Loki Season 1, Episode 1 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron
Directed by Kate Herron
I am one of those people that never got all the fans gushing over Loki. He’s a perfectly okay character, and it wasn’t until Thor: Ragnarok that I actually found him entertaining. Even in the comics, I just never found Loki a very compelling character. He feels very one-note to me and just works in the same repetitive cycle. With his death in Avengers: Infinity War, I supposed it was the end of the character in the MCU. However, Endgame had the Avengers traveling back in their own timeline and allowing a variant Loki to be created, one who shunted away with the use of the Cosmic Cube. This Disney+ series is where we find out where he went and what became of him.
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) transports himself randomly to the Gobi Desert. Once there, he’s accosted by armored officers of the TVA (Time Variance Authority). Loki is brought to their bureaucratic pocket reality where they oversee the flow of the core timeline, taking out anyone who deviates. This is all because of a tribunal of cosmic beings who stopped the madness of the multiverse and collapsed all realities into one. Before Loki is sentenced to deletion, he’s rescued by a TVA investigator named Mobius (Owen Wilson). It seems there is a killer loose in the timestream, taking out TVA agents when they come to correct his alterations. Mobius shows Loki how all his perceptions about himself are wrong and that he’s spent his entire life existing as a way for others to realize their great potentials while he fails. Loki watches a replay of both his past and future, even seeing his own eventual death at the hands of Thanos. Eventually, Loki is convinced and then learns the killer roaming the timestream is apparently himself.
It seems pretty clear to me that this show and Wandavision are all gearing up to set the table for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We know Scarlet Witch is set to be a key player in that film. Here we are introduced to the fact that a multiverse once existed but has since been eliminated. I am guessing that events here will lead to that film and other more significant developments in the MCU. I know Spider-Man: No Way Home seems to be hinting at some Multiversal elements. I also realized what the twist of this show will likely be already, which is a little frustrating, though I would love to be confident it will only go in one direction to subvert those expectations.
The first clue that keyed me into where this story will be going is the name of the TVA judge that Loki goes before, Ravonna. I knew that name and googled it, and sure enough, she was who I thought. Then there was the brief interaction between her and Mobius, which implied a possible current or former romantic connection. They definitely know each other, and there was a little more than a friendly familiarity there. Then we have the killer, who the show is strongly hinting is Loki, yet in the final scene, that character remains hooded. The killer has a good knowledge of the TVA, something this first episode makes explicit that Loki does not.
So my prediction is that Mobius is Kang the Conqueror. In the comics, Ravonna is his consort/lover. Kang is a very complicated supervillain in the Marvel Universe, and his entire gimmick is centered around the manipulation of time. Because of this, there is not one Kang but many; he has created variants of himself by tampering with the timeline too often. All versions begin as Nathaniel Richards, who in some realities becomes the father of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. Kang’s primary goal is to rule over the entirety of time, and of course, he is continually foiled. I suspect that Mobius wants to frame Loki as being responsible for these killings, but the TVA investigator, for some unknown reason, wants to end the order of the timeline.
However, Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) has officially been announced to play Kang in Ant-Man: Quantumania. This could mean Mobius is working for Kang, or the Ant-Man version of the character is another variant created by the chaos in the timeline. Because of Ravonna, Loki will have a connection to that next Ant-Man film and the overall direction of the next phase of the MCU. I am hoping this series proves to be better than the horrible The Falcon and Winter Soldier. I mean, it would have to be. I don’t think it could get worse than that mess.