Loki was quite a ride wasn’t it? It transitioned from a hilarious buddy-detective plot to an epic love story drama that ended with one of the best and biggest cliffhangers in the MCU so far.
Honestly, I’m still reeling a bit after that finale but, of course, my mind is always looking to the future. A future that seems to have been brilliantly set up to be something truly special next season. But to understand where these characters’ stories can go we have to look at what the show and the finale revealed to us about Loki and Sylvie.
(This will be a longread.)
To understand Loki’s incredible six-episode transformation in the series we have to think about his roles in Thor and The Avengers.
In Thor, we get to see Loki go through an emotional rollercoaster of a storyline. He starts off as the jealous brother who tries to keep Thor from being king by secretly inviting the Frost Giants into Asgard to crash the party. His plan veers out-of-control when Thor decides to take revenge on the Frost Giants, resulting in his banishment. Meanwhile, Loki on Jotunheim discovers when touched by a Frost Giant that his skin turns blue like them. It suddenly clicks why he’s always been treated so differently than Thor, why he was never groomed for the throne even though he was the smartest of the two brothers.
He learns that he’s adopted and it shatters Loki, driving him on a villainous path that he hopes will conclude with him being King of Asgard. His plan fails but he turns to Thanos, becoming his pawn and in return he would become King of Midgard a.k.a Earth.
Again, he fails…miserably but this Loki manages to escape and gets picked up by the TVA.
In one episode, the evil Loki whose constant plan is to rule and kill anyone who dares cross him is taken through the wringer emotionally when he gets a chance to see how his life plays out if he continues on the path he was setting. It’s not pretty.
He watches himself cause his mother’s death, he has to see his father die after discovering that his father did truly love him, as did his brother, and just when it seemed like his life was turning around…well, Thanos kills him in the most demeaning way you could be killed if you were a God.
Suddenly, his “Glorious Purpose” begins to change but not quite yet. He’s still mischievous as ever and his primary plan is to dupe the Time Keepers into giving him ultimate power. Hence, he’s still playing the villain…until he meets Sylvie.
In an instant, his world is turned upside down. Sylvie is the person in his life that he never realized he needed. She’s like him but far greater. It doesn’t take long before he’s infatuated with her and a certain train ride only makes things more awkward between them.
Fast forward a little bit, they’re stuck on Lamentis-1 and their chances of survival seem VERY, very slim. Instead of being afraid or sad, Loki is still determined at the end that somehow they’ll survive, because that’s what Lokis do. She touches his arm, he grabs her hand, they look into one another’s eyes, and it happens! Right then and there. The moment that changes Loki forever.
It’s not so much as cliche a statement as they instantly fell in love at that moment. No, it’s more than that. For the first time in Loki’s life (and it’s been a long life) he truly wasn’t alone. It’s something he’s never experienced before and he can’t shake the need to nurture that feeling and to never let it go.
In the time cell that Mobius throws him into, he’s pulverized by Lady Sif over and over again. What hurts worse than the punches, however, are the words she keeps repeating: “You’re alone and you always will be.”
It hits him like a sledgehammer. All that need for attention, all of the pain and suffering that he caused, it was all a ploy to have people notice him so he could feel special and seen, even if it was for a bad reason. Understanding that he didn’t want to be alone allowed him to see things differently and to embrace those that cared about him–Mobius and Sylvie–not drive them away.
This feeling especially hits home when Mobius is pruned and he thinks he loses him forever. It’s losing Mobius, in fact, that causes Loki to almost confess his feelings for Sylvie down in the Time Keepers’ sanctuary before he too, in fact, is pruned.
Fast forward a little bit and he’s in the Void where he comes face to face with roughly a dozen Loki variants. It’s another harsh wake-up call that he doesn’t want to be the backstabbing pain in the a** he always was anymore.
When he does reunite with Sylvie he finds his feelings for her have only heightened. The two variants don’t want to admit it but they’ve fallen in love with one another and neither one of them want to be without the other when this little adventure is over.
This Loki, the one who’s actually willing to get close to people, is a Loki we’ve never seen before. Not only is he genuinely dedicated to Sylvie and has no intention of betraying her (it’s for real this time) but when he says goodbye to Mobius, the only other person who’s ever seen him as more than a nuisance and treats him with compassion, he hugs him and even calls him a friend! It’s a miracle. Yes, Loki hugging someone is a miracle. Remember, he was a villain after all.
When eventually coming face-to-face with the man behind the curtains, He Who Remains, it’s not what he imagined. In fact, he’s the low-key scariest person Loki has ever met as he realizes that killing He Who Remains would unleash a force onto the universe so terrible millions, maybe even billions of people across the multiverse would be in mortal danger.
Suddenly, Mobius’ earlier words are ringing in his head: “You were born to cause nothing but pain and suffering and death.” Loki doesn’t want to be that awful person that he once was. He understands the dire consequences brought on by his actions and he’s not willing to ruin the universe just to kill a man who’s kind of creepy.
Sylvie, of course, isn’t under the same mindset. She only has one thing on her mind; kill the person who ruined her life. Loki tries to stop her. In fact, he does everything in his power to save her from herself in a teary plead that makes me want to cry every time I watch it. But, Sylvie is too far gone and she ultimately betrays him when he’s at his most vulnerable which is unsurprisingly after a kiss he didn’t see coming.
