A recap and review of Season 1, Episode 1 of Loki, titled “Glorious Purpose”.
It’s fitting that the first episode of Loki is titled “Glorious Purpose”, as Loki makes his return in all his glory, though not the usual glory we are used to!
Loki is definitely the second most creative thing Marvel has done lately, right after Wandavision. No shade to Captain America and The Winter Soldier (which I also reviewed on this site and enjoyed!), but it was in many ways the same Marvel formula. While Loki doesn’t quite reach the same astronomical “out of the box” thinking that Wandavision did, it still is something fresh, new, and very fun!
This series focuses on the Loki from Endgame, who grabs the Tesseract and then vanishes while the heroes are traveling through time. We see this Loki wind up in a desert, where the locals try to figure out who he is and why he’s there, while some military-looking people “portal” into the area. Pretty quickly, we learn that this Loki is what they call a “variant”, a version of Loki that isn’t supposed to exist in the time continuum and that these military-looking people are part of a group called the Time Variance Authority (TVA), tasked by the all-knowing Timekeepers with protecting the time stream and time as we know it at all costs- and that means making sure this Loki does not complete his escape from the timeline.
Now, if you know me as a reviewer and the kind of stuff I watch, then you might be thinking-
this sounds like another show I watch! You are absolutely right! All the stuff with the rules of time, the Timekeepers, and the TVA trying to maintain the timeline? They all remind me of the show Legends of Tomorrow, specifically the third season of it with the Time Bureau! Heck, the one TVA Minuteman on Loki who seemingly hates all variants reminds me heavily of Ava Shape when she first appeared on Legends: all boss-bitch-in-charge, all pencil-pusher and only following the rules. None of these are bad things in themselves, but them all together, all the time, can become problematic.
Anyways, I digress! After the Minutemen incapacitate him, Loki ends up going through some silly procedures as he is being “processed”, including the released clip of signing everything he has ever said. These processes remind me of the gimmick in Thor: Ragnarok with Thor getting his hair cut off by Stan Lee before he enters the arena (of course, sadly, there’s no Stan Lee cameo in Loki). Eventually, Loki learns, through some silly Hanna-Barbera-esque animation, that he is at the TVA and that he will be put before a judge to face judgment for his time crime. Of course, the hearing doesn’t go well for Loki, especially after he learns magic does not work at the TVA, and just as he is about to be “reset”, one person vouches for him. That person is Agent Morbius, an agent in the TVA who is searching for an escaped variant wreaking havoc on the timeline. At first, I thought that Agent Morbius reminded me of Luke Wilson’s character “Pat” on Stargirl, which he does in many ways, but then I realized, of course, I'm reminded of him because that’s his brother Owen Wilson! What the hell?? Dude! I would’ve never expected that, but well done casting wise Marvel. I definitely should've known this before, but, alas.
Loki ends up going with Agent Morbius and he has many questions with little success in getting the answers he wants. Agent Morbius ends up sitting him down in a room and begins showing Loki clips of his life that he has lived and remembered. As Loki moans, groans, and demands to know what Agent Morbius wants from him, Agent Morbius continues to sit there, almost like a therapist would, insisting he just wants to know why Loki does what he does; why does he cause all this pain and suffering to people? He really hammers this point across when he shows Loki how he perpetuates his own mother’s death in the future, and Loki really hammers his upset and anguish when he accuses Agent Morbius of lying. As Loki’s unsolicited therapist, Agent Morbius takes it like a champ and simply continues prying, insisting that it looks like Loki enjoys the pain he causes others. “Is this why you do what you do; is this what makes you tick?” Morbius asks.
This is where one of my favorite parts of the episode kicks in! Clearly still frustrated out of his
mind, Loki calls out, “I know what this place is; it’s an illusion! It’s a cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear”. The second I heard Loki say this line in reference to the TVA, I knew he was speaking for himself- this is exactly why Loki does what he does. Loki is the God of Mischief, arguably the God of Illusions as well, and everything he does is an illusion, not just for others, but for himself. This is the key and the center point to the entire series; in order for Loki to grow as a character and fully develop, he has to stop creating illusions for himself; only then can he stop forcing illusions onto others.
Some of what happens for the next chunk of the episode is really entertaining, such as Loki breaking out of his holding room and having a few funny moments with a TVA desk agent named Casey, as well as discovering that many of the TVA agents just have Infinity Stones lying around like they’re nothing! That said, what immediately follows the comedy is really just filler; Loki continues running around the TVA causing some havoc with the TVA agents, but nonetheless, he lands right back where he started in his holding room.
“Give me the Tesseract or I’ll gut you like a fish!”
“...What’s a fish?”
This last bit is probably the slowest part of the episode, but arguably the most important part of the episode, as Loki continues to sit in his holding room, alone, watching his “original” self‘s entire future in the timeline. He sees what happens between him and his brother Thor on Ragnarok; he sees himself committing more betrayal, but also fighting amongst the heroes. Finally, he sees the worst thing possible: his death at the hands of Thanos. After this, Loki breaks emotionally, and once Agent Morbius makes it back to the holding room, Loki admits that everything he does is an illusion, just as he accused the TVA of doing earlier, and Agent Morbius finally tells Loki what he really wants: his help finding one a variant in the timeline who is killing the TVA’s Minutemen.
The twist you were all waiting for this episode? Agent Morbius reveals that the variant is Loki himself, and for the final scene of the episode, we see this variant, that is supposedly Loki, kill a bunch of the TVA Minutemen by burning them alive (I say “supposedly” because we don’t see the killer’s face).
Overall, I really enjoyed this glorious return of Loki! I love time travel and sci-fi mixed with comedy so this was a very nice surprise. It was hilarious seeing the intricacies of the TVA while remaining fascinating- I’m incredibly excited to see how the TVA and what they do in the Marvel Universe expands! Tom Hiddleston is great as Loki, as he always is, and he really sold me on his facial expressions when Loki cried over his mom, Thor, and even his father. Like, he really cried! Loki really felt bad about everything that happened between them! Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, it was nice to see Marvel step out of their comfort zone again. Any step out of their comfort zone, no matter how small, is a step, ya know?
The one complaint I have is the pacing. For me, at times, it kind of dragged on. My guess, and hope, is that it was the first episode, and they wanted to set everything up without giving everything away too soon. The “therapy” moments, as I call them, between Agent Morbius and Loki seem to go in circles at times and the scenes with Loki watching his past and future moments go on too long. I appreciate that they took the time to really show Loki’s guilt and empathy here and that they wanted to focus on Loki’s emotions, but it gets really drawn out for me. I want to focus on his character development, but not only on one stop of the “development train” for too long. To be fair, I did watch the episode when I was more tired, so that could be part of it too- full disclosure!
Without a doubt, Marvel continues to trailblaze with their live-action superhero TV shows, much like they have with the MCU films, and Loki is no exception. If they keep giving us great quality television like Loki and its predecessors, I may argue that TV is the way for them to go for a while, because it seems to be the format that best offers the focus on what’s most important to many of us as fans: the characters. I’m excited to continue falling in love with Loki’s character again as this show continues; this is not a show to be missed!
P.S. I hope you didn't miss the reference to the madness that leads to a multiversal war. ;)
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives Season 1, Episode 1 of Loki:
4 out of 5 finger guns
(because I’m bi)
You can find Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi, Lauren, on Twitter: