good character moments, with Sylvie chewing out Mobius for taking a break while timeline branches continue to be pruned. She also has an intense conversation with Loki where he calls her out for not taking responsibility for her actions. (Please note that these are very short descriptions of scenes that are much more complicated than I’m making them sound.) And then there’s B-15 realizing her influential powers when she’s told that she was able to change the minds of some of the higher-ups at the TVA regarding the consequences of pruning timeline branches.

All of these moments are great. But they’re relatively few and far between compared to what we got last season, and with only two episodes to go after that massive cliffhanger, I fear there may not be time for many more. And I haven’t even cried yet this season!

The main thing I’m clinging onto in my hopes for more heart is executive producer Kevin Wright’s continued promises that the last two episodes of season 2 will see a turn from the first four. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Wright called the last two episodes “beautiful and moving” and speaking after Episode 4 said, “If the first four episodes of season 2 are about things falling apart or not working; choices being made that maybe aren’t the right choices, then the back half can really allow us to go to some, hopefully, profound places.”

My hope is that these choices are about more than just using the wrong technology or whatnot. A lot of fans have pointed out that Loki is very gung-ho about saving the TVA as an organization this season, and may be neglecting some of his relationships in the process. Ironically, he wants to save people’s lives but isn’t showing much care for the lives of the people closest to him. His relationship with Sylvie is the biggest example of this since they still haven’t really discussed what went down at the Citadel during last season’s finale (and I’m not just talking about her killing He Who Remains). Every episode that passes in which that’s not addressed just adds more pressure for the moment to be truly worth the wait. And I really want to see more of the TVA workers processing their newfound knowledge: not just that they were pruning countless lives, but that their lives were taken from them by the TVA as well.

Make no mistake: I think Loki Season 2 is a very strong outing for the MCU. But the first season is one of my favorite things to ever come out of Marvel Studios, and I fear that when all is said and done, this one won’t quite live up to it for me. I hope season 2 can feature both high stakes and in-depth character development, qualities that should not just co-exist but work together. Or maybe director Dan Deleeuw was right and there really is no time for “emotional feelings” this season.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Delbel
Julia Delbel (she/her) is a contributing writer at The Mary Sue and has been doing freelance entertainment coverage for five years. She loves diving into film, television, and theater, especially Marvel, DC Disney, and animated content, particularly taking a hard look at their character development, storyline weaving, and place in the pop culture pantheon.