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Loki Shows MCU Loki Was Never Truly Redeemed (Not Even After Death)

The events of Loki have shown he was never truly redeemed in the MCU until now, not even after his Avengers: Endgame death. The Disney+ series is offering the MCU's first deep dive into the psyche of Loki; until now, he's played second fiddle to his brother, Thor, who always got the focus in terms of character development. The Loki of the series isn't quite the same Loki who was last seen in Avengers: Infinity War, however. This is a pre-redemption Loki taken from the timeline in 2012. Ironically, this is exactly why he'll finally grow.

The God of Mischief has had a tumultuous arc during his tenure in the MCU. He started as a sympathetic supporting character then turned into the main antagonist in Thor before becoming the full-on villain of The Avengers. His redemption arc was set up in Thor: The Dark World when he helped his brother take out the Dark Elves and save Jane Foster, but was really kickstarted in Thor: Ragnarok when he chose to help Thor save Asgard and its people from Hela rather than run, culminating in his sacrifice in Infinity War when he attempted to kill Thanos to protect Thor.

Related: Why Loki Won't Betray Sylvie (Despite His Past)

Yet Loki has never found true redemption in the MCU. He may have been less of a villain, even fought on the side of the good guys, but that's not the same as Loki being a hero. Helping Thor in The Dark World wasn't out of any genuine care for Jane Foster, but simply out of vengeance for Frigga's death. Helping the Revengers escape Sakaar in Ragnarok was convenient for him as he'd worn out his welcome with The Grandmaster. Returning to help Thor fight Hela and his sacrifice in Infinity War were nobler acts, but even then, Loki hadn't actually changed as a person; he'd simply changed his actions. Granted, he wasn't allowed to change by the Time-Keepers, but regardless, true redemption for a villain isn't possible until they change their internal landscape.

As the Disney+ series has shown, Loki is a deeply broken person. His lifelong mistreatment at the hands of Odin and growing up feeling like a misfit in the combat-oriented culture of Asgard gave him a deep-rooted sense of insecurity. It only got worse when he learned of his true identity as a Frost Giant who had been discarded by his birth father, Laufey, and left to die for being a runt. Odin took Loki in but saw him as much as a tool to be used as a son. The result is that he became a deeply damaged person and it sent him down his path.

As Loki explained to Mobius in Loki episode 1, he acted out and played the villain because he felt he had no other choice. "I don't enjoy hurting people... I don't enjoy it. I do it because I've had to," he explains. "Because it's part of the illusion. It's the cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear." Loki's story is the quasi-immortal deity version of the school bully who lashes out because he's abused at home. Hurt people hurt people, even if those hurt people are gods. Until he got right within himself and made his peace with who he is, Loki never stood a chance at not being a villain–and the Time-Keepers saw to it that he never did.

Now, however, off the path the Time-Keepers had set him on and able to make his own decisions, Loki has naturally and quickly evolved into a better version of himself. It started with Mobius breaking Loki down by showing him the truth of his life in order to build him back up again. At the same time, Sylvie showed Loki he wasn't alone and gave him purpose, filling the yawning void in his soul that has existed for a millennium. Between them, Sylvie and Mobius have shown Loki that not only can he choose not to be a villain, he deserves not to be. In doing so, it's finally enabled him to deal with his damage and, for the first time, start Loki on the path to true Phase 4 redemption.

Next: Loki Episode 5 Asks 6 Big Questions About The End Of Time

Loki releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.

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