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Loki throws the timelines of the worlds out of sync

Mohammed Rayaan | Updated on July 27, 2021

Comeback ticket: The end titles reveal that Loki will return for season 2   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the latest offering from Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki goes in search of a variant — one creating nexus events

* Loki, a six-part series, follows the alternate version of the God of Mischief from the Avengers: Endgame

* Loki, performed by Tom Hiddleston, comes in contact with Mobius (Owen Wilson), a Time Variance Authority agent who loves to stick by the rules but never hesitates to skip them to get results

* “What an incredible seismic narcissist,” says a stunned Mobius. “You fell (in love) with yourself!”

***

The stupendous success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) can be attributed to its unique ability to churn out stories that are markedly different from that of other franchises. After the Avengers: Endgame (2019), which broke box office records and brought together an ensemble of top Hollywood actors, Marvel Studios announced its ambitious plans for what it calls Phase 4 — OTT series (all releasing on Disney+) as well as theatrical flicks. Phase 4 was kicked off with WandaVision, followed by The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and, now, Loki.

Loki, a six-part series, follows the alternate version of the God of Mischief from Avengers: Endgame who escapes after stealing the tesseract. However, Loki stumbles into the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a bureaucratic organisation that operates in a place beyond the grip of time and reality, and is responsible for holding the timeline of the worlds across the universe in sync.

Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, comes in contact with Mobius (Owen Wilson), a TVA agent who loves to stick by the rules but doesn’t hesitate to skip them to get results. Their chemistry is a crucial part of the show. Loki and Mobius share a hilarious love-hate relationship and spend a lot of time tossing repartees at each other. In the pilot, Mobius confronts Loki about betraying people. The question baffles Loki and it is weird to see this Asgardian — the mystical planet where Thor and his people live at a loss of words. Loki is wrestling with other questions as well — What the hell is the TVA? Who are you guys?

The interiors of the TVA “office” is a mix of the futuristic and the retro — swanky lights, polished floors and classy doors, and agents sitting in their cabins, using vintage telephones, desk lamps and furniture that look as if they’re from the ’70s IKEA store. Loki is astonished when he finds the Infinity Stones lying in an agent’s drawer. “We use it as paperweights,” the agent says. The Infinity Stones, the ultimate quest for power for Thanos in the older movies, are mere fancy glowing pebbles here!

Once Loki realises that the TVA is something beyond his imagination, he accepts the deal offered by Mobius — to help TVA search for another variant of Loki, the one creating nexus events (ripples in the timeline that affects the universe).

The show picks up pace thereafter. The female variant of Loki, who prefers to be called Sylvie, is deceitful and cunning. Sophia Di Martino, in a breakthrough performance, convincingly makes Sylvie a calculating trickster.

When Loki meets her, their bond touches a zone that is very true to being Loki: He falls for her. “What an incredible seismic narcissist,” says a stunned Mobius. “You fell (in love) with yourself!”. While it might look weird or even cringe-worthy to see Loki falling in love with Loki, it is, however, every bit true for the character who is so self-obsessed. In his crime file dossier, Loki’s gender is recorded as ‘fluid’.

The post-credit scenes, as always, provide several clues and easter eggs — subtle comic or future movie references that have always been a staple part of the MCU. As the series progresses, several other characters propel the plot forwards. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer plays a judge at the TVA. She loves the power she wields and enjoys “pruning” variants who break the “sacred timeline”. She shares a professional relationship with Mobius that is marked with respect. At the same time, there is also a little friction, especially when Mobius suggests the controversial move of seeking a variant’s help (Loki) to find another — Sylvie.

Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15 is another TVA agent who hunts variants. A badass, she is not to be messed up with. However, her fierce self collapses just as the truth behind the TVA is revealed.

The show absolutely comes together in the last two episodes — Journey into Mystery and For all Time. Always — when creator Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron pull out several tricks out of their sleeves.

When Loki is “pruned” — a process that seemingly incinerates a person like an exploding celestial body, he lands up in a void from where “nobody has ever returned”. Here is where so many characters and other blink-or-miss easter eggs appear. We see Classic Loki, performed by the flawless Richard E Grant, Boastful Loki, Kid Loki (his nexus event, he says, is that he killed Thor!) and President Loki. The world-building of the void is a feast to the eye. The moment when Loki enters an underground home of the other three Lokis leaves an impact, not to miss the handful of easter eggs that pop across.

In the last episode — He Who Remains, as Loki and Sylvie come together to take down the man behind the TVA, it becomes apparent how powerful he really is. Jonathan Majors, as the universal villain, nails the performance as a man who pretends to be scared by the two Lokis.

While the final reveal turns out to be a bit of a damp squib, it however, lays the foundation for the ensuing series and the movies of Phase 4. Maybe it will bring the original avengers, albeit from the multiverse, together again?

The end titles reveal that Loki will return for season 2. The show has certainly created its own “nexus events” to other upcoming series and other films of the MCU. Only time will tell how grand they will be.

Published on July 27, 2021

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