Saturday, June 12, 2021

REVIEW: 'Loki' - Loki Finds More Power Than He Has Ever Seen Before When He Appears Before the TVA in 'Glorious Purpose'

Disney+'s Loki - Episode 1.01 "Glorious Purpose"

After stealing the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, Loki lands before the Time Variance Authority.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Disney+'s Loki.

"Glorious Purpose" was written by Michael Waldron and directed by Kate Herron

Loki has an endearing legacy as one of the more engaging and entertaining villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Viewers responded overwhelming to his presence from the very beginning. That was a decade ago as well. The character has been on quite a journey throughout the films. He is a crucial piece of Thor's ongoing development. He has had his own agency as well even though he mostly just welcomes chaos. He delights in that. Sometimes that tendency goes to the more lethal and autocratic. Other times it's playful and fun. It's clear that this television show with him at the center aims for more of the latter. Sure, it takes the viewer back in time to an entirely different Loki. This version of the character is the one who has just been defeated by the Avengers in New York City. This new variant was created because of the meddling in the timeline the Avengers did in order to undo the Blip. That action had the potential to create so many unforeseen consequences. It's hard to see the Time Keepers sanctioning that mission with the impossible certainty it could all be contained. So many variants could emerge. That's why the Time Variance Authority exists though. It serves to protect the master timeline that the Time Keepers have set. Sure, it gets into the discussion of the multiverse as well. That topic has become more frequent within several Marvel properties lately. If a show or film decides to pull the trigger on that concept, then it will have been sufficiently built up. Right now though, that venture is trying to be avoided at all costs. And yet, the TVA has a dangerous variant on the loose causing havoc and killing several of its elite units. At first, Loki is powerless to stop Hunter B-15. He doesn't understand the adversary he is going up against. Over the course of this premiere though, he better understands and adapts to the technology that now presents itself. The episode also showcases how this agency has more power than has ever been depicted in the MCU. Collecting all of the Infinity Stones took years for Thanos to accomplish. Whenever someone wielded that power, it would have dangerous consequences to their physical beings. That was true no matter who snapped their fingers and dramatically changed the world. And now, those stones are just in storage and seen as completely meaningless. Loki has the context to know just how much he should fear the power on display. He is a survivor above all else. He always finds a way to thrive. But he also has to endure a grueling therapy session where he is confronted with his past as well as the future path that is destined for him. Now, that glimpse at the future isn't really sanctioned. It's just a convenient plot device for this version of the character to undergo a significant development as the series kicks off. It's also incredibly telling while revealing the emotional depth he has when witnessing all of these tragic events one after the another. He witnesses the deaths of his parents as well as his own. He sees how his story is set to end. That's not the end of his file though. He always finds a way to evade death. He finds power in new ways. The TVA serves as that new opportunity for him. Agent Mobius sees him as a powerful asset who can shift the balance in the field. The rogue variant also happens to be Loki. As such, this story is all about him and the various personas he has held throughout this world. His story isn't set according to one specific path. He just adapts to whatever the situation requires him to be. He has been the villain. He has been the reluctant ally. He has been Thor's brother and champion. And now, he has the opportunity to redefine his identity. Mobius believes in him in a way no one else has ever shown. That is powerful. But again, all of this power in close proximity has the potential to awake more darkness that can't be easily controlled. That path seems destined as well based on the tease of the threat Loke also poses. He is both the protagonist and antagonist. That duality is perfectly on display even though this premiere throws a lot of exposition and high concept at the audience. It works because of Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson's grounded performances. They match the energy level of whatever the moment requires from levity to complete tragedy. That's a skill. One the creative team wields expertly too. And so, it should be fascinating to see the new depths that can be explored for a character who has already been featured so prominently in this expansive world.