REVIEW: Loki – Season 2, Episode 2, “Breaking Brad”

Loki is following a familiar pattern in its new season, as the second episode, “Breaking Brad,” is better than the first and has some appetizing suggestions that all may not be as it seems with Loki. It also has some filler, some bad humor, and the return (in earnest) of the character the show wants to be its lead.

Hunter X-5, a TVA agent sent after Sylvie, is living as a movie star in the 1970s named Brad Wolfe, the star of a horror film called Zaniac. Desperate to find Sylvie, Loki and Mobius track down X-5, then bring him back to the TVA for interrogation. But X-5 knows their tricks and proves to be a tough nut to crack. Meanwhile, OB tries to fix the Temporal Loom and finds the outlook dire.

“Breaking Brad” opens in London in 1977 for the premiere of Zaniac, starring Brad Wolfe, who is actually X-5. This is a storyline and character from the comics, where Brad is possessed by a demon and believes himself to be Zaniac – a movie monster – in real life. That isn’t the case in Loki, or not yet, anyway. He was introduced in the season premiere as one of General Dox’s top agents, and Loki and Mobius want him to tell them where Sylvie is. Surprisingly, the first sequence is fun, with Loki chasing Brad through London and catching him using his supernatural abilities. This is great because the show likes to forget that Loki is the God of Mischief, preferring to portray him as a boring government drone, just like Mobius. But he’s still got it, and he nabs Brad while Mobius and B-15 are left in the dust trying to catch up with him. For once, Loki is smart, capable, and cool on the show that bears his name. This won’t last, right?


“Breaking Brad” spends its first two-thirds trying to convince us it may. When they get Brad back to headquarters, he proves unresponsive to the usual interrogation techniques, and he focuses his countermoves on Loki. Brad tells him that he is a villain at heart and always will be, that any notion of him reforming is ridiculous, and that he has to be playing a long con on the TVA. Brad sounds like me, and I wonder if the writers and producers are using a bad guy to deflect criticisms of the show. Brad understands the character better than the writers do, at any rate, and his tirade seems to bring out the darkness in Loki, the calculated menace of a deity who doesn’t like being defied. But Loki is calm and in control, even as he’s trying to intimidate Brad; Mobius is the one who loses it when Brad talks about the life the TVA took from him, and the first phase of the interrogation ends.

These early scenes raise some excellent possibilities for the show. Loki being the same manipulative schemer he always was would be a dream come true, and Mobius harboring a growing resentment of the TVA for kidnapping him and taking him from the life he now knows only in dreams would make his character a lot more interesting. Tom Hiddleston plays it well, too, with the slight head tilts and vocal changes that call to mind classic Loki. When they share some key lime pie, Loki tries to elicit some anger from Mobius, coaxing him into admitting that he’s at least curious about the life he could have had. Mobius resists, insisting he’s happier living under the TVA, having his every move, word, and thought decided for him. But his outburst with Brad indicates this isn’t entirely true.

Loki Breaking Brad

“Breaking Brad” gives the second season a ton of potential thanks to these scenes. The problem is that I don’t trust this show (or Marvel itself right now) to follow through on any of these threads. Season 1 teased the idea of Loki manipulating everyone in the second episode, just like this one is doing, but it was dropped like a hot potato, and Loki was revealed to truly be the weak-willed bureaucrat thirsting for the control he once sought to impose on others, the embodiment of his speech in The Avengers about craving subjugation. “Breaking Brad” is a pun derived from Breaking Bad, which is funny because that was what I wanted the series to be: a Marvel version of a show where the lead was the bad guy. They’re teasing that once more, but I don’t trust it. I put my faith in the writers once, and they burned me; unless and until it actually happens, I’m not doing so again. And the rest of the episode justifies my hesitancy because Loki once more feigns being evil in the interrogation room, only to reveal that he and Mobius played a trick on Brad.

It gets worse when they find Sylvie, because of course they find Sylvie. Loki tries to get her to come back, and he praises the TVA as a necessary protection for the multiverse, while Sylvie argues for free will and the responsibility that comes with it. Which one of those sounds like a protagonist worth following to you? Then, when they go into action against General Dox, who is pruning entire timelines, Sylvie takes the lead, somehow knowing more than Loki or Mobius despite being plucked from her new McDonald’s job with no knowledge of who these people are. It’s the same paradigm shift as season 1; this show is really about Sylvie, and Loki is here because he draws an audience. She has agency while Loki does what he’s told; she wants to be free while Loki serves his kidnappers. They even find and take down General Dox almost immediately after Sylvie returns. That it goes back to this dynamic so quickly is why I won’t let myself get excited by some good early scenes and the promise of the Loki we actually want to see.

Loki Breaking Brad

There’s a subplot in “Breaking Brad” about the Time Loom and how to fix it. OB finds that they need either Kang (sorry, “He Who Remains”) or Miss Minutes, who is in league with Kang. Since this Kang is dead, that leaves Miss Minutes. It’s hard to care about this because I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but Loki is the kind of show that mires you in confusing plot details to distract you from how nonsensical all the multiverse-timeline gobbledygook is. Otherwise, there’s the standard misplaced humor and lack of stakes. Entire timelines are destroyed, but it never feels like something that bad happened because there’s no urgency or emotional attachment. Off the top of my head, imagine if Mobius’ timeline was destroyed. How would he feel about that after insisting he didn’t want to know anything about it and was happier at the TVA? That might be something interesting to explore, something that would give Dox’s actions dramatic weight and in-universe consequences, not to mention give Mobius something to make him an actual character. But we’re just informed of what happened, with a bunch of lines on a computer screen disappearing while everyone looks on in horror. It’s just there, like everything Marvel does now.

Loki – "Breaking Brad"

Plot - 7
Acting - 8
Progression - 7
Production Design - 8
Entertainment - 7



“Breaking Brad” has some enjoyable scenes and introduces tantalizing ideas, but the last third makes it clear none of them will be explored, and Loki is what it always was.

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