In the first episode of Loki (“Glorious Purpose”), the Time Variance Authority (TVA) will get one of the best of Loki. Not solely do they arrest him, not solely does Mobius persuade him to hitch the TVA, however seeing Infinity Stones, the objects of immense energy Loki needs for his personal, diminished to mere paperweights appears to have shocked Loki proper out of his sneakers. By the tip of that episode, he’s, if not fairly defeated, then not less than damaged open in a manner we’ve not seen earlier than. He’s weak and admitting to much more self-awareness than anybody gave him credit score for, and he appears, most significantly, merely uninterested in every part. The TVA is a contemporary begin, one he in the end embraces, possibly as a result of he is aware of he can’t return to his timeline, the place he’ll solely die within the yr 2018, or possibly as a result of he needs a shot at taking on the TVA and harnessing all that timey-wimey energy for himself. But episode two casts a brand new gentle on Loki’s place within the TVA and, maybe, his ulterior motives for partnering with Mobius: to finish a pre-destined universe and produce true free will to all.
If Episode 1 provides us a have a look at a extra mythological Loki than we’ve seen earlier than, Loki Episode 2, written by Elissa Karasik, introduces shades of Milton and Paradise Lost, and frames Loki as Marvel’s Lucifer, and the TVA his Lake of Fire. Think about it. He’s “cast out” of his supposed timeline, he can’t return to Asgard/heaven, and he’s trapped in a spot that’s, at greatest, a dead-end non-home. The TVA is a slow-burning punishment for a person who sought to overthrow his father and rule over the universe, solely to seek out out his “glorious purpose” was to be a plot system within the tales of different, higher folks with different, higher fates. Loki has been dealt a shit hand at each flip, from Odin mishandling his adoption—right here’s a clue, from an adopted child to potential adoptive dad and mom: don’t elevate your little one to hate their start dad and mom/roots. It will solely ever backfire!—to his busted invasion of Earth, to his short-lived reconciliation with Thor and Asgard earlier than being killed by Thanos. Loki’s villainy has at all times been rooted in the concept he’s meant for greater than being Asgard’s second son or Thor’s little brother, however in fact, he was not. And not solely has he found this, he’s additionally found that, apparently, the entire universe is pre-determined.
For a man who beforehand shat on freedom as a lie and free will as an idea laden with disgrace, Loki is out of the blue Mr. Do What You Want on the TVA. (If you’re on the lookout for a secret villain in Loki, it’s not going to be Mephisto, it’s going to be the Time-Keepers, and I received’t be shocked to study that Miss Minutes is a manifestation of not less than considered one of them. That bitch and her sugary candy accent is CLEARLY a villain.) Loki and Mobius interact in considered one of their pleasant chats, having a dialog that might apply to any organized faith as they debate how ridiculous their respective creation myths sound, however additionally they contact on pre-determination and free will, and whereas Mobius insists Loki is over-simplifying the problem, is he actually? Either every part is chaos and the one guideline is that particular person selection determines destiny OR the universe is pre-destined, and it doesn’t actually matter what you do, you’re at all times shifting on a set observe. And in the event you DO step off that set observe, the TVA is there to “prune” you—WHICH IS MURDER—and make sure the pre-destined universe prevails. It seems, Loki was proper alongside. Freedom IS a lie.
So far, Loki isn’t chafing an excessive amount of on the concept of the pre-destined universe. It clearly bothers him, however he’s extra instantly involved with discovering the rogue Loki variant and incomes an viewers with the Time-Keepers. Plot intrudes within the second half of this episode as Loki discovers the hiding place(s) of the rogue variant: apocalypses. In an apocalypse, variants don’t register on the TVA Richter scale, permitting a variant to successfully cover from the Minutemen. They check the speculation at Pompeii—a enjoyable contact of time journey—after which Loki and Mobius uncover the variant hiding sooner or later, in Alabama throughout a hurricane. And behold, there Loki finds the opposite Loki. A Loki who’s, for now, smarter, higher ready, and far additional down the future/free will observe than our Loki. And this Loki can be very completely different, for it’s Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino), with a sly smile and an virtually pitying outlook on her different, presumably earlier self. What has occurred to Lady Loki to make her wish to bomb the sacred timeline? Based on our personal Loki’s revelations, it could appear Lady Loki arrived at an identical conclusion in re: pre-destiny and located a method to possibly finish it. She makes use of all these reset costs she stole to carpet bomb the timeline, inflicting speedy branching chaos of the sacred timeline. And Loki does what Loki does: he abandons Mobius and the TVA to chase his different self via time.
Did Loki following Lady Loki exist on the sacred timeline? Or are we exterior a predestined path? Since Loki “survived” his 2018 destiny as a variant, and is now ricocheting via time with out a security line, has he escaped the need of the Time-Keepers? In “Glorious Purpose,” Loki makes a number of references to himself because the god of mischief. But in some tellings of Norse mythology, it’s not mischief over which Loki reigns, it’s chaos. Now that he’s exterior his supposed destiny, and Lady Loki has simply launched chaos to the sacred timeline, might Loki emerge from this not as Loki of Asgard, however as Loki, God of Chaos? Lady Loki appears to have actualized this to some extent, as she simply smashed the timeline with a literal chaos bomb. We simply have to seek out out WHY she did it, and if Loki will cease her, or come to agree along with her. And can two Lokis even coexist? Or will they at all times search to destroy one another? Loki is asking a LOT of attention-grabbing questions, from features of a personality we thought we knew effectively, to the principles of the universe, to the very nature of free will itself. By leaping into the unknown to comply with Lady Loki, our Loki lastly appears to be on his personal, self-determined path. We can solely guess the place it leads subsequent.
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 will be yelled at on Twitter @Cinesnark. Sometimes she goes locations and does issues, although not a lot in 2020.