The reinvention of the God of Lies is complete. With a thrilling and satisfying finale to the second season of Loki, Tom Hiddleston has roundly addressed critics’ concerns (including my own) about how much could possibly have been left in the tank for a character who had already done so much. Hiddleston’s dedication to the character, a fantastic creative team that was fully dedicated to some ridiculous sci-fi concepts and held fast to their vision and a deep cast combined to provide 12 incredible episodes of streaming television including an astounding season (and likely series) finale.
Though it won’t be the last time we see Loki, “Glorious Purpose” was a wonderfully fitting bookend to the entire series (you’ll recall that the first episode of the series was also entitled “Glorious Purpose”). Loki’s journey into mystery led him right back to where Season 1 ended and put him face to face once again with He Who Remains who, sort of unsurprisingly, revealed that every step of said journey–including his own “death” and all the crazy bits that went on in Season 2–where engineered by him. Having spent centuries trying to save every reality and totally recreating himself along the way, Loki’s refusal to take He Who Remains final offer as an answer leads him to make a choice that nobody, including himself, could have ever predicted. No longer the conqueror or mischief maker, Loki reanimates the dead branches of reality and sets himself about the endless task of giving life to others at the expense of his own freedom. Free will outside of the boundaries set by He Who Remains.
As a finale to a season and the series, the episode lands because it ties up so many of the series’ threads nearly as neatly as Loki ties together the branched timelines. Loki is the MCU’s longest experiment with longform narration to date and it’s a tall task for any writing room to keep everything together over the course of nearly 12 hours of a series. Thankfully despite series creator Michael Waldron moving on, the studio maintained continuity by handing the keys to the show to one of Season 1’s most key contributors, Eric Martin. Resultant of that, Season 2 picked up where Season 1 left off, took the audience on a wild romp and then dropped them right back off in a familiar place with the main character in a familiar predicament.
For as complicated as the sci-fi weirdness of the show seemed to be, in the end, Loki remained a fairly straightforward character study of one of the MCU’s greatest characters. And powered by one of the MCU’s greatest talents in Hiddleston, Loki became the warm light for all mankind to share. In that regard, Loki was more than just a series that maintained continuity over 12 episodes; it was a reverential ode to every beat that has made the character so popular since he first appeared in 2011’s Thor. In just about every way, Loki is the MCU’s “Breaking Good” full of all the things that make stories great. Perhaps, in his big chair at the end of time, this was a story written by the God of Stories himself.