Today bright and early at 8am we got our first episode of Disney’s newest Marvel series, Loki. True to form it was chaotic, theatrical and light-hearted but with a few touches of some more serious and quite sad elements.
The first episode introduced us to Loki’s current situation post-Endgame escape, and to the wonderful bureaucratic world of the Time Variance Authority - or the TVA.
After a bit of banter and scene-setting, (including Loki signing off on a document of everything he’s ever said and him being stripped naked by a semi-cute, semi-psychotic looking robot) we get our first proper explanation of what the TVA is and what it does.
In a lovely, slightly dystopian-looking infomercial, we're told that the TVA enforces the rule of the all-knowing Time-Keepers and the sacred timeline. Anyone who diverges from this decided set of events is labelled a ‘variant’ and taken to court to be tried for their deviance; though it doesn’t appear that the court has any intention of giving people a 'fair' trial.
Loki is lucky enough to avoid almost certain death by 'resetting' when Owen Wilson steps in as Agent Mobius, requesting to take Loki with him for questioning and to perhaps assist in his investigation. It seems that a variant has been slaughtering TVA workers (known as Minute Men), and we see the latest attack has left a chapel in 1500’s France strewn with corpses.
Loki quickly learns that his magic is worthless when at the TVA HQ, and he’s powerless to the control of Mobius who subjects him to a rerun of his greatest hits whilst accusing him of being not an agent of mischief, but instead a creator of pain and death.
“You weren’t born to be king Loki,” Mobius says at one point, “You were born to cause pain and suffering and death...and also so that others can achieve their best versions of themselves”
Loki does not like what Mobius shows him and says to him, and when Mobius briefly leaves the room to deal with a situation, the God of Mischief uses that window of opportunity to escape his holding room in search of freedom. Instead, he finds some rather interesting things that he definitely couldn’t have predicted.
The episode wraps up with the revelation that Mobius wants Loki’s help in tracking a murderous variant because that very variant is Loki himself, but from another rogue timeline. We see Rogue Loki’s newest murderous trick as he sets fire to a bunch of Minute Men in 1858 Oklahoma, ending with an ominous shot of the hooded, silhouetted figure that definitely reminds me of this meme:
5. What Is The TVA?
The Time Variance Authority (TVA) is basically a huge bureaucratic organisation that keeps tabs on as many realities as possible in the multiverse, attempting to keep things in check by destroying rogue timelines (caused by what they call Nexus events) when they vary from the set path.
It’s staffed by bland, non-confrontational employees who are literally born to work an office job their whole life. When they do the ‘bit’ where Casey reveals he doesn’t know what a fish is, it really reminds us that these employees have barely seen past the four walls of the TVA - and that they probably have no interest in doing so as they are born and bred to be compliant office drones.
Aside from the desk-jockeys we have the all-knowing Time-Keepers. Three Time-Keepers have determined what is the ‘proper’ timeline, AKA the sacred timeline and any deviance from that must be eliminated. The Sacred Timeline at this point can be assumed to be the specific timeline that governs the MCU, the one that allowed for Thanos to be defeated in Endgame when the Avengers went all mad-lad on chronology.
In fairness you can see why they would want to defend that, because with all the intricacies that writers had to account for when assembling the iconic rise and fall of Thanos and the heart-breaking and repairing storylines of Infinity War and Endgame, the last thing we need is for one rogue God to mess it all up.
That leads us onto the next bit we need to touch on: Loki’s death.