Loki Episode 1 Recap
Last we saw of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), he had just escaped Avengers tower in New York immediately following his invasion after time-traveling Avengers allowed him to get his hand on the Tesseract. The OTHER last time we saw Loki was his death at the hands of Thanos who also was trying to get his hands on the Tesseract. In others words, time-travel is wild.
The first episode picks up where 2012 Loki left-off with him escaping the Avengers whereas he’s then immediately picked up by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) who reset the timeline and then usher him off to a vast world that presumably lives outside of time and space. The TVA are a bureaucratic organization, time cops essentially, who work to keep the flow of the “sacred timeline” on its destined path.
Loki is almost erased from existence by the TVA officers when Mobius (Owen Wilson) intervenes on his behalf in order to get Loki to help him capture a variant fugitive who is killing off Minutemen (the TVA officers). After much back and force, this Loki discovers what ultimately becomes of him by the hands of Thanos and must come to terms with the smallness of himself within the grand scheme of the universe. The episode then ends with a mysterious figure – who might be another variant Loki – killing several Minutemen.
I originally wasn’t too excited for Loki when it was first announced. There’s just so many other Marvel characters I enjoy more than Loki. I very much enjoyed both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier but they both also had their ups and downs in storytelling. To my surprise, however, Loki has kicked off with what I consider a near-perfect opening. We’re only one episode in but if this show can continue this strongly for five more episodes we might be looking at a new modern classic for the MCU and the live-action superhero genre.
Tom Hiddleston remains at the top of his game with this character that he’s helped to cultivate for the last decade plus as we’ve watched both him and Loki grow right in front of us. By the end of this episode gone is the young god who wanted to take over Asgard and Earth and in front of us lies this muddled pool of a messy man who realizes that he cannot exist for greatness, but maybe he can create it.
Owen Wilson’s Mobius is already one of my favorite characters. He has this Kirby-crackling chemistry with Hiddleston that makes the pair an instance classic duo. I never thought about the MCU with Wilson in it but now I can’t imagine it without him. For me, he’s that good right out of the gate. Of course, there’s a lot of strong writing in this episode too. Michael Waldron deftly pulls from the greater MCU and comics to bring together a fun introduction to this universe if you’re brand new but also allows for longtime fans to get an incredible amount of enjoyment from it as well.
Kate Herron’s direction is really fun and full of so many funny sight gags – many of which are blink and you’ll miss it but very rewarding for multiple viewings – and there’s a lot of good symbolism scattered throughout the episode as well. Such as towards the beginning when we see a bug crawling in the sand first seen through a confined reflection before then watching as it discovers the greater expanse of the world around it (I am NOT the first person to point this out, it’s a really good example).
And Natalie Holt’s musical score is just too good for words. Many fans have lamented that the MCU as a whole doesn’t have enough stand out music that feels intricate to each character or film. It all kind of blends together. I think Phase 4 is hellbent on fixing that issue because so far the Disney+ shows have had really strong themes and interior tracks, and Loki is the most stand out of them all yet with this eerie X-Files type sort of vibe. I love this soundtrack so far and I can’t wait to see what we get in the upcoming episodes.
As far as supporting cast goes, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, and Tara Strong all fill out a stellar round table of funny and formidable foils for Loki. From Gugu’s Ravonna Renslayer who doesn’t hesitate at all to condemn Loki to erasure. Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15 who is an absolute treat of no bullshit authority who continues to give Loki crap throughout the episode. Eugene Cordero’s incredibly hilarious Casey who doesn’t know what a fish is and I hope gets to go on at least one adventure with Loki as a sidekick. They’re very good together. And finally Tara Strong who’s voice acting royalty and plays the innocent seeming at first but actually very threatening feeling upon further inspection Miss Minutes who is a 2D animated clock and who gives us the brief rundown of the history of the TVA.
If the whole show continues this strong Loki himself may in fact, finally, be headed on a path to glorious purpose.
This was a SUPER STRONG episode and I’m very, very excited to see what comes next. Loki comes out weekly on Wednesdays in order to give space to Lucasfilm’s The Bad Batch. If you haven’t yet I fully recommend checking this show out. There’s gonna be six episodes total so it won’t be a huge time investment at least.
Observations of the Sacred Timeline
- I love how this episode deals with the idea of free will and that it’s something we’ll be exploring going forward because if you take the concept of the “Sacred Timeline” at face value, that everything exists as it should happen, then it belittles everything that came before this show. However, I’m sure by the end of of this that whole concept will be blown wide open in a satisfactory way.
- The animation they use to explain the concept of variants and the timeline, such as pointing out there once upon a time was a multiversal war was sooo good.
- Loved the bit of time spent on Phil Couslon. I’m an Agents of SHIELD head and I think him and Mobius would get along really well.
- Also a bit sad they didn’t use that moment to perhaps push the canonicity of AoS, but nothing that was stated in scene was a lie either. As of season 5 of the show Coulson IS dead soooo.
- The Infinity Stones being used as paper weights is a very funny joke and an incredibly simple way to show just how powerful the TVA is.
- I hope we get to see the early 3rd millennium weapon again that we saw at the end of the episode. That was super cool looking.
- Speaking of, seeing Salina, Oklahoma pop up on the screen as someone who is from Oklahoma I continue to wonder why so many pop culture television likes to incorporate in some way. There’s nothing OK about Oklahoma. lol
- I’m still not a Loki superfan, but this was a great character study for him and I’m loving the continued use of of therapy and trauma exploration in Phase 4. It’s a very good place to take these characters that they begin discussing and confronting all these big changes to their lives.
- Owen Wilson is a gem. That is all.
- I’m curious if we’ll get a story arc for the Tesseract in this show. It’d be cool if it somehow became a sentient character all its own. Perhaps it becomes the comic character Singularity.
- The infinite cityscape of the TVA is incredibly cool.
Want more TV Reviews?
1. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier S01E01 Review and Recap
2. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier S01E02 Review and Recap
3. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier S01E03 Review and Recap
4. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier S01E04 Review and Recap