Warning: This article contains spoilers.
Loki roots himself in the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in S2:E6, “Glorious Purpose.”
“Loki” S2:E6: “Glorious Purpose”
We open on the familiar Marvel logo sequence, but in reverse this time. Loki has time slipped back to right before Victor Timely meets his spaghettified fate, and the Temporal Loom explodes.
With the ability to control his time slipping, Loki proceeds to trial and error his way into successfully fixing the loom. This begins with just trying to get Victor out the door quicker with each attempt before changing tactics to go even further back to speed things up.
After many failed attempts, Loki goes back to when Victor and O.B. are introduced to each other, rushing them through their elated introduction. To save even more time, Loki asks O.B. how long it would take to explain all his knowledge of mechanics, physics, and engineering to Loki. Victor implies it will take centuries, which — fortunately or not — Loki now has.
We cut to an attempt centuries later, where Loki has seemingly perfected every step of the process. He knows what everyone is going to say, all the issues that come up, and how to prevent any missteps, which unsettles everyone else (and particularly Mobius), as they do not recognize the Loki before them. However, we see it pay off as Victor is able to launch the device to fix the loom successfully. The rug is pulled out from under them though, when it fails and they all realize that there may be nothing they can do to make the Temporal Loom capable of handling infinite timelines.
As the loom explodes, Loki slips back even further to when he and Sylvie fight before she kills He Who Remains. Loki then proceeds to, again, trial and error his way countless times to change the outcome of this moment, preventing Sylvie from killing He Who Remains. After countless attempts, He Who Remains pauses time, revealing that he is behind the time slipping, having paved the way for all these events leading up to this moment.
Loki then reveals that he has done this more than He Who Remains realizes, and has advanced in his slipping abilities to where even he can now pause time. He Who Remains then reveals that there is indeed no way to alter the Temporal Loom away from its purpose of weaving only the Sacred Timeline. Loki declares he will change the outcome no matter what.
Loki then slips back, all the way back, to his first interview with Mobius from season one. Loki has a hard conversation about choosing who lives and who dies, asking Mobius directly how he does it himself. Mobius reveals the ramifications of not doing what must be done, how to live with it, and how “most purpose is more burden than glory.” After a heartfelt thank you and parting handshake, Loki moves on.
We come back to the moment in the last episode where the world begins to spaghettify around everyone, and Loki pauses time to talk to Sylvie. He reveals what he has learned, how he is out of options, and pleads for help to stop this.
Sylvie acknowledges she knows that killing her so she cannot kill He Who Remains is his obvious choice. She comes back with the same argument she always had: free will doesn’t exist if there is only the sacred timeline. She tells Loki that he would be “replacing one nightmare with another” and that “sometimes it’s okay to destroy something.” Loki then realizes what he has to do.
Loki slips back to the moment Victor is scanned, unlocking the blast doors to the Temporal Loom. He takes a heart-wrenching last look at his friends, before running to the doors and locking everyone out so they cannot stop him. He then proceeds down the runway, donning a more godly outfit (complete with a classic Loki horned crown) as the radiation destroys his TVA clothes. He then uses his magic to destroy the Temporal Loom, and all the branches of time scatter and begin to die.
Loki then begins to grab onto strands of time, infusing his magic to keep them alive, as he ascends to the end of time to the almost completely destroyed Citadel. He then sits on what’s left of He Who Remains chair and gives life to all of the dying timelines in a final explosion of magic. As we pan out to see the result, the camera rotates, and the previous shape of the Temporal Loom is revealed to be reminiscent of Yggdrasil, the tree of life.
We then jump a little into the future, seeing a now functional TVA. B-15 and Mobius talk, revealing their new purpose: monitoring Kang variants. On the way to a meeting in the war room, Mobius reveals to B-15 that he is leaving. We then see him overlooking Don, his branched timeline variant whom we met in the previous episode. Sylvie speaks with him before leaving for her free life, as Mobius says he wants to stay a bit and “let time pass.” We then see Loki one last time, seeming to smile as we hear Mobius’ words echo.
Now, there are an absurd amount of things to be said after watching this episode, and it would take me days to cover every aspect and detail of why it was amazing. In the interest of not making this a dissertation (though I would love to), I will focus on two things: the episode itself and the ending of the series.
Because this focuses almost entirely on Loki himself, we don’t get a lot of highlights from the other characters, but that does not matter in this episode. This is, after all, Loki’s story.
We follow Loki as he struggles the entire time, not just with what he’s doing, but his emotions around it all. In the beginning, there is a bit of levity in the absurd and hilarious way Loki endures the mind-numbing trial and error of running these scenarios over and over again. That serves to ease us into the constantly increasing seriousness of the rest of the episode. The simultaneous heartwarming and gut-wrenching conversations Loki has with his friends and even He Who Remains are so deep and gravitating, it left me speechless.
The ending is bittersweet, but it works so well. The tragedy of Loki’s choice is distressing, but it is the culmination of his entire arc over the last decade. Loki wanted to be an all-powerful god presiding over all, but instead of doing so out of anger and vengeance as he would have before, now he does it out of love and compassion. He has shed the labels given to him in the past and has truly rewritten his story.
The people working on this show have maintained a firm grasp on the character of Loki and have respected the character’s past. There are so many individual nods to previous MCU moments, including a refrain of lines from Loki’s first appearance in “Thor.”
Will we see Loki again? Only Kevin Feige knows. But if we don’t, this was a beautiful sendoff.
It is refreshing to see such an immense investment in an individual character in the MCU, and not just another superhero thrown in the mix. “Loki” has been one of, if not my favorite MCU installment since “Iron Man” (2008), and I highly recommend it to anyone. I give this episode, and the series as a whole, 10 glorious purposes out of 10.