DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Loki series premiere episode “Glorious Purpose” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome, variants! Marvel’s latest television outing, Loki, hath finally arrived! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling particularly burdened with glorious purpose today. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in; however, needless to say, I’m hooked. Tom Hiddleston seamlessly resumes his post as our favorite god of mischief, even imbuing Loki with surprising depth and nuance.
While I’m not a massive Owen Wilson fan, he churns in a believable performance as Agent Mobius. In fact, Hiddleston and Wilson have excellent chemistry. “Glorious Purpose” lays the vital groundwork for what I’m sure will be Marvel’s most eclectic installment yet.
Ready to delve into “Glorious Purpose”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open in New York City in 2012. Loki (Hiddleston) has been effectively captured by the Avengers. We see the same sequence of events from Avengers: Endgame take place here. Loki spots the Tesseract all by its lonesome on the floor. He swipes it and promptly disappears.
Next, our mischievous scamp winds up in Mongolia. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) crosses a materialized threshold and arrests Loki. B-15 escorts him to the Time Variance Authority headquarters. I love the antiquated feel of the TVA — it’s giving me 1970s vibes.
Loki undergoes a series of “onboarding” checkpoints of sorts. He’s quickly stripped of his glorious Asgardian regalia. He has to sign a gigantic stack of papers dictating everything he’s ever said. Our god of mischief even steps through a metal detector that melts legitimate robots from the inside out.
After Loki is dressed in prison-esque garb and ushered through an empty line with a ticket in hand, he meets Miss Minutes (Tara Strong). A 1970s-style cartoon infomercial for the TVA plays out. He learns that the elusive Time Keepers created the Time Variance Authority to streamline the multiverse into one sleek, tidy timeline.
I loved the potential nod to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Miss Minutes mentions that having splintering timelines or “Nexus Events” would lead to “madness” in the multiverse. I’m wondering if the TVA will be involved in the aforementioned flick.
Meanwhile, Agent Mobius (Wilson) is in 1549 France with his team. Another bloody massacre has unfurled. Someone is hopping about through different time periods and mucking things up. After meeting an innocent little girl who was handed something quite anachronistic to her time, Mobius orders his crew to reset the timeline. Said girl points to a stained glass mural of a “devil” when she’s asked about the culprit behind the attacks.
Then, we see Loki is brought before Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). She asks Loki if he pleads guilty for his crimes. Loki emphatically protests, citing that he just grabbed the Tesseract and vanished. In fact, the TVA should have the Avengers on trial.
Renslayer retorts that the Avengers did exactly what they were supposed to do in accordance with the timeline. Loki was the one who deviated from it. Renslayer sentences him to be “reset.” That sounds like a fancy way of saying “death.”
However, Mobius is present now. He urges Renslayer to let him take Loki under his wing. Renslayer acquiesces but notes that if the “variant” proves untrustworthy or falters in any way, it’s on Mobius. Mobius has plans in store for Loki. We see the agent bring him into what appears to be a viewing room. Mobius has Loki’s file in hand. A projector showcases events from Loki’s life.
But here’s the kicker — some of these events haven’t happened yet, at least not to our god of mischief in his current state. Mobius introduces a clip of Loki hijacking a plane, which he reveals is one of his favorite Loki escapades. Apparently, our fave Asgardian was actually D.B. Cooper. Mobius and Loki proceed to have an in-depth conversation about the latter’s morality or lack thereof. Is he the villain of his own story? Does Loki really deserve to rule Midgard and beyond?
Meanwhile, Mobius plays another snippet of Loki returning to Asgard. His mother, Frigga, discloses her disappointment in him. Loki’s face perceptibly changes here. He clearly harbors a love for his mama. He demands to know if the TVA is holding her captive.
Next, B-15 barges in and informs Mobius of another situation that’s unfolding. He leaves Loki by himself. Naturally, Loki snags Mobius’s swanky device and utilizes it to teleport out of the room. He is a mischievous scamp, after all. Loki encounters Casey (Eugene Cordero), the receptionist. Loki coerces Casey into handing him the Tesseract.
Our god of mischief also discovers more notable Marvel relics of power: Infinity Stones. Guess what? There are more than six, and the TVA office workers use them as paperweights. Magic is rendered obsolete and utterly useless here.
Later, Loki returns to the viewing room with the Tesseract. B-15 and Mobius both learn that Loki is missing, so at this point, they’re on the hunt for him. That is until B-15 finds Loki again. She attempts to subdue him, but he gains the upper hand. He removes his collar and slaps it on her. Then, he uses Mobius’s device to blip her in and out of time. Finally, he makes B-15 vanish.
Now, Loki decides to start up that projector again. We see his mother meet her demise in Thor: The Dark World. His father Odin disappear in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor and Loki teaming up with Valkyrie to vanquish Hela. Finally, we see Thanos kill him in Avengers: Infinity War. Tears are streaming down his face, especially at the sight of his dearly departed mama. He’s now seen everything that can and will happen to him.
Next, Mobius waltzes back into the room. He knows that Loki, undoubtedly, tried to utilize the Tesseract, but to no avail. Loki discloses something deeply personal: he confesses that he doesn’t find joy in killing people. He doesn’t like causing pain. He also understands that he can’t go back to where he was before.
Rather, it’s a tactic. A way for the “weak” to seize control. A powerplay. Hiddleston is brilliant here. The range of emotions he endures throughout the projector sequence and now is nothing short of powerful. Mobius reveals that he needs Loki’s assistance with tracking down the timeline murderer. How would he be of any help? Well, that timeline murderer is Loki himself.
Then, we see more TVA agents in 1858 Oklahoma. They stumble open yet another anachronism. Suddenly, a cloaked figure sets them all ablaze. Now we know that said cloaked figure is Loki.
“Glorious Purpose” is a wonderful character study of the god of mischief, one that we haven’t been privy to prior to this show. Mobius and the TVA really force our mischievous scamp to analyze his place in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps he’s not as important as he claims to be. Maybe his “story” isn’t really his own. It belongs to the Time Keepers.
Not to mention, Hiddleston delivers a beautifully layered performance, and Wilson holds his own. The cheeky, clever humor is pervasive throughout, as one would expect from a series about Loki. Additionally, I love the intricate mythology surrounding the Time Variance Authority and the unique time gadgetry therein. The world-building in this episode has me pumped for the remainder of the season.
Do you think we’ll get a future scene where Loki faces off against himself? Who do you think Richard E. Grant plays (perhaps a Time Keeper)? Will Casey ever learn what a fish is? Join me next week as I recap Loki, here on Geek Girl Authority.
New Loki episodes are available to stream every Wednesday, only on Disney Plus.