Loki: A Good Show Bogged Down by the MCU

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The MCU has been on a roll in the streaming space lately with three successful shows. WandaVision, Falcon & the Winter Soldier and the most recent addition Loki. Unlike the other two series, the Loki TV show was in a weird place. WandaVision and FAWS acted as origin stories for their main characters in their new roles. That was seen with both Scarlet Witch and Sam Wilson’s Captain America. But Loki is a show about a dead character whose alternate version gets lost in time due to The Avengers in Endgame. So without having the backdrop of an origin story, Loki had the chance to go into weird and unexplored places for the MCU. And from the trailer we got before the show was released that is exactly what it looked like. A weird show that is going to have fun with the silliness of its source material.

How it starts

This is exactly how the story starts for the Loki TV show. We follow the Loki that escaped from Avengers 1 due to the time travel aspects of Endgame. And as soon as he does that, Loki gets captured by the TVA. The Time Variance Authority/TVA is an organization introduced here where it takes care of the people who deviate from the “Sacred” timeline causing them to change the direction of that universe. And due to fact that this version of Loki is not in line with the predetermined events of the “Normal” timeline, he is removed and thrown on a trail.

And it clearly is very unfair. In this trial, he is being prosecuted for doing something that he has no control over. This is fascinating to watch as entities like the TVA who are crazy even for the world of the MCU interact with everyone. Even Loki, a so-called god, is dumbfounded by the power of TVA.

Luckily for him, he is saved by Mobius, a member of the TVA played by Owen Wilson. He is fascinated with Loki and wants to draft him to help catch someone who is giving trouble to the TVA. By the end of it, the person they are hunting is later revealed to be another version of Loki. The dynamic between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson is great and carries a lot of the scenes they are in. But before I speak more about the show…mild Spoiler warning… I would recommend the show completely and personally think that this is the best Disney Plus MCU show. So I would recommend seeing the show before going into my thoughts… Here we go…

Mild spoilers….and the themes of the show

So if you have managed to stay off the internet and avoid spoilers then you would know that the other version of Loki that they were chasing was female. And she goes by the name Sylvie. So presumably she was just caught by the TVA due to her being a female variant. This is unlike the timeline which is supposed to happen. The show forces Loki and his female variant to trust each other as they run away from the TVA in Ep2. (I am going to mention the main version of Loki as just Loki to avoid confusion).

Sylvie and Loki build trust and even have kind of a weird romantic moment. This is before they are found by the TVA. The internet went wild on this but in the show it makes complete sense. Loki is a huge narcissist and the first person who he actually starts to trust and like is a variant of him. Episodes 3 to 5 clearly state the theme of the show. The show asks the question “What does it mean to be a Loki?”. And this is asked even more as we meet various other versions of Loki in his time-traveling adventure.

Other versions of Loki in the show

This question is not just restricted to the main character but rather the various variants of him that he encounters. And with all this, Loki becomes a fascinating character study where we’re focusing on one character but really it’s about all these variants of Loki. The show clearly says that he and his variants never wins and are always seemingly destined to be a character who makes other people become better. All this is fascinating and the show expertly navigates these questions for five of its six episodes.

Episode 6 and the future

All except for episode 6. I have not given any spoilers to Loki and I will try my best to speak about this episode without any. The final episode kinda keeps the themes of the show on the back burner and gives us something completely out of left field. There is something to be said about fan theories around a show contributing to the show being disappointing. As many people have expectations for their theory to be real.

Loki is a rare instance where most of the fan theories came true and that only made the show worse. It is a rare scenario where Loki sets up something huge and fascinating for the MCU and its future. At the same time managing to appease most fan theories around it. But all of this came at the cost of the main themes of the show itself. And this final episode forgot the fascinating character study of Loki and doubled down on foreshadowing the future of the MCU.

While all the foreshadowing and the setup in this episode were excellent, it came at the cost of the show itself. All of this makes sense and flows well together but it is a bit disappointing to see the show end on a cliffhanger for Season 2.

Also, Loki feels like the only MCU TV series which is actually an ongoing TV series. As we follow Loki as he travels through various timelines. This is unlike the previous two shows as mentioned before which were just origin stories stretched out. That’s why a season cliffhanger feels more appropriate for Loki than an ending even though it was not that satisfying.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, Loki is a good show bordering on greatness with its interesting premise, themes and characters. But at the same time, its potential is inevitably not fully explored due to its necessity to be connected to the complete story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

8/10

Summary

Loki is a good show bordering on greatness but its potential is not fully explored due to it needing to fit into the story of the MCU.

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