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In 2021, “Loki” gave the Marvel fandom something they were not sure they would ever see again: a captivating story. Everything from the camera angles and color palette, to the character dynamics and plot, was enticing, inventive, and what fans used to expect from Marvel. Season one ended with quite the cliffhanger, leaving viewers in anticipation for the show’s future.
“Ouroboros,” the season two premiere of “Loki,” was released on Oct. 5 and proved itself to be much more chaotic than sensational. Though the premiere provided a very intriguing introduction to the season, there was entirely too much going on for it all to be fully understood.
“Ouroboros” opens right where the last season ended — with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in another timeline in which Mobius (Owen Wilson) has forgotten their friendship. In just the first episode, he vanishes back to the original timeline where Mobius remembers him, then back to the foreign one, then to the future, then the past, then the present. Loki’s frustration and confusion are very well captured by these rapid time changes, and further enforced by the eerie lighting that has become the show’s signature. Moreover, medium close up shots reminiscent of Wes Andersonean add a layer of oddity to conversations which are subject to Loki’s constant disappearing and reappearing.
Considering visuals alone, “Ouroboros” provides a smooth transition from the last season into the current one. The green-tinted color palette, the contrast between the aesthetics of muted office spaces and the outer space, and the intricately built sets, props, and costumes are eye-catching and mimic the feel of the first season. Unfortunately, the same continuity cannot be said of the plot, or the show’s overall coherence.
In the first season, both characters and their goals are very clearly defined, as are the ways in which they attempt to get there. However, due to the amount of times the timeline and location change, “Ouroboros” does not achieve this same clarity. The jumps happen quickly, and without much warning beforehand, or explanation after the fact. For this reason, the reintroductions of Loki, Mobius, and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) — and the introduction of OB (Ke Huy Quan) — become very one dimensional. The characters, their locations, and their behaviors are not as impactful to the viewer because the show does not allow them enough time to be surprised, much less to be impactful.
It is possible to produce a comprehensible story that plays with the concept of time — exceptional examples being “Doctor Who” and “Legion” — but the key is to use time jumps in moderation, as well as to return to explain how and why the characters got to where they are. As it stands, viewers of the second season of “Loki” cannot distinguish what information is being withheld for future episodes, and what writers are neglecting to clarify and develop. The result: a murky premiere.
Season two of “Loki” is a promising story that needs only to be more focused and clear. “Ouroboros” was only the premiere, so there is still time for “Loki” to develop, explain, and execute its goal for the characters, especially given that the writers may have planned a confusing episode to draw viewers back to the next in search of answers. Nonetheless, explanations and revisitations are very much needed if the show is to maintain the standard set by the first season.
But with Marvel’s successes dwindling as the last several projects have been disappointing, the question remains: Will “Loki” redeem itself? One can only hope.
—Staff writer Taylor S. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.
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