‘Loki’ season 2 episode 6 review: Finding a glorious purpose (Image Credit: Space.com)
Loki season 2 has largely been a satisfying ride that doesn’t lose sight of why the first chapter of this story worked so well, but there were some concerns going into the final stretch. Namely, Kang’s shadow has loomed over the entire thing, yet never fully manifested, and its main themes had to be handled with care in order not to repeat mistakes of the past. Well, worry no more, as the creative team and Marvel have completely stuck the landing.
In ‘Glorious Purpose’ (yes, that’s how the first episode of season 1 of the show was titled too), Loki has mastered the ability to control time, but fixing it isn’t as easy as it seems. Moreover, what’s the price that must be paid to save everything while changing some things? It’s a fun, time travel-heavy season (probably series) finale which ends on a bittersweet note in the best possible way, giving the titular character and his closer allies a logical and satisfying conclusion that feels both emotive and logical all the way through. Simply put, this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at its best, a win many fans and casual moviegoers might quickly need right after watching The Marvels in cinemas.
Still need more Loki goodness? You can find everyone’s favorite cunning trickster god amongst the best Marvel movies. Or if all this talk of timelines has piqued your interest, you’ll definitely need to check out Doctor Who, if you haven’t already – 60 years of time travel, science and humor all come together to make it one of best sci-fi TV shows of all time.
Related: Best Marvel TV shows
Spoilers ahead for Loki season 2 episode 6: ‘Glorious Purpose’
The second ‘Glorious Purpose’ starts right where we left off, but not before a rewinding Marvel Studios intro warns us this isn’t another regular finale. Loki is back at the Time Variance Authority (TVA) right before the Temporal Loom collapses, and he can make things right with future knowledge. Things don’t go as smoothly as he planned though. In fact, it’s all a big mess. No matter how he tries to make the process of getting Victor Timely to the launcher in front of the Loom faster, the poor scientist always gets utterly erased by the temporal radiation as soon as he opens the security gate.
In another playful bit with the matter of time-travel and learning more physics than you could in a lifetime, Loki spends (off-screen) centuries becoming probably the greatest scientific mind in history in order to fix the problem of temporal radiation ruining their one shot at saving the TVA and all of time. Tom Hiddleston once again reminds us that he’s one of the best (if not the best) performers in the MCU, and every time we thought he couldn’t do anything new with the character, he surprises us. Here, he does it again by speeding through lines full of mumbo jumbo and perfectly embodying a guy who’s seen and learned too much but is growing impatient.
Timely does eventually get to the Loom and completes the mission. However, the celebration doesn’t last long, as the TVA’s readings show that no matter how much they regulate the Loom, it can’t hold infinite timelines together. The answer to this terrible problem lies elsewhere. More specifically, at the End of Time.
Long story short: He Who Remains was right. Without someone essentially holding all of time together, everything is doomed to be destroyed, whether it’s through decay or a multiversal war like the one that already happened. Loki needs him alive, and so he tries to stop Sylvie from killing him. This, of course, also proves troublesome, as all melees end with Sylvie gaining the upper hand and murdering the final Kang variant.
A brief chat with the man on the throne reveals he knew everything we’ve seen would happen, including the problems that come with his death. He also says he’s responsible for Loki’s time-slipping condition, which actually brings him closer to maybe sitting on the throne and choosing a new course of action. He Who Remains claims there’s just no better alternative to the Sacred Timeline though. And to fix it, Loki needs to kill Sylvie, which would be a bit of an emotional issue to say the least.
The conversation with Sylvie is shorter but equally heavy. She maintains some things aren’t worth saving and tells Loki he shouldn’t become another “man on the throne” who decides for everyone. They deserve a chance to “fight” and to figure out a path forward. Of course, letting time unravel is assured destruction, but what if there’s a different way, one that comes with a heavy burden?
In case you forgot, Loki has always struggled with strong emotions and the fact he’s become a much better person doesn’t instantly change that. So, off he goes into time again to ask his closest friends about what he should do.
The final chat with Mobius takes place right at the beginning of the show, in the first ‘Glorious Purpose’ episode. It’s poetic, much like almost every scene coming after this one. Making the TVA analyst who just met him slowdown is difficult at first, but Owen Wilson quickly gets another stellar scene in which he explains he once was a hunter who failed to prune a kid that would become responsible for thousands of deaths. His failure to quickly dispose of him instantly caused some deaths, but Ravonna Renslayer, his partner, fixed the issue. She got a promotion, and he was switched to analyst. Hard choices need to be made, and carrying a burden is better than living with huge failures.
Jumping one last time to the moments before the Temporal Loom collapses, Loki walks alone into the gigantic chamber and starts holding the physical strands of time together before going off into the End of Time, where he finally gets to sit on a throne worthy of a king that he’s earned. It’s a bittersweet ending for the character, of course, as he’s now stuck alone in the most inhospitable place you can think of. But he’s gone from God of Mischief to God of Stories. There’s no greater purpose than preserving all of existence. All the timelines forming Yggdrasil is a beautiful touch which takes us all the way back to the very first Thor movie, too.
Back at the TVA, our predictions become true as the system is rebuilt into something which defends the multiverse (new Miss Minutes included). Everyone knows there’s always the danger of another multiversal war breaking out – and we do get a nod to Quantumania‘s events – but it’s time to trust and protect, not to suppress. Ironically, this reshoots-less, key installment of the Multiverse Saga allows Disney and Marvel to totally drop the Kang storyline if needed without hurting the main premise of the current multi-year story arc.
The series’ final moments show us Hunter B-15 spearheading the reform efforts taking place inside the TVA, O.B. reading a new edition of the TVA handbook, Victor Timely making candles in 1868 without external interference and Ravonna dying where she sent people for who knows how long in the name of a greater power that she never questioned (Alioth is still hungry).
Mobius and Sylvie, meanwhile, are interested in exploring what the multiverse has in store for them, starting with the lives they could’ve had. This is especially meaningful for the former, who stays behind in a branched timeline looking at the house he once had and thinking about his friend at the End of Time. Close-ups on their melancholic faces. The end. Now that’s how you do it.