*Warning: This piece contains spoilers for episode one of Loki*
And just like that, Loki is back in all his mischievous glory. The Loki cold open cuts back to when we last saw Loki (Tom Hiddleston): 2012 New York. We see, again, the Avengers try to take the Tesseract for their own mission to stop Thanos, but a poorly timed moment of Hulk’s rage puts an end to that plan. The Tesseract is knocked out of its case and it of course slides right into Loki, who uses it to escape.
Now, after that scene in Avengers: Endgame, we were left wondering where Loki had gone to. The answer to that is revealed to be the Gobi Desert. We can immediately tell by the way he interacts with the nearby locals and speaks to them how he’s “burdened with glorious purpose” that this is not the newer Loki we’ve come to know through Thor: Ragnarok and the beginning Avengers: Infinity War (and even Thor: The Dark World). We see through this, and as he is being arrested and held by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), who also subsequently set a reset charge, that this is 2012 Loki indeed. Unreasonable, unruly, and burdened with purpose.
By Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), Loki’s taken through the many twists and turns of the TVA: decontamination, signing to verify every word he’s spoken, a machine that melts robots, and lastly, grabbing a ticket and waiting in a line. He watches a very animated video about the Sacred Timeline, Time-Keepers, and variants.
We then jump to 1549 France where TVA Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) is on the case of another escaped variant (and boy is it fun to see this man finally in the MCU). As he and his team are about to set a reset charge and leave, Mobius is notified that the TVA has apprehended Loki.
We jump back to Loki, who is now standing trial for his crimes before Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). He pleads guilty to being the God of Mischief and to finding the proceedings incredibly tedious, but does not claim guilt for any crimes. Loki blames his actions on those of the Avengers because of their time travel (which he deduced by the smell of two Tony Stark’s colognes), but learns that their time travel was meant to happen, whereas his was not. His hearing is interrupted by Mobius, who takes Loki to the Time Theater to try to interview him (to see what makes Loki tick) and to look at his past. This includes the confirmation that it was Loki who was the plane hijacker D.B. Cooper (the name being the media’s pseudonym for the man).
Loki escapes from Mobius and tries to enlist the help of a TVA clerk. In his attempt to flee, Loki opens the drawer where the evidence is housed. He seizes the Tesseract, but also discovers many duplicates of Infinity Stones in the same drawer. The clerk reveals that they use those as paper weights sometimes, and Loki realizes that he and his precious stones have no power at the TVA.
Loki goes back to the Time Theater and views his would-be future. This future includes the death of his mother Frigga, inadvertently caused by him, his eventual bonding with his brother Thor, and even his death at the hands of Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. Mobius finds Loki and confirms to him that he can’t go back to his timeline. Loki agrees to help Mobius pursue a notorious variant, who Mobius reveals to be Loki.
The first episode of this series was very character diven, but also moved the story forward. It did a remarkable job of setting up the universe of the show, as well as introducing characters. Tom Hiddleston always excels as Loki. Owen Wilson is already poised to be a fan favorite in the role of Mobius. Even Wunmi Mosaku and Gugu Mbatha-Raw play their parts, although brief, very well in this episode. If the next five episodes follow even remotely in the footsteps of this one, Loki is truly going to be something else.
You can stream Loki now on Disney+