As far as jaw-dropping climaxes go, episode 2 of “Loki” probably takes the cake as one of the most dramatic disasters to ever shake the MCU … in a manner of speaking, at least. The very nature of the show means that even this horrific turn of events, carried out by General Dox and her army of loyalists who were intent on pruning the branching timelines at all costs, will never truly be felt across the franchise outside of the TVA. Unlike The Blip, it remains to be seen if the rest of the season will really dedicate any time to undoing this grave mistake and bringing all those souls back from nonexistence. With so much else the story needs to cover, from the looming specter of He Who Remains to the mysteriously missing Renslayer to undoubtedly more time travel to come, is there any time to undo these deaths?
More importantly, it’s fair to wonder whether viewers actually felt this crime against humanity (and countless other beings, at that) as much as they should’ve. The writers make the conscious choice not to show any of the universes actually being pruned, which arguably robbed audiences of any deeper impact than a mere intellectual one. Then again, I’d propose that there have been plenty of other instances in the MCU that have gone out of their way to depict the collateral damage on-screen but were so brief and treated so lightly that it had no real effect.
But let’s not count “Loki” out just yet. To its credit, the episode shifts such emotional turmoil onto Sylvie, who understandably takes these deaths the hardest as she abandons Loki once again. Her storyline just might provide all the stakes we need.
New episodes of “Loki” stream on Disney+ every Thursday.