Loki Season 2 is all about the confusing nature of time travel. There are more paradoxes than you can shake a time stick at, but the biggest and messiest temporal problem we face while watching concerns the structure of the show itself.
Writing from the position of three episodes in the season, Loki Season 2 is now halfway done and yet one might think that the show has barely gotten going yet. Such a sensation is likely to leave you suffering from a serious case of déjà vu, considering it’s an all-too-common occurrence at this point in one of Marvel’s many six-part streaming series released over the past few years.
But aside from the need to pick up the pace a bit, the most common complaint about the MCU’s TV offerings is that they’re too short and require more episodes. The two criticisms may sound opposite, but in fact both may be true at the same time, as there are problems with the conception and execution of the studio’s streaming series.
The MCU TV series somehow feel like they need to be both shorter and longer
Loki Season 2 is far from one of the weakest entries in the MCU’s small screen catalog – in fact, we’re having a lot of fun with it in many ways. However, when you get right down to it, there hasn’t been much story so far, especially considering we only have three episodes left. Part of that is due to the mentality of the writers going into this season emphasizes producer Kevin Wright that they decided to “live in the drama” and stop fast-forwarding through “the emotional turmoil.”
That’s all well and good, but it’s hardly a revolutionary practice for a Marvel Studios series to drag out its plot – the most egregious example certainly is Secret invasion, which left us wondering for weeks when the title would even start to make sense (spoiler: it never did). On the other hand, it’s easy to crave it more Episodes of Loki Season 2, as a six-parter that sees the entire multiverse in danger and develops Kang (or rather one of his variants) more fully than Quantumania certainly deserves as much space (and time) as it can get. Take the destruction of the branching timelines at the end of Episode 2 – billions of lives lost, more than even Thanos could kill, and the event was quickly covered up.
We can speculate that the problem is that Marvel treats these shows as a whole as extended serialized films rather than actual television productions – the stories are told like extended, feature-length narratives that are awkwardly compressed into episodic segments. The result is bite-sized morsels that somehow add up to less than the sum of their parts.
Thankfully, Marvel itself is aware of these issues, as recent reports suggest the studio is looking to move away from miniseries and move to the long-form TV format, in addition to giving its showrunners more creative control, which should hopefully lead to savings in each season, it feels like it’s just a corner of the cinematic universe where the wheels are turning.
There is much to enjoy Loki Season 2, sure, but it reminds us that, just like the TVA itself, a major shakeup is needed to save the MCU timeline.