‘Loki’ Episode 1 Review – ‘Glorious Purpose’
The first episode of Loki is finally here! Let’s discuss it both in a non-spoiler and spoiler way.
The premiere, titled Glorious Purpose, was directed by Kate Herron and written by Michael Waldron (showrunner). If that scene in Avengers: Endgame was the perfect setup for a spin-off series if there ever was one, this show picks it up literally right after that. In fact, the show begins with them replaying the Loki escape, which leads into the TVA showing up right after he appears in a desert.
Thus far, the show is delivering on the promise of having a crazy adventure with lots of time bending plus the most charismatic character around. Tom Hiddleston shines brighter than he ever has as Loki, mostly due to the fact that he has more time than ever to explore all of the aspects of the character, and there are a lot of them. In this 45-minute episode, Loki manages to be as mischievous as always, funnier than ever before, and most of all, show us his more “human” side. This was quite an emotional ride for Loki, who always faces the challenges that come his way with a unique sense of humor. And he is faced with lots of truths and challenges in this episode, both physical and emotional.
Above all, Glorious Purpose tried to answer one question — why does this show exist? Or, in other words, why should we care for a show about a villain? But they don’t ask this question directly. Instead, a clever writer like Michael Waldron disguises the question inside another — why does Loki do what he does? It’s mischief in a show about the God of Mischief. This show promises to be one of the more interesting character studies in the MCU, while at the same time we are looking at a buddy-time-cop show.
A couple of final thoughts before we move into the spoiler territory. First of all, for those of you wondering, this is not a show you can show to someone who hasn’t seen any of the MCU. Marvel is playing the Disney Plus card to its fullest potential — while all of the theatrical movies except for Endgame, Civil War, and in some way Infinity War, have been accessible to anyone who hasn’t seen the rest, with these shows Marvel is assuming that anyone who wants to watch them has either done their homework or can do it at no extra cost on Disney Plus. This first episode heavily relies on your knowledge of both the character of Loki, his backstory, and a lot of context within the MCU.
Finally, in terms of structure, so far it looks like Loki will be following the same model as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. They break down the whole story of the season in three acts, and each one takes place over two episodes. The first half of the first act is this episode, which served as pure catch up from what has come before, and set up for what’s to come. By the end, we are briefly introduced to the antagonist of the series, much like John Walker popped up by the end of the first episode of Falcon. Next week, we’ll probably get a few more scenes with this antagonist, and maybe even the first confrontation between our protagonists, Mobius and Loki (Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston, respectively), and him.
Spoilers for Loki Episode 1
There are really not a lot of spoilers in this first episode, but there are certainly a lot of talking points. The best part of the episode was, by far, the extensive conversation between Owen Wilson’s character and Loki, before they were interrupted and the latter stole the remote control. While trying to figure out why Loki would be useful to his investigation (a.k.a. his hunt for another version of the God of Mischief, as we later learned), Owen Wilson gets to the heart of the character and makes him confront his darkest fears and inner demons. He starts off as thinking he’s still in charge, even though everybody from the TVA is telling him that this is not the case, that higher entities are in charge of everyone’s fates. Eventually, what brings him down is the realization that he is not the most powerful being out there when he sees his own death at the hands of a superior being, the Mad Titan himself.
We also had a brief encounter with Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, who answered some of the questions I personally had going in with a few provocative statements. According to her, Loki was apprehended for violating the timeline instead of the Avengers, who were the actual time travelers, because what they did was supposed to happen, instead of Loki’s actions, which were not. Now, from Loki’s point of view, really, what was his damage? Trying to escape? That would be a crime according to a different law, yes, but not really for the timekeepers. It is interesting that the one force that was capable of stopping him (except for Thanos, obviously) is the one that blames him for a crime that is not really their jurisdiction. I’m not saying there is a plothole here, but it’s certainly something thought-provoking.
It also raises the following question — if what the Avengers did was supposed to happen, why wasn’t Loki’s escape? If the beings that were able to control the flow of time did allow for the Avengers to go back in time and fix the Snap, why wouldn’t they think that Loki could escape? Time travel and causality violations always raise these types of questions that ultimately have no answer, so at some point, as an audience member, you just have to relax and enjoy the ride while nodding every time something doesn’t really add up.
Also, one of the most interesting parts of the episode was when Loki escaped and he found out that inside the desk of the receptionist there are not one, not two, but multiple Infinity Stones just waiting there for someone to pick them up and use them as paperweight. This raised the following question for me: if Loki truly wants to rule over everyone and is planning to escape from there, why didn’t he pick up five of them, along with the Tesseract? They are clearly useless inside the TVA, but they are certainly not useless outside. Now, clearly, Marvel is running away from the Infinity Stones story and shifting towards the idea of multiverses (more on this in a second), but the inclusion of the stones here does raise some eyebrows.
Here’s another very interesting scene, especially as far as the upcoming MCU storyline is concerned. Miss Minutes pops up in a Jurassic Park-esque animated video to explain to the audience what the TVA is, and what a multiverse means. Not only this takes ideas from WandaVision, but it directly ties into the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, especially with the words “multiverse” and “madness” in the same sentence. They are clearly setting up a huge war between the timelines, which we could be getting already this December, as characters from previous iterations of Spider-Man will supposedly be appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Tara Strong voiced Miss Minutes, by the way.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) June 9, 2021
The ending of the episode raised some questions as well. Even though Owen Wilson has already set up another deviant Loki to be the antagonist of the show, the director chose to keep the mysterious figure who encounters TV officers in the dark, with the hood on and no light showing us his/her face, even though there is a massive fire around. If that’s Loki, why didn’t they show him? If not, who is it?
We might find out next week, when the second episode of the series drops. So far so good, and after that ending, we are probably in for a buddy-cop comedy with time elements that will certainly be so much fun.
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.