After a 2-year hiatus (nothing in the grand scheme of timelines), the second season of Loki started airing on the 6th October, and we’re now 4 episodes into another multiverse misadventure. The first series introduced us to the world of the TVA and its controller – He Who Remains – through the many variants of Loki, including the familiar Tom Hiddleston. After an epic odyssey through time, we were left with the TVA headless and in disarray.
Now we’re back, and after a brief recap, thrown straight into where we left off, with Hiddleston running around looking increasingly stressed. The manic pacing became quickly overwhelming and soon I found there was just too much going on at any one time: too many minor characters, too many major antagonists, and too many plotlines to follow. The MCU has always relied on the viewers’ attention to work out its’ grand plan and this worked well with the previous saga’s trail of infinity stones. Here it may be asking a little too much. Characters appear and names are dropped, and I felt like I was left scrambling to work out who I had seen before and when. Maybe, all I’m saying is that a rewatch of the first season before this would certainly make things a little easier. It could also be the effect of a change of director – the first season’s showrunner Kate Herron left to be replaced by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (both involved with the direction of other Marvel outing Moon Knight).
The manic pacing became quickly overwhelming and soon I found there was just too much going on at any one time: too many minor characters, too many major antagonists, and too many plotlines to follow.
That said, the promotion of Eugene Cordero’s Casey to a more prominent role works well, and the introduction of Ke Huy Quan as OB adds some much-needed lightness to the existential panic. This season also continued the exceptional ‘future-retro’ production design. Credit should also be given to the composer Natalie Holt and to the rest of the sound design team for bringing the beautifully bureaucratic world of the TVA alive.
One other major difference is character development. In the first season we watched as all the central players went through their own emotional crisis, keeping it more engaging. Here, the action is mostly external. Hiddleston’s Loki has so far become the central stable hero as other characters around him face their own problems. That’s not to say I want Loki back as he was in his previous incarnations, on a winding path to moral redemption. We’ve been there before. But for all the questions of free will and responsibility, it seems to be only Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie that changes, and even she feels surplus sometimes.
Despite all this, I would still recommend sticking with the first 4 episodes, even if you may have lost faith in the MCU given recent scandals, including allegations against Jonathon Majors (who, as teased in the trailer, does appear here) and the disappointing Secret Invasion. It’s fun, if a bit darker than the previous season, and any screen time with Ke Huy Quan is time well spent.