A Look At Loki: Episodes 1-3

It’s been almost a decade since The Avengers (2012) came out, and since that fateful day little thirteen year old me saw it in theaters, Loki has been my favorite Marvel character. Now, Marvel has finally put out a show all about the god of mischief himself, and I am so amped.

Before we continue, I must give you your OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING. Got it? Okay, good.

I had no idea what to expect from this show. I didn’t know what it would be about, what it would entail, or which characters would be involved. So when I found out that the entire premise is time travel-related, my excitement for the show plummeted. If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I hate time travel, especially in regards to Marvel and DC. I also hate multiverses! So, yeah, bit of a bummer that the entire premise revolves around a time-authority-organization that uses time travel to prevent multiverses from happening.

However, I stuck it out, because my love for Loki knows no bounds. And honestly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far! Despite not liking the premise and the idea of The Timekeepers as a whole, the characters, humor, cinematography, choreography of fight scenes, and use of color are so fun and engaging.

Loki is a fantastic character as is, but what’s special about him in Loki is that it seems like the writers are finally writing him for the audience he has rather than the audience he was initially aimed at. What do I mean by this? It feels to me like the Loki from The Avengers was someone written for edgy teenage boys, sort of like a Joker-type character that makes you “really think about society.” The Loki that is portrayed in Loki is more like a fun, chaotic, and sometimes downright silly ball of mischief and charm. He’s written more for the villain-loving Millennial girls who wrote fanfiction on Wattpad in their youth (definitely NOT speaking from experience).

Everyone knows the only thing better than one Loki is two Lokis! However, Sylvie is honestly pretty different from Loki, and seeing a new take on a character that’s been around for the past decade is super interesting. Watching her and Loki interact is also really neat; seeing them trying to outsmart each other, out-fight each other, be more “Loki” than the other. The interestingness of their dynamic only grows when they actually start to get along and learn more about each other. Watching them open up to one another and getting more of Loki’s backstory, about how his mother used to make fireworks over the water, seeing Loki sing, and Loki being confirmed as the beautiful bi boy he is was so awesome.

And then we have Mobius. Mobius is interesting because he kept wanting to give Loki chances when no one else would. He saved Loki from being reset, and continued to vouch for him even after Loki did a bunch of stuff wrong, like stalling the mission in the 1980s. Why would he keep sticking his neck out for Loki, someone who is notorious for lying and stabbing people in the back? Sure, Loki proves useful now and again, like how he discovered that the variant was hiding in catastrophes. But is his cleverness enough of a reason to keep him around for all the trouble he causes?

I think Mobius sees in Loki what no other character does. He isn’t really a villain. Mobius knew that Loki didn’t actually like hurting people, that Loki has a heart underneath all that mischief and trickiness. Sure, he’s a bit of a bastard most of the time, and he’s done some bad stuff (okay, a lot of bad stuff), but he isn’t truly evil.

His biggest issue throughout the Marvel movies is that he believes he is “burdened with glorious purpose”. But Loki knocks him off his high horse in the very first episode. Once Loki sees his death, he realizes the whole “glorious purpose” thing was ridiculous, and reassesses his goals and decisions. I think seeing his own death fundamentally changed him as a whole. I also think that Loki seeing all the Infinity Stones at the TVA gave him perspective and made him realize that the TVA is no joke, and there are bigger things in this universe than him and his plans.

Aside from Loki himself, the show has great humor. It’s very reminiscent of Thor: Ragnarok. In my opinion, Thor: Ragnarok, while funny, has a bit too much bathos in it, but Loki hasn’t seem to run into that problem yet. Loki has always been a funny character, or at least witty, but what really makes Loki funny in Loki is his reaction to situations rather than any intention to actually be clever or witty.

The first three episodes were a bit slow, if we’re being honest, but I have high hopes for the rest of the series now that they’ve got the info-dumping and premise-set-up out of the way. This line of thinking is supported by the fact that episode three was definitely the best yet. Plus, there’s nothing like a catastrophic-world-ending cliffhanger to keep you watching!

Other than that, I don’t have a whole lot to say about the show since it’s only the first three episodes, but I can’t wait to see what direction they decide to take the show in. I’ve really been enjoying it so far! If Marvel kills Loki ONE MORE TIME I SWEAR-

Anyways, are you a fan of Loki? What do you think of the show so far? Do you think Loki will eventually be able to meet The Timekeepers? Do you think Sylvie is the new and improved version of Loki or can nothing beat the original? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

-AMS

25 Comments on “A Look At Loki: Episodes 1-3”

  1. Loki, by far, has been the best Marvel character for me. The inner conflict and how it plays out within the Marvel Universe was never used to its potential, so I’m happy to see it here, watching his understanding grow and expand.

    And totally the original Loki, with his limitless charm and mischief.

    I’m with you on this, Athena. Looking forward to the rest of the series (please let there be a second round).

  2. I’m enjoying the show, but partly because (and I know this sounds weird) I care less about this one. I anticipated Falcon and Winter Soldier, because Bucky Barnes is my ride or die, and I was into WandaVision for the structure and storytelling. With Loki, I’m just here for the fun and, in that, it’s not disappointing.

    Loki has never been one of my favorite characters in the MCU, and thank you for putting the why into words for me. I’m not the “who” the movie Loki was written for. I adore the Loki that I read in fanfic, though. And I’m very much liking the Loki we get in the show. Yes, the God of Mischief should be charming and mischievous and a trickster, and that’s finally what we get in the show.

    I have theories about Mobius – and they’re all probably wrong because the MCU definitely doesn’t listen to me about what should happen!

  3. Great recap. I agree, though I found the only the first episode slow, owing to how much exposition it had. I felt like they were trying to borrow an earned enthusiasm by showing us clips of all the “Loki’s greatest moments.” As I am a fan of time travel and the multi-verse, I was intellectually engaged by the first episode but not emotionally attached to it. But by episode two I was totally onboard, and absolutely overjoyed when Loki started singing. Like you, I hope they don’t kill Loki again now that he’s back. And I don’t believe the Sylvie is Loki. I think she’s someone else.

  4. I want to note that Loki’s first MCU appearance is in Thor, from 2011. We get a sympathetic view of him there—growing up in Thor’s shadow, discovering he was adopted from an alien race the Asgardians view as enemies.

    This softens the malice of his actions in Avengers. He’s not just a one-dimensional egotist who thinks he should rule the world. He’s a tragic figure trying to reclaim his self image, who has lot all perspective.

    This is what allows us to like Loki at his worst (plus Hulk smashing the “puny god” lets us laugh at him).

  5. The dislike for time travel as a narrative construct is understandable; I have similar feelings about zombies. I’m just tired of them as an antagonist.

    We are enjoying Loki and curious to see where it goes. The diversion onto the moon/planet catastrophe was a nice touch.

  6. I caught Episode 4 early this morning. It put an interesting twist on some of the early themes of the show, which any good second act should. (It’s no coincidence that the number of episodes in every Marvel show is a multiple of three.)

    I’m enjoying Loki on multiple levels. Loki is most interesting when bouncing off other characters. The Loki/Mobius and Loki/Sylvie scenes are the best of the series. The art direction and music have been top-notch. The third and fourth episodes would make a good Doctor Who arc with two charismatic Doctors.

    I also never realized how athletic and tall Tom Hiddleston is. According to IMDB, he played rugby at Cambridge. He spends so much screen time with Chris Hemsworth that he seems small by comparison.

  7. I’m enjoying it not as much yet as the last few episodes of WandaVision, but it’s fun. I didn’t get Doctor Who vibes so much in episode 3 as a more candy-colored Blade Runner. But the TVA is totally the bureaucracy from Brazil. Hinting that maybe Sylvie isn’t totally wrong in her mission.

  8. Haven’t seen the show yet. Just wanted to chime in that I’m with you 100% on disliking time travel and (especially) multiverses. In the DC universe in particular this has led to numerous reboots and retcons (which I also hate) to the point that every time I feel like I get to know a character they come up with a different origin story for her. Although it has its own set of difficulties, I really appreciate the effort that Star Trek goes to to make sure events in their stories conform to “canon.”

  9. Someone made a comment on Twitter that stuck with me about this show. ‘It’s basically Dr Who, isn’t it?’. Which I totally agree with. I am not saying that’s a bad thing even though I personally noped out of Dr Who a while back (burnout, not choice of Dr). However, the same bravura energy is on show here with a certain disregard for the supposed constraints of time travel stories.

  10. I didn’t get the Doctor Who vibe but so many others have I wouldn’t deny it. However, what I do think is that while adult dramas have been amazing for a while (Sopranos, Mad Men, GoT for while, etc…), Disney+ has really upped the bar for family friendly genre entertainment, and when Doctor Who comes back it really needs to up its game.

    On Sylvie–don’t get too close! They made a point of having Loki pause and look at all the people being abandoned by the ark and say “They’re just going to leave all these people to die” or something similar, while Sylvie showed no compassion, and also, she evaporated two TVA agents (even knowing their origins!) without remorse, whereas when Loki fought he never killed any agents. I think this difference may become important in upcoming episodes!

  11. I wonder if Mobius is something of an homage to Jean Giraud in addition to be a reference to the eternal and cyclic nature of time. I’d like it if he was.

    Other than that, I think he might be a Loki himself, only he doesn’t know. And he might well have a plan hatching in the back of his altered memories to make use of this Loki to further his own designs. That would be a very Loki thing to do.

  12. Aside from pretty much everything you said–I adore the look of this show. The production designer should get Awards. Multiple. The look of the TVA, in particular–from the run-down-1960s-movie-palace decor to the style of the 1960s educational videos–is so funny, so spot on, so redolent of bureaucracy and a time that time forgot that every time I see it I am impressed anew. Even the casting director gets into it: the rank-and-file personnel at the TVA are a collection of great, slightly skewed faces.

    And then there’s Hiddleston. It’s all a win.

  13. I’m loving the show because of Loki itself, the rest…
    Lets say I was never a huge Marvel fan so while I find some of the movies fun, others are just boring empty action flics.
    Loki however touches the right buttons, it’s fun, chaotic and I’m not sure where it’s headed which is great.
    My main complains so far are:
    – The TVA (Umbrella Academy again? When does Fives appear?)
    – The casual deaths of the security forces which so easily overcome Loki in Episode I and then just appear to loose all capabilities and are easy pickings.

  14. I love time travel/multiverses and I’m generally a Marvel fan, plus I’m watching this with my two daughters (who have definitely written a fanfic or two, probably not specifically about Loki though) which makes it even more fun. 3 episodes in and still enjoying it.

  15. My love for Loki comes out of Norse mythology and reading rather than the Marvel universe. I haven’t watched the show, but since you’re a Loki fan, too, I wanted to branch out into another medium with him and recommend an author to you… you might want to check out the “I Bring the Fire” series by C. Gockel. I would also recommend Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology as well as Anansi Boys for a different tradition of trickster god. I assume those are already on your radar, but if not, they;re great reads!

  16. I think early Loki suffered from the early MCU’s villain problem; they had a lot of issues with having interesting villains. Loki in Thor comes the closest to being a decent villain, as his motivations are sympathetic and not just mustache twirling like the rest of phase one. But then come Avengers he feels extremely shoehorned in as a “I am bad and want to do bad things” style villain. Now, this is a reference to the first Avengers comic, as they come together to stop Loki and in those days Loki was just evil for evil’s sake. The more modern depiction of the unfavored child with self esteem issues that Tom Hiddleson plays so well wasn’t even a blip on the horizon. And come Thor 2 we have a much better realization of Loki.

  17. I’m enjoying “Loki” the show, but I’ll admit it’s a bit disorienting to have a main character who’s essentially a Rorscharch test. I personally am rooting for the storyline to reveal that he may be mischevious, but he’s basically a good guy who has an actual plan that doesn’t actively involve screwing living, breathing people over. But… that involves certain assumptions about when he’s lying, when he’s telling the truth, and when he’s improvising vs. role-playing to manipulate vs. carrying out a larger plan. So… I can assume things one way, and see what I want! Or I can go the other way, and think MAN it’s depressing how close this selfish jerk can get to being someone I admire, only to disappoint me by returning to his basest pleasure-seeking form.

    For me, Time Travel the time travel aspect is like the Dreft in Pacific Rim – a perfectly fine premise if you promise not to think about it too hard, but a total trainwreck the minute you try to use observations about the universe and its rules to make future predictions. I’m looking forward to episode 4 tonight, and I am curious as to how self-consistent the “sacred timeline” plot will (or won’t) be at the end.

    My biggest complaint with the show is probably the number of TVA agents (and planet dwellers) who have managed to physically overpower Loki. I’m hoping that’s part of a larger story arc, and not just Disney/Marvel Retconning Loki’s physical strength. Tom Hiddleston is an amazing actor – and I can suspend a lot of disbelief in a time-traveling show about a Norse God whose brother is a superhero – but even I didn’t buy the acting when the TVA agents were pushing Loki around in the courtroom. It’ll be interesting to see if that was intentional.

  18. The BEST Loki, is, of course, Squirrel Girl’s Loki. Complete with his Nancy Whitehead stanning. (The best Thor, obviously, is Cat Thor.)

  19. If Marvel kills Loki ONE MORE TIME I SWEAR-

    You should have waited another episode before writing this blog post ;-).

  20. I think a lot of the appeal of Loki is that nothing goes right for him. He’s the Charlie Brown of the MCU. Hawkeye never misses, but in The Avengers (2012), Loki catches his arrow in mid-air smugly. Then it explodes in his face and knocks him off the jet. He’s about to unleash some god-like wrath on the Hulk, but then he’s tossed around like a ragdoll. The rug always gets pulled out from under him. Combine that with byronic hero traits and you have one appealing character.

    And I think you’re right — what “Loki”‘s doing different is taking out the misogynist traits (e.g. “mewling quim”) and making him learn humility.

  21. I found the latest show funny just for the “Time Loop Jail” part alone – Loki cutting off Sif’s hair is part of the original mythos. Gaiman’s book on Norse mythology had Sif complain to Thor, who immediately blamed Loki, When asked why, Thor said that when something bad happened, he always blamed Loki first, as he found it “saves ever so much time”.

  22. Not a time-travel fan here, because so often it’s simply a lazy way to set up multiple big action sequences and Moments of Drama which then get wiped out and nothinged. Not at all sure I can trust Marvel to not do that here.

    I love Tom Hiddleston as Loki and thought the scene in the bar on the train was the best thing about episodes 1-3 (aside from the production design, which is A+).

  23. Am I the only person who relates Loki to the Coyote god in Native American cultures of the Southwest? Trickster you can’t trust not to go wild and crazy, even tho at the end it usually all works out for the best?

    I can’t remember the names of the books (I’m terrible with names!) but there are a ton of fantasy and sci-fi books with major roles for Coyote.

    We don’t have enough bandwidth to work serious video watching via our Internet connection, we’re doing well to get a tiny bit of Rachael Maddow’s news show mostly via just audio, so my exposure to superheros is either reading a book or going out to a movie theater, which theater-going has been off limits since the Trumpian Plague got going so well.

    Glad you’re enjoying the show, though!

  24. “If Marvel kills Loki ONE MORE TIME I SWEAR-”

    One hopes you didn’t kick your TV in before you had the chance to view the credits…

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