Loki Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Analysis: ‘Glorious Purpose’

It only makes sense that a show centered around the God of Mischief could be a bit tricky to fully grasp on first watch. Marvel’s growing list of TV shows airing exclusively on Disney+ put out an intriguing first episode of Loki centering around one of the MCU’s first and more distinctive characters. Needless to say, this Loki Season 1 Episode 1 recap includes spoilers for both the show and related films.

The premiere opened with a quick recap of the scene from Avengers: Endgame where the time-traveling group of heroes return to New York not long before the battle against Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in the original The Avengers. There they fumble about their goal of retrieving the Tesseract, and in turn the Space Stone, and ultimately fail when it gets in the hands of a handcuffed Loki who uses it to poof himself out of the room. Great job, guys.

Time Variance Authority, or TVA for Short

The new show truly begins when Loki is spit out through a portal and lands in the vast Gobi Desert of Mongolia. After a quick and quite pathetic attempt at taking charge over the locals, Loki’s latest attempt at power is decisively halted when a group of armed and tactically clothed soldiers appear. Loki is quickly apprehended and taken through another portal. Enter the TVA.

Let’s get a rundown for this new organization known as the Time Variance Authority. Their mission is simple. Keep the history of events in the world set to occur just as they were planned without the interference of outside forces, especially those involving time travel. Multiverses, or the existence of separate timelines, do not exist in this world primarily thanks to the TVA. Long ago the Multiversal War broke out where several timelines fought it out for dominance. The higher beings known as the Time-Keepers stepped in and formed a single existence known as the Sacred Timeline. Anything that deviates from this one path is neutralized and reset.

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Where is the Time Variance Authority? We don’t know. When is this taking place? Also a mystery. How is all this possible? Technology is involved but definitely not magic, much to Loki’s disappointment. We do know the TVA brings in these time-changing criminals known as Variants to not only fix their alterations to the timeline but also sentence them to some kind of ruling or punishment. 

After his stint in the desert, Loki is brought into the TVA headquarters where he quickly learns he doesn’t have much say or power to do anything but comply. Loki, or rather Variant L1130, ultimately makes the case that he was not the one to tamper with the timeline and that the Avengers were guilty of time traveling. He was merely a result of it. Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Ravonna Renslayer claims that according to the Time-Keepers, what the superheroes did was “supposed to happen.” Loki’s escape was not. Before Loki could be sent off to be reset as charged in his verdict, Owen Wilson’s Mobius appears to snatch Loki away for his own purposes.

Loki Season 1 Episode 1

A Chat With the God of Mischief

Mobius leads Loki to a separate room where a device plays Loki’s memories from his past and his future. It’s important to keep in mind, the Loki we see here has only existed through the first Thor film and a portion of The Avengers. What Loki has gone through and how he has developed is simply not a thing yet.

Once settled in, Mobius questions Loki’s motives and desires in his quest for power. Loki ironically sees freedom as a choice to take a worse path whereas his rule over Earth and beyond would have “made it easy for them.” Cue the memories! Loki is shown his eye plucking misdeeds along with his defeat in New York and a new scene involving his role as the infamous D.B Cooper, a real-life criminal who robbed an aircraft and was never found. Apparently this was the result of a lost bet with Thor! It’s not long before scenes from Thor: The Dark World are thrown up on the screen. Loki sees his indirect involvement in the death of his mother, an event he has yet to experience. 

A Variant on the Loose

When Mobius leaves the room after hearing news of an incident elsewhere, Loki manages to escape using the device that controls his location in this weird time and space. Loki reaches the evidence room and finds the Tesseract he parted ways with not long ago. Like the many Infinity Stones sitting around it, the Tesseract and all other objects have no power here. It’s then that Loki realizes the TVA is the greatest power in the universe.

After evading getting captured, Loki returns to the room of memories and flips through the rest of his life. We see the death of Odin and the destruction of Asgard from Thor: Ragnarok as well as his ultimate death by the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. An emotional Loki, now aware of his planned path, fights Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15 and is ultimately confronted by Mobius once more. Loki admits he does not enjoy hurting people and does so more of a means to an end, a way to inspire control through fear.

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Why does Mobius have such a fascination in understanding Loki and why does he need his help? Working with Minutemen soldiers, Mobius is an agent that handles criminals that pose more of a threat than your average Variant. After discovering a separate group of Minutemen murdered in 1549 France and other spots in history, Mobius asks for Loki’s help in capturing this unhinged Variant. Oh, and the person they’re looking for? Another Loki. Before the credits roll, a scene in 1858 Oklahoma shows a cloaked figure attack another group of Minutemen before the same mystery person snags the reset charge before it can be activated.

Things are moving quickly for Loki’s world and the Disney+ exclusive show will release each of its six episodes on a weekly basis. Catch each episode of Loki, along with our detailed recap, every Wednesday.