Loki on Disney+ sets the stage for never-before-seen Marvel power
Los Angeles, California - Warning, this recap contains spoilers. The first episode of Loki on Disney+ has just dropped, and it's even trippier – and more heartfelt – than expected.
That the first episode is a compliment to the Marvel canon can't be denied, as it finally fleshes out a character fans have begged to be highlighted.
Tom Hiddleston allows Loki to feel such a deep and varied set of emotions in just one episode that fans will easily be more enchanted with the God of Mischief than ever before.
The episode starts off in 2012 with Loki having just stolen the pulsating-blue Tesseract, as last seen in the flashback during Endgame. But his success in absconding with the powerful Infinity Stone is incredibly short-lived.
He's shot through a portal in the sky and lands in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, where he immediately launches into a monologue about his "god-status" to the nomadic herders who find him in the sand. The herders are spared his rant when additional portals mark the entry of armed agents who manage to quickly arrest Loki with the strike of a baton that slows the god down to 1/16th speed.
The agency that has taken Loki into custody is the Time Variance Authority (TVA), and he is rendered absolutely powerless. When the agents arrive at their destination with their convict in tow, we are given a peek into a force greater than god or man, and unfortunately, that force has definite tacky 1970's back-office vibes.
The TVA is more powerful than anything we've ever seen in the MCU, and it's not even a big deal
The introduction of the TVA , and its regulation of "crimes against the Sacred Timeline," is more than just another Marvel acronym to add to an ever-growing list of secret organizations helping or hindering heroes. The TVA is big time.
It is at the TVA that Loki is processed through a mountain of paperwork to hear his fate before a judge for his crimes against the Sacred Timeline.
The judge explains that his taking the Tesseract wasn't part of the plan of the omniscient "Time-Keepers" (perhaps a role similar to the Fates of Greek mythology), though the Avengers constantly hurtling through time was deemed acceptable.
Despite his protests, the judge sentences him to be "reset." Having seen another convict veritably "dusted" moments before, it's not clear what this punishment entails. Would Loki be turned back into a baby? Brainwashed?
But the god of slipping-through-the-cracks is saved when Owen Wilson (Agent Mobius M. Mobius) intervenes with the judge and takes Loki to his office for a review of all of the god's naughty antics through history. By replaying scenes from Loki's life, Agent Mobius reveals that it was Loki who was responsible for various devious acts committed on earth throughout history (such as the very non-MCU real mystery of the J.B. Cooper plane hijacking in the 70's).
But in the process of reviewing his crimes, Agent Mobius functions as quite the therapist, probing Loki about his internal motivations for mischief, for causing pain, and for death.
It all leads up to an amazing premise for the rest of the series
At first, Loki doesn't offer any insight, repeating his cocky maxims of "I'm the god of mischief" and "Trust is for children and dogs." Agent Mobius breaks him bit by bit, noting that even with all the power Loki claims, his acts haven't even met the bar of what the TVA deems truly powerful.
Predictably, Loki soon takes advantage of an interruption and flees, set on finding the Tesseract and escaping the TVA.
As Loki had to give up the Tesseract upon being booked into the TVA, he tracks down the office worker who confiscated it. Peering into the office drawer the worker slid open, Loki has to reckon with a paradigm-shifting truth. For tossed in that drawer full of junk along with the Tesseract and other lost office supplies are the Infinity Stones.
The very stones that the Avengers are working so hard to collect, and that will provide ultimate power to their wielder, are being used by TVA office workers as paperweights. This prompts a nearly Biblical "heaven is paved with gold" moment as Loki utters, "Even Infinity Stones are useless here."
Dragging himself back to Agent Mobius' office, Loki replays the scenes from his life and potential future outcomes. In tears, he watches the reel of his father Odin saying he is proud of his sons. He watches as Thanos crush the life out of him, which is a fate that the 2012 Loki we are dealing with didn't know could happen. He has realized that every exhibition of power he has ever seen in his life is meaningless.
When Agent Mobius arrives, Loki says, "I don’t enjoy hurting people. I do it because I’ve had to. It's part of the illusion. It's the curel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear."
Sensing that his therapy-of-sorts has worked, and that Loki's own sheer sense of irrelevance in the TVA's constructs has done a number on him, Agent Mobius proposes what is sure to be the classic TV pairing of criminal and FBI (ahem, TVA) agent. He needs Loki's help to catch another individual who is committing horrible crimes in time.
That criminal? It's Loki.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire