Hello Interwebs! The first season of Loki just ended today. I’ve held out long enough. Time to share my thoughts on the previous 6 episodes. No spoilers, as always, for the people who haven’t checked it out yet.
For all two of you who haven’t seen Avengers Endgame, here’s how the show starts: during The Avengers’ time-traveling mission to relive their greatest theatrical hits, they pop back into the battle of New York from 2012’s The Avengers. But the mission goes wrong and they accidentally drop the Tesseract in the path of a freshly captured Loki. And, of course, the God of Mischief uses that Infinity Stone to escape the Avengers and continue his quest to rule the universe!
But TWIST: before Loki gets a chance to get his bearings he’s captured again by the Time Variance Authority– a mysterious group of time cops dedicated to maintaining “The Sacred Timeline”. Suffice it to say, Loki was not supposed to escape The Avengers in New York. And here we have ourselves a show!
Loki had a brilliant start! I was hooked straight from the pilot episode. We the audience, like Loki, are dropped into a new world we never new existed and we have a LOT of questions about how it works. Don’t expect any quick answers though. The series wisely opts to string its viewers along, making us keep asking questions until the very end! But it answers just enough of its mysteries along the way to prevent the plot from getting frustrating.
There’s a great scene in the first episode which essentially declares that we’re dealing with a whole new level of power in the MCU now. The threats the TVA deals with makes Thanos and the Infinity Stones look child’s play. The Infinity Saga isn’t irrelevant, but it’s small scale compared to what potential dangers lurk in the universe. Teases of such catastrophes officially have me hyped for Marvel’s future plotlines! I’m one of those people who thought Marvel likely peaked with Thanos’ plot to wipe out half of all life, but I may eat some humble pie yet…
Onto more specifics about the show now: I love the TVA’s production design. Their base of operations feels otherworldly yet lived-in. It’s one of Marvel’s best locations to date! Part of what makes the TVA feel alive are the details, like cleverly written propaganda posters in the background, or carvings in the walls of possible deities, or simpler things like seeing their cafeteria and library. Also, they have cute cartoons for explaining the MCU’s time travel rules. Way to pull it off way more comprehensibly than Endgame.
I also must give a shout-out to Loki’s composer, Natalie Holt! I’m not normally one to listen for soundtracks and music in my entertainment but the score in this show is exceptional. It enhanced almost every scene of the series without blending into the background (like too many tracks do nowadays).
This sentiment’s been shared about a million times already, but I’ll be the million and first to declare that Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as Loki! Great things must be acknowledged. I admittedly wasn’t convinced Hiddleston’s Loki still had more stories in him, but this series proved me wrong. By putting Loki in a position of relative powerlessness, he’s forced into a refreshing new status quo. The TVA knows all his tricks. He’s not a perceivable threat to them. So Loki must adapt to his new situation.
This adaptation comes with a level of character growth I was not expecting. He comes to learn truths about his villainous facade and his motivations which I don’t think he’d ever questioned in previous films. This show is largely about Loki growing beyond what we as an audience expect from him. He subverts all the Loki tropes that he possibly can throughout the course of this series.
But with the addition of a cosmic time authority which only allows for one “true” path of existence, this series also examines the questions: must Loki always be doomed to lose? And what would The God of Mischief’s destiny look like if he was allowed to control it? The philosopher in me appreciates such heavy ideas and it delights me that a Marvel series explores them. Loki was the perfect vessel for such an adventure, as his ever-shifting loyalties and penchant for instilling chaos juxtapose a quest for order in the universe.
As fantastic as Hiddleston is in Loki, it’s Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius who steals the spotlight. When he wasn’t on screen the show noticeably suffered. Mobius quickly became one of my all-time favourite Marvel characters because he’s basically the show’s fanbase: he knows the story inside out up to that point, he wants to be surprised, and he loves theorizing about what things mean. Mobius might be the most “normal” person in the MCU. He’s definitely one of the most relatable and human. I cared about him more quickly than anybody else introduced in the series. Oh yes– and he’s got exceptional chemistry with Hiddleston.
I appreciated the writing on this show a lot! Too many series similar to this one would descend into melodrama at the expense of having some fun (Doctor Who especially). And others would prioritize fun at the expense of quality drama (no examples spring to mind at this second, sorry). Loki strikes a satisfying tonal balance. Beyond this, the dialogue was witty and clever and generally entertaining. If I had to complain about one major problem with the episode-to-episode writing though, it’s that Loki is basically a series of exposition dumps about time travel or character’s backstories. That’s not as grating as it sounds– like I said, the dialogue was very entertaining– but it becomes irksome when it’s still happening late into the show.
But how about the writing on the show more generally? Well– I feel more mixed on the overall plot of Loki. The first two episodes were fantastic and really invested me; I know what episode 3 was trying to do but it fell flat; Episode 4 was solid but then episode 5 felt dragged out again; and episode 6 was a fantastic closer (with a lot of moments I didn’t know I wanted).
Episodes 3 and 5 were easily the weakest because they felt like filler. And the fanboy in me wants to justify those plots anyway I can but I have trouble doing so. Don’t get me wrong– those episodes have plenty of great stuff in them but didn’t need entire episodes to explore their main ideas. Loki might have been better served as a tight 3-4 episode mini-series. It may have only had 6 episodes but the overall plot felt too thin for even that.
Loki could have done more with 6 episodes than it did. I appreciated the character-building but, when you break down the A to B plot point by point, it feels like less happened than it could have. The first few episodes suggested a great deal of potential which I’m not convinced the final product lived up to.
With new insight into Loki’s mind, great character building, and intriguing new concepts, Loki delivers the most fun Marvel Disney + series yet. Marvel still hasn’t figured out how to pace their shows though (a problem for them since their Netflix series days). It’s a very entertaining watch and any fan of the Loki character must check it out.
Based on the first few episodes, I would have said Watch it A.S.A.P but, after seeing the whole thing, I still think it’s Pretty Darn Good.
What’s the best Marvel Disney + show so far? What did you think of Loki? Please share your thoughts in the comments (no spoilers please). If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know. Also be sure to Like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next time,
REVIEW METRIC: Don’t bother; If you’re bored; Worth a watch; Pretty darn good; Must see; Watch it A.S.A.P.