If you didn’t have time to revisit the greatest hits of the God of Mischief before the Loki premiere, don’t worry because the episode takes both the audience and Loki on a journey through the highlights of his life — and death. Starting in 2012, in a flashback to Avengers: Endgame, Loki uses the Tesseract to catapult himself through the Sacred Timeline to the Gobi Desert. Thus begins his journey as a Variant.
Loki Revisits His Greatest Hits and Finds His Glorious Purpose
The first half of “Glorious Purpose,” the premiere of Loki, the Asgardian Prince finds himself hauled off to the headquarters of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) to atone for his past crimes and misdemeanors, and to stand trial for unwittingly becoming a Variant and deviating off his assigned path. Of course, he handles all of this with the wit, snark, and general disinterest that Loki has become infamously known for.
Loki’s journey through the Time Variance Authority was something like Doctor Who meets The Good Place, as he’s roughed up by Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and shuffled through the doldrums of nondescript office workers and stacks of paperwork.
Listen closely to Miss Minute’s spiel and you’ll hear “multiverse” and “madness” in close succession. A clever allusion to the larger story being established between Loki and Wandavision, paving the way to next year’s Sam Raimi blockbuster Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
At Loki’s trial, preceded over by Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) arrives to offer Loki a unique opportunity. Someone is killing his Minutemen and Mobius believes Loki is the key to finding this murderous variant. Mostly because Loki has a very close connection to the fugitive. This fugitive may also have something in common with D.B. Cooper.
While Hiddleston and Wilson’s on-screen chemistry will likely dominate the conversation (anyone who has seen Midnight in Paris knows they work well together) some of the best scene work in the premiere was the solitary moments where Loki felt the weight of his past, his failures, and his losses. Hiddleston pulled out all of the stops as he peeled away the layers of Loki’s narcissism and spiteful nature — instead, showing us the vulnerability that makes him such a compelling character.
The premiere set up a lot of long-range plots that, with any hope, Loki will explore in full. Namely, the Mobius’ scene with the French boy and the heavy-handed devil allusions (I mean, there was a giant stained glass window right behind them!) which will undoubtedly lead fans down a familiar Mephisto-sized theory hole.
Will Loki be able to avoid his predestined demise at Thanos’ hands or will his time assisting the TVA give him a glorious purpose, despite the implicit knowledge that he will still die at the end? With the lead-up to The Multiverse of Madness is there an alternative timeline where he can defy his preordained death without irrevocably wrecking the timeline? If Steve can go back and live out his best life with Peggy Carter, who’s to say Loki can’t dodge the rules of the Sacred Timeline?
Loki was a spectacular (and delightfully long) premiere that laid the groundwork for some truly weird and wonderful storytelling. While this isn’t the first Disney+ premiere to break the mold and deviate from the Marvel-typical storytelling structure, there is a glimmer of hope that it will stay the course and deliver something wholly new and unexpected for the franchise.
“Glorious Purpose” was, in part, a Keeping Up With the Laufeysons for casual audiences diving into the newest Marvel series, but it treated hardcore fans with worldbuilding and storytelling that hasn’t yet been seen in live-action.
Will six episodes of Loki be enough time to complete the journey we’ve set out on?