In the season two finale of Disney+ and Marvel Studios’ Loki—which circles back to the same title as Loki season one, episode one, “Glorious Purpose”—everything falls into place, creating an ouroboros of its own making that seals Loki’s fate.
Everything has led to this, from Thor to The Avengers to his first death in Avengers: Infinity War and Loki season one. Tom Hiddleston’s beloved villain turned anti-hero turned hero gets his destiny fulfilled. And to start I’ll mention the moment where Odin told both Loki and Thor, “Only one of you can ascend to the throne. But both of you were born to be kings.” That quote echoes throughout “Glorious Purpose.”
The episode picks up with Loki going back to the moment where Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors) is about to go past the blast doors to launch the Throughput Multiplier, and it kicks off a montage where Loki sees them fail over and over again to even get past one step out to the bridge. It’s comical and very clear that it’s Loki who should be doing it—but despite the obvious, it’s a testament to how Loki has really changed and is selflessly trying to change everyone’s fate without stepping in. He’s got the idea there from the jump, but it take him retracing his steps through slipping to see the bigger picture we’re all rooting for.
After centuries Loki learns the in and outs of the TVA handbook with the help of O.B. (Ke Huy Quan), and moves them past the blast doors, guiding Timely out just in time to launch the Multiplier. It seems to work, but as they celebrate O.B. notices the readings are off. They did successfully increase the Throughput but there’s too many branches expanding at an infinite rate, revealing they’ve got a scaling problem on their hands. No matter how much they increase it will never be enough, and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) realizes that as soon as the timelines started branching this was doomed to happen—her fate is as a Loki who set this in motion, but was destined to fail.
This destiny for Sylvie as a Loki makes sense but didn’t feel earned. Di Martino felt wasted this season since her character didn’t really change. Last season, Sylvie killed He Who Remains; this season, she relented on killing Timely only because he hadn’t become He Who Remains yet. Then, she retreated back to her life as a McDonald’s cool girl burnout burger flipper who listens to indie records and hangs at the bar, instead of being a badass who outruns apocalypses. Sylvie could have been anything, like give a girl her own record shop—at least, damn. Why would she trade one imposing corporation in the TVA for another major fast food one? That being the free will she chose is unbelievable; she has literal magic powers and could have made anything for herself if she no longer wanted to be a fighter and was seeking peace.
Loki realizes he has to go back to her crime of killing He Who Remains, and tries to reason with her by telling her he’s been where she is and knows what she feels, but nope: she refuses and kills He Who Remains over and over again. It becomes clear that Loki is running out of options and that the one that’s presenting itself is just to kill Sylvie in order to prevent the multiversal calamity. Eventually, He Who Remains as the sitting playwright freezes time and is bored with Loki only resorting to time slipping. They reason that choices need to be made and Loki quotes T.S. Eliot’s poem Little Gidding: “We die with the dying… we’re born with the dead,” eluding to the cyclical nature of the fights and wars waged. The glorious purpose is becoming clearer but not in the way Loki once wanted. He’s seen so much, and I hate to point out that I wish he’s just shown Sylvie what he’s seen through the centuries of trying to fix it, and they could have teamed up in the way He Who Remains promised Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) they’d team up. I digress, I was just mad that Sylvie becomes a linchpin in Loki’s two options: kill Sylvie and keep things as they were in the loom, which is only really a failsafe to protect the sacred timeline (pruning others)—or destroy the loom itself, risking the timelines waging wars that could end the sacred timeline, or so He Who Remains says.
Loki decides to change the grand equation He Who Remains touts as the only option. Seeking to find another way, he goes back to meeting Mobius (Owen Wilson) and asks why people choose to prune one life to save countless others. Mobius points out that in the big picture, “most purpose is more burden than glory.” He shares a story where he hestitated to kill a boy destined to kill thousands but Renslayer did it, making her a judge and keeping Mobius at the desk. You have to choose your burden ultimately. So Loki goes to Sylvie in the moment she realizes everything is doomed and finally tells her his two options. I loved the spark out of Di Martino’s delivery of not giving him her blessing to kill her. They discuss whether or not killing her and keeping one timeline under watch is really better than destroying the system in order to allow free will and choice to reign, despite the risk of it all ending. Sylvie is crystal clear when she has to do some big multiversal emotional labor to get Loki to realize it’s not enough to protect one timeline if everyone is going to be locked into giving up free will. She tells him with breaking things it gives them at least a hope to replace it with something better.
And so we end up with Loki finally realizing that he was destined to want a throne, just not the one he thought would be glorious in Asgard. Without a suit he shows up at the moment the loom is in full meltdown and goes out on the bridge, realizing he’s the god he needs to be. It’s a gorgeous sequence seeing Sylvie realize it’s the only way to give everyone a chance, as Loki transforms into a new form with his crown of horns as he destroys the loom and begins to hold the timelines together using his magic to bring them back to life shining green. He walks up to the broken citadel weaving the timelines together as the throne turns gold, and he takes his seat as the God of Stories—finding his glorious purpose, finally, in a truly earned arc.
It changes everything in ways we’ll be seeing as Phase 5 plays out and the TVA is now a center that is at work detangling and growing together. There’s glimpses of B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) in a leadership role, Casey (Eugene Cordero) and O.B. are retooling Miss Minutes (that’s a good idea, surely), and Mobius considers retiring even though he’s been instrumental in helping them keep up with He Who Remains variants to stop him. He thinks B-15 is the TVA future, and we agree, but in the six episodes we got there were only some bare bones scenes to establish that because again, Mosaku was underused. While some might say this feels like a Loki series finale, I would certainly hope not, because B-15, Casey, O.B., and Sylvie are fantastic characters who deserve better and are worthy of their own tales. So yes, Mobius is right: B-15 is the person who should be in the war room and O.B. should guide the future too with his handy dandy new yellow TVA book. Do I think Owen Wilson is done? I hope not, I do admit his quips and support would be sorely missed. It’s all fair game honestly because while Loki sits on the throne as the God of Stories, he’s the way they can keep up with tracking He Who Remains variants across the multiverse, and you’re going to need everyone who knows about this on deck. Especially considering that Renslayer wakes up in the prune zone and looks ready to exact vengeance.
It all wraps up with Mobius going back to see himself and his boys, finally facing the life he walked away from. Sylvie shows up, reconciling their odd relationship, and says it’s weird Loki isn’t there. They agree that thanks to the man they love, they can now do anything or go anywhere. Mobius asks where Sylvie is heading to and she shrugs (and I swear it better not be Mickey D’s, Kevin Feige!). As Mobius lets time pass, we end on Loki in the weaves holding it all together as was destined.
Loki seasons one and two are now streaming on Disney+.
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