Each week, Darren from @darrenmoviereviews will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Loki and the show’s overall connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Loki is back, young, scrappy and hungry in the premiere of Loki…well power hungry that is.
Loki has premiered on Disney+, and already it is setting the stage for the multiverse that Marvel fans have been waiting to be unleashed on the MCU after having it teased in both Avengers: Endgame and WandaVision. Tom Hiddleston returns as the fan favourite trickster, and he is excellent. Easily slipping back into character, Hiddleston brings this devilish character to life with glee and joy, while also tapping into a more emotional side of Loki that we have only seen glimpses of previously in the MCU. Paired with Owen Wilson, making his MCU debut as Mobius M. Mobius, the two of them have excellent chemistry on screen. It’s a great battle of the wits as Loki fights for control and Mobius tries to discover what makes Loki tick, creating an enjoyable dynamic that I cannot wait to see more of over the course of the season.
In terms of story, the episode sets a lot into motion. We get our first introduction to the multiverse and its mechanics, helping set the stage for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. The explanation is easy to understand thanks to a fun cartoon, which will help the more casual Marvel fan follow the show’s plot. But just like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, there are small easter eggs in the episode that will get the fans excited for where the MCU is going next. And I’m sure we will have tons of theories ruling the internet for the next six weeks, just like they did during WandaVision. From start to finish, I found myself glued to the screen either devouring the story, or having a great laugh with Hiddlenston’s eccentric portrayal of Loki.
And into spoiler territory we go. If you have not seen this week’s episode of Loki, stop reading now. If you have, keep on reading to find out what we learnt in this week’s episode…
The episode opens up in New York, 2012. We see the scene from Avengers: Endgame, where Loki escapes using the Tesseract. However, it doesn’t go as he plans. The portal opens up and drops him in the Gobi Desert. Well, actually he crash lands into the sand in a moment that is reminiscent of Tony Stark’s crash landing in the first Iron Man film. Loki is found by some locals wandering the desert, and even though Loki gives his grand introduction, they have no clue who he is because they do not understand English. At that moment, agents of the Time Variance Agency (TVA) open a portal to the desert. They have come for Loki and inform him that he is a time variant who has committed a crime against the time. After quickly overpowering Loki, the agents arrest him and open a portal to the TVA. Setting off a device to reset the timeline so that it was like Loki was never there, they take Loki through the portal to the TVA.
At the TVA, the Tesseract is logged into evidence while Loki is processed through the system. His clothes are disintegrated, verifies everything he has ever said, walks through a scanning machine that takes a temporal aura picture of him (after confirming he was naturally born, is not a robot, and has a soul…well…the soul is debatable with Loki). After this, Loki takes a number and waits his turn in line for the next available agent. While waiting, Loki is treated to the TVA’s welcome video!
In the cartoon welcome video narrated by Miss Minutes, the video explains the origins of the TVA. After the multiverse war, the Time Keepers restored peace by reorganizing the multiverse into one Sacred Timeline. The TVA was set up to protect the Sacred Timeline and preserve the proper flow of time. Any variations of the timeline creates a nexus event, which if such a nexus goes unchecked, a multiverse is created and ultimately lead to another multiverse war. However, thanks to the TVA, these nexus events are dealt with so the Sacred Timeline is set back to its predetermined path, while the “variants” who caused the nexus event are brought to the TVA to stand trial for their crimes. And that is why they have brought Loki to the TVA: after escaping New York in 2012 in Avengers: Endgame, Loki varied from his predetermined path.
