Loki Season 1
If you want a spoiler-free review of Loki Season 1, check out this article. If you are looking for my promised spoiler analysis and thoughts on Season 1, you’re in the right place.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Loki Season 1, Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: The Dark World, and Thor: Ragnarok. Continue at your own peril.
Loki Season 1 was created by Michael Waldron and released in 2021. It can be streamed on Disney+.
First off, I want to say that I rated this show a 10 out of 10, so I am not going to bash it. I will, however, poke fun at parts that deserve it. That is not to say these parts are cons or mistakes. They actually add a lot to the oddness and intrigue that makes up Loki Season 1.
This season opens in New York in 2012, where Loki manages to procure the tesseract and escape the Avengers. My immediate reaction is, oh great. This is the Loki without all the character development of Avengers: Infinity War and all that happened after 2012. This is the undoing of Loki’s poignant death scene in Infinity War.
And for a moment, I was frustrated. Having an audience feel strongly about a character and then killing them off is not a bad choice for a writer most of the time. Bringing them back is almost always a bad choice becomes it leads the audience to believe future character deaths are reversible.
But Loki in this series is not the same Loki. Sure, it’s the same actor. Sure, he even has the same obsession with his glorious purpose. But this Loki is just another variant in a universe filled with different Lokis. The other Loki truly died, this one is a different (but similar) character with a different path.
What I appreciate from the 2012 New York scene is that the whole series was caused by Hulk being forced to take the stairs. Think about it. If Hulk hadn’t gotten frustrated about taking the stairs, Loki never would have gotten the Tesseract and teleported.
Which brings us to the next scene, where Loki is lying in the sand of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Everyone keeps talking about how this scene is remarkably similar to another one in the Iron Man movie.
The TVA (Time Variance Authority) find Loki there and proceed to hit him, but also slow him to 1/16th time. So we get to see the strike’s effects in super slow motion and it looks super painful and weird. This would actually be a pretty effective form of torture since even quick strikes would have their effect stretched out much longer. No doubt the TVA uses those tactics for sketchy stuff, because even from the beginning they give off weird vibes.
At the TVA headquarters, Loki is treated like a product in an assembly line. A bot destroys Loki’s clothing, showing how carelessly and intrusively the TVA treats people. The bot even twitches, so it probably isn’t well-maintained and safe. It kind of reminds me of that scene from Thor: Ragnarok where Thor gets his haircut.
He’s next told to “Please sign to verify if this is everything you have ever said.” There is a compilation of papers that definitely could not be everything he ever said, because we all know Loki likes to talk. He even has to confirm he is an organic being, which confuses him to the point where he even wonders if people could not realize they were robots.
This does establish the business-like and cold atmosphere of the TVA. He even has to take a ticket even though he is the only one there.
Then we get an introduction to the kind of annoying yet unique and interesting Miss Minutes.
Even though I find her kind of creepy, I do think her character is well done. At times, she even seems sentient and shows emotions such as concern.
The cartoon where she is first introduced is old-fashioned and reminds me of the sort of thing Mystery Science Theater 3000 would make fun of.
We learn that the motto of the TVA is “For All Time. Always.” That doesn’t really make sense because the cartoon flat-out admitted that the TVA has not been around for all time. There used to be multiple timelines until they were merged and became one “sacred” timeline. The TVA only began its existence when the Time Keepers acted to create the single timeline.
Loki is then put on trial and asked how he pleads. To that he responds, “Madame, a god doesn’t plead.” This definitely isn’t true, since he “pleads” with Sif in a later scene to stop attacking him when he is caught in a time loop.
We get an explanation for why the Avengers’ journey through time was not punished in the same way Loki was. Apparently that was all went to be. The sacred timeline sure is convoluted.
Loki tries to use his powers, but they don’t work in the TVA. Lucky for them, because Loki is a pretty formidable foe to vanquish.
Mobius stops Loki from being pruned from existence because he has this odd obsession with Lokis in general and seems to enjoy playing therapist/mentor to narcissists. He asks Loki to trust him. Now that’s pretty ridiculous. I wouldn’t even trust Mobius, so why would the backstabber Loki be inclined to do so?
Trust is for children. And dogs.”Loki
Loki is then questioned extensively by the wanna-be therapist Mobius, who proceeds to show him a montage of some of his worst moments, including future moments he would have experienced. He gets to see that his choices got his mother murdered, which had to be more disturbing than the robot stripping him naked or existential concerns about the potential of being a robot.
Poor Mobius trying to squish a couple movies of character development into one presentation. Which, ironically, is similar to what my English professors had to do for the poor novels that only got one or two classes worth of discussion. (I feel like a good novel deserves at least a week.) I don’t know if Mobius thought it would convince Loki, but again, that wouldn’t have convinced me, since they could have used their high tech to create fake footage.
Loki is only really convinced to behave when he realizes that the TVA uses Infinity Stones as paperweights and that even the Tesseract is useless here. The revelation that the TVA is stronger even then the Tesseract is like a slap in the face to Loki, whose desire for world domination is damaged somewhat.
Loki is convinced to use his skills to hunt down another Loki. The first time they try to rely on Loki is at a medieval festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he mostly just wastes their time. Once again, the only team Loki is truly on is his own.
One thing I do love about this show is the settings–whether it’s a festival, the TVA, New York 2012…everything.
We get to see the variety of Loki variants that have been pruned soon afterwards, some of which look very different from our Loki.
Loki is the one who realizes how the other variant problematic Loki has been surviving and hiding–staying in areas where apocalyptic events are occurring does not upset the timeline.
