Loki season 2 proves that Marvel should keep embracing its anti-hero’s villainous side

Loki season 2
(Image credit: Marvel)

Good villains in the MCU tend to suffer from a lack of longevity. Thanks to the nature of the superhero genre, either defeat or redemption often beckons after (if you’re lucky) a few movies. For Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, it was the latter that eventually got him. 

In the Thor sequels, he mellowed, becoming more mischievous than outright megalomaniacal, and even reaching some denouement with his brother and mother. This is what made the premise of Loki so enticing. A return to the Loki of The Avengers, fresh off Thanos’ influence and still keen for world domination, all through the angle of psychological analysis? Sign me up. 

Loki season 1 delivered on this somewhat, but given his whole Marvel timeline was summed up in a short film played by Mobius, there wasn’t a lot of time to see Loki really embrace the bad. In fact, we’ve not really seen him at his 'brainwashing Hawkeye and killing Phil Coulson' level since that first Avengers movie. That is, until Loki season 2, episode 2.

Who's bad?

Loki season 2

(Image credit: Marvel)

After spending the opener of the second season running around like a disgruntled office worker, 'Breaking Brad' sees Loki, Mobius, and B-15 interrogating Brad Wolfe for any information he has on Sylvie's whereabouts. It doesn’t go very well, to say the least, and Brad ends up giving Loki a few home truths that hit a bit too close to the bone. 

As he puts it, the Loki variants have always been the problem, no matter what form they’ve taken. Brad ends his little speech, goading Loki by saying, "Stop trying to be a hero, man. You’re a villain, you’re good at it. Do that." It’s a powerful exchange and one that leads the God of Mischief to take a different approach when he returns for a second interrogation. 

Unleashed from his redemption façade, Loki goes full baddie as he puts Brad into a torture device to get the information he wants. "I’m a villain, remember?" he tells him as makes the glass box he’s put him in smaller and smaller, until Brad finally gives up where Sylvie has been hiding. It’s a chilling scene, especially given how much fun Loki is clearly having doing it.

While it's not clear how far Loki would have actually gone here, we’ve not seen that glint in Loki’s eye in a while. More than anything, it’s intriguing to see this side of his character once again as well as understand what brought him there. 

Loki has had this potential to be bad all along, he just needed a catalyst. Now he has it in Sylvie. She’s someone he cares deeply about and someone he would go to any lengths to save, even if it destroys his spirit in the process. 

Danger ahead

Loki season 2

(Image credit: Marvel)

For me, Loki’s arc in the latest episode is the best the second season has been so far. Not only is the writing extremely clever, but it’s also meaty enough to allow Hiddleston to get into the psychology of one of the MCU’s best characters. I love watching Loki test the barriers of his morality in a bid to find out just how far his feelings will make him go.

It also feels like we’ve only just scratched the surface with this one, and I hope we see a whole lot more of Loki unleashed as season 2 continues. The prospects are tantalizing too, now we’ve got a hint of the sheer power of his magic, which is something he’s not really tapped into during previous on-screen appearances. 

Then there’s the moral quandary about whether his efforts to be good can ever wipe out the red on his ledger, which is something I’d personally love to see him explore in a potential reunion with Thor.

But most of all, I just hope Loki continues to explore its most fascinating character. Sure, there are some big villains knocking around this season as we meet Kang variant Victor Timely, and explore the impact of He Who Remains’ demise at TVA

However, the writers would do well to remember that they actually have a perfect vessel to explore the nature of villainy and redemption right under their noses. And to paraphrase Brad, Loki is really good at being a villain. 

Loki season 2 is releasing weekly on Disney Plus. For more, check out our guides to:

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.