I prepared for a wild ride as I awaited the first episode of Loki to drop. I mean, it’s Loki, the personification of chaos, pandemonium incarnate, if you will. Now that I am three episodes in, I can confidently say that I am beyond enthralled! I personally come from a Marvel comic devoid background. I only started reading Marvel comics after I saw Black Panther in 2018, but I love listening to people’s theories based on the stories from the comics as well as evidence from other films in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Episode 1: Glorious Purpose
We start in New York City in 2012 , after Loki’s failed attempt to take over the Earth/Midgard. Loki’s already shackled and muzzled, but of course due to Endgame shenanigans, he gets ahold of the Tesseract and he teleports to the Gobi Desert. Just before he can finish explaining his glorious purpose to the indigenous people, he’s taken by armored minutemen from the TVA (Time Variance Authority) for crimes against the Sacred Timeline. The audience also gets some background info on the Time Keepers, the Sacred Timeline, a past multiversal war, and the potential for a future multiversal war if variants like Loki step off their destined path. Loki also gets introduced to Mobius an agent of the TVA and Loki gets to see a tape of his whole life, which seems to sober him up pretty quickly. The kicker is that Mobius needs Loki’s help finding a variant, which so happens to be another version of Loki.
At this point, it seems like the TVA is trying to stop the multiverse from happening and it makes one question destiny and the impact of your decisions, or if they have any impact at all. Mobius constantly tells Loki that he was born to fail, that he is essentially a plot device to make the Avengers become their best selves, showing parts of his life that prove the point. What’s interesting is that when Loki is briefly on the run, he looks at the scenes of his life that show his blunders and developments, like seeing Odin say that he acknowledges Loki as his son, working with Thor, and his attempt to stop Thanos. This development seems to be what sways him in the end and it also is totally unplanned and outside of the timeline, which makes it seem that the powers that be (the Timekeepers) may have too tight a leash on the destiny/purpose of others. Free will where?
Episode 2: The Variant
We started in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1985 at a Renaissance Fair, where the Loki variant has taken down another minutemen unit, taken one hostage, and all to the tune of I Need A Hero, no less. Meanwhile, Loki is learning how to work for the TVA from Miss Minutes herself. When Mobius learns of the variant attack, he enlists Loki to help him and a team of minutemen to analyze the crime scene, but of course Loki talks them all in circles until they have to go back to the TVA. Newly irritated, Mobius sets Loki on a paper trail asking him to look through files to see if there are any patterns that he could pick up from the variant. While looking for info, he comes across the file regarding the destruction of Asgard and a flicker of recognition lights up his face when he realizes that the variant is hiding in apocalyptic events. As he explains it to Mobius, variant/Nexus activity is undetectable in an apocalypse because the timeline gets destroyed anyway. The theory is proven when they travel to Pompeii and Loki goes nuts letting goats run free and telling the people that he’s from the future, mere seconds before the volcano erupts. The next step is to hunt down the variant in a hurricane apocalyptic event in Alabama only to find out that Loki is a girl and she has bombed the sacred timeline, setting off a multitude of branches. The episode ends with Lady Loki leaving through a portal and with Loki following her to the dismay of Mobius and the minutemen.
It was interesting to see Loki’s reaction to the destruction of Asgard when he was alone versus when he was with Mobius. His eyes actually looked devastated, but when he brings it up with Mobius he seems to just brush it off. This goes to show that there are a lot of feelings stirring around in Loki, but he probably feels safer hiding those feelings from other people. It also seems that he’s convinced himself that “safer” means “powerful.” Once they get to the point of hunting down the variant in the apocalyptic event in Alabama, I actually thought that the other version of Loki would be a guy. I understand that theorists believed that Loki would be a lady because why else hide their face, but I was excited to see some double Tom Hiddleston. I even thought that in the trailers that all of the Loki we saw might not even be the same Loki. So, when it actually did turn out to be Lady Loki, I was genuinely surprised!
Episode 3: Lamentis
The episode begins with Lady Loki talking to a girl in a bar, but it is revealed that she has trapped one of the minutemen in an illusion in an attempt to get information on the location of the Time Keepers. The strange part is that the TVA girl she interrogates recognizes the bar. After the opening credits, Lady Loki has gotten inside the TVA headed for the golden elevators in order to reach the Time Keepers, but she’s quickly intercepted by minutemen. Loki follows her after retrieving his daggers and they have a brief tussle before Loki uses a TemPad to open up a portal in the floor sending them to the moon Lamentis-1, which is currently going through an apocalyptic event in the year 2077. The unfortunate detail is that the TemPad is dead. While the two venture out to try and charge up the TemPad, Lady Loki reveals that the plan she enacted was years in the making and that her name is actually Sylvie. They come across an abandoned town and ask a remaining woman for her help and she informs them that the evacuees are going to an evacuation vessel called the ark, but the challenge is getting a ticket. However, Loki and Sylvie bypass the challenge with some enchantment. Once on the train, they get a little personal with Loki talking about his mother, how Sylvie barely remembers her own, how Loki learned magic from his mom, and how Sylvie’s knowledge of magic is self-taught. After taking a nap, she wakes up to see Loki back in his TVA threads, singing a tavern song, and smashing a glass a la Thor. Not long after these shenanigans a fellow passenger on the train reports them for disturbing the peace and after a brief fight with the guards, they are thrown off the train. The new plan is to hijack the ark and get it off the moon, but on the walk over to the ark Loki learns that all the workers of the TVA are actually all variants who had regular lives before the Time Keepers snatched them up. After this realization, they metaphorically storm the castle to try and get on the ark only to watch it blow up before their eyes.
This episode really pulled me in when I understood that the workers of the TVA were not created by the TVA and they were actually variants pulled out of their timelines. This really got me thinking about destiny versus free will or the mix of the two. I believe that it was brilliant to introduce that detail! It seems that this show really is going to be what bursts the multiverse wide open. I’m interested to see how they get themselves off Lamentis-1 given that their failure to get to the ship seemed pretty final. On top of that, many theorists have discussed how this could be the origin of Kang the Conqueror so that he can rule over the universe. I believe that Kang could very well take out the other two Time Keepers, especially if they don’t agree to serve him, and run amok. But, Loki and Sylvie could be the ones to fight the powers that be and tear the TVA down.