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One Hour Impressions – Loki (2021)

So it’s official, Loki is the first MCU Disney+ show to be renewed for a second season, beating out its stablemates WandaVision and Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

Having watched the season one finale on Wednesday when it dropped (I’m scribbling this down in my notepad straight after the credits rolled) I originally planned on giving my first impressions of the series’ first episode.

As I’m writing this, however, I figure just looking at one episode doesn’t give a great picture of the overall quality of the series so fuck it – series review, let’s do this!

Straight up, the series premise had me intrigued from the very first teaser trailer. I have been lukewarm on the other Disney+ Marvel shows, mainly because Marvel doesn’t have the best track record with their tv shows.

On the one hand, we’ve got the first season and a half of Daredevil and the Jessica Jones series. On the other hand, we’ve got the rest of Daredevil and Ironfist. However, I’ve always enjoyed Tom Hiddleston’s take on Loki in the MCU, he’s the bright spot in every movie he’s in… well except for Thor: The Dark World but no one looked good in that film except for Jaimie Alexander whose character shows up for the first fifth of the movie and is never seen again.

Anyway, a vehicle for Tom Hiddleston to show off his acting range with the wit and charm he brings to Loki straight off the bat had me excited. Getting the chance to see Owen Wilson in a more serious role instead of the Marley & Me and Wedding Crashers roles that he was synonymous with circa the early 2000s and to be honest when I heard he was cast I couldn’t help just saying wow.

On this basis alone and consulting my crystal ball, I would highly recommend that you watch this show, even if you haven’t watched the other MCU Disney+ shows.

From this point on, I’ll be discussing specifics about the episodes and they’ll probably contain spoilers. If you don’t want anything potentially spoiled, you should stop reading but you can also check out some of my other articles at the bottom of the page or click The Writer’s Scrawl and short stories tab at the top of the page.

Now, this entire series was always going to live or die on the backs of the show's characters and mainly Loki himself. Luckily, the first episode set my worries at ease from the first few moments. Hiddleston slipped back into the role of Loki seamlessly like it was his second skin.

This version (or variant if you will) of Loki is a lot less jovial jokester that I loved so much from Thor: Ragnarok and much more like Loki from the original Thor. He pairs well with Owen Wilson’s Mobius, who has a more carefree and Owen Wilson-y attitude if that makes sense.

The first three episodes of the series set up the premise of the rest of the series and moves all the pieces into place quite well. It builds the tension through the hunt for the other Loki variant, the subsequent reveal of that variant’s identity, and the slight inkling that not everything at the TVA is on the up and up.

These three episodes skewer the pointlessness of bureaucracy, the idea of free will vs. that of a higher power setting your destiny and our place in the vast expanse of space at various points throughout the episodes. I really enjoyed it; it gave me massive Stanley Parable vibes.

The fourth episode is when everything clicked for me. The events that were set in motion in the last three episodes are now coming to a head. Mobius and other members of the TVA begin to realise that the TVA might not be the bastion of truth and virtue that they once believed it was as Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) finally reach the fabled Time Keepers… or so they think.

Mobius’ arc of self-discovery concludes with him discovering he’s actually a variant and is subsequently “pruned” by the head of the TVA which was a truly shocking moment because at that point I believed he was dead.

The fourth episode also has the development between Loki and Sylvie begin to develop and just as you think they’re going to come together -BAM! Loki gets pruned which shocked me (although the post-credits scene diminished this somewhat). I would still rate this as my favourite episode of the series.

The fifth and penultimate episode was a real treat in my book, giving it a bit more hopeful vibes than the previous episode. The highlight was getting to see all the various Loki variants, especially Alligator Loki was awesome, and spotting all the easter eggs and MCU comics references was a fun game.

Now the season finale. It seems like a lot of people had mixed feelings on this episode so be sure to let me know in the comments. Personally, I thought this episode was another high point for the series. The curtain is finally drawn back and the identity of the all-powerful controlling supreme being is revealed to be – Kang the Conqueror – maybe? It’s not made explicitly clear and there’s no real consensus at time of writing.

The moral dilemma that’s set up by the show in those final moments and the subsequent Loki fight and cliffhanger was great from start to finish. The choreography was tight and shot pretty well albeit a little heavy-handed with the number of cuts.

So, we’re set to jump into season 2 with this worlds’ Kang dead, multiple timeline branches, and an impending multiverse war with Loki seemingly trapped in an alternate timeline of having jumped into the far past and Sylvie alone with only herself to comfort her in the face of the unknown future.

I can’t wait for season 2, bring it on.

Normally, this would be the end where I’d ask you to check out more of my stuff and push my short stories on you with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in a China shop. However, this week, the lovely Jicori (@StephanieDoesVO) took some time out of her busy day to share her thoughts on the series:

“Every Marvel film and TV show has had at least some science fiction element to it up to this point. However, Loki is the first production I would label as purely sci-fi. It's a series that keeps the mind engaged, constantly waiting for that next piece of the puzzle. In the meantime, we get some lovely character development in Loki, Sylvie, Mobius, Hunter B-15, and even Ravonna.

By the end of the second episode, I was deeply invested in where each of those characters was from and where they were going. After coming to love Loki as a character by the end of Thor: Ragnarok, I loved watching this Loki variant going through a very similar redemption arc. By the end of that arc, he has a better grasp of what love is, and he has found something he believes in that's bigger than himself. I hope that the second season will keep him on this path while also giving him some opportunities to apply his classic skills of deception.

And what do I think about the romantic part? I liked it a lot, mostly because I'm a sucker for a romantic story for any character I like. That said, I also think it was valuable for both Loki and Sylvie as characters. I wouldn't call it narcissism, though, just because they're both variants of Loki. I see these as two different people who had two very different lives. I suppose I watched enough of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to recognize how different two people can be even when they're different versions of the same being.”

- Stef W

Have you watched the series finale? Are you excited for the new Multiverse Saga? Let me know down in the comments below.


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