If you thought you had seen the last of Thor’s favorite adopted evil sibling, you thought wrong. The God of Mischief is back and now it’s his time to shine as he steps into the time machine that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the “Loki'' series debut, fans start off where they’ve seen him before — taking the Tesseract from the Avengers after the Chitauri invasion in New York in 2012, and disappearing into thin air. He wakes up in the middle of the Gobi Desert only to be taken in by the Time Variance Authority, also known as the TVA, the official introduction to time travel in the MCU.
Time travel is not rare in the MCU. In “Avengers: Endgame,” we see the world’s mightiest heroes traveling back in time in order to save the universe from Thanos’ devastating snap in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
This time, Loki must work with the TVA, an organization that works behind the scenes across the universe to preserve the Sacred Timeline. In simpler terms, they have to preserve the natural order of events everywhere.
In this new section of the MCU, Loki discovers that things aren’t as they seem, and the infinity stones he has yet to encounter are used as paper weights.
His alliance with Agent Mobius, played by Owen Wilson, adds comedic relief to the show, but so far, their relationship is basic. Mobius is smart, but Loki is clever, so it’s easy to anticipate when Loki has something up his sleeve.
In their first meeting, Mobius shows Loki his past, present and future, expecting to see some kind of reaction; resulting in Loki seeing his final moments as they were detailed in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Mobius wants to understand Loki, and why he did, does and will do what he did, does and will do.
While Loki is confused for the entirety of the first episode about where he is and why he can’t go back to his life of mischief, Mobius has a different job for him.
The first episode explains — or at least tries to — the meaning behind the Sacred Timeline, the TVA and its creators, the Time Keepers— something fans of the films haven’t seen yet.
The show’s villain is Loki, but not the original version, a variant as they call it. The TVA is in charge of taking care of the Sacred Timeline, but also making sure there aren't variants (or people) causing trouble and creating other timelines, as Miss Minutes, a cheery cartoon, explains.
This new variant has been murdering Mobius’ agents, so Loki is recruited to find out how to catch them. In the second episode, viewers finally see the fruits of their alliance, and they get close to catching the variant — a version of Loki.
Loki confesses his plan to the variant and their connection is clear, but the variant seems to be smarter and darker than the original Loki, a good balance to their already similar traits.
The show does a very good job of showing fans and first-time watchers a fresher side of the MCU’s beloved antagonist. His cleverness makes a good ally in the second episode, but it’s hard to figure out if he’s in it for himself or for the bigger cause.
The show wants fans to root for Loki, but it also wants them to question what they think they know about the MCU and Loki himself.
At the end of the second episode, the danger to the Sacred Timeline is imminent, with the variant revealing themselves, and Loki joining their cause, whatever that may be.
Tom Hiddleston’s charming rendition of Loki has always been a good one to look out for in past Marvel movies, but this time, Disney and Kevin Feige have made sure we see a lot more of Loki’s sense of humor, smart arrogance, cleverness and his god-like humanity.