Our Loki premiere review discusses “Glorious Purpose” in detail, as well as how episode 1 fits into the rest of the MCU.
Conveniently, the opening scene of Loki episode 1, “Glorious Purpose,” gives us a nice recap of what happened in Avengers: Endgame to land Loki in front of the Time Variance Authority.
When the Avengers go back in time to 2012 in order to get three of the Infinity Stones, they botch their retrieval of the Space Stone, which is hidden inside the Tesseract. Loki takes advantage of the mistake and transports himself out his sticky situation.
And this is where Loki begins—in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The TVA arrests everyone’s favorite villain for crimes against the Sacred Timeline and resets the world, which means everything is back to normal on Earth.
‘Loki’ premiere review
Welcome to the TVA
Loki feels as though his arrest is both one giant misunderstanding and a major inconvenience. In the films following The Avengers, we’ve seen Loki grow and change as a character, transforming from a villain to an anti-hero to an honest-to-goodness champion of the people.
The Loki before us, however, is still the entitled god of mischief we met in Thor. It’s interesting to see how different he is, and hilarious to watch him complete mundane tasks such as signing paperwork, taking a ticket, and pleading his case before a judge. It’s made even more hilarious by the retro futuristic aesthetic of the entire facility.
There’s a lot to take in during this sequence, where, at one point, Loki wonders, “Do a lot of people not know they’re robots?” Is it just me, or does this feel like foreshadowing?
Aside from this, we also get a cute animation of how the TVA operates. We learn that, at the beginning of the universe, multiple timelines existed and constantly fought for control. The Time Keepers reorganized the multiverse into a single timeline so they wouldn’t battle for supremacy and destroy everything. This is now known as the Sacred Timeline.
Of course, sometimes a person will get off track, which is where the Time Variance Authority comes in. A nexus event could lead to madness (undoubtedly a Doctor Strange 2 reference, which would cause another multiversal war. As you can imagine, we’d all like to avoid that.
Uncle Mobius wants YOU
The majority of the episode is spent with Agent Mobius trying to recruit Loki to work for the TVA so he won’t get reset (aka deleted from the timeline). Owen Wilson does an incredible job playing this character, who’s laid back and affable but also intelligent and powerful. The silver fox thing is really working for him.
(Also, I have to take time out from this Loki premiere review to hype up both Tara Strong as the voice of Miss Minute and Wunmi Mosaku from Lovecraft Country as Hunter B-15.)
Loki understandably wants to be set free under no conditions. He can’t wrap his head around the idea that his choices aren’t his own, and rather than taking this to mean the TVA is all-powerful, he sees it as an illusion he needs to break.
He tries, of course, but it’s no use. There is no escape form a place where they literally use Infinity Stones as paperweights. Mobius posits the idea that Loki’s purpose in the universe is to cause pain, suffering, and death so other people can be the best versions of themselves.
I cannot express enough how interesting of a concept this is for me. What do you do when you take a secondary character—a villain—and make them the hero of their own story? Furthermore, what do you do when that character becomes aware of his own insignificance in the grand scheme of things?
Loki could have been left as a footnote in Thor’s story, but he grew into a more formidable adversary, and so he became a footnote for the Avengers, who never would have joined together in the first place if it weren’t for him.
But over time, Marvel has pushed Loki toward greatness within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though maybe not in a way he ever expected. He’s learned what—and who—is worth fighting for, and though he met his inevitable end, Loki the series has given him a second chance.
After watching the highlights of his life (his mother’s death, his many defeats, that one time he lost a bet and became D.B. Cooper, and even his own death), and seeing his family tell him how much they care about him, he finally does some soul searching.
Loki admits he doesn’t enjoy hurting people; he does it as part of the illusion because he is too weak to control other people except under the guise of fear.
So, when Agent Mobius asks for Loki’s help, it is with genuine desire to avoid the inevitable that he agrees.
Own worst enemy
Throughout the episode, we see Agent Mobius dealing with a situation in which dozens of TVA officers have died due to a variant they’ve been unable to control or destroy.
In 1549, Mobius arrives in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he finds a dead body with stab wounds consistent with others they’ve come across before. This is the sixth attack in the last week, and the reset charge was taken, just like the others.
Mobius talks to a little boy who witnessed the event. When asked who did this, he points to a stained glass window depicting the devil. He also produces a pack of candy that this devil had given him to keep quiet. “A devil bearing gifts,” Mobius ponders.
We’re not sure why Mobius wants Loki to help them track down this particular variant until the end of the episode, where he informs Loki they’re chasing another version of him. In Salina, Oklahoma, we see another unit destroyed by a person in a hooded cloak, though we never get a look at their face.
It’s completely plausible that the TVA is tracking down another Loki—and who better to catch him than himself—but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mobius chose not to tell Loki the truth in order to get him to join their cause. After his revelation about the role he’s played, there was no doubt he’d agree to stop himself and break the cycle.
But this is the part of my Loki premiere review that I was looking forward to most—the section where I get to run wild with theories and try to solve the mystery well before we’re given enough information to do so.
If this mysterious villain isn’t Loki, there’s no telling who it could be. Maybe it’s Mobius himself, and this is part of his plan to take down the TVA from the inside out. There’s also a chance it could be another character we’ve met in the past, someone whose identity Mobius wanted to keep from Loki for as long as possible.
We know Loki‘s plot is related to what we’ll see in Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness, so whoever it is, they’re bound to make an impact on the Sacred Timeline, one way or another.