1549. Aix-En-Provence, France. The TVA is responding to a variation in the timeline, with the team being led by Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius. They are inside a church, the location of a routine nexus event but the variant got the jump on the TVA and caused more damage than should have been allowed. Mobius says it must be “him”, the mysterious variant responsible for six other attacks this week alone. However, there is a witness to this event. A small child. Mobius asks the child who caused this chaos, and the child points to an image on a stained glass window. An image of a devil. Mobius knows who the child is talking about and says this individual is scared of the TVA, but then notices the child is chewing on something blue. It’s gum, Kablooie Bloodberrie to be exact, whose packaging has an image of a blue devil on it. Mobius asks the child where they got the candy from, and the child says it was from the variant. Mobius orders that the candy wrapper to be tested for temporal hints, despite the TVA agent saying there is unlikely to be any hits. The TVA then uses its reset charge to restore the timeline. At that moment, a TVA comes through a portal to give Mobius a new file: Loki’s file.
Back at the TVA, Loki is now standing trial for his crimes. Gug Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer is his judge. She begins the trial by asking Loki how he pleads. Being the clever and devious individual he is, Loki pleads guilty to being the God of Mischief and finding this whole process tedious, but pleads not guilty for the crimes against the Sacred Timeline. He tries to argue that it is the Avengers who are the criminals, because they travelled back in time to get the Mind Stone inside the Tesseract and throws in a joke about Tony Stark’s Axe body spray. Ravonna is not buying Loki’s song and dance, and informs him that the Avenger’s time travel was predetermined and that Loki’s escape was not. Loki then asks to talk to the Time Keepers to clear this up, but they are too busy determining the timeline to waste their time on Loki. In his final move, Loki pleads guilty of “this”, with “this” being using his magic. But it does not work. Turns out magic does not work within the TVA. Ravonna finds Loki guilty and orders that the timeline be reset, but Mobius then enters the courtroom. Mobius convinces Ravonna to spare Loki and let him use Loki because Mobius believes he can use Loki in his current investigation. Ravonna urges Mobius that this is a bad idea, but Mobius insists that he has his reasons. After agreeing to this, Ravonna releases Loki to Mobius’s care.
After a brief look at the TVA, Mobius takes Loki to a room for a talk. After informing Loki that time works differently in the TVA, Loki tries to attack Mobius. But Mobius uses a device to rewind Loki back to where he was standing before attempting to attack Mobius, proving the point he just made. Mobius tells Loki that his job is to hunt down dangerous variants, and that Loki is only a little pussycat. He tells Loki that things will go smoothly if Loki answers his questions truthfully…
Being Loki, naturally he cannot be 100% truthful. The first question Mobius asks of Loki is what will he do if he is released from the TVA. Loki tells Mobius he will finish what he started. Mobius challenges Loki on what exactly that is: being the ruler of New York, Earth, Asgard, the nine realms, space itself? Mobius admits that he is a fan of Loki, but that he does not understand why Loki wants to rule. Then Loki gets to the truth: he sees freedom as a lie, and he believes his rule would have made life easy for people as he would prevent them from making the wrong decisions.
Mobius turns on the machine in the room, which begins to display clips from The Avengers. We see Loki’s attack on New York, and Mobius tries to provoke Loki by saying Loki enjoys hurting people, but that he did not see anything mischievous about what Loki did.
We next see a past escape by Loki involving an airplane, a bomb, and a bunch of money. Not one of Loki’s finest moments, but as he explains, he was young and lost a bet to Thor. So what else was he supposed to do? Loki then tries to run out of the room, but Mobius cuffs him to the chair. Loki asks Mobisu what he wants. Mobius tells Loki that he wants honesty from him and to get a deeper understanding of Loki.
Loki is not buying any of this TVA nonsense, as he tells Mobius that he thinks the TVA is a trick to wreak havoc and create control. Mobius then pulls up Loki’s greatest hits, starting off with his attack in Stuttgart in The Avengers. Loki says this was not the TVA’s doing, but his own free will. Mobius then shows Loki a scene from Thor: The Dark World. It’s Frigga talking to Loki in his cell. Loki says this has not happened and does not know he is about to see Frigga’s death. But then he sees her die, and you can see the pain Loki is feeling on his face. Loki immediately accuses this of being a lie and tries to fight Mobius yet again, only to be rewound. Mobius then tells Loki his purpose: to cause pain so others can achieve the best versions of themselves, showing Loki the iconic circle shot of the Avengers from their first film.
