So far, Marvel has used their slate of Disney+ reveals to discover aspect characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their newest entry, Loki, provides everybody’s favourite villain a narrative of his personal. The present picks up proper the place we left Loki in Avengers: Endgame, escaping the scene of his crime in New York City mid-time heist with the Tesseract in tow. He crash-lands within the Gobi Desert solely to be instantly arrested by the mysterious Time Variance Authority, time cops in command of defending the “sacred timeline”. Loki Episode 1 (“Glorious Purpose”) drops phrases like “nexus”, “multiverse”, and “madness”, so every little thing being launched by the TVA is prone to come up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is written by Michael Waldron, the top author of Loki. Waldron can also be a veteran of Rick & Morty, and that present’s blithe angle towards time-travel—guidelines do apply however nobody ever will get hung up on explaining them—carries into Loki. The mechanics of what’s going matter, however they’re not the principle focus of the present. No, that will be Loki, escaping his destiny as a prisoner of Asgard to seek out himself on an entirely new, unknowable path.
There’s quite a bit to love about Loki proper off the bat, from Tom Hiddleston’s indefatigable efficiency, to his stellar chemistry with Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius, to Natalie Holt’s spacey theremin theme, to Kasra Farahani’s retro-futuristic manufacturing design that mashes up Mad Men, Disney’s World of Tomorrow, and The Jetsons. This is among the best-looking productions Marvel has ever mounted, however even with just one episode, Loki instantly units itself aside from the remainder of the MCU with its story. Most placing on this episode is how Loki, who we all know as an area prince, a would-be conqueror, a villain, and a sorcerer, remakes himself within the picture of his mythological brother. Here, Loki is sort of instantly stripped of his Asgardian armor and thrust into a colorless jail jumpsuit. He can’t use his magic, so his sorcery quantities to nothing. In the timey-wimey paperwork of the TVA, there are not any worlds to beat, and Thor is, this being the Loki of 2012 who has not grown up in any respect and remains to be throwing a tantrum, not any of Loki’s concern. None of his common character markers are in play.
And as he learns the principles of the TVA, which governs a “sacred timeline” created to forestall multiverse shenanigans, and the Time-Keepers who based it—a trio of, apparently, omnipotent beings—it’s mythology that begins seeping by the cracks in Loki’s persona, not his comedian ebook lore. There is loads of comedian ebook lore elsewhere in Loki, the inspiration for the sequence is clearly coming from Al Ewing’s comedian ebook, Loki: Agent of Asgard, however Hiddleston, who additionally serves as an government producer on the present, the one actor thus credited to this point on a Marvel sequence, appears to be leaning right into a extra mythic idea of Loki. He claims the title “God of Mischief”. He calls himself a “trickster” and a “mischievous scamp.” Without any of his beforehand established Marvel context, Loki begins reassembling his traditional, mythological persona, proper all the way down to his silver tongue, his solely actual weapon in a spot the place his energy and magic don’t matter.
Much of this episode is consumed with Mobius and Loki merely speaking as Mobius tries to be taught from Loki with the intention to catch a rogue “variant”, an individual exterior the sacred timeline. Just as Loki has misplaced his Asgardian armor, he loses his metaphorical armor, too, as Mobius drills into what motivates Loki, and the way in every single place he goes there may be loss of life and destruction, however he by no means appears to win any of his battles, echoing Phil Coulson’s remark in The Avengers: “You’re going to lose, it’s in your nature.” But by their dialogue we see that Loki has way more self-awareness than can be anticipated of a villain who, particularly circa 2012, is borderline cartoonish and simplistic in motivation. He is totally conscious he’s taking part in a task, however Mobius and the TVA present him one other path—one other position he can play, one not outlined by Thor or Asgard. Of course, this IS Loki, so his motivations can’t be assumed to be pure, however his abrupt flip towards the TVA means that his position in Asgard was extra wearying than he would admit out loud. But who’s Loki if he’s not attempting to be king?
A Loki bored with management is a Loki fascinated with chaos (by some attestations, he’s the god of “chaos,” not “mischief”), and chaos is what he brings to the TVA. Mobius appears to thrill in it, primarily as a result of Mobius is the primary particular person we’ve ever met who could be smarter than Loki. But principally it units up a Loki whose each conviction and objective is blown out of the water by what he sees on the TVA: An influence higher than any he’s ever heard of, but additionally the comical sounding Time-Keepers, whom he refers to as “space lizards.” They are described as three beings in command of time, of future. For superhero functions, they’re “space lizards”, however they is also the Norns of Norse mythology, the three sisters who weave the fates of people. Loki instantly needs to fulfill with the Time-Keepers, however no good has ever come of Loki difficult the gods, for others however particularly for himself.
This episode units Loki on a literal crash course with destiny, and casts him in a Promethean position of 1 god pursuing, properly, one thing towards different gods. We don’t know but precisely what Loki is preventing for—he’s flying by the seat of his pants and clearly making it up as he goes alongside—however it will contain confronting not solely himself and his personal worst impulses, but additionally, ultimately, the Time-Keepers. His story is not a few house prince looking for a throne of his personal, or a damage little boy placing again at his daddy, however it’s about one god difficult the management of different, higher gods. Loki leans into the aesthetic and tone of a procedural, proper all the way down to its buddy cop dynamic, however it’s telling a grand, mythic story, we’ve simply modified the setting, buying and selling the magical Realm Eternal for Time’s prosaic ready room.
Sarah Marrs is a movie critic and author at LaineyGossip.com and co-host of The Hollywood Read podcast. She additionally has bylines at Pajiba, SYFY Fangrrls, and Consequence of Sound. She may be yelled at on Twitter @Cinesnark. Sometimes she goes locations and does issues, although not a lot in 2020.