“That’s how it feels!” I want to yell at Loki through the television screen. As many times as he’s tricked Thor into thinking he was dead, emotionally wrecking Thor in the process. Now he knows what it feels like to be betrayed by someone who uses your own vulnerability against you. Not too fun now, is it Loki?
Anyway, back at the TVA Loki is emotionally wrecked, having been betrayed by the person he loved most, but he’s still a changed man, for the better. He understands that his friends are going to need his help for the threat that is coming but what he doesn’t realize is that he’s been sent to a timeline where Mobius no longer knows him and Kang the Conqueror is the ruler. It’s a terrifying place to leave him, to say the least.
So, how did that finale set up his storyline for Season 2? Well, first of all, if the second season doesn’t start immediately where we left off, I think Loki needs to return with a beard. I know that sounds strange but hear me out.
The best thing about watching these Marvel movies (and shows) is seeing these characters evolve before our eyes. For years I was hoping we would see a bearded Captain America and when we finally did get a bearded Steve Rogers it served the purpose of his story at the time as a fugitive Avenger. (Bearded Cap is my favorite Cap, by the way.)
Thor had the most dramatic transformation in Endgame when his depression resulted in the mighty God of Thunder gaining weight to the point where Rocket’s instant description of him was, “You look like melted ice cream.”
So yes, our beloved heroes have changed over the years. Loki has been emotionally changed from this ordeal. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see him return in Season 2 sporting a beard, looking all-business like the newly heroic God of Mischief that he is? I think it would be great to add just that much more character growth to his character.
Now, in the second season, I’m sure we won’t be seeing him as open to sharing his feelings with people in case they turn and use those feelings against him. But I do believe that part of his mission will be trying to find Sylvie and help protect her from the threat that is coming. Considering that he’s been where Sylvie’s been emotionally, I don’t see him holding a grudge against her, especially considering that he probably understands her yearn for revenge better than anybody. Will he be as open to trusting her? I don’t think so. That’s going to have to be a fire rekindled in some sort of way but it’s going to take a while.
In the second season, we’re most likely going to see Loki at his most heroic yet as he strives to save the universe from Kang the Conqueror’s conquest. That’s an exciting prospect that leads to a whole bunch of potential scenarios.
One thing’s for certain though, I’m already preparing myself emotionally for Season 2 because it’s going to be a wild ride.
Sylvie is in an entirely different boat. She hasn’t gone through the things that Loki had to watch himself go through in the first episode.
Sylvie’s journey has been filled with a different sort of pain. As a child, we see her playing with a toy dragon and a toy Valkyrie warrior. The game she’s playing is called “Save Asgard” and this is when she’s abducted, providing the theory that her nexus event began because she was actually a good Loki. A theory validated when she sees a man being hurt at the TVA and she screams at Renslayer to help him.
As she’s being taken to her trial she manages to slip from Renslayer’s grasp, grab her Tempad, and escape. And that’s what she’s been doing for the rest of her life; running from the TVA.
Having been taken from her home at such a young age, she never got to nurture relationships with her family in the same way that Loki did. He was able to have the support and love of his mother, father, and brother on a daily basis, whether he reciprocated their love or not. Sylvie has had no one.
It’s no wonder that when she meets Loki she instantly grows close to him. However, years of running from the TVA has turned her into a close-guarded, scared individual who doesn’t trust anyone and has only one thing in mind; kill the people that stole everything from her.
Yes, she falls for Loki and yes, she wants to trust him and maybe be with him for the rest of their lives, but her deep hatred and yearning for revenge has turned her into the very thing she swore to destroy, a villain. (See what I did there?😉)
No matter what could happen if she kills He Who Remains, no matter what Loki tries to tell her, she can’t see beyond her hate (much in the same way that Loki in Thor and The Avengers couldn’t see beyond his anger and yearn for revenge) and kills him anyway, betraying Loki in the process.
Now, having killed He Who Remains, she fills his “office” with the sound of her crying. “What have I done?” I can imagine her asking herself in classic Anakin fashion. She’s now truly alone, having lost the one person who was going to be there for her no matter what, and now she’ll have to face the consequences of her actions.
This could drive her to becoming even more villainous or maybe it will be the beginning of her redemption arc. One thing we know for certain though, she will survive. That’s just what Lokis do.
Ultimately, I think this series will go on to be the most epic love story Marvel has created. Considering that at the center of Loki’s inner-and-outer conflict is his battle with love and trust, it makes a lot of sense that this series would feature him having to tackle his notion of love and all of its heartwarming/painful facets.
Will Loki and Sylvie have their happy ending? The notion seems far-fetched but considering that Loki never gets a happy ending it would be nice to see that happen for once…
You know what? I’m getting ahead of myself. Honestly, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. All I know is this has been a wonderful show with such a deep dive into the character of Loki that I can’t stop thinking about it! And yes. I needed a bearded Loki asap. It would be the coolest transformation for him as a character for us to see this more, rugged (but undoubtedly handsome) side of Loki.
Thanks for reading this long post and I hope you have a great day.