For many Marvel fans, myself included, Loki’s departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Avengers Infinity War was disappointing, to say the least. For the MCU creators to morph this once-sinister villain into a widely adored antihero, only to kill him off less than ten minutes into the climax of the series felt almost like a stab in the back. It was, and still is, one of my very few critiques of the MCU – well, other than Thor: The Dark World, but I digress.
It’s for this reason that I and so many other MCU fans have been clamoring for the God of Mischief to finally make his return in Loki on Disney+.
Boy, was it a marvelous return!
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for Loki episode one: “Glorious Purpose”.
Back in Time… Again
The episode opens in the year 2012 in New York. The scene is just after the events of the Battle of New York and the capture of Loki by The Avengers.
MCU fans know we’ve visited this scene multiple times already, once in The Avengers, then again in Avengers Endgame when the heroes went back in time to retrieve the Tesseract to undo Thanos’ snap. In the latter version, the still-uncontrollable Hulk causes a disguised Tony Stark to drop the Tesseract. It then slides to the feet of a bound Loki, who uses it to escape. Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark still achieve their goal by going further back in time to retrieve a different version of the Tesseract.
However, astute fans quickly realized that this sequence of events created a major plot hole. Rodgers and Stark traveling to 2012 created a breach in time that would’ve endured unless specifically undone later. In that branch, a still-villainous Loki would have been free, and in possession of the Tesseract.
Fans were never privy what happened in this alternate universe. Until now.
We soon find out that Loki transported himself to the remote Gobi Desert in Mongolia where he encounters locals. He is on his way to bending them to his will. That is until armor-clad agents appear through portals, subdue him, and take him into custody.
After a very informative and at times hilarious montage, we learn that Loki has been taken to the Time Variance Authority (TVA).
The TVA is the enforcement vehicle for the Time-Keepers, ancient beings whose sole purpose is to “dictate the proper flow of time”. They call this proper timeline the “Sacred Timeline”. The TVA is charged with apprehending, trying, and persecuting “Variants”, or beings that deviate from the Sacred Timeline (i.e. Loki).
Loki meets Agent Mobious, a hunter of particularly dangerous Variants. Mobious begins to show Loki scenes from his past, as well as his future along the Sacred Timeline. He is exposed to scenes Marvel fans are very familiar with, including Loki’s aforementioned demise at the hand of Thanos. All with the end goal of helping Loki discover his “glorious purpose”.
After an action-packed escape attempt and Loki’s ultimate acceptance of his situation, Agent Mobious makes him an offer to join him on a mission.
One that involves a major twist.
I will say it right away. This is the return that Loki deserved. There was so much packed into this episode, but it didn’t feel rushed at all. Director Kate Herron and head writer Michael Waldron put on a masterclass in bringing viewers up to speed on extremely complex topics (time travel, time-keepers, sacred timelines) in a clear and concise, yet thorough way. The episode is entertaining, informative, hilarious, and delightfully weird at times.
Tom Hiddleston is back and at the top of his game, bringing that classic wit, humor, and passion back to the Loki we all know and love.
And the addition of Owen Wilson as Agent Mobious looks like it’s going to be the perfect casting. The two feed off each other, and bring a level of humor to the show that works so well.
It’s clear that this show is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions as well, especially when it comes to Loki. He is already forced to question his motives, consider the concept of fate vs. free will, and face the consequences of his actions. And that’s just in the first episode!
“Glorious Purpose” was an excellent start to this highly anticipated production, and set viewers up for what’s certain to be an incredible addition to the MCU.
Episode two will premiere next Wednesday, June 16 exclusively on Disney+.