Goodbye, WandaVision. Hit the Falcon and Winter Soldier Highway. It’s Loki time. Thepremiered in From Wednesday, sending the morally dubious villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a solo adventure after his escape in Avengers: Endgame.
Loki’s version of the program (Tom Hiddleston), however, he is not the one who made peace with his brother Thor shortly before being killed by Thanos; this is actually Loki from an earlier point in the MCU timeline.
After his defeat at the Battle of New York in Avengers 2012, Loki was originally brought to Asgard to face justice. However, the Avengers reviewed this moment through time travel and inadvertently gave him the opportunity to teleport with the mighty Tesseract, a move that created a branch in the timeline. Whoops!
This show follows the cruelest and most cruel Loki immediately from that moment on. Let’s follow the new timeline in SPOILER territory.
The other variant
In the final moments of the episode, Loki accepts that he cannot compete with the powers wielded by the chronological policemen of the Time Variance Authority. Agent Mobius (Owen wilson) reveals that our Loki is not the only variant of Loki to run, another version of him has been creating chaos on the timeline by killing teams of TVA agents in various eras and stealing their reboot charges.
We know that the variant traveled to France in 1549 and Oklahoma in 1858 to lure agents into the traps. It is not clear why they chose those points on the timeline, but it shows that TVA employees can die; you just need to know how to counter your devices and drop them.
One of the TVA agents notices oil in 1858 Salina, Oklahoma, and assumes that someone used a time machine to travel from the future and get rich. In real life, the oil was discovered in the city back in 1859, so it would make sense for an enterprising time traveler to try such a trick.
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The multiverse of insanity
As Loki is guided through TVA, he comes across a beautiful video tutorial that reveals a bunch of rival timelines that once fought in a “vast multiversal war” that nearly destroyed reality. The trio of Time Keepers imposed order by organizing them all into a single “Holy Timeline”.
Anyone who deviates from the default path creates a “Nexus Event”, a branch on the timeline that could easily spiral out of control. The TVA arrests the offender and resets the timeline to its original route with reboot charges.
I suspect that Time-Keepers are not as altruistic as the tutorial makes them sound; They are essentially imposing their will on all living things. The TVA also has a great totalitarian vibe, as a spoiled rich kid is directly murdered by a security guard for failing to charge a fine, and the hapless Casey has lived “his entire life behind a desk” in a drab office.
Also, poor Loki is a bit innocent in all of this. TVA Judge Ravonna Renslayer (The Morning Show’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw) says that what the time traveling Avengers did was “supposed to happen”, but Loki’s escape did not happen. But he only escaped as a result of the Avengers’ actions and he couldn’t have known that his escape would damage the timeline, so who is to blame? It seems the timekeepers just weren’t doing their job.
It also seems likely that the multiverse will be restored to some degree by the end of this show’s six episodes, given the title of the upcoming Doctor Strange and the reports on Spider-Man: No Way Home.
In the comics, Wanda Maximoff is a Nexus Being, something whose power can affect probability and change the flow of time. These people are monitored by TVA, and MCU Wanda rose to Scarlet Witch status on WandaVision. I’m sure there is a file on her somewhere.
Loki the oppressor
When Mobius asks Loki why he wants to make others submit to his will, his answer reveals how his thinking mirrors that of the Guardians of Time. It also looks like a twisted version of Robert Frost’s poem. The road not taken.
“The first and most oppressive lie ever uttered was the song of freedom,” says Loki. “For almost all living things, the choice generates shame, uncertainty and regret. There is a fork in every road, but the wrong road is always taken.”
He is furious with the TVA because he knows, on some level, that he is no better than them.
Escape from New York 2012
This episode also reveals the moments in the immediate aftermath of Loki’s escape in Avengers: Endgame, something we’ve all been wondering since that movie came out. The poor boy teleports to the other side of the planet and lands hard in the Mongolian part of the Gobi Desert.
Dusting himself off, he tries to hit some locals with a grand speech before a squad of TVA agents arrest him. Loki could be a god, but we immediately see that agents wield powers far beyond their own. Later, Loki’s concept of power is launched even further when he finds a bunch of Infinity Stones in a desk drawer and learns that TVA workers use them as paperweights.
“Is this the greatest power in the universe?” he asks as the office workers go about their boring tasks, no doubt seeing opportunities throughout the bureaucracy. The paperwork appears largely in the final credit sequence, perhaps hinting at the lack of luster that underpins power.
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Loki catches up with the MCU
When Mobius reveals the Loki file from the original timeline to the Loki Variant, he sees that he is responsible for the death of his adoptive mother, Frigga. Later, he witnesses the final moments of his adoptive father, Odin, his future making his peace with Thor, and eventually his heroic death at the hands of Thanos.
This Loki sees the fate of the “Sacred Timeline” that he has in store for him: reconciliation, redemption and ruin. Who wouldn’t want to rebel against that?
Observations, WTF Questions, and Easter Eggs
- Years visited: 2012, 1549 and 1858.
- When Loki teleports with the Tesseract at first, we hear 2012 Thor calling out to him when the Marvel Studios logo appears (in a rather attractive Loki green).
- When Loki arrives at the TVA, there is a Skrull variant that he reports to the front desk. These shapeshifters are .
- Loki realized that the Avengers had traveled to 2012, as he could smell the colony of two Tony Starks. Probably Ax Body Spray.
- Could the title sequence, with its changing fonts, hint that we’ll be seeing a bunch of different Lokis?
- The boy in 1549 France suggests that the Loki variant is the devil. Better form a new set of theories from Mephisto.
- Mobius’ sleek look is inspired by the late Marvel Comics editor and continuity expert. Mark Gruenwald, who had a excellent mustache. In the comics, the TVA agents are clones of Gruenwald.
- Loki: not a robot (or Life model lure).
- Loki is called “Laufeyson” instead of “Odinson” because his father was the King of the Frost Giants, Laufey, who abandoned little Loki when he was a baby. Odin saved the little boy and raised him as the brother of his biological son Thor. Loki learned of his true heritage and killed Laufey in 2011 Thor.
- It turns out that Loki what MCU DB Cooper. In real life, an unidentified man (nicknamed DB Cooper by the media) hijacked a Boeing 727 flying between Portland, Oregon and Seattle in 1971. He jumped out of the plane with a parachute and $ 200,000 in ransom money, and was never seen again. Loki did so after losing a bet to Thor, and was teleported back to Asgard after leaving the plane.
- What kind of intense gambling ends with the loser hijacking a plane?
- When Loki refers to Phil Coulson as “a dead man”, Mobius does not mention the resurrection of the character in Agents of SHIELD, I suppose it would have been a long tangent.
- TVA agents are idiots. Mobius is the only one showing compassion, maybe this will lead him to rebel against the Guardians of Time?
- Who are the guys in girdles Casey complains about? Your managers or HR people?
- This episode does not include a post-credits scene, they will likely appear in later episodes, but if you wait until the end of the titles, you will hear TVA’s mascot Miss Minutes, played by the voice acting legend. Tara strong. “Thanks for visiting the TVA!” it squeaks deliciously. “Feel free to let us know how we are doing!”
Join us for more Easter eggs and observations next Wednesday June 16, when Loki Episode 2 hits Disney Plus.