As Loki begins to ask what is truly happening at the TVA, they are interrupted by a TVA agent requiring Mobius. Mobius leaves the room with the agent, who tells him that talking to Loki is a waste. Mobius goes back in the room, only to find that Loki has escaped. The agent immediately wants to eliminate Loki, but Mobius thinks Loki still has potential.
After escaping the room, Loki is on the hunt for the Tesseract. He finds the TVA agent who logged it into evidence, and threatens to kill him if he does not turn over the Tesseract. Once he understands the nature of the threat, he opens up a drawer that contains the Tesseract in addition to a bunch of Infinity Stones. Apparently, they use the Infinity Stones as paper weights at the TVA. Loki tries to escape the TVA using the Tesseract, but like his magic, it does not work within the TVA. Loki then decides to return back to the room where he was talking to Mobius to revisit the machine that showed him Frigga’s death.
Using the machine, Loki learns his future. He sees Frigga’s death again, Odin’s death, his time on Sakaar, reuniting with Thor, and his eventual death at the hands of Thanos. Loki is in pain at the loss he witnesses and comes to the realization: his future holds nothing for him. To survive, he knows he must forge a new path for himself. The TVA Agent that spoke to Mobius then enters the room, and Loki plays a trick on her and places his security collar on her and uses the time device to rewind her constantly until Mobius enters the room.
Mobius informs Loki that there is nowhere for Loki to go. Loki, knowing he has nothing to escape to in his current future according to the Sacred Timeline, tells Mobius that he does not enjoy hurting people but that he has had to for reasons outside of his control. He tells Mobius that it is all part of an illusion, a cruel and elaborate trick conspired by the weak to create control. Loki admits he is a villain. But that’s not what Mobius sees. Mobius says he can offer Loki something better than his current future, and tells Loki that he needs Loki’s help tracking down a dangerous variant: another Loki!
1858. Salina, Oklahoma. A TVA team is responding to another timeline variation. They think someone has taken a time machine to try and discover oil to make themselves rich in the future. But then they see a hooded figure. This figure sets the field on fire, setting all of the TVA agents on fire but one. The one who escapes the flames, but is pulled back screaming by magic. The TVA agent reaches for the time reset charge, but it is taken by the hooded figure. And the episode ends.
There was a lot of story setup this week, and we got one major Easter egg. Yes, we got lots of nods back to the Infinity Saga with scenes of Loki’s past actions and the parallel to the first Iron Man film with Loki’s crash landing into the Gobi Desert. But let’s address the devil in the room…
Yes, I’m talking about Mephisto. I know I said that I was not going to go down the Mephisto rabbit hole again, but the episode gave us two devil images in one scene. I don’t know how more obvious it gets then that. As long predicted by fans, Mephisto is primed to make his MCU debut and the premiere episode seems to confirm that. We got the child identifying the time variant as the “devil” by pointing to the stained glass window, and the devil on the candy wrapper that the variant gave to the child. While the end of the episode wants us to believe that this is another version of Loki, I’m not buying that just yet. If it is another version of Loki, there needs to be an explanation of where this version of Loki comes from in the timeline, because as of right now, there is only one nexus event involving Loki. And that Loki is with Mobius. Mephisto’s powers include shape shifting and creating illusions, so it’s very possible he is masquerading as Loki to hide his true identity from the TVA.
Time will tell whether this dangerous Loki variant is Mephisto. The series was originally set to debut right after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was set to premiere in theatres last year, weeks after WandaVision was meant to conclude. With Mephisto being the likely villain behind those two entries into the MCU, the theory holds up with his involvement in Loki given the original release schedule. So get ready for another five recaps of me building the Mephisto theory!
So what is Loki going to do to course correct his future while escaping from the control of the TVA? And what will be the next piece of the puzzle to my Mephisto theory? Check back in next week for my next recap of Loki to find out.