Some of the biggest set pieces within the Marvel Cinematic Universe are predicated on sacrifice from specific characters naturally arriving at that point for the greater good. With Tony Stark, he was an egotistical, hotshot billionaire at the helm of his father’s arms company in the beginning. The visions Scarlet Witch enchants his mind during the Age of Ultron leads Tony to be on the opposite side of his friends in Captain America: Civil War. The love of Pepper and being a father figure to Peter Parker puts him in a position to fight (and fail) against Thanos in Infinity War.
Within Endgame, he’s at his lowest, but as time passes, he has a family with no incentive to help the remaining Avengers in their time travel plan. Yet, he does and sacrifices himself for the good of the planet. Loki has another compelling arc, which also resides in the choice of sacrifice for those he loves and cares for. The God of Mischief has come a long way from wanting the Asgardian throne for himself and controlling people with the mind stone. In the original timeline, he dies at the hands of Thanos at the beginning of Infinity War, but doesn’t share that same at the end of ‘Glorious Purpose’ with the lasting image of him not thrilled (but content) on a throne.
It would be too easy for Loki to phase through time to solve the Temporal Loom crisis, and everybody would go off and live in harmony. I also never forgot about the grand plan of He Who Remains and figured that he would come back somehow. The brilliance of this episode lies in going back to critical points in time through both seasons of Loki and recontextualizing conversations and scenarios differently. Sometimes, you need a new choice to tackle a reoccurring issue. The discussion with Mobius returning to their episode one talk gives him the final ounce of motivation that change can happen. One of the main themes throughout this season is where the TVA stands against a concept like free will. Sylvie is staunchly against putting the old order back together because of this. Loki knows something needs to happen because of the looming threats of Kangs variants and wanting to be with his family of people he loves.
At first, it looks bleak because the temporal loom still explodes despite acquiring all of O.B.’s knowledge. Thus, tough choices remain. You can keep the sacred timeline, discarding any other branches and proving Sylvie’s worst fears right. For that to happen. Loki would have to kill Sylvie before she kills He Who Remains. But behind door number two was Loki sacrificing himself to be the new He Who Remains/God of Stories. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet moment in that he gives his friends and these branching timelines a chance. The TVA can exist, but it also gives credence to free will. Tom Hiddleston has done so much with this character that you explicitly route for Loki’s redemption to happen and feel despair when none of the things he’s trying works.
An ultimate drawback is that the Council of Kangs is coming (or already causing trouble) in these branches. At the end of the episode, Ravonna appears in the void and sees Alioth, remnants of the old TVA, and a pyramid that could hint that a Kang variant of Rama Tut is hanging around. But still, it’s all about second chances, which is another central theme of this season; Mobius was apprehensive about finding out what his old life was and now is inclined to do so. Sylvie and Loki don’t end up together, but she craves freedom at the heart of it. “Glorious Purpose” ends with a destination unknown to Sylvie, which she likes.
For Loki, at the very beginning of his life, he was abandoned by his father for appearing to be a weak frost giant. Now, he sits in the middle of Yggdrasil. as arguably the most crucial figure of the MCU. He’s not the God he always thought he would be, but the one the universe needed.