If you're trying to pull off a time travel plot in any story, things get pretty damn complicated. Doing a Groundhog Day schtick is even more difficult. Very few films, especially, have ever stuck the landing. (Groundhog Day, of course, is one of them.) So you can imagine why my ears perked up when the Loki Season Two finale had the God of Mischief looking like Bill Murray.
In the final episode, which debuted Thursday night, our hero (Tom Hiddleston) not only learns that he can control time, but that time still controls him. If that sounds confusing, it's because every episode of this featured countless twists and turns, all of which lead us back to the Season One finale—when Marvel first laid their plans for the multiverse of madness.
There are two ways to look at the concept of time. The first way sees the actions you change in the past affect your future when you return—similar to Back to the Future. The second is... unbridled chaos. Loki chooses the latter method. At the end of the first season, He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) says that time is preordained and nothing we do can change its outcome. That doesn't stop Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) from attempting to change that. It sends them on a wild ride throughout Season Two, which eventually teaches them the same lesson again. Sometimes, it just doesn't stick the first time.
Revisiting the pivotal moment that made the multiverse go haywire, Loki makes a new choice. He decides to save He Who Remains from death, only for the man at the end of time itself to reveal that this was all his plan anyway. He reminds Loki that the whole idea of the one true "Sacred Timeline" is silly—the universe is meant to be infinite. In fact, it's a bit insane that He Who Remains had even been able to determine all of time for this universe for so long. Thanks to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we know that every timeline he pruned had another version of himself (Kang the Conqueror) threatening his reign. Now, that's all over. Sort of.
In a twist on the Norse legends that permeate Thor comics, the branches of the timeline are transformed into Yggdrasill, the world tree that connects the nine realms. Nine realms doesn't sound like all that much anymore when you're dealing with infinite timelines and endless planets in space. So, the MCU upped the ante. They gave the God of mischief time powers—and they sat him on a throne at the end of all time. It's not the kind of character growth you expect from Marvel's emo-loner-turned-charming-hero. "I know what kind of god I have to be," he says. "For you, and for all us."
What does this change about the MCU moving forward? For starters, something had to be done because Loki Season Two destroyed all of time. If we were ever going to get back on the road to more Marvel stories, someone had to mend this mess. It's not surprising that it ends up being Loki. It's also not totally clear just how he does it. More time magic, I guess? So, as the rest of the MCU gets ready to fight in Secret Wars, the new time god holds our fate together. Like a sci-fi Jesus, Loki suffers for us.
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