I thought WandaVision on Disney+ was really trippy, but it’s got nothing on Loki. So far the show has delved into time travel, cosmic beings who control events throughout history, and variant copies of the same people from multiple realities — and this is just the first two episodes.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting weird and wild, and I couldn’t be happier. The MCU needed something fresh and different to keep fans’ interest after wrapping up so many storylines in Avengers: Endgame, and an expansion into the more magical and mysterious corners of this superhero universe is just what I wanted.
Warning: Spoilers from the first two episodes of Loki ahead
I was excited for Loki simply because it’s always a joy to watch Tom Hiddleston return to this character. I also felt his death was a bit underwhelming in Infinity War, and this solo show is really giving the character time to shine while also delving into some pretty deep emotional territory.
The first episode features the version of Loki’s character who appeared in the 2012 Avengers film. This is an important distinction to note, because this Loki hasn’t yet experienced all the events of the later MCU films.
Loki is captured by the Time Variance Authority (a.k.a. the TVA) for messing with the preapproved timeline of events. TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) takes him into an interrogation room, where Loki is forced to grapple with his failures throughout his timeline and also learns of the death of his mother and his own death at the hand of Thanos.
Loki’s raw display of shock and grief is quite moving, because it’s an uncharacteristic moment of vulnerability. Shaken by his peek into his future, Loki allows himself to be recruited by Mobius and is tasked with helping catch another variant — a different version of himself wrecking havoc across the timeline.
The TVA headquarters has this otherworldly retro vibe, with a definite sinister undertone. Episode 1 feels crazy enough, but then episode 2 sends us to an apocalyptic event in the year 2050. Loki meets his variant — a female version of himself — and then watches as the timeline quite literally explodes into chaos.
I have no idea where this show is going in the next episode, and that’s always exciting. I want to be shocked, I want to be challenged, and I want to be surprised. I want this show to redefine everything we think we know about the MCU.
That’s why I’m actually hoping all the threads won’t be neatly wrapped up at the end of the show. Leave some mysteries for future MCU films/TV shows to delve into.
So far Loki has raised a LOT of interesting questions:
- Who are the time keepers? Are they actually benevolent overlords, or are they controlling the timeline for their own purposes?
- What happens when timeline variations get out of control?
- Will history change, and what would the consequences of that be?
- Will an endless stream of alternate realities be created?
These are such fascinating questions that there’s no way a six-episode series can cover them all in-depth. My hope for Loki is that this show merely introduces these concepts and then other projects can explore them further (looking at you, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).
Open-ended narratives that leave some questions unanswered can be challenging to pull off, because as humans, we want a resolution to a story that feels complete and makes sense. We’ve all agonized over an unexpected cliffhanger ending. Also, the longer you draw out a mystery, the higher fan expectations rise, so the resolution had better be spectacular.
However, the MCU has already proven it’s capable of epic storytelling that lives up to the hype — Thanos’ arrival in Infinity War after years of build-up definitely proves that. I’m ready for the MCU to tell a story that’s a little bit messy and really mind-bending, introducing us to the concept of multiverses in a narrative that sprawls over multiple projects.
In other words, I’m looking forward to Loki serving as a beginning, rather than an ending.