Episode one of Loki, Glorious Purpose, lays down the law and changes the rules of the MCU within its first twenty minutes. And it's an absolute stylistic and comedic delight. I can already tell I'm going to love this series.
The episode begins where Avengers: Endgame left off with Loki - New York, 2012. Loki has just gotten his hands on the Tesseract due to the Avengers' mishap and promptly uses it to disappear. And I know we've seen that bit before (a dozen or so times if you've watched Endgame as much as I have), but seeing the series start out this way put a huge grin on my face. After that, we follow Loki across space to Mongolia, where his first instinct upon encountering the local inhabitants is to find a big rock to stand on and reassert his glorious purpose. In a valley of flat desert, he who stands on the biggest rock is king, hmm?
I was surprised at how little of Loki's antics we saw before the Time Variance Authority showed up to handle this divergence in the timeline. Immediately after attempting to assert his dominance from a big rock in the desert, Loki is confronted by the TVA and quickly taken into their custody. The rest of the episode then, at least so far as this Loki variant is concerned, takes place within the bizarre, beautifully designed office space of the TVA.
The TVA HQ is 70s pastiche with earthy tones of brown and orange, comprised of rigid corridors and paths indicative of their tight beaurocracy, beyond which we see what appears to be an infinite space with a retro-futurism inspired aesthetic that is just gorgeous! It's here that we get the second mention in the MCU of Nexus events and a reference to a multiversal war that - hey, could that be a hint towards a Secret Wars event in the MCU's future? We also learn of the Time-Keepers and sacred timeline. It is the TVA's responsibility, appointed by the Time-Keepers, to preserve this sacred timeline, from which Loki's escape in 2012 was a divergence. But a more sinister, more mysterious character still is apparently jumping through time and causing further disruptions to the timeline, threatening to create a multiverse that could lead to the aforementioned multiversal war... and Secret Wars? Seriously, could Marvel be setting up a cinematic Secret Wars?
Mobius, seemingly one of the TVA's top brass, decides that this Loki variant might be able to help with this emerging threat. Played by Owen Wilson, with heaps of sincerity, he and Tom Hiddleston's Loki have fantastic on-screen chemistry.
Big metaphor guy. I love it. Makes you sound super smart.
I am smart.
Something about that interaction, the way that Mobius controls the exchange by gently prodding Loki's arrogance but not rising to it and being absolutely honest with him - Loki is smart, a fact Mobius knows without Loki's theatrics and metaphors. Owen Wilson's sincerity and calm authority, and Tom Hiddleston's confusion are great character beats that establish what I think is going to be a fantastic dynamic between the two characters all season.
After an attempted escape leads to Loki's discovering that the TVA uses Infinity Stones (which they have dozens of) as paperweights, Loki appears to realise that the TVA are a power not to be trifled with. And after seeing his future play out and a moment of self-reflection, he takes an interest in Mobius' agenda - why ask for Loki's help?
The variant we're hunting is... you.
I beg your pardon?
Throughout time, another Loki variant wreaks havoc on the sacred timeline and Mobius wants to recruit Loki to the TVA to help stop him... or her. We see no more than the hooded silhouette of this mysterious Loki variant, leading to speculation that it is a Lady Loki out there disrupting the timeline. Loki is an established shape-shifter in the MCU, and a frequent gender-bending one in the comics and Old Norse folklore.
Whatever the series holds, I'm hooked. I cannot wait for episode two! But wait we must; you can find a countdown to the next episode right here!