REVIEW: Loki – Season 2, Episode 6, “Glorious Purpose”

You want insight into how imaginative Marvel isn’t nowadays? The second (and, hopefully, last) season finale of Loki has the same title as its pilot: “Glorious Purpose.” Moreover, it’s a line taken from The Avengers and repurposed from a cool one-off to the character’s raison d’être. You’ll certainly get apologists saying there’s an artistic reason for this – in the premiere, Loki was searching for his glorious purpose, and in the finale, he finds it. If this were a better show, I probably wouldn’t think much of it, but in its final moments, Loki is what it’s always been: boring, confusing, soulless, and with zero sense of fun, adventure, or excitement.

Now able to travel through time at will, Loki tries to make Victor Timely’s repair of the Temporal Loom successful. But are some things too set in stone to correct, even for a god?

“Glorious Purpose” begins with Loki’s many attempts to save the Temporal Loom from destruction. This should be a frantically tense sequence, but we’re watching a modern Marvel product, so of course, it’s played for laughs. Over and over, Loki fails, and we see a Kang variant destroyed (keep building up that ultimate villain, guys!), but he goes back and tries again with a silly line, just in case we thought someone wanted us to care about any of this. At one point, they even set it to “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy because look how silly! (I like that song, and I have a soft spot for disco, but come on.) They’ve been going on for weeks about how monumental the last episodes of Loki would be, but in the first scene, they prime us to treat the whole thing as a joke. As with the quality of their scripts nowadays, we’re forced to ask, if they don’t care, why should we?


But even in success, Loki fails, as he does manage to put together a working solution that lets Timely survive and the Loom be repaired. Then, it collapses anyway. Timely ascertains that there are simply too many universes for the Loom to manage, and it must cull them. This makes Loki remember the one thing keeping all the universes in place: He Who Remains, the Kang variant who started the TVA, the one whose death at Sylvie’s hand threw the multiverse into chaos. He must now go back to the first season’s finale and stop her. Here, “Glorious Purpose” had an opportunity to do something interesting; Sylvie is as obstinate as ever, even telling Loki he’ll have to kill her to stop her. Wouldn’t it have been neat to force Loki to kill Sylvie, to sacrifice someone he loves (ugh) to save a monster for the greater good? Of course, that isn’t a serious option; the show won’t even let him beat her in a fight, let alone kill her. So, Loki is out of options because he won’t take the only one that will work.

It does lead to a conversation with He Who Remains, though, and it’s the best that character has ever been, even if it’s still not great. This Kang is still a clown, but at least he has moments of lucidity as he tries to make Loki understand. This was all his plan, of course; he knew Loki would eventually gain mastery of time travel, come to the conclusion that Kang must live, and travel here to save him. The Sacred Timeline must remain, and only He Who Remains can keep it so. How any of this works is open to debate because it’s so convoluted the show doesn’t pretend there’s a logical explanation. It is, however, an  assuredly unintended rebuke of the multiverse as a storytelling device: it’s so unwieldy and complex that it can’t sustain itself and will eventually bring your entire franchise crumbling to the ground. (I do believe the multiverse can work in a story – Rick and Morty has cracked the code – but Marvel doesn’t know how to do it.)

Loki Glorious Purpose

What’s a God of Mischief to do? He flits through time again, going back to the pilot to talk to Mobius about the greater good vs. the immediate good, which is not a bad scene and could have meant something if “Glorious Purpose” actually tackled this idea. (Make fun of the Arrowverse all you want, but this theme came up on The Flash many times, and that low-budget series actually had its hero wrestle with it and make consequential choices based on it.) Then, he visits Sylvie at the end of the previous episode, and they have yet another discussion about free will. Well, that’s not entirely true; they have the same discussion they’ve already had several times to pad out this dull-as-dishwater finale. And it’s here that Loki finds the ultimate fix: he takes the place of He Who Remains, or the Temporal Loom, or whatever, and becomes the thing holding the multiverse in place.

This isn’t a bad development; Loki is taking his message to Sylvie to heart, taking responsibility for the choices he’s making, giving people free will while protecting them – becoming the god he’s been saying he is. It finally gives Loki some agency on his own show, having him find the way to fix everything. And it’s an arc (albeit one earned with an MCU clip show), having him go from telling people they were “made to be ruled” to securing their free will. However, it does absolve Sylvie of any responsibility for her decisions; she’s the one who killed Kang and caused all of this. By rights, she should be the one to shoulder the responsibility of her choice. But, as always, that’s where the whole “strong woman” thing ends, and it suddenly becomes Loki’s show again. And in the end, Sylvie is reckless, selfish, and irresponsible, so it’s better if Loki does this anyway; it would just be nice if the show acknowledged it.

Loki Glorious Purpose

A series of character wrap-ups follows, and it means nothing because there’s little to any of these people. Mobius goes home, which is nice, I guess; Renslayer is implied to be eaten by the pruning monster (which I thought they killed, but whatever), which is also nice. Most of them stay at the TVA, where they can continue to be bland government bureaucrats. The TVA is now hunting Kang variants, which I suppose is what will fuel the next few legs of the MCU. (If Marvel decides to scrap Kang, I want a scene somewhere where someone says, “And that’s the last one!”) And Loki remains the keeper of the multiverse. Like the entire series, it was a long, dull road to get to a conclusion that raises interesting ideas it doesn’t explore, full of humor that doesn’t land and characters that still feel like cardboard cutouts. But at least Loki is no fun anymore, so we got that going for us. Which is nice.

Loki – "Glorious Purpose"

Plot - 6
Acting - 7
Progression - 7
Production Design - 8
Entertainment - 5



“Glorious Purpose” is a long, dull finale to a long, dull show that raises ideas it has no interest in exploring, makes the multiverse more confusing, and doesn’t feel like it accomplished much.

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