Time moves differently in Loki. Even if it’s slowed down or sped up, it’s a burst of creative fresh air. Funny, engaging, and full disarming charm, this Disney Plus series delivers all the fun of any Marvel production and then some.
This recap of Disney+ series Loki season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
The TVA (Time Variance Authority)
Loki picks up where he mysteriously left in the middle of Avengers: Endgame. While handcuffed, the Tesseract falls at his feet, and he picks it up, transporting himself to the middle of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. There, a police force enters through a wormhole with TVA patches. They freeze time so Loki can’t escape and strap something around his neck that somehow limits his God-like powers.
It turns out TVA stands for the Time Variance Authority. Kind of like the TSA, but instead of screening human passengers who ride planes, they manage beings that create variances in time (this group of timeline monitors first appeared in Marvel Comics Thor Vol. 1 #372). They strip Loki down to his skivvies, put him in a TVA prisoner jumpsuit, and make him sign a form of every word he ever uttered. In one of the episode’s bests scenes, he gives a ticket to stand in a line of two people and watches a cute animated 1960s style Catch Me if You Can video explaining why the TVA does what it does. Time jumpers like Loki created variances for mundane reasons that have repercussions like intergalactic wars. Oh, and if you argue with the guard, they zap you to nothingness.
Loki visits the TVA judge (played by the fetching Gugu Mbatha-Raw). It’s sort of like being put on trial with no rights and defending your VISA in the United States. He has no lawyer, no evidence to exonerate himself, and creates some laughs for the gallery when he arrogantly tries to use his powers to escape. That’s when Captain Mobius (Owen Wilson) makes an appearance in the MCU for the first time.
We first meet Agent Mobius when he is investigating a church with a stained glass window of a devil (I’m still hoping it was Hellboy). He then gets an alert the TVA has an interesting find, and many do not know who they have in their possession — the God of Mischief himself.
Mobius, a middle-management Bureaucrat for the TVA (who’s a character in the comics more famous for pursuing the Fantastic Four for TVA violations). Loki was about to be “reset” after being offended that the timekeepers allow the Avengers to travel across time, but not himself when Mobius steps in. The judge let him have Mr. Mischief but tells him it’s on him if anything goes wrong.
Mobius gives Loki a history lesson that is meant to catch the viewer up if they forgot who the character is or if somehow you are new to the MCU. They go through how he killed Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) in Age of Ultron and multiple shots of the Avengers looking like heroes, snacks, or both. They even show a scene on how he was the real DB Cooper! This gets Loki jealous, feeling inferior. Then, Mobius puts the cherry on top, showing him killing his own mother. This sends Loki into a rage, where his new agent friend assesses him as the Fredo of his day. “You were born to cause pain, suffering, and death,” he tells him.
This man knows how to build rapport.
The Junk Drawer
Loki predictably escapes after Mobius leaves the room for a minute or two. He ends up in a room where reset variants’ possessions are kept for safekeeping; thrown in drawers, and long forgotten. When Loki threatens a staffer to give him the Tesseract, he finds it in a drawer. He pulls it out, placing it on the counter when something catches his eye, like opening up the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. He is staring at stones. Lots of them. A couple of dozen. And they are all Infinity stones. He realizes he is standing in the middle of the most powerful force in the MCU.
He ends up back in the interrogation room, and he rewinds the video file to see the last time he saw his mother (Renee Russo), father (Anthony Hopkins), and brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). And eventually to where the Demigod snapped his neck in an alternative time variance. It’s a tear-jerker. Then a laugh or two (it’s a labile laugh, by the way, Loki is a classic borderline personality).
Mobius enters the room where Loki looks defeated, realizing even Infinity stones have no power within the TVA. He can’t offer him his old life, but he can offer the God of Mischief some salvation. He wants to have Loki help him hunt a variance offender that is hunting down TVA agents known as the Minute Men (seems sexist to me, but this timeline seems to take place where Don Draper is still drinking a dark brown liquor and smacking the a*s of a secretary on a job well done).
But why Loki? Well, Mobius drops the shocker of the episode. The variant they are hunting is Loki. Jump back to the 1850s in Oklahoma, and some minute men jump through a window into a field. A hooded figure sees they have stepped into his trap and pulls a Braveheart. He lights a match, flames spread, and all four are killed.
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