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This Week’s Most Noteworthy Performance: Tom Hiddleston

July 11-17
“For All Time, Always” | Loki
Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston in Loki's season one finale "For All Time, Always" ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved
©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved

Tom Hiddleston always understands the assignments in front of him and goes for the extra credit every time too. He is essentially the embodiment of the latest internet meme because there are so few like Hiddleston who are able to escape so easily into whatever role they’ve just taken on.

And in every way that matters, Tom Hiddleston is the reason Marvel’s Loki Laufeyson is as memorable of a character as he is.

As someone who generally isn’t fond of villains (and more often than not isn’t even fascinated by the performances), Hiddleston was the first exception, proving with every passing film that he was working behind the scenes to give the audience ample opportunities to see the layers inside of Loki. Thus, through the years, Tom Hiddleston’s work has continuously improved, and in the latest Disney Plus series, he outdoes his past performances exponentially, which has been outstanding to watch.

From the very first episode, “Glorious Purpose” to the finale, “For All Time, Always” Hiddleston’s work has been so nuanced and full of range, the character’s growth has thus become one of the strongest works of art in the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And in “For All Time, Always” especially, Tom Hiddleston’s work is brilliant.

I was an utter wreck watching him say to Sylvie: “The cost of getting this wrong is too great […] stop, stop, stop. I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt what you feel. Don’t ask me how I know. All I know is I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want a throne. I just…I just want you to be okay.”

To go from a demanding, breathless physical fight to the most sincere vulnerability Loki has ever shown was enough to make the moment grand, but through every breath and every word, Hiddleston laid everything on the table so masterfully, it was gut-wrenching.

The interesting thing about Loki is that if you know enough, you know he is in fact rarely to be trusted, but where he lays his heart bare and where Hiddleston makes it clear through his physicality and the utter sincerity uncovered in his eyes, that’s where you can distinguish a scheme from actuality.

Through every scene, every emotional beat, Tom Hiddleston broke pieces of Loki apart in order to help someone else (throughout the season, really). And when he was thrown back into the TVA, Hiddleston made it acutely evident that Loki has never been in a position like this before. He has never questioned himself this much. He has never broken this much. He has never been more confused, worn out, or vulnerable.

There is acting and then there is embodying, Tom Hiddleston’s work is always the latter. When you look at his physicality, when you look into his eyes, he’s always showing the audience so much more than what meets the eye. And throughout the episode, every scene made it clear that Loki is every bit as sincere as he now promises and simultaneously, every bit as lost.

As close to perfect as it gets, if this is just the beginning of the series, I can’t wait to see what else Hiddleston does with the character’s growth.

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