It’s not until they track the alternate Loki down to a disaster in Haven Hills, Alabama in 2050, that Loki realizes that alternate Loki is a woman. (Big surprise. I mean, this was pretty obvious, very Disneyish move.) Not only that, she goes by the name Sylvie. No doubt to make it easier for people to understand who the heck is being talked about when the season is discussed. Not complaining. It makes it easier to review to have different names or nicknames for each character.
Loki follows Sylvie when she tries to escape and they hide in another cataclysm. They get a little bonding time where we get to see that not only are they both full of themselves, they also are highly skilled and possibly ship-able. Which is uncomfortable because they are basically the same person.
It gets even more obvious Disney is setting this up to be romantic when Loki shows off his dumb fireworks illusion and they talk about all they have in common, like being adopted, bisexual, and woefully misunderstood. (He was confirmed to be bisexual and genderfluid by Disney, so that’s cool. That makes a lot of sense considering the inspiration of Loki from Norse mythology, which he came off as genderfluid even though they didn’t have that terminology at the time.) Also, we get to see Loki dance and sing, which is hilarious and definitely deserved to be on the Marvel to-do list.
When Loki gets drunk and falls off a train, their one way home is destroyed and they have to come up with another idea on the spot, which also happens to not work because giant freakin’ chunks of rock are smashing into the earth and blasts apart their ride.
Luckily, their combined presence, and perhaps the uncomfortable fact that Loki is falling in love with another version of himself, alerts the TVA to their location, and they don’t die. Surprise, surprise.
Loki is banished to a time loop for awhile to think about what he done–time out for Loki, I suppose. In it, we see Sif, which is awesome, because it has certainly been a long time. He cut off her hair in the past because he thought it would be funny, which kind of explains why she has always hated his guts.
When Mobius finally takes him out and tells him that Sylvie is dead, you can see the shock register before he plasters it over with an apathetic look. But Mobius is a very good wanna-be therapist and understands Loki’s true emotions. Loki’s self-love has truly gone too far, because he has fallen in love with another Loki. I don’t think I’ll ever feel super comfortable with them being in any sort of relationship, but hey…it’s not really a con. It’s just another aspect of weirdness in an odd but brilliant show.
Mobius’s reaction is priceless, abashed at Loki’s incredible narcissism. That may be the funniest part in the whole season, honestly.
Loki tries to convince Mobius that all the TVA agents are variants, which is surprisingly not a lie. Mobius doesn’t believe him until he did some digging for himself, and then he tragically gets pruned by the order of Ravonna Renslayer. I found this death unconvincing.
What’s even more unconvincing? When Loki gets pruned himself after they find out the Time Keepers are fake. Yeah, Loki has “died” plenty of times already and I mean, at least we would still have Sylvie, right?
When Loki is pruned and meets the other variant Lokis, all I can think is alligator Loki? Alligator Loki? How could they even tell it was a Loki? How the heck did it start a nexus event? Are all animals variants of people, and if so should vegetarianism be the norm in the Marvel universe?
He’s oversensitive like the rest of us.”A Loki Variant
Also, the fact that Kid Loki’s nexus event was killing Thor–holy crap. Loki didn’t even manage that. In the end, he probably didn’t even want that. And this little kid murdered his brother? Yikes!
Sylvie prunes herself, because obviously the two uncomfortably similar lovers can’t be apart.
And the Lokis basically all backstab each other in a futile attempt at ruling a junk pile. The alligator eats President Loki’s (another Loki variant) hand, which is disgusting, but also gave the alligator Loki some vague purpose.
Sylvie, Mobius, and Loki all meet up to take down Alioth. Mobius gets the heck out of there and who could blame him? But first Loki hugs him, which shows how much the god of mischief has fallen, but is also kind of sweet.
Then Classic Loki (yet another Loki variant) sacrifices himself, and at this point the broadness and variety of Loki’s own personality is just insane, but okay.
Getting past Alioth only cost one Loki, so no biggie. Miss Minutes shows up like a freakin’ serial killer and tries to make a shady deal with them and they are like, um–no. Miss Minutes is creepier than Thanos. No joke.
Then they meet the actual He Who Remains, the real Time Keeper. And he’s eating an apple in a way that reminds me of Moriarty from Sherlock. Sylvie tries to kill him a bunch of times. Loki is not as keen on killing him.
The little detail that killing Kang the Conqueror–I mean He Who Remains (pretty sure everyone has determined he is Kang by now though)–will lead to multidimensional war, makes Loki hesitate. Especially since it means Kang will be alive anyway and multiplied a bunch of times.
Loki is a liar and can spot one, so he knows Kang is telling the truth. Sylvie trusts no one. At this point it’s super obvious Mr. Kang’s gonna die. The kiss was also expected but it seemed early and weirdly timed. I mean, if you are going to kill someone, why would you stop for a quick, passionate smooch? Maybe I just don’t understand love.
I don’t know what the right word is to describe two people who are basically the same person kissing? Is this coming close to incest? Or just narcissism at its worst?
Anywho, after all that kissing nonsense, Loki gets sent back through a portal to the TVA and Kang is killed by Sylvie. Loki ends up in an alternate timeline where Mobius has no idea who he is. That’s frustrating, and I have no idea where the MCU is going from here. But I am kind of excited to see what happens next.
These Disney+ series have impressed me so far. I am curious to see where the story goes from here. Let me know what you thought of Loki Season 1 in the comments, and as always, if you have any suggestions for reviews or analyses feel